Peregrine Semiconductor Corp., a fabless provider of high-performance radio-frequency (RF) integrated circuits (IC), announced that it has shipped its billionth CMOS-on-sapphire RFIC and has been designed into the world’s most sought-after smartphones. The milestone was achieved with a new SP8T RF switch, one of several new high-throw-count switches designed on the latest UltraCMOS™ process technology version, STeP5, which is utilized for many of the company’s latest RFICs, including the newest SP8T and SP10T RF switches and the most recent DuNE™ digitally tunable capacitors (DTC) for RF impedance tuning. The technology innovation associated with the STeP5 release has driven demand from cellular handset manufacturers and global customers for UltraCMOS RFIC products to a record number of devices per week.

“UltraCMOS STeP5 process brings an unprecedented capability to our product design team,” said Rodd Novak, chief marketing officer for Peregrine Semiconductor. “It has enabled us to develop unique RF switches that achieve industry leading results for combined linearity, insertion loss, isolation and power consumption, all monolithically integrated into the industry’s smallest footprint. STeP5 has also opened the door for future product categories for the RF front-end. And with the support of our robust supply chain and manufacturing foundries, we have achieved the fastest production ramp in Peregrine history.”

The 4G/LTE network has introduced significant challenges to the RF front-end (RFFE) of the cellular handset, including a fragmented RF spectrum, which causes co-existence issues between bands and other standards such as connectivity (GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth). Lack of global frequency alignment has resulted in 28 LTE bands being identified in the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) mobile standards specification (3GPP TS 36.101 V10).

“One of the most difficult problems 4G and LTE handset designers face is the coexistence of multiple bands and the linearity needed to support operation without self-jamming,” commented Allen Nogee, research director with In-Stat covering the Wireless market segment. “The RF front-end is bearing most of the design burden for performance of the RF signal. In fact, LTE’s spectral efficiency comes at the cost of increased linearity and power consumption. Peregrine’s new STeP5 UltraCMOS products appear to have hit the need right on the mark.”

Peregrine’s latest family of high-throw-count RF switches includes the PE426151, PE426152 and PE426153 SP10T devices, and the PE426821 and PE426851 SP8T devices with integrated MIPI, SPI or GPIO interface options. These new devices support 4G LTE RFFE linearity and insertion loss demands over all conditions.