MURRAY HILL, N.J. -- SyChip Inc., a fledgling spin-out from Lucent Technologies Inc.'s New Ventures Group, will join the stampede of companies looking to carve out a slice of the emerging information-appliance market.
The new company said it plans to offer integrated radio frequency (RF) devices in flip-chip packages that will combine memory, analog, digital, and passive functions.
"RF modules operating at 2.4 gigahertz, a common frequency for these applications, are difficult to build because of their complexity and the variations in performance and their conventional passive components, such as resistors, capacitors, and filters," said Dennis Peasenell, president and chief executive of SyChip, which is based in Murray Hill, N.J.
"Our powerful array of Bell Labs technology is expected to help product designers to significantly reduce their time to market, while also reducing the size and cost of their products," he said.
Initial funding for SyChip comes from Lucent and APack Technologies Inc., a Taiwan-based packaging and foundry company that will serve as SyChip's initial production partner. SyChip also expects to attract venture capital funding.
SyChip plans to target the cellular telephone, personal digital assistant, and laptop computer markets, where wireless Internet requirements are emerging. The company's modules will comply with standards for systems such as GPS, 3G, and GPRS, and Bluetooth wireless LAN.
According to Prismark Partners LCC, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., the market opportunities for wireless RF modules will grow from $3 billion this year, to $11 billion in 2004.
"We probably have more opportunities than we can chew on right now," Peasenell said. "The market is huge. There is room not only for us, but for a few players. We see a fairly steep [revenue] ramp and plan to pick and chose our opportunities."
The company's proprietary silicon materials and fabrication techniques will allow for integration of 50 to 100 passive components, while achieving electrical performance up to 16 times better than those currently available, he said.
Chip-on-chip and flip-chip technology will allow for hundreds of chip interconnections to be created as solder bumps made from a lead-free, high-conductivity solder paste. Two chips will be able to be stacked vertically, reducing system space requirements, improving signal access time, and reducing power consumption, according to SyChip.
King Tai, a Bell Labs fellow who now serves as chief technical officer of SyChip, developed the packaging technologies. SyChip will not design microprocessors or DSPs, but will be able to integrate virtually any processor on the market, King said.
The company has created a prototype of its first device for an unnamed customer, and plans to have the chip in production by the end of the year, Peasenell said.
Prototype work is being completed at Bell Labs, also in Murray Hill. In June, SyChip plans to move into a separate facility in Warren, N.J., but will retain use of Bell Labs' facilities.
SyChip is currently in discussions with "a couple dozen" companiesworldwide about use of its technology, Peasenell said.