Industry Buzz

Wondering what’s new, what’s hot and what’s next in the SOI and advanced substrate world?  Check
out our Industry Buzz – now featuring regular updates.

SiTime MEMS 32kHzSiTime, which leverages SOI for high-performance MEMS timing solutions, has entered the smartphone/tablet/mobile app market with the first MEMS oscillator in a chip scale package (CSP). SiTime’s solutions offer area savings of 85%, cut power by 50% and are 15 times more reliable, all of which enable smaller, lower power and longer lasting mobile electronics. SiTime already claims 80% share of the MEMS timing market. The new SiT15xx family of 32 kHz MEMS oscillators can replace crystal resonators in mobile apps, eliminating the need for load capacitors, minimizing board area and also offers a more robust system startup in extreme temperatures, says the company. In addition to smartphones and tablets, the SiT15xx family is ideal for devices that require small size and low power such as fitness monitoring and watch products, medical monitoring and wellness devices, sport camcorders, wireless keypads and mouse devices. Devices in the chip scale package begin sampling in May 2013.

Posted May 10, 2013   -   Share this Buzz

An agreement between Soitec and GT Advanced Technologies is aiming to lower the cost of LED production and accelerate adoption in commercial and residential lighting. GT is developing an HVPE (high productivity hydride vapor phase epitaxy) system incorporating Soitec Phoenix Labs’ (a subsidiary of Soitec) unique and proprietary HVPE technology. This includes Soitec’s novel and advanced source delivery system that is expected to lower the costs of precursors delivered to the HVPE reactor. The HVPE system will enable the production of GaN template sapphire substrates at scale. The expected target date for the commercial availability of the HVPE system is the second half of 2014.

Posted May 6, 2013   -   Share this Buzz

Soitec‘s Smart Cut™ technology, best known for its role as the leading technology for producing SOI wafers, is now being leveraged to produce GaN substrates for high-performance LED lighting applications. Following a successful pilot line announced last year, Sumitomo Electric will now industrialize the product and invest in Smart Cut technology. Yoshiki Miura, general manager of the Compound Semiconductor Materials Division at Sumitomo Electric, said, “By combining the two innovative technologies – Soitec’s Smart Cut technology and our high-quality, large-diameter, free-standing GaN substrates – we are able to offer a high-value proposition to our LED customers. Soitec’s unique material-transfer technology enables the reuse of GaN wafers several times, achieving a substantial reduction in the cost of high-quality GaN materials to serve high-volume applications.”

Posted May 6, 2013   -   Share this Buzz

SOI Industry Consortium - LogoOn April 22, 2013, leading companies from the SOI Industry Consortium organized a forum focused on fully depleted technologies for highly energy-efficient System-on-Chip applications.
This forum was co-organized by Horacio Mendez from the SOI Consortium, Gary Patton from IBM and Mike Noonen from GLOBALFOUNDRIES.
The presentations are now posted on the SOI Industry Consortium website:
This includes slides from the big 3 SOI wafer suppliers (SEH, Soitec and SunEdison (formerly MEMC)), market projections by analyst group IBS, technical analysis by PDF Solutions, STM on migration to 28nm FD-SOI, SOCs on FD-SOI by GlobalFoundries, and IBM on SOI-FinFETs.

Posted April 26, 2013   -   Share this Buzz
Darpa RFPA SOI Columbia

(Image courtesy of DARPA and Columbia University)

DARPA reports that a team of researchers at the University of Southern California and Columbia University has achieved output power levels of nearly 0.5W at 45 GHz with a 45nm SOI CMOS chip. This world record result for CMOS-based power amplifiers doubles output power compared to the next best reported CMOS millimeter-wave power amplifier. The chip design used multiple stacked 45nm SOI CMOS devices for increased effective output voltage swing and efficient 8-way on-chip power-combining. Results will be reported at the 2013 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits Symposium. RF power amplifiers are used in communications and sensor systems for next-generation military microsystems in areas such as radar, guidance and high data rate communications to boost power levels for reliable transmission of signals over the distance required by the given application. These breakthroughs were achieved under the Efficient Linearized All-Silicon Transmitter ICs (ELASTx) program.

Posted April 12, 2013   -   Share this Buzz

Specialty foundry Altis Semiconductor will be a foundry partner for the IBM 180nm SOI technology. ALTIS will deliver high volume products starting Q2 2013 and will secure capacity increase for 2014 and beyond to address the IBM forecasted demand.  This foundry agreement addresses the next generation of consumer products, including as an example, the RF/SOI chipsets used in the world most advanced mobile devices. IBM’s 7RFSOI technology provides advantage by simultaneously enabling the required level of integration and performance for the large number of switches required in the modern smartphone for example cellular antenna switches, diversity antenna and WLAN, says the company.

Posted March 18, 2013   -   Share this Buzz

Technology Platform 8 (STeP8)Peregrine has announced the latest version of UltraCMOS®  process technology—Semiconductor Technology Platform 8 (STeP8), which the company says enables unmatched performance in RF Front End ICs. STeP8 technology shows a 36% improvement in Ron Coff  performance over STeP5 technology announced just one year ago—dramatically improving the linearity, insertion loss, and isolation capabilities of Peregrine’s RFIC products. The UltraCMOS technology is an advanced RF SOI process leveraging bonded silicon-on-sapphire (BSOS) substrates from Soitec. For challenges such as the LTE environment, UltraCMOS STeP8 enables mobile wireless device designers to incorporate high performance components into the RF Front End while maintaining a small form factor and consistent, reliable operation, says the company. It is leveraged in Peregrine’s expanded DuNE™ Digitally Tunable Capacitor  (DTC ) product line with six second-generation devices for antenna tuning in 4G LTE smartphones.

