Part 5: Why Silicon on Sapphire?

Peregrine’s co-founder and CTO Ron Reedy gave the following presentation at a San Diego IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) event in October 2013. In this video, which is part 5 of his talk, “Commercializing Silicon on Sapphire (SOS) & Changing an Industry,” Reedy discusses Peregrine’s decision to differentiate its CMOS technology by using sapphire as its substrate. Sapphire offers several important advantages over other substrates:

  • Immunity to all other RF signals
  • Inability to conduct current
  • Optically transparent

Getting sapphire to work was an adventure, and Reedy takes viewers on that journey. First, Peregrine had to figure out how to grow the sapphire to be a crystal match with CMOS. Another decision was whether to apply the technology to displays or to RF. Since silicon-on-sapphire excels in linearity, RF was a natural choice. The performance was so good that the technology was proven in the test-and-measurement equipment market, where performance accuracy is critical. From there, the company experimented wtih new applications and found a hot niche in RF switches.