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High Speed SiGe Process Replaces 8 GaAs Chips, Lowering Cost and Increasing Integration

Thu, 07/02/2009 - 9:00am

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SAN DIEGO & NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE) -- The University of California, San Diego (UCSD), provider of a leading program in microwave and millimeter-wave RFICs and mixed-signal, and Jazz Semiconductor®, a Tower Group Company today announced that they have collaborated to develop a two-antenna quad-beam RFIC phased array receiver covering the 11-15 GHz frequency range.

First time success was achieved using Jazz Semiconductor’s high performance 0.18-micron SiGe BiCMOS process and its own proprietary models, kit and DIRECT MPW (Multiproject Wