Integrated circuits and semiconductor technology are critical to the overall performance of electronic systems, whether the application is for mobile communications, radar or satellite navigation. The design track reflects the industry’s focus on recent advances in design technology with an emphasis on specific components such as filters and power amplifiers. Doherty and class-F PA architectures along with techniques such as digital pre-distortion and envelop tracking that are garnering so much industry attention at the moment will be among the hot topics presented in the field of power amplifier design.

As a leading manufacturer of electronic products, China currently consumes more than half of the world’s semiconductor devices. As of 2012, integrated circuits represent China’s leading imported commodity, surpassing oil imports. While China’s IC sales have tripled in the past ten years, their current IC global market share represents only12% of the total supply, an increase from approximately 5% in 2005. Government programs to promote indigenous design and manufacturing have resulted in an increase in localized IC and electronic package design. IC design is currently the fastest growing segment of China’s semiconductor industry, growing by 21% in 2012 to reach record revenues of US$9.9bn, according to the China Semiconductor Industry Association (CSIA).  

 China’s IC design sector was responsible for over a quarter of China’s semiconductor industry revenue in 2012 with over five hundred indigenous fabless IC design enterprises in operation as reported by the government. Employment growth in China’s IC design sector moderated even further in 2012. The total number of employees in the IC design sector increased by 6% in 2012 to about 112,5001. Five percent of the chips designed in China are RFICs according to a presentation by Dr. Xiaowei Li, Institute of Computing Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences speaking at DAC 2013. According to this report, 11% of all locally designed ICs are for mobile communications and another 11% target military and space applications (27% are for consumer electronics).

Numerous peer-reviewed presentations accepted for the 3-day conference focused on semiconductor devices from Gallium Nitride (GaN), CMOS and RF SOI technologies. Other related design papers will look at thermal heat-sinking materials, characterization and load-pull techniques in support of high-power transistors. In addition to talks on amplifier technology, the remaining bulk of submitted design papers focus on filters, antennas, sources (VCOs/PLLs), receivers and data converters. Some of the RFIC/MMIC related talks include:

  • New ED-pHEMT Technolgy for high Integration Applicaiton,  Dr. Cheng-Kuo Lin, Win Semiconductor
  •  MMIC Low-Noise Amplifier (LNA)  Targeting Next Generation Cellular Wireless Infrastructure, Dr. Loo Kah Cheng, Mini-circuits
  • Chip Design of a 21.6 GHz Band Low-Power Phase-Locked Loop Using an Injection Frequency Divider Circuit
  • An InGaP/GaAs HBT Comparator for a 4GS/s 6-bit ADC Jincan Zhang, School of Microelectronics, Xidian University
  • A High Voltage GaN HEMT Inverted Doherty Power Amplifier Utilizing Harmonic Manipulation
     Zhancang Wang (NSN)
  • 100nm GaN/Si technology for mmW applications, Marc Roochi ERA/OMMIC 
  • Simplifying the RF Signal Chain: UltraCMOS Technology complementary to GaN - Peregrine Workshop
  • Communication ICs for Small cell applications

In addition to the peer reviewed papers and workshop, a special panel featuring experts from FreeScale, OMMIC, Peregrine, NXP, TriQuintwill consider, "Aligning RF Semiconductor Technology to End-use Applications" in a moderated round table discussion. Topics to be discussed include:

  • Viewpoints of the concept of “one chip radio integration”.
  • Will GaN on Silicon be a breakthrough to break even among cost, capacity and performance?
  • Semiconductor technology considerations for switch mode RF PA and waveform engineered RF PA design.
  • How to understand the pros and cons of handset PA and front end modules with the choice of GaAs  HBT and Silicon-based CMOS?
  • GaN on SiC versus GaN on Silicon for RF power.
  • What is it beyond 4G wireless communications from semiconductor for RF Power?
  • Technology selection and design  considerations for emerging request on multi-mode, multi-band and even for  carrier aggregation  in LTE-A.