Pat Hindle, MWJ Editor
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Hindle
Pat Hindle is responsible for editorial content, article review and special industry reporting for Microwave Journal magazine and its web site in addition to social media and special digital projects. Prior to joining the Journal, Mr. Hindle held various technical and marketing positions throughout New England, including Marketing Communications Manager at M/A-COM (Tyco Electronics), Product/QA Manager at Alpha Industries (Skyworks), Program Manager at Raytheon and Project Manager/Quality Engineer at MIT. Mr. Hindle graduated from Northeastern University - Graduate School of Business Administration and holds a BS degree from Cornell University in Materials Science Engineering.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Positioned to Support High Growth RF Applications

September 27, 2017

GLOBALFOUNDRIES had a bunch of announcements last week coinciding with their company meeting. From an RF perspective, they announced the availability of the first RF SOI foundry solution manufactured on 300 mm wafers.  According to the release, GF’s new 8SW technology offers a low cost, low power, highly flexible solution with high performance switching, low-noise amplifiers and logic processing capabilities. The technology features up to 70 percent power reduction compared to the previous generation, with higher voltage handling, a best-in-class on-resistance and off-capacitance for reduced insertion loss with high isolation, and an all-copper interconnect that improves power-handling capacity.

GF’s 8SW technology 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 leadership noise figure and high ft/fmax supporting diversity receive and main antenna path LNA applications for today’s 4G operating frequencies and future sub-6GHz 5G FEMs.

In addition, the releases included the announcement of a 5 year agreement with Soitec to supply FD-SOI wafers to ensure the volume supply of state-of-the-art substrates. This agreement extends the current partnership to provide a solid foundation for both companies to strengthen the FD-SOI supply chain and help ensure high-volume manufacturing.

GF also announced the availability of its radio frequency/analog PDK (22FDX®-rfa) solution for next-generation wireless and IoT chipsets and its mmWave PDK (22FDX®-mmWave) solution for emerging high-volume applications such as 5G, automotive radar, WiGig, SatComm and wireless backhaul. Both solutions are based on the company’s 22 nm FD-SOI platform, which provides a combination of both high performance RF and mmWave and high density digital to support integrated single chip system solutions.

According to the release, the technology offers the highest ft and fmax at both low and high current densities for applications that require cutting-edge performance and power efficiency such as LTE-A, NB-IoT and 5G cellular transceivers, GPS WiFi and WiGig combo chips, various IoT and automotive radar applications with integrated eMRAM. They have optimized its 22FDX RF and mmWave offerings to enable integration of high performance antenna switches and power amplifiers for leading-edge connectivity applications such as single system on chip NB IoT and 5G mmWave beamforming phased array systems.

Finally, GF announced plans to introduce a new 12 nm Leading-Performance (12LP) FinFET semiconductor manufacturing process. The technology is expected to deliver better density and a performance boost over GF’s current-generation 14 nm FinFET offering, satisfying the processing needs of the most demanding compute-intensive applications from artificial intelligence and virtual reality to high-end smartphones and networking infrastructure.

According to GF, the new 12LP technology provides as much as a 15 percent improvement in circuit density and more than a 10 percent improvement in performance over 16/14nm FinFET solutions currently on the market. In addition to transistor-level enhancements, the 12LP platform will include new market-focused features specifically designed for automotive electronics and RF/analog applications—two of the fastest-growing segments in the industry. While an advanced node like this typically does not involved RF applications, a new RF offering extends the 12LP platform for RF/analog applications such as premium-tier transceivers in sub-6GHz wireless networks. 12LP offers the best scaling in both logic and memory for RF chip architectures with primarily digital and less RF/analog content. These developments certainly position GF well in future high growth markets and provide very capable semiconductor platforms for devices manufacturers.

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