Microwave Journal

Peregrine unveils STeP8 UltraCMOS process technology

February 26, 2013

Peregrine Semiconductor Corp., a fabless provider of high-performance radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs),  announced from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona the latest version of UltraCMOS® process technology — Semiconductor Technology Platform 8 (STeP8). STeP8 technology shows a 36 percent improvement in RonCoff performance over STeP5 technology announced just one year ago — dramatically improving the linearity, insertion loss, and isolation capabilities of Peregrine’s RFIC products. Flagship devices utilizing the latest generation of the UltraCMOS technology include a HaRP™ enhanced SP16T RF switch and a highly integrated SP4T DuNE™ enhanced antenna-tuning switch, both of which are available for sampling. The initial STeP8-based SP16T RF switch demonstrates a nearly 40 percent shrink over the industry-leading footprint of the STeP-5-based counterpart.* The SP4T antenna-tuning switch has on-resistance of 1.5 Ohms, and insertion loss performance of 0.15 dB matched at 900 MHz — a 66 percent improvement over the previous offering from Peregrine.*

“As a fabless semiconductor company, our unique combination of process architecture, circuit designs, and device modeling has enabled an accelerated technology roadmap,” said Mark Miscione, vice president of RF Technology Solutions for Peregrine Semiconductor. “These results further validate Peregrine’s expertise in advanced RF silicon-on-insulator process development and its commitment to integration and high-performance at the RF Front End.”

The 4G LTE network has introduced significant challenges to the RF Front End of smart phones, including a fragmented RF spectrum, which causes co-existence issues between bands and other connectivity standards such as GPS, WiFi®, and Bluetooth®. The lack of global frequency alignment has resulted in more than 40 LTE bands now identified.

“Given the demanding RF conditions in which mobile devices must operate, demonstrating the ability to meet next generation requirements for high linearity, low loss and optimization is critical for success in the RF components market,” said Francis Sideco, senior principal analyst, consumer electronics and communications technologies at IHS. “Companies who are able to deliver innovation along those lines are strongly positioned to outpace their competitors.”

To ensure consistent, reliable operation within the LTE environment, mobile wireless device designers are required to incorporate high performance components into the RF Front End while maintaining a small form factor. Highly-integrated RF Front End modules such as those that UltraCMOS STeP8 enables address these demands by providing an ideal combination of high linearity and low insertion loss in a single, monolithically-integrated device.

“Peregrine continues to be the right choice when we look for RF innovation for the RF Front-End modules we deliver to our demanding global OEMs,” said Norio Nakajima, vice president of the communication business unit at MuRata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. “Their ability to engineer leading-edge technology like STeP8, and rapidly adjust to market dynamics, makes them our ideal partner.”

Peregrine is sampling the STeP8-based SP16T RF switch and SP4T antenna-tuning switch to select customers today; further interest should be directed to Peregrine’s global direct sales management. For more information, visit http://www.psemi.com