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Industry News

The Commercial Market

March 1, 2003
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The Commercial Market


Vitesse is First to Offer InP HBT Foundry Services

Committed to advancing the use of indium phosphide (InP) for IC applications, Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. announced it is the first company to provide InP HBT foundry services through MOSIS, a leading provider of low cost prototyping and small-volume production services for IC (and optical IC) development. By working directly with MOSIS, customers will have access to Vitesse's proprietary InP VIP-1™ technology. The VIP-1 process includes high performance SHBT devices with other active and passive devices, and multiple levels of metal interconnect. This process has been qualified for production usage and has an expected turn around time for prototype circuits of 13 weeks, which is more than two times faster than competitive technologies such as SiGe. InP foundry services from Vitesse and MOSIS are available today, with quarterly fabrication runs initially planned.

The VIP-1 process offers circuit designers the benefit of both high speed and high voltage operation suitable for digital, analog and RF circuits at 10 GHz or higher. The process uses four-inch diameter semi-insulated substrates and is designed for high performance and high yield. The key active device is a SHBT, characterized by ft = 150 GHz, fmax = 150 GHz (at Ic = 1 mA/µm) and BVCEO in excess of 4.5 V. The process also includes resistors and capacitors, and three layers of metal interconnect. Device models and design rules are supported in the Cadence design environment and the robust process support junction temperatures of 125°C.

"Vitesse is building on its past success in the manufacturing of III-V integrated circuits to make a cost-effective InP IC technology available to a broad user base. The access to volume manufacturing capability at a low cost and fast turn around time is key to the wide spread adoption and usage of InP technology," said Ray Milano, vice president of Physical Media Devices at Vitesse.

The silicone-like interconnect and volume-manufacturing capability developed by Vitesse makes this process technology ideal for many applications requiring the performance or opto-electronic properties of InP such as high voltage drivers, high frequency amplifiers, high speed DACs and ADCs, adaptive RF electronics, automotive radar, low loss waveguides and optical components such as photo-detectors. Circuits that were developed using this process, including Vitesse's 10 Gbps RZ modulator driver, 4:1 MUX and limiting amplifier, have already been deployed into commercial telecommunications systems.

MOSIS will provide access to device models and design rules as well as reticle composition and overall schedule coordination. The circuit elements provided will include continuously scaleable parameterized cell transistors, resistors and capacitors, and ESD structures. Models are also available in ADS for microwave circuit design activities. For more information, contact foundry@vitesse. com or mosis-info@mosis.org.

MEMGen Ignites Micro-device Innovation

MEMGen Corp. has launched the world's first micro-device design contest. The "3-D MEMS Design Challenge" is made possible by the company's proprietary EFAB™ micro-manufacturing technology, which allows micro-devices to be designed with commonly available 3-D CAD software tools and fabricated in a matter of a few weeks using the company's automated system.

MEMGen's design contest is open to all individuals who have commercial or research interest in micro-device designs, manufacturing or use, including electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, design contractors, university faculty and students. There is no limit to the number of entries per person or organization. The company will award the top three contest winners with prototypes of their own designs. In addition, the top three contestants will receive cash prizes of $10,000, $5,000, $2,500, and the first place winner will receive a SolidWorks® Office 2003 3-D CAD package. Entries must be submitted to MEMGen by April 15, 2003, and the winners will be announced on May 1, 2003. The submissions will be judged by a panel comprised of independent industry experts, including Al Pisano, PhD of U.C. Berkeley, Elliot Brown, PhD of UCLA and Marlene Bourne, senior analyst at In-Stat/MDR. Selection will be based on design novelty, creative use of 3-D and commercial utility.

"This competition is the first of its kind for MEMS and micro-scale devices. Until we invented EFAB micro-manufacturing technology, truly 3-D designs were cumbersome, constrained and impractical. Micro-devices could only be created by experts using exotic silicon micro-machining techniques; and even then, they took a long time to design and build. The ability to create arbitrary, complex 3-D geometries with tens to hundreds of precision metal layers was a distant dream," said Vacit Arat, MEMGen president and CEO. "Those days are over. Our EFAB technology enables a straight forward and intuitive design process, thereby opening micro-device design up to anyone with the need and a little bit of imagination," added Arat.

MEMGen's EFAB technology enables unprecedented flexibility in 3-D design, allowing devices to be built with multiple layers of metal (tens to hundreds, if required). This makes possible a wide range of applications, including RF devices, biomedical devices, sensors and actuators, and optical devices. In addition, the unique ability of the EFAB process to co-fabricate a package around the MEMS device - essentially building a box around the device - enables extremely low cost packaging, which can also be made hermetically sealed. For further information about MEMGen's micro-device design competition and full contest rules, visit www. memgen.com.

Strong Growth for Bluetooth Chipsets in Spite of Economy

Although the economy has continued to impact the Bluetooth semiconductor market, it will experience high growth, according to In-Stat/MDR. With recent, adjusted outlooks of shipments by vendors, and a gradual expected up-tick in the economy in 2003, the high tech market research firm expects final 2002 chipset shipment figures to surpass 35 M, for a growth rate of about 250 percent.

However, one of the biggest challenges that the industry still faces is the education of the consumers, as the benefits of Bluetooth need to be marketed, rather than the technology itself.

In-Stat/MDR also found the following:

Bluetooth chipsets will surge from 10.4 to 510 million units from 2001 to 2006, a five-year 118 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), with silicon revenue rising to over $1.8 B in 2006.

Mobile phones, PDAs and headsets have made significant strides this year. Although not a significant volume driver in terms of vehicle units themselves, the hands-free application will provide a driver for many handsets, headsets and after-market car kits. The automotive market is coming on very strong, with the first vehicles to include a Bluetooth option appearing in high end 2003 models.

Several vendors' coexistence solutions will be showing up in the market soon, and they will work even if only one device offers the solution. The Adaptive Frequency Hopping profile will be rolled into the upcoming Bluetooth 1.2 version. Bluetooth 1.2 should see a final release possibly by March or April 2003.

The report, "Bluetooth 2002 Forecast Update," covers Bluetooth equipment and technology, looking at Bluetooth chips and Bluetooth equipment being made and marketed, along with a myriad of applications and where they are headed. In-Stat/MDR forecasts manufactured Bluetooth-enabled equipment by detailed application, in addition to semiconductor shipments by detailed application. Additionally, the forecast for radio, base band, and host-supported silicon solutions is presented, as well as semiconductor shipments by geographic region, shipment by class 1 vs. class 2/3, and application segmentation for class 1. All forecasts are through 2006. For more information, visit the In-Stat/MDR Web site at http://www.instat.com/catalog/cat-mi.htm.

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