Peregrine Semiconductor Corp., founder of RF SOI (silicon on insulator) and pioneer of advanced RF solutions, announces the expansion of its integrated product portfolio into DC and X-Band frequencies. Peregrine introduces two new integrated products—a True DC switch and an X-Band core chip. Built on Peregrine’s UltraCMOS® technology, both products integrate RF, digital and analog components onto a single chip. While integration has traditionally offered high-volume markets the benefit of lower cost, Peregrine uses intelligent integration to offer performance advantages in high-performance markets. Peregrine’s integrated products offer benefits such as configurability, flexibility, reliability, repeatability, ease-of-use, a reduced form factor and enhanced performance.

“From integrated switches to Global 1, Peregrine has introduced a broad range of industry-leading integrated products and technologies over our more than 25 year history,” says Duncan Pilgrim, Peregrine’s vice president of marketing. “We continue that legacy of innovative integration with two new ground-breaking products that include RF, digital and analog components on a single die. Only Peregrine’s UltraCMOS technology enables this level of integration. Utilizing our integrated solutions, our customers are now able to maximize their resources, simplify their designs and focus on delivering high-quality and high-performance products to their customers.”

Low Frequency Intelligent Integration: A True DC Switch

At the lower end of the frequency spectrum, Peregrine sets a new standard with the industry’s first and only RF integrated switch to achieve true DC capability. With a wide frequency range of 0 Hz to 8000 MHz, the UltraCMOS True DC switch (PE42020) effectively operates in a previously unobtainable portion of the frequency spectrum. This frequency expansion is paramount to markets that rely on accuracy and precision, such as test and measurement. The True DC SPDT switch features high power handling, 30 dBm at 0 Hz and 36 dBm at 8 GHz, and maintains excellent RF performance and linearity from DC through 8000 MHz. Moreover, it can switch DC and AC peak voltages in the range of +10 to -10 V at currents of up to 80 mA, a first for this kind of product.  

On a single chip, the True DC switch integrates multiple functions:

  • RF: High-performance switching
  • Analog: DC tracking
  • Digital: Control logic and impedance control (50-ohm absorptive or open reflective)

Another unique advantage of the True DC switch is efficient switching time. While low-frequency operation typically requires a slow switching time, the True DC switch uses advanced circuitry to remove this dependence, resulting in a 10 microsecond switching time, and a 15 microsecond settling time which is critical for test-and-measurement applications. 

The PE42020 features high-linearity (IIP3) performance of 63 dBm, and high port-to-port isolation of 37 dB @ 6 GHz. It supports standard +1.8 and +3.3 V control logic and operates over a temperature range of -40 to +85° C. The True DC switch also supports 1000 V HBM ESD tolerance and is supplied in a compact 20- lead 4 x 4 mm QFN plastic package.

Sampling now and shipping in early 2015, the pioneering True DC switch (PE42020) is poised to replace problematic mechanical relays and MEMS switches in the test-and-measurement market.

High Frequency Intelligent Integration: An X-Band Core Chip

At the higher end of the frequency spectrum, Peregrine introduces the industry’s first integrated X-Band, CMOS core chip to utilize MMIC (monolithic microwave integrated circuit) design techniques, enabling highly accurate signal control with minimal power loss.  MMIC design techniques, such as Lange couplers, have only been used by III-V technologies. The use of these passive techniques on silicon has always presented a challenge due to silicon’s lossy nature at higher frequencies. Peregrine solves this challenge by using an UltraCMOS sapphire substrate—a near-perfect insulating substrate that naturally lends itself to integration. With this X-band core chip, Peregrine combines standard CMOS design with passive MMIC circuitry for a truly intelligent approach to integration at microwave frequencies.

This high-performance, X-Band core chip integrates the following on a single die:

  • A seven-bit digital phase shifter
  • A seven-bit digital step attenuator
  • High isolation signal-path switching
  • A compact digital serial interface control with true CMOS compatibility

The X-Band segment of the frequency spectrum is used by many modern satellite and radar systems, including synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and phased-array radar. Applications include weather monitoring, air traffic control, defense tracking and earth observation. Peregrine’s integrated chips offer a significantly reduced form factor delivering a distinct advantage within these systems that are tightly packaged within a small physical area. Additionally, Peregrine’s UltraCMOS technology provides the high degree of reliability demanded by these critical applications.

Sampling in early 2015, this X-Band core chip delivers the fine resolution and degree of control that is critical for radar applications. The chip offers a maximum power handling of +18 dBm from 9 to10.1 GHz and covers 31.75 dB attenuation range in 0.25 dB steps. The phase shifter offers 358 degrees of phase range with a resolution of 7 degrees. It maintains high attenuation and phase accuracy over frequency and temperature and exhibits low power consumption.

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