UltraCMOS® Process Technology Overview
The global wireless communications industry has entered the new millennium. Consumer requirements are driving products and components that are smaller, more efficient and less expensive, which is increasing demand for monolithic RFIC integration.
Using its patented UltraCMOS® technology, Peregrine has mastered the technique of processing Ultra-Thin Silicon (UTSi®) circuitry on insulating substrates, such as a dielectric sapphire and enhanced SOI. Using UltraCMOS technology, Peregrine is producing integrated circuits (ICs) that are expanding customer options by providing advances in speed and power at a lower cost.
UltraCMOS silicon-on-insulator (SOI) RF products accommodate the widest range of devices and deliver the best performance for the cost and sophistication in the industry. All UltraCMOS solutions provide high-performance RF, mixed-signal, passive elements, and digital functions on a single device.
Based on 25 years of R&D, Peregrine’s new UltraCMOS 10 technology platform offers the company’s smartphone and Internet-of-Things customers the best value for the performance. Introduced in October 2013, the technology leverages Peregrine’s design expertise along with Soitec semiconductor materials and a unique, GLOBALFOUNDRIES fabrication flow to deliver over 50-percent improvement – measured by the Ron Coff figure of merit – in insertion loss and isolation on a 130nm chip.
Peregrine continues to use a patented, UltraCMOS Silicon-on-Sapphire technology (SOS) for many markets where it delivers advantageous performance. For years SOS has been recognized as a technically superior semiconductor vehicle reserved for highly specialized military and space projects. SOS was thought to be impossible to manufacture in commercial volumes at a reasonable cost. Overcoming these challenges without sacrificing the inherent benefits of the technology took many years of research and development, all now protected by numerous patents. The UltraCMOS process is the industry’s first and only commercially qualified use of Ultra-Thin-Silicon (UTSi) on sapphire substrates.
This monolithic integration provides significant performance advantages over competing mixed-signal processes such as GaAs, SiGe, BiCMOS and bulk silicon CMOS in applications where RF performance, low power and integration are paramount. Because UltraCMOS devices are fabricated in standard high-volume CMOS facilities, products benefit from the fundamental reliability, cost effectiveness, high yields, scalability and integration of CMOS, while achieving the peak performance levels historically expected from SiGe and GaAs.
Peregrine’s combination of process architecture, circuit designs, and device modeling has enabled an accelerated technology roadmap. The on-resistance, off-capacitance (RonCoff) product is a key figure of merit for RF process technologies and important in the selection of RFFE components. Figure 2 shows how UltraCMOS technology benchmarks an average 36 percent RonCoff performance improvement – evidenced in linearity, insertion loss, and isolation capabilities – with each new generation.