Posted March 18, 2013   -   Share this Buzz

Specialty foundry TowerJazz says its latest RF SOI technology offers the industry’s best figure of merit for antenna switch and antenna tuning applications with Ron-Coff of only 217fs. The technology is driving FEM market share, quickly replacing GaAs implementations and has already been adopted by multiple customers worldwide with over 50 separate designs taped-in with initial designs ramping to production.  Customer Skyworks named TowerJazz its 2012 Foundry Supplier of the Year Award.

Posted March 18, 2013   -   Share this Buzz

RDA Microelectronics has begun volume shipments of its RDALN16 GPS LNA for use in Samsung’s 3G handsets deployed in Europe and emerging markets worldwide, such as South America. Developed on SOI, RDA’s GPS LNA is a high gain, low noise, small size amplifier ideally suited for GPS, Galileo and GLONASS applications in 2G and 3G handsets.

Posted March 18, 2013   -   Share this Buzz

SkyWorksSOIAntennaSwitchWLCSP_1lowresSkyworks announced that its industry-leading Silicon-on-insulator (SOI) switching technology is now being used by European, Japanese, Korean and North American car manufacturers for advanced infotainment systems. Specifically, Skyworks’ solid state technology is enabling seamless low noise and broadband switching between audio, Blu-ray/DVD, navigation, cell phone and vehicle security display inputs as well as a variety of other high bandwidth media sources in automobiles. For Tier-1 smartphone providers, Skyworks is also sampling the SKY13396-397LF, a state-of-the-art, CMOS SOI, double-pole, double-throw (DPDT) switch that provides high linearity performance, low insertion loss and high isolation, well suited for driving today’s antenna diversity solutions.

Posted March 14, 2013   -   Share this Buzz

Following investigations and simulations, GSS has declared, “Metal-gate-first FD-SOI will be very good but metal-gate-last could be spectacular.” “…the technologist who that could develop and deliver metal-gate-last FD-SOI at 28nm will be able to offer you supply voltage below 0.5V,” they explained. They also noted, “The statistical variability introduced by the random discrete dopants in the FD-SOI MOSFETs is significantly lower compared to bulk MOSFETs with equivalent dimensions.”

Posted March 14, 2013   -   Share this Buzz

ST CrollesSTMicroeletronics announced its 28nm FD-SOI Technology is ready for manufacturing in its leading-edge Crolles fab.  At the SOI Consortium FD Symposium,  ST presented silicon-verified process technology that delivers 30% higher speed and up to 50% improvement in power.  ST’s FD-SOI Technology Platform encompasses the availability of a feature-complete and silicon-verified Design Platform, including the full set of foundation libraries (std-cells, memory generators, I/Os), AMS IPs and high speed interfaces), and a design flow ideally suited for developing high-speed and energy-efficient devices. ST has found porting Libraries and Physical IPs from 28nm Bulk CMOS to 28nm FD-SOI to be straightforward, and the process of designing digital SoCs with conventional CAD tools and methods in FD-SOI to be identical to Bulk.  In a separate announcement on corporate strategy, the company re-affirmed its commitment to FD-SOI technology.

Posted December 12, 2012   -   Share this Buzz

Following its much heralded debut at the ADA last year, Debiotech has introduced, for the first time worldwide, its SOI-MEMS-based JewelPUMP platform for Diabetes Therapy at the prestigious EASD 2012 conference in Berlin, Germany. The MEMS device was co-designed and is manufactured by STMicroelectronics. Debiotech, which also presented the results of a successful 2-year intensive study on 35 patients, is now in the stages of final development.

Posted December 12, 2012   -   Share this Buzz

(from left to right) Stéphane Monfray and Frédéric Bœuf (ST), and Claire Fenouillet-Béranger and Olivier Faynot (Leti) are the recipients of the 2012 Général Ferrié Award, the highest award in electronics R&D in France, for their work on FD-SOI.

For their work on FD-SOI, four researchers from STMicroelectronics and Leti have received the 2012 Général Ferrié Award, considered the highest award in electronics R&D in France.  Claire Fenouillet-Béranger and Olivier Faynot from Leti, and Stéphane Monfray and Frédéric Bœuf from ST are credited with validating the technological choice for FD-SOI, while also enabling its industrialization.  They identified three key FD-SOI advantages:

- the production process is very close to bulk
- porting circuits from bulk to FD-SOI technology is significantly easier than porting to FinFETs
- the technology is very attractive for mobile applications such as smartphones and tablets, which simultaneously require high performance and low power consumption.

Posted December 10, 2012   -   Share this Buzz

Following the recent news that Soitec has more than doubled production of bonded silicon-on-sapphire (BSOS) substrates (a flavor of SOI) to meet increased demand from its strategic partner, Peregrine Semiconductor, MagnaChip has expanded production of Peregrine’s STeP5 UltraCMOS® technology-based RFIC product line. Peregrine and MagnaChip announced the final qualification and high-volume production ramp of the “STeP5” UltraCMOS process in Q3’11. Due to the continued increase in orders for the STeP5 products (found in the Apple iPhone 5 and other top smart phones), MagnaChip fulfilled the fastest manufacturing ramp in Peregrine’s history.

Posted December 10, 2012   -   Share this Buzz