Lucent Technologies Inc.'s Microelectronics Group is the latest chip maker to jump into the silicon germanium (SiGe) market, announcing a high-performance process technology geared for LAN/WAN, wireless, and system-on-a-chip applications.
Developed at the company's powerful research and development arm-Bell Labs-Lucent's SiGe technology is manufactured in its 0.25-micron CMOS-based process module, which the company said will offer OEM customers a price/performance advantage.
Competing SiGe-based processes are typically made in a specialized bipolar fabrication module at feature sizes of 0.35- and 0.5-micron, according to Lucent.
Lucent recently demonstrated its first SiGe-based chips, including SONET/SDH-based devices for 10-Gbit/s applications.
"We've taken pioneering research in silicon germanium technology from Bell Labs and deployed it as a process module in the same cost-effective CMOS-based technology we use to fabricate our systems-on-a-chip for communications applications," said Mark Pinto, chief technical officer of Lucent's Microelectronics Group.
Like competitive SiGe-based technologies, however, Lucent's new process is also built around enhanced bipolar transistors, which are said to have switching speeds of more than 70-GHz.
Lucent's SiGe process can be combined on the same chip with its DSPs, RF, memory blocks, and IP cores. It also utilizes the same libraries as Lucent's so-called COM-1 process, a 0.25-micron, CMOS-based technology.