Peregrine Semiconductor Corp., a supplier of high-performance RF CMOS and mixed-signal communications ICs, announced a breakthrough in the highly sought-after solution to mobile antenna tuning. The company’s new DuNE™ Technology, a patent-pending design methodology made possible by Peregrine’s UltraCMOS™ process and HaRP™ design innovation, has enabled a single-die tunable capacitor circuit – referred to as a Digitally Tunable Capacitor (DTC) – which meets the high performance demands for antenna tuning in leading-edge cellular and mobile applications. These demands include superb power handling and linearity; low power consumption; and highly integrated in a small form factor. For more than 20 years, RF researchers have attempted to address these challenges with a variety of micro-electromechanical systems and ferroelectric materials technologies, each having its own merit yet unable to integrate the features and functionality enabled by Peregrine’s DuNE Technology.

Because of the increase in new features, functionality and industrial design requirements, the space available for the mobile system antenna is shrinking at a rapid rate. As antennas are wrapped and repathed, they lose efficiency. Some of this lost performance can be recovered with antenna tuning, in which the system uses dynamic impedance tuning techniques to optimize the antenna performance for both the frequency of operation and the environmental conditions.

"One of the most significant challenges facing the mobile handset designers is the poor antenna performance for multi-band, multi-mode handsets. Dynamically tuning the antenna to compensate for the increasing bandwidth requirements and environmental effects will significantly improve the antenna performance," said Tero Ranta, manager for Advanced Technology at Peregrine. "Further, as the market demands new wideband services in the handset, such DVB-H and ISDB-T for mobile TV, the use of antenna tuning becomes a necessity. Until now, no tunable element met the needs of the mobile products industry in power handling, reliability, high volume production and integration. Peregrine’s DuNE Technology is the key to unlocking the future of digital tunability in mobile RF systems."

The first devices in the DuNE DTC portfolio are designed to meet the stringent broadband requirements for DVB-H and ISDB-T mobile TV; multi-mode, multi-band GSM/WCDMA cellular handsets; and the power handling requirements for interoperability between the two applications.