Newport Beach, Calif. Jazz Semiconductor Inc., the silicon germanium foundry spun off from Conexant Systems Inc. nearly 18 months ago, is readying a 130-nanometer process that creates devices operating at 300 GHz (Ft) or 1.5 times faster than Jazz's current high-speed process, the company said. The process will be ready to produce prototypes by 2004, Jazz said.
The company is also preparing a 100-GHz version of its existing 0.18-micron SiGe technology geared for low-cost, integrated wireless and wireline applications, said Jeff McHenry, executive director of marketing, along with a 130-nm CMOS process for specialized RF CMOS applications. The CMOS process sets Jazz apart from foundry leaders Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and United Microelectronics Corp., McHenry said.
Ironically, TSMC competes in the SiGe foundry market using a SiGe process licensed from Conexant. But Jazz's main competitor is SiGe pioneer IBM Microelectronics, analysts said. Atmel, Communicant and others also offer SiGe foundry services.
Jazz believes the SiGe device market will grow from $400 million in 2003 to $500 million in 2004. "In general, we believe the foundry outsourcing trend in SiGe will follow the same trend in digital CMOS," McHenry said.
The compound-semiconductor market is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 22 percent from 2002 through 2007, against a 10 percent forecast for the total IC market over the same period, according to IC Insights Inc. (Scottsdale, Ariz.).
More than 80 percent of Jazz's sales are generated from Conexant and its affiliates, such as Mindspeed, Pictos and Skyworks, McHenry said. The goal is to reduce its dependence on Conexant to 50 percent by next year.
Jazz's 8-inch, 0.18-micron fab here is capable of running 21,000 wafers per month. Earlier this year, it formed a venture with Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (Shanghai, China), to which Jazz plans to contribute mixed-signal and RF technologies.
Mark LaPedus is editor of Silicon Strategies, an EE Times Network Web site.