PHOENIX--Motorola Inc.'s Semiconductor Products Sector here today announced the successful integration of a 0.35-micron silicon-germanium carbon (SiGeC) process module into a high-performance BiCMOS technology platform for radio-frequency chips in wireless systems applications. The technology is the first result of nine-month joint development project between Motorola's DigitalDNA Laboratories and Innovations for High Performance Microelectronics in eastern Germany (see May 17, 1999, story).
"The wireless market will continue to demand highly integrated technologies with performance characteristics far beyond today's capabilities," said Horacio Mendez, director of RF/IF device development for Motorola. "In the future as wireless operating frequencies increase and we begin to integrate more of the passive components, the industry will require a more aggressive analog technology.
"That is why we have developed this unique SiGe:C technology which not only allows a much simpler integration, but is easily portable to our next-generation high performance CMOS technologies," said Mendez, referring to other industry efforts to apply silicon germanium (SiGe) to these applications without the addition of carbon to the compound.
Motorola said it will provide samples of SiGe:C-processed RF circuits for external evaluation by August. The first product will be a dual-band cellular low-noise amplifier. Complete qualification of the SiGe:C technology is scheduled for the end of 2000, with production beginning in early 2001.
Motorola said it has demonstrated integrated heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBTs) in its RF BiCMOS technology, with performance of 50 GHz and 90 GHz for ft and fmax respectively, at half the current of traditional SiGe transistors. Motorola said the addition of carbon provides better manufacturing latitude and a reduced noise figure. In addition, these performance characteristics have been achieved with the addition of only one manufacturing step, said the company.
Nine months ago, Motorola and Innovations for High Performance Microelectronics in Frankfurt (Oder) Germany entered into a development alliance to create a wireless platform based on Motorola's CMOS and IHP's proprietary SiGe:C technologies. IHP is a member of the Leibniz Society (WGL) and contains a team of 180 R&D professionals involved in high-performance microelectronics. IHP was formerly known as Institute for Semiconductor Physics.
"This RF BiCMOS process hits the sweet spot of the cost/performance curve by integrating high quality active and passive devices, including inductors, with SiGe:C incorporated in a low cost CMOS platform," asserted Behrooz Abdi, general manager of the RF/IF Division at Motorola. "This technology will allow Motorola to improve its leadership position in multi-band, multi-mode RF ICs through the integration of discrete and passive components previously deemed impractical."