Epic Communications Inc. (Epicom), a fabless IC solution provider of RF front-end modules (FEM) and power amplifiers (PA) for WiFi, WiMAX and cellular sockets, announced that Epicom has won the 2010 R&D 100 award for its development of a single,flip chip-based complete wireless front-end integrated circuit (FEIC).

Late last month, the editors of R&D Magazine announced the winners of the 48th Annual R&D 100 Awards, which salute the 100 most technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace over the past year. Epicom’s FM2491_FC is one of the 2010 R&D 100 Award winners, which makes “Radio Frequency Now Smaller than Ever.” It is a single chip and the smallest complete RF front-end integrated solution for WiFi/BT/Zigbee communications. The complete flip-chip wireless front-end integrated circuit (FEIC) is made possible by on-wafer integration of two different semiconductor fabrication processes.

Since 1963, the R&D 100 Awards, widely recognized as the "Oscars of Innovation," have identified revolutionary technologies newly introduced to the market. Winners of the R&D 100 Awards are selected by an independent judging panel and the editors of R&D Magazine. The awards have long been a benchmark of excellence for industry sectors as diverse as telecommunications, high-energy physics, software, manufacturing and biotechnology. Familiar industry names such as IBM, Siemens and Intel won awards this year as well.

FM2491_FC is a flip chip GaAs-based front-end integrated circuit (FEIC) to form a complete stand alone front-end module (FEM), ready for both on-board SMT and SiP (system-in-package) assembly processes with no wirebond required, hence introducing no problematic parasitic to degrade its radio frequency (RF) performance at the system application level. Flip-chip based single chip FEM has the advantages of superior performance (through higher level integration), smaller size and lower cost, which are critical for today’s consumer electronic and mobile handset applications. Based on a commercially available and advanced BiFET wafer foundry process (i.e., integrating InGaP bipolar HBT and GaAs pHEMT processes into one wafer fabrication process), FM2491_FC provides un-matched high level of integration, small size, high performance and low cost advantages over similar function parts that are assembled or packaged based on discrete solutions such as Multi-Chip Module (MCM). Fundamentally nothing can achieve smaller form factor than the flip-chip IC as the final product by itself.