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23 April 2014

Peregrine launches pin-compatible PE4312 50Ω RF digital step attenuator upgrade from PE4302

Peregrine Semiconductor Corp of San Diego, CA, USA, a fabless provider of radio-frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) based on silicon-on-sapphire (SOS) and silicon-on-insulator (SOI), has introduced its next-generation UltraCMOS PE4312 digital step attenuator (DSA), succeeding the PE4302 (which has shipped more than 35 million units since its launch in 2004).

“Peregrine created the category of digital step attenuators with the UltraCMOS PE4302, and today’s announcement of our next-generation DSA will enable us to preserve our market leadership as the DSA category demands evolve,” reckons senior marketing manager Kinana Hussain.

The PE4312 enables flexible, wide-dynamic-range network-infrastructure designs that require highly accurate and efficient amplitude control. The upgrade is suitable for wireless-infrastructure devices, broadband consumer and infrastructure equipment, land mobile radios (LMRs), test & measurement equipment, and military RF applications.

“Based on customer requests, the UltraCMOS PE4312 features an extended temperature range that enables RF engineers to simplify thermal design, wider power-supply range to enable flexible power-supply routing, 1.8V-compatible control voltage levels to enable lower-power designs, and higher ESD ratings to ease manufacturing flow,” says Hussain.

Peregrine’s PE4312 is claimed to be the only DSA on the market to meet a low insertion loss of 2.1dB at 4GHz at any power-supply level between 2.3V and 5.5V (versus a power-supply range of 2.7–3.3V for the PE4302). It also handles what is reckoned to be the industry’s widest temperature range (between –40°C and 105°C, versus –40°C to 85°C for the PE4302) and supports both 1.8V and 3V control logic (versus 3V alone for the PE4302). The PE4312 also offers improvements over the PE4302 in attenuation accuracy ±(0.15 + 2% of attenuation setting at 2.2GHz versus 0.15 + 5%), linearity (IIP3 of 59dBm versus 52dBm) and switching speed (500ns versus 1000ns). Finally, the PE4312 features a novel architecture to provide safe attenuation-state-transition behavior, which prevents positive power spikes that occur during attenuation-state changes when RF input power is applied. This simplifies the digital-interface design, improves signal quality, and prevents damage to power amplifier sub-assemblies.

Based on increasing RF-performance demands, Peregrine says that its DSAs deliver benefits to wireless-infrastructure devices, broadband TV modems, LMRs, test & measurement equipment, and military RF applications. The firm’s DSAs are in multi-band RF-infrastructure applications and deliver power control in distributed antenna systems; gain control for optical repeaters in wireless-infrastructure devices; signal conditioning in broadband equipment; and amplitude conditioning in test & measurement equipment and LMRs.

The PE4312 is a 50Ω, 6-bit RF DSA with a 31.5dB attenuation range in 0.5dB steps. It maintains high linearity of +59dBm IIP3 and monotonicity from 1MHz through 4GHz. Pin-for-pin compatible with the PE4302, it features multiple programming modes (including serial, direct parallel and latched parallel), making it easy to design it into a wide range of systems. The PE4312 has high, monotonic attenuation performance of 0.5dB up to 4GHz, which improves instrument sensitivity and performance. The fast switching time of 500ns improves system response times. Electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection of 1500V HBM (versus just 500V for the PE4302) eases manufacturing and prolongs the life of the end-product. The 1.8V and 3V control logic support makes it easy to integrate the DSA with the latest field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). High integration in a single package eliminates the need for the discrete components and bias circuits that are required with pin-diode solutions, further easing design and reducing board space. The PE4312 also features an external negative supply option.

The package is an RoHS-compliant, 20-lead QFN measuring 4mm x 4mm. Samples and volume-production parts are available now, priced at $1.52 each in 10,000-quantity orders. Evaluation kit boards cost $150.

Tags: Peregrine Digital step attenuators

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