IRVINE, Calif. -- Intersil Corp. here today said that it has fully qualified a new manufacturing process for building highly integrated wireless-communications chips, which is now in production on its Prism wireless-LAN chip set.
The new process, called UHF-2, is capable of building ultra-high-frequency circuits. Intersil will use the process to make high-integration, high-performance, low-power and low-cost ICs for wireless applications including WLAN systems for homes and offices and the fixed wireless systems, which will deliver wireless data infrastructure in public buildings, airports, hotels and malls.
"With this process, we can integrate RF circuits, traditional analog and digital circuits and other passive devices--such as inductors, capacitors and resistors--on a single small chip," said Larry Ciaccia, vice president and general manager of Intersil's Prism wireless products business. "Packing more functions into smaller chips is important in helping our customers meet market demands for smaller, lighter, and less costly battery-powered wireless products."
UHF-2 a 0.60-micron RF BiCMOS technology that integrates a 25-GHz (fT), 40-GHz (fMAX) n-p-n transistor and high-quality passive components into an existing 0.60-micron CMOS process. The new process provides higher-performance transistors, lower power consumption, and compliance with key parameters, allowing for improved receiver sensitivity and range.
It employs a "trench isolation" technique that provides a buffer space around transistors, allowing denser packing of transistors on the chip.
According to Ciaccia, this technology also has other advantages for Intersil. "It adds capacity for products in very heavy demand and provides us with in-house process technologies that are complementary to our outside foundries," he said. "As the wireless market continues to segment, it will become increasingly important to have products that are optimized in cost, performance and feature set for particular applications. Having the UHF-2 process as part of our technology portfolio allows us to develop highly optimized products for each segment. It also allows our team to have control over wafer costs, yields and cycle time."
The UHF-2 process includes a suite of high-quality passive components that can be integrated on-chip, rather than being bought separately and residing off-chip. This suite includes high quality spiral inductors and metal-oxide-metal capacitors and an excellent low-temperature-coefficient, precision RF resistor. This integration of previously off-chip passive components offers performance and reliability advantages along with reduction of the total wireless system cost by reducing the bill-of-materials cost.