Peregrine Semiconductor is a fabless provider of high-performance radio frequency integrated circuits, or RFICs. The Company’s solutions leverage proprietary UltraCMOS® technology, which enables the design, manufacture, and integration of multiple RF, mixed-signal, and digital functions on a single chip. The Company’s products deliver what we believe is an industry leading combination of performance and monolithic integration, and target a broad range of applications in the aerospace and defense, broadband, industrial, mobile wireless device, test and measurement equipment, and wireless infrastructure markets. UltraCMOS technology combines the ability to achieve the high levels of performance of traditional specialty processes, with the fundamental benefits of standard CMOS, the most widely used semiconductor process technology. UltraCMOS technology utilizes a synthetic sapphire substrate, a near-perfect electrical insulator, providing low parasitic capacitance and enabling high signal isolation and excellent broadband linearity. These attributes result in RF devices with excellent high-frequency performance and power handling performance, reduced crosstalk between frequencies, and enhanced network efficiency. Peregrine Semiconductor has engineered design advancements, including the patented HaRP™ technology which significantly improves harmonic and linearity performance, and the patent-pending UltraCMOS Tuning technology, a circuit design technique used to develop advanced digitally tunable capacitor (DTC) products. The Company offers a broad portfolio of high-performance RFICs including switches, digitally tunable capacitors (DTCs), digital attenuators, frequency synthesizers, mixers, prescalers, and DC-DC converters, and is developing power amplifiers (PAs). Peregrine products are sold worldwide through direct sales and field applications engineering staff and a network of independent sales representatives and distribution partners.
Proliferation of wireless devices coupled with rapid advances in RF technologies have significantly enhanced wireless connectivity and revolutionized the mobile wireless, wireless infrastructure, broadband, and satellite communications markets. In addition, an array of other consumer, public safety, aerospace and defense and industrial markets are increasingly incorporating advanced RF functionality into a wide variety of applications.
The evolution of mobile wireless networks from predominantly voice-centric networks to advanced high-speed networks that deliver voice, video, and data, is enabling consumers to access bandwidth intensive rich media content on mobile devices through applications such as videoconferencing, streaming media, and interactive gaming. As a result, mobile wireless devices have evolved from supporting only a single cellular standard, operating on two or three frequencies and utilizing a single antenna, to supporting multiple wireless protocols, supporting more than a dozen frequency bands and integrating multiple antennas.
In addition to the mobile wireless handset and infrastructure markets, high-performance RFICs are increasingly being deployed in a variety of other wired and wireless market applications. The increasing data transfer requirements of broadband communications, satellite communications, and test and measurement equipment; the high reliability and radiation-hard performance requirements of aerospace and defense communications; and the ruggedness, high temperature, and electrostatic discharge, or ESD, tolerance of automotive and industrial applications have resulted in increased demand for high performance RFICs in these markets. Accordingly, Peregrine’s advanced RF semiconductor solutions are evolving to deliver increased functionality, performance, and reliability across a broad array of markets while simultaneously achieving smaller form factors and lower cost per function.
An RF front-end module consists of a number of discrete components, including PAs, low noise amplifiers, switches, filters, control interfaces, power regulators, diplexers and passive elements, most of which are manufactured using different specialty process technologies. As a result, traditional RFICs cannot monolithically integrate these discrete components, leading to RF front-end modules with higher component counts, greater system design complexity, larger overall form factor, and lower module yields. This inability of traditional RFICs to monolithically integrate also limits cost reduction opportunities. This is the market opportunity where highly integrated UltraCMOS products compete.
UltraCMOS Silicon-on-Sapphire (SOS) process technology is a proprietary, patented variation of silicon on-insulator (SOI) technology. It is the first commercially qualified use of Ultra Thin-Silicon (UTSi®) on sapphire substrates with high yields and competitive costs.
The greatest asset of the UltraCMOS process lies in its ability to combine high-performance RF, mixed signal, passive elements, nonvolatile memory and digital functions on a single chip. The cost and performance advantages of UltraCMOS over competing mixed signal processes—GaAs, SiGe and bulk silicon CMOS—are found in applications where RF performance, low power, and integration are paramount. In addition, because UltraCMOS products are fabricated in a standard high volume CMOS wafer fabrication facility, our products and our customers benefit from the fundamental cost effectiveness and high yields, scalability and integration of CMOS, while achieving the performance of SiGe and GaAs. In addition, since sapphire is a near-perfect insulator, UltraCMOS-based products can integrate high quality passive devices directly into the ICs, further contributing to levels of RF integration.
Since its inception, Peregrine Semiconductor has focused its engineering resources on designing RF ICs which deliver excellent performance from antenna in to data out. The Peregrine UltraCMOS product portfolio offers monolithic integration, linearity, low power consumption and value, and showcases RF CMOS achievements across the portfolio.