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 made available what it claims is the first RF silicon-on-insulator (SOI) foundry solution manufactured on 300mm wafers, delivering significant performance, integration and area advantages in front-end modules (FEMs) for 4G LTE and sub-6GHz 5G mobile and wireless communication applications.
The new 8SW technology offers a low-cost, low-power, highly flexible solution with superior switching, low-noise amplifiers (LNA) and logic processing capabilities on a 300mm manufacturing line. It features up to 70% power reduction compared with the previous generation, with higher voltage handling, a best-in-class on-resistance (Ron) and off-capacitance (Coff) for reduced insertion loss with high isolation, and an all-copper interconnect that improves power-handling capacity.
“Skyworks continues to leverage our broad systems expertise to bring highly customized solutions to customers worldwide,” comments Joel King, VP & general manager of Advanced Mobile Solutions at Skyworks Solutions Inc. “Our collaboration with GlobalFoundries has provided Skyworks early access to best-in-class switch and LNA technology that will further advance RF front-ends for next-generation mobile devices and evolving IoT [Internet of Things] applications,” he adds.
“We now live in a world of connected intelligence where people expect and demand seamless, reliable data connectivity everywhere,” says Bami Bastani, senior VP of GlobalFoundries’ RF business unit. “But that’s only getting more difficult to achieve, as front-ends increasingly must be able to handle many different frequency bands and many different types of RF signals, along with integrated digital processing and control,” he adds. “We have developed the new 8SW process specifically to help customers meet their most pressing needs.”
GlobalFoundries says that the 300mm RF SOI-based technology gives designers a cost-effective platform with an optimal combination of performance, integration and power efficiency with greater digital integration ability. The 8SW process incorporates a specialized substrate optimization that maximizes the quality factor for passive devices, reduces parasitic capacitances for active circuits and minimizes the disparity in phase and voltage swing for devices operating in the sub-GHz frequency range. The technology showcases an optimized LNA with what is claimed to be leading noise figure and high fT/fmax, supporting diversity receive and main antenna path LNA applications for existing 4G operating frequencies and future sub-6GHz 5G front-end modules.
The 8SW technology is manufactured on GlobalFoundries’ 300mm production line at Fab 10 in East Fishkill, NY, providing the industry with manufacturing capacity to meet the expected market demand at a lower cost. Process design kits are available now.