PHOENIX -- Motorola Inc.'s chip group here today reported qualification of what the company said was a true enhancement-mode (E-mode) heterostructure field-effect transistor process for gallium-arsenide circuits.
Motorola said the GaAs process results in single-power supply devices with exceptional and cost effective performance in both linear transmitter and receiver circuits for low-power wireless applications.
The first products using the new E-mode GaAs technology are expected to be available on the merchant market in February. The process will be used in Motorola's 6-inch compound semiconductor wafer fab in Tempe, Ariz. The fab completed a conversion from 4-inch to 6-inch substrates last June (see June 14 story). Motorola claims the facility is now the world's largest radio-frequency GaAs fab.
"Motorola's advanced E-mode GaAs technology provides advantages over depletion-mode pseudomorphic high electron mobility transistor (pHEMT) devices," said Karl Johnson, director of Motorola's Compound Semiconductor Technologies Laboratory. "Because of its low off-state leakage current, this true enhancement-mode device eliminates the drain-supply switch required for depletion-mode pHEMT and metal semiconductor field effect transistor (MESFET) devices."
According to Motorola, the technology is ideal for use in transmitter and receiver circuits, for both analog and digitally modulated portable products.
"Single-supply power amplifiers have become the new paradigm in portable phone handsets due to the recent availability of near-zero threshold voltage pHEMT and heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) technologies," noted Jim Oakland, manager of design and technology for the Wireless Transmitter Solutions Division in the Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector. "The need for decreasing product cost and size is also a high priority.
"The E-mode GaAs technology helps to reduce the cost and size of the end product by eliminating both the negative voltage generator and the drain-supply switch within the handset power amplifier section, as well as eliminating additional passive components," Oakland explained.
Using the technology, Motorola said it has produced a three-stage power amplifier designed for a 1.900 GHz TDMA (time-division multiple access) wireless handset applications with +30 dBm output power, 42% power-added efficiency, adjacent channel power of -30 dBc, and alternate adjacent channel power of -48 dBc. Motorola said the E-mode technology has also demonstrated excellent noise figure and linearity performance for small signal applications. At 900 MHz, a single-stage amplifier has achieved a noise figure of 1.2 dB with an associated gain of 18.5 dB, said the company.