LONDON – Southwest Integrated Circuit Design Co. Ltd. (SWID), a fabless IC chip company in Chongqing, China, has selected silicon-germanium BiCMOS manufacturing process technologies for its next radio frequency ICs and to have them manufactured in Newport Beach, California.
The move was announced by Tower Semiconductor Ltd. (Migdal Haemek, Israel), which trades as TowerJazz reflecting the fact it took over Jazz Technologies Inc. in 2008, including the Jazz 200-mm wafer fab in Newport Beach. The move is unusual, a reversal of a west-to-east flow of fabless design to foundry manufacturing in Taiwan. In this case a Chinese design is flowing from east-to-west to be manufactured in California. It partly reflects the increasing maturity of Chinese design and partly the specialized nature of silicon-germanium manufacturing.
SWID is announcing availability of an integrated walkie-talkie chip (XN239) and a low noise amplifier (XN255) to complement an integrated RF tuner IC previously announced.
The XN239 is manufactured using the SBC35 0.35-micron process and is a multi-function transceiver chip. It includes a built-in power detector as well as a processor core to perform functional control through a serial interface which can significantly reduce the need of other discrete components and reduce the total bill-of-materials cost of the walkie-talkie. The XN239 is designed to operate at 460-MHz with a first-order intermediate frequency (IF) of 21.7-MHz and a second IF of 450-kHz or 455-kHz.
The XN255 is built using the SBC18 0.18-micron process and is a low noise amplifier (LNA) for GPS applications. It operates from a 2.7 to 3.3-V source, consumes 3-mA active, with an idle current of less than 10-microamps.
Lin Fan, president of SWID, said that Tower provided accurate models and "excellent" technical support, in a statement issued by Tower.
"SWID is a very important customer and an RF communication applications leader as well as a significant company within the Chinese region and we will continue to support them as their strategic foundry of choice for SiGe solutions," said Marco Racanelli, senior vice president at Tower.
SWID is one of many companies covered in an upcoming special report on China's fabless chip companies. For information on how to obtain a copy of the "China Fabless Profile," drop a line to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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