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?
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
@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!
@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!
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
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.
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
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.