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18 July 2014

Soitec seeing widespread adoption of eSI substrates

Soitec of Bernin, France, which makes engineered substrates including silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers and III-V epiwafers, has reached an early milestone in the adoption of its proprietary Enhanced Signal Integrity (eSI) substrates, which are used for manufacturing radio-frequency devices providing a power boost for 4G/LTE applications. Since beginning eSI production, Soitec estimates that it has shipped enough of these substrates to fabricate more than 1.4 billion RF front-end devices.

Soitec says that, as eSI offers what is claimed to be the best cost-performance trade-off, it is seeing strong and growing demand from most of the leading RF foundries, which are already shipping wireless communication ICs built on eSI substrates. As a result, Soitec is now shipping more eSI products than high-resistivity silicon-on-insulator (HR-SOI) wafers, which are also used in fabricating RF devices.

“In parallel, we are already working on next generation products to address future LTE Advanced challenges,” says Bernard Aspar, senior VP & general manager of Soitec’s Communication & Power business unit.

Based on Smart Cut technology, eSI products are the first ‘trap-rich’ type of material in full production, says Soitec. These substrates have a significant impact on the final devices’ performance, the firm adds. The eSI substrates are designed by introducing a trap-rich layer between the high-resistivity handle wafer and the buried oxide. This limits the parasitic surface conduction present in standard HR-SOI substrates, boosting the performance of RF devices. Because this layer is built into the substrate, it reduces the number of process steps and relaxes design rules, leading to a highly competitive performance and die cost, including a smaller area per function, claims Soitec. RF designers can therefore integrate diverse functions such as switches, power amplifiers and antenna tuners with what is reckoned to be excellent RF isolation, good insertion loss, better thermal conductivity and better signal integrity than other technologies.

Tags: Soitec SOI engineered substrates

Visit: www.soitec.com

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