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IBM Upgrades RF Foundry Efforts

90 nm SiGe process due in August
6/10/2014 07:55 AM EDT
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JanineLove
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SOI
JanineLove   6/10/2014 10:51:24 AM
So, as far as their "recipe" is concerned, what insulator are they using? Silicon dioxide?

krisi
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Re: SOI
krisi   6/10/2014 12:41:00 PM
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yes, silicon dioxide

JanineLove
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Re: SOI
JanineLove   6/10/2014 1:01:16 PM
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Thanks. So nothing earth shattering there.

JanineLove
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Sapphire
JanineLove   6/10/2014 10:52:46 AM
I'm surprised you didn't mention silicon on sapphire as a competitive process for RF chips. Peregrine Semiconductor has had some impressive success with that. How does the IBM SOI process compare to SOS?

krisi
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Re: Sapphire
krisi   6/10/2014 12:42:04 PM
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Sapphire is very nichy...developed 30 years ago...and only Peregrine is using it...not sure what is special about but clearly it lacks any broad of appeal

JanineLove
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Re: Sapphire
JanineLove   6/10/2014 1:00:12 PM
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I'm pretty sure Peregrine is the only one using it because they've got a patent on it. Maybe we can get someone from the company to weigh in here.

krisi
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Re: Sapphire
krisi   6/10/2014 1:17:06 PM
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Sounds Janine...it would be good to get a comment from them what is so special about Sapphire...I remember taking my grad courses 30 years ago when SoS (silicon on sapphire) was deemed to be the future of semiconductors ;-)...but then SoI happened

JanineLove
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Re: Sapphire
JanineLove   6/10/2014 1:18:59 PM
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I'll see what I can do @Krisi

docdivakar
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Re: Sapphire
docdivakar   6/10/2014 3:42:43 PM
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@krisi Regarding what is special about Sapphire (in addition to being a type of SOI technology), it is its transparency that comes in as an attractive option when one does photonic assemblies. As a former employee of Peregrine, I can say that the parallel optical modules with the circuits for TX & RX on the Sapphire substrate and fiber coupling at 90degrees to the chip (exploiting transparency) did yield some ground-breaking technology!

http://bit.ly/1q18IwC

MP Divakar

krisi
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Re: Sapphire
krisi   6/10/2014 5:19:35 PM
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thank you @docdivekar...very interesting...do you know anyone from Pelegrine that might be interested in presenting this technology at CMOSET symposium in Vancouver in 2015? www.cmosetr.com, Kris

rick merritt
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Re: Sapphire
rick merritt   6/11/2014 7:06:07 AM
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I am not familiar with Peregrine's work or silicon on saffire but would love to hear any comparisons anyone else has of them or other competing processes.

JanineLove
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IBM
JanineLove   6/10/2014 10:53:57 AM
Glad to hear more about IBM's process technologies. They do some great work and often seem to be more of a "behind the scenes" effort. Hope the future is bright for them.

krisi
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Re: IBM
krisi   6/10/2014 12:46:22 PM
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I think IBM future is more in nano, artificial inteligence (Watson) and system integration and services...I doubt they will working on semiconductor processes anymore

docdivakar
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Re: IBM
docdivakar   6/10/2014 3:51:59 PM
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@krisi I am sure you are aware of IBM's work on 3DIC in which they did some pioneering work over the years, particularly in material technology for interconnection. I believe most of its 3DIC technology IP has been / being licensed. IBM now seems to be focused more on RF and analog while companies like TSMC and Samsung have picked up on the 3DIC technology. Yes, IBM is still a semiconductor company among many other things!

MP Divakar

krisi
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Re: IBM
krisi   6/10/2014 5:17:16 PM
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Yes, I am very familiar with IBM work on 3D...when I was with U of Alberta I was trying to kick-off some research on this topic 10 years ago...IBM did pioneering work on this and many other technologies


SiGe and RF work is  actually much older than 3D, in late eighties I was developing some first SiGe devices while doing doing researcg at U of Toronto...that is why I said I believe they are just trying to milk the technology as much as they can before it goes obsolete, nothing wrong with that

 

I don't agree that IBM is a semiconductor company...I think less than 20% of their revenue is coming from semiconductors and that % is quickly dropping to single digitals as far as I can see

HangLai
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Great Works, IBM!
HangLai   6/10/2014 11:22:12 AM
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IBM is able to make switches for 60 GHz and above on 300mm wafer, that will be a great benefit to the wireless and wired areas.  It will lead all other companies in the field and in the world.  It is hope that this may save IBM from selling this unit.

krisi
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Re: Great Works, IBM!
krisi   6/10/2014 12:44:00 PM
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IBM has been using SiGe process for several years now...and 60 Gzh switches were announced way back too...so the technology has been developed long time ago, this is just announcement of trying to milk more dollars before teh technology becomes absolete...I doubt IBM will be investing more R&D into this

rick merritt
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Suitors for Burlington?
rick merritt   6/11/2014 7:08:19 AM
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Besides Globalfoundries which a local newspaper said visited Burlington recently, who else would find this a strategic and suitable acquisition?

DJP202
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Peregrine Perspective
DJP202   6/11/2014 2:35:03 PM
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Thanks @rick_merrit for the insights on IBM's foundry plans.  It's a great time to be in the RF sector as the specifications continue to be more challenging and the demand for higher levels of integration grows.  We are excited to be leading the RF-SOI revolution and continue to watch the industry transition from GaAs to RF-SOI.

I am the VP of Marketing at Peregrine Semiconductor, for the last 25 years we have been pioneering the development of RF-SOI technologies to solve the toughest RF challenges with a CMOS based technology.  @JanineLove is correct we have up until this point utilized a Sapphire substrate which is the ultimate insulating substrate and provides the highest linearity devices on the market.  We recently announced our latest generation of technology that utilizes a silicon substrate, we partnered with GLOBALFOUNDRIES and SoiTec to produce a 130nm RF-SOI process this is primarily being used for our next generation mobile products.  @kris we will continue to support the sapphire substrate as it has many unique qualities especially for many of the non-mobile markets where we do business.

rick merritt
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Re: Peregrine Perspective
rick merritt   6/12/2014 7:45:18 AM
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@DJP: Thanks for weighing in!

rick merritt
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To SOI or not to SOI
rick merritt   6/12/2014 7:46:55 AM
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I heard from Imec that CMOS is increasingly catching up with SiGe in the millimeter wave stuff people are working on in 60-90 MHz these days for Wi-Fi, backhaul, automotive radar and etc.

How long will SOI have an edge over vanilla CMOS?

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