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16 March 2016

GlobalFoundries broadens SiGe PA portfolio, enhancing RF performance and efficiency for wireless devices

GlobalFoundries of Santa Clara, CA, USA (one of the world's largest semiconductor foundries, with more than 250 customers and operations in Singapore, Germany and the USA) has announced new radio-frequency silicon solutions, further expanding its portfolio of silicon germanium (SiGe) power amplifier (PA) technologies designed to enable performance-optimized cellular and Wi-Fi solutions in increasingly sophisticated mobile devices and hardware. 

GlobalFoundries' 5PAx and 1K5PAx processes (collectively PAx) are the latest extensions to its broad family of SiGe-based PA technologies. The offerings deliver optimized PA, low-noise amplifier (LNA) and switch technology with improved power efficiency, noise figure and insertion loss, enabling more power-efficient next-generation Wi-Fi and cellular solutions for faster data access and uninterrupted connections.

"Mobile suppliers are facing mounting pressure to expand network capacity as wireless data consumption continues to increase rapidly," says Dr Bami Bastani, senior VP of GlobalFoundries' RF business unit.  "Our broad portfolio of high-performance SiGe power amplifier technologies provides a distinct design, performance and cost advantage that enables our mobility customers to deliver cost-effective solutions with faster data throughput, support wider coverage areas, and consume less power," he adds. 

Skyworks Solutions Inc of Woburn, MA, USA (which manufactures analog and mixed-signal semiconductors) plans to use the technology to enhance both the power capability and efficiency for the next generation of mobile WLAN products and high-performance WLAN products, including access points, routers and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

"The advances that are part of GlobalFoundries' SiGe PAx technologies enable RF front-end solutions for all levels of performance and complexity," comments Bill Vaillancourt, VP & general manager of Mobile Connectivity at Skyworks. "With these advanced features and the ability to minimize form factor by implementing multiple RF functions on a chip, GlobalFoundries' latest PAx offerings enhance the capabilities of integrated semiconductor solutions that support customers' needs for high-performance, cost-effective technologies addressing portable wireless communication devices," he adds.

There are four technologies in GlobalFoundries' SiGe PA family: SiGe 5PAe, 1KW5PAe, and now 5PAx and 1K5PAx. All four feature the firm's proven through-silicon via technology and provide significant performance, integration functionality and cost advantages for users who are currently using gallium arsenide (GaAs)-based alternatives, it is claimed. Currently, more than 3 billion SiGe power amplifiers have been shipped worldwide using this family of technologies, and GlobalFoundries has recently invested in additional manufacturing capacity to address the anticipated growth in the mobile sector. The newest offerings, 5PAx and 1K5PAx, are optimized to meet the rigorous demands of evolving mobile standards like 802.11ac, which demands three times faster data throughput than the previous generation of standards.

For 5GHz applications, SiGe 5PAx (the follow-on to SiGe 5PAe) supports 2dB gain along with a 5% power-added efficiency (PAE) and 0.2dB LNA improvements relative to the previous generation. SiGe 1K5PAx (like its predecessor 1KW5PAe) is fabricated on a high-resistivity substrate, and is tuned for integration and higher performance. It features RF switches with about 15% better Ron-Coff compared with 1KW5PAe, and (like 1KW5PAe) enables designers to minimize form factor by implementing multiple functions (such as power amplifiers, RF switches and LNAs) on a single chip.

See related items:

GlobalFoundries completes acquisition of IBM Microelectronics


Visit:  www.globalfoundries.com/SiGe

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