Qualcomm Technologies has announced ultraSAW technology, a proprietary surface acoustic wave (SAW) filter technology for mobile front-ends from 600 MHz to 2.7 GHz.

ultraSAW products are beginning production, and Qualcomm expects phones using the technology to be commercially available during the second half of 2020.

By reducing the thickness of the piezoelectric substrate, Qualcomm says ultraSAW achieves as much as 1 dB lower insertion loss compared to competing bulk acoustic wave (BAW) filters.

Qualcomm ultraSAW filter response
Band 40 filter passband and rejection in neighboring Wi-Fi band, comparing ultraSAW with BAW filters.

Qualcomm mounts the thin piezoelectric substrate to a high resistivity silicon wafer, which enables wafer-scale packaging and improves the thermal performance of the filter. Christian Block, the senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm’s RF front-end business, says the thermal handling is better than BAW, making the filters suitable for transmit/receive duplexers in a small cell.

Qualcomm says the ultraSAW technology provides “power efficient” RF signal chains in multi-mode mobile phones, enabled by the following features:

  • Low insertion loss.
  • High frequency selectivity.
  • Excellent transmit, receive and cross isolation.
  • Q-factors >5000, significantly better than those of BAW.
  • Temperature drift in the single-digit ppm/Kelvin range.
  • Low cost.

Qualcomm’s ultraSAW technology is being integrated in the company’s RF power amplifier and front-end modules, diversity receive modules, Wi-Fi and GNSS extractors and RF multiplexers. The company said it will also offer discrete filters based on ultraSAW.

“Our thin-film innovation offers game-changing performance improvements compared to existing BAW technologies.” — Christian Block