GRENOBLE, France -- Memscap S.A. here has introduced a line of radio frequency (RF) micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) device designs that it said promises to shrink wireless circuitry to a single RF chip. The company plans to license the patented devices for use in wireless products such as cellular phones, mobile Internet access devices and personal digital assistants (PDAs).
The micro-machined RF-MEMS devices are attached directly on top of the RF chip. They offer significant space and time savings by replacing off-chip passive component ICs that must bepainstakingly integrated via a printed circuit board.
The first designs in the MEMS Comm Component Library, a set of high-Q inductors, are available immediately. Variable capacitors are due out by July, with other devices to follow over the course of the year. Each available design has been manufactured, tested and characterized at Memscap partner foundries. The devices are available for several popular RF design tool suites, including Agilent Technologies Advanced Design System electronic design automation software
"MEMSCAP is the first company to have a complete solution for the design and realization of single-chip RF products," said Jean Michel Karam, president and CEO of Memscap. "This solution includes patented, characterized device IP, design software and methodologies, and technology transfer. State-of-the-art fabrication capability is provided through our foundry partner, PHS."
The MEMSCAP high-Q inductors are copper on insulator, and range from 1.5 to 15 nanohenrys. Performance is state-of-the-art, offering a quality factor of between 50 and 80 at 2GHz, depending on the device. They can be attached directly to the IC through flip-chip assembly. The variable capacitors offer a high tuning range of more than 2.5, with values ranging between 1 and 10 picofarads. Memscap is also focusing on development of relays, switches and filters.
Once the customer has a complete design that incorporates Memscap's licensable devices, the device can be fabricated at PHS-MEMS, Memscap's foundry partner in telecommunications component manufacturing. Memscap's services team can also help accelerate product development or for complete turnkey product design.
The Agilent ADS environment enables engineers to design wireless circuitry from concept through simulation, physical layout and verification, and then pass the design directly to a fabrication facility for manufacture.
"The MEMS Comm Component Library offers ADS customers a new way of speeding RF designs to market while achieving major space reductions in wireless circuitry," said John Hirsekorn, marketing manager of Agilent EEsof EDA in Colorado. "We're excited to be able to offer this additional solution to our large installed base of customers. MEMS Comm is consistent with our commitment to incorporating cutting-edge features in ADS."