HILLSBORO, Ore.-- Philips Semiconductors of the Netherlands today announced a manufacturing partnership with TriQuint Semiconductor Inc. here, which will fabricate indium-gallium-phosphide (InGaP) heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBTs) on 150-mm wafers under a new foundry agreement.
The chip arm of Royal Philips Electronics N.V. said the "controlled access" to TriQuint's InGaP production lines will provide important technology for power amplifiers and front-end modules used in mobile phones. The two companies said they plan joint development of future advanced high-performance process technologies as part of the new alliance.
For TriQuint, the alliance will enable the Hillsboro company to increase its manufacturing volumes and enhance its position in the gallium-arsenide (GaAs) chip market, according to officials. Philips and TriQuint first began working together in 1996, and the new agreement greatly extends the relationship.
"Philips' strong RF market presence offers us increased manufacturing volumes starting with our current, second-generation InGaP HBT process," said Bruce Fournier, vice president and general manager of foundry services at TriQuint. "This compliments our strategy of driving for the lowest manufacturing cost structure." He added that TriQuint expects the Philips partnership to result in a new "competitive force in the GSM and CDMA cellular phone markets."
TriQuint and Philips said they will sell their own products in the market. Early collaboration has already resulted in a new power amplifier (PA) module for W-CDMA (wideband code-division multiple access) and PA/front-end modules for GSM (Global System for Mobile) cell-phone handsets from Philips, the two companies said.
Currently, TriQuint is shipping PA products into the CDMA market and is offering an InGaP HBT process as well as other GaAs processes as chip-foundry services.
"Today's mobile phone manufacturers increasingly look to modules as a way of simplifying their design and production process and guaranteeing RF performance," noted Thierry Laurent, senior vice president for mobile communications products at Philips Semiconductors. "In a module you have the opportunity to mix a range of technologies in order to offer customers the very best price/performance ratio.
"We believe that InGaP HBT is the best technology in which to implement components such as the output stage of linear and high-efficient power amplifier modules and front-end modules," he added.
TriQuint's volume production capabilities in GaAs compounds also played a factor in the new alliance, according to Laurent. "They have the ability to engineer and grow the epitaxial layers on which these advanced devices are fabricated, which not only means they can control device quality, but also puts them in a position to push forward new process developments," he said. The vice president added that Philips could combine some of its R&D in radio-frequency (RF) systems with TriQuint's III-V compound material development under the new alliance.