6 January 2020
Sanan IC appoints Plextek RFI as GaAs MMIC design services partner for 5G
Sanan Integrated Circuit Co Ltd (Sanan IC) of Xiamen City, Fujian province (China’s first 6-inch pure-play compound semiconductor wafer foundry) has recognized Plextek RFI Ltd of Cambridge, UK (which designs RFICs, MMICs and microwave/millimeter-wave modules) as an authorized resource for gallium arsenide (GaAs) monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) design services in the emerging 5G market.
The effectiveness of the collaboration has been demonstrated by the recent design by Plextek RFI of a single-chip surface-mount-packaged 4-channel 5G millimeter-wave power amplifier (PA) for the 28GHz spectrum using Sanan IC’s P15EP1 0.15µm 6” GaAs E/D pseudomorphic high-electron-mobility transistor (pHEMT) process technology. The reference design was displayed and presented by Plextek RFI at the Automated RF and Microwave Measurement Society (ARMMS) conference in Bedfordshire, UK (18-19 November).
“As the 5G infrastructure market expands from sub-6GHz into the millimeter-wave spectrum, RF front-end design activities for the associated telecoms equipment are naturally increasing,” says Sanan IC’s CEO Raymond Cai. “We are pleased to have Plextek RFI as an authorized design services partner, to assist our customers worldwide in augmenting their GaAs IC design and development resources with RF engineering expertise. We anticipate that our newly launched P15EP1 E/D pHEMT GaAs process will be widely adopted in high-performance millimeter-wave applications, particularly in the 5G space,” he adds.
“The roll-out of 5G infrastructure has generated demand for a variety of millimeter-wave RF front-end architectures and topologies that require high-performance GaAs IC designs,” notes Plextek RFI’s CEO Liam Devlin. “We are delighted to provide our clients innovative solutions and design options to address these requirements, as demonstrated by our compact, multi-channel power amplifier reference design on Sanan IC GaAs technology. We expect to build on this success by leveraging other Sanan IC GaAs processes and exploiting its future roadmap for high-performance, high-integration and high-quality RF designs.”
Sanan IC’s P15EP1 process is a high-performance 6” GaAs pHEMT technology, highly integrated with E-mode, 0.15µm gate-length transistors that have a current-gain cut-off frequency (fT) of 85GHz and maximum oscillation frequency (fmax) of 155GHz. The process is suitable for millimeter-wave power amplifier and low-noise amplifier (LNA) designs, offering excellent gain, low noise figure and wide bandwidth, it is claimed, and can be combined with 0.5µm E-mode/D-mode devices for single-die logic implementation. This technology platform provides up to 3 metal interconnect layers, with 12 mask layers with and a back lapping thickness of 75µm.
The P15EP1 process is part of the P15 family of GaAs technologies, which can provide other options such as D-mode transistors, PIN diodes for switches and limiters, and which will be augmented later next year with a lower process node for higher-frequency support.