Seeking to parlay existing capabilities into new market opportunities, Agere Systems Inc. today will introduce a family of RF power transistors for wireless power amplifiers.
Agere's new chips provide the "coolest" performance available for wireless basestation power amplifiers, according to Peter Gammel, chief technology officer for the company's RF power amplifier transistor line in Allentown, Pa.
"Our entry into RF power amp transistors builds on the heritage Agere has in high-voltage and analog silicon technology," Gammel said. "We've long been a premier supplier of ICs into the wireless basestation market."
The transistors address 2, 2.5, and 3G basestation applications, providing a tailored solution that is cooler, smaller, and less expensive than existing devices, said Ozzie Lopez, marketing director for Agere's RF power amplifier transistor line.
"A basestation can typically have between six and 12 power amplifiers, and they make up a huge part of the cost of a basestation," Lopez said. "They also take up a significant amount of space, and are a pretty large contributor to the amount of power consumption."
About a 1% improvement in power amp efficiency can translate to a $5,000 reduction in basestation capital costs, he said.
To reduce the heat associated with "thick" amplifiers, Agere has created a "die thinning" technique that eliminates chip defects that often occur during production, resulting in more thermally efficient chips, Gammel said.
The company's transistors are sampling, with production scheduled for the third quarter. In 10,000s, they are priced between $12 and $207.