Specialty foundry TowerJazz (which has fabrication plants at Tower Semiconductor Ltd in Migdal Haemek, Israel, and at its US subsidiaries Jazz Semiconductor Inc in Newport Beach, CA and TowerJazz Texas Inc in San Antonio, TX, and at TowerJazz Japan Ltd) has announced its advanced analog specialty RF and high-performance analog (HPA) manufacturing processes, addressing the increasing demand for analog semiconductor content in the fast-growing automotive market, especially ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) and autonomous driving. TowerJazz is serving this market through RF and HPA technology solutions developed through close partnerships and roadmap alignment with market leaders and global customer support.
RF for automotive falls into two broad categories: wireless connectivity and automotive radar, with automotive radar having the largest share of existing RF semiconductor content. Automotive radar systems have become a relatively standard feature in premium and mid-range automobiles for performing safety and driver assistance tasks such as forward collision avoidance/warning, lane departure warnings, blind spot detection, and parking assist. Wireless connectivity semiconductor content is expected to grow rapidly as well, with the number of connected cars quadrupling over the next five years.
According to a report from MarketsandMarkets, the automotive semiconductor market is expected to grow from $35bn in 2016 to over $48bn by 2022, driven by the increasing demand for automobiles coupled with the overall trend of vehicle electrification. Automotive semiconductor content remains dominated by analog with a 69% share of the total market, with RF semiconductor content expected to rise over the coming years at a double-digit compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
With increasing adoption of ADAS – and eventual migration to fully autonomous vehicles – as many as seven to 12 radar systems may be incorporated into each car. Furthermore, increasing adoption of GPS, 4G-LTE (transitioning soon to 5G) and V2X (vehicle-to-everything) communications will augment the RF semiconductor content in vehicles, further expanding the RF semiconductor market for automobiles beyond $1.8bn by 2021 with a CAGR of more than 14% (according to a 2016 MarketsandMarkets report on the ADAS market and company estimates).
Because of the high performance needed at high frequencies for automotive radar systems (24-26GHz for short-range and 76-81GHz for long range), TowerJazz says that its silicon germanium (SiGe) Terabit Platform is suited to serving this growing market. SBC18H2 through SBC18H5 SiGe technologies offer an fT of 240-300GHz and fmax of 280-340GHz, providing latitude to optimize speed and noise requirements for specific applications. TowerJazz’s SiGe Terabit Platform comes with two CMOS options: 1.8V/3.3V (180nm) and 1.2V/3.3V (130nm).
TowerJazz says that all of its SiGe technologies offer customizable metallization schemes and high-performance passives (MIM capacitors and inductors) to tailor to each customer’s specific end-application. For more cost-sensitive applications, TowerJazz also offers a complete 65nm RF-CMOS technology platform in its Uozu, Japan factory. For wireless connectivity solutions, TowerJazz offers a front-end module-on-a-chip RF platform in addition to advanced RF-SOI and RF-CMOS technology with what is claimed to be best-in-class Ron-Coff for switches and noise figures for low-noise amplifiers.
“We see the proliferation of IoT devices, the advent of 5G cellular service and the promise of autonomous vehicles augmenting our RF business with additional exciting opportunities for growth, and we are investing heavily in technologies that provide our customers a strong advantage in these new areas,” says Dr Marco Racanelli, senior VP & general manager of TowerJazz’s RF/High Performance Analog business group.