TowerJazz’s new RF process for 4G LTE

2 September, 2015

Company says the new 300mm RF SOI process can reduce losses in an RF switch by as much as 30% relative to current technology

Company says the new 300mm RF SOI process can reduce losses in an RF switch by as much as 30% relative to current technology

TowerJazz plant. Migdal Haemek. Israel
TowerJazz plant. Migdal Haemek. Israel

TowerJazz from Mogdal Haemek, Israel, and TowerJazz Panasonic Semiconductor Co. (TPSCo), announced breakthrough in RF technology for next-generation 4G LTE smartphones and IoT devices. Through a collaborative effort, TowerJazz and its subsidiary TPSCo, have developed a new 300mm RF SOI process that can reduce losses in an RF switch by as much as 30% relative to current technology, improving battery life and boosting data rates. The technology is now being sampled to a lead customer.

“This achievement reflects our strategy to combine TPSCo’s digital technology with TowerJazz’s RF expertise,” said Russell Ellwanger, TowerJazz CEO. Guy Eristoff, CEO of TPSCo, said: “This process combines 0.18um TowerJazz RF SOI technology with TPSCo’s advanced 45nm process capabilities to create a silicon-based device with breakthrough performance. To our knowledge, this is the lowest Ron X Coff demonstrated in RF SOI devices with robust power handling capability.”

The technology achieved a record Ron-Coff figure of merit of sub-90fs. Ron X Coff product is a key figure of merit for RF switching that measures the ability to pass signals with low power losses. TPSCo’s ability to print 45nm dimensions also enables the integration of an increasing number of RF features in a small footprint on a single, RF-friendly, SOI die.

“Just a few years ago, a sub-100fs Ron-Coff figure of merit for an SOI switch technology was considered unthinkable. But no longer. SOI continues to remain the most ideally suited technology for meeting the demands of 4G/LTE-A and beyond: the lowest power (insertion) loss, almost perfect isolation and the most stringent linearity, and all at a competitive cost,” said Len Jelinek, Director and Chief Analyst, Semiconductor Manufacturing, IHS Technology.

Mobile Experts LLC, a market research firm for mobile communications, forecasts the RF front- end component market size to reach $10.8 billion in 2015, rising rapidly to over $16 billion in 2018. This growth is powered by rapid growth in worldwide 4G-LTE enabled Smartphone shipments and IoT devices along with increasing RF component dollar content per mobile terminal due to rapid proliferation of frequency bands (40+) and increasing adoption of Carrier Aggregation (3+) and MIMO (up to 64 X 8).

“We are already in high volume production with our industry leading SOI technologies in our Newport Beach (USA) and Migdal Haemek (Israel) fabs. Opening up the 300mm Uozu fab in Japan now also gives us additional scale and the supply flexibility needed to capitalize on RF component market growth,” said Dr. Marco Racanelli, SVP/GM of RF/High Performance Analog and Power Business Groups at TowerJazz.

Tower Semiconductor Ltd. and its fully owned U.S. subsidiary Jazz Semiconductor, Inc. operate collectively under the brand name TowerJazz and manufacture integrated circuits in broad range of process technologies including: SiGe, BiCMOS, mixed-signal/CMOS, RF CMOS, CMOS image sensor, integrated power management (BCD and 700V), and MEMS.

TowerJazz operates two manufacturing facilities in Israel (150mm and 200mm), one in the U.S. (200mm) and three additional facilities in Japan (two 200mm and one 300mm) through TowerJazz Panasonic Semiconductor Co. (TPSCo).

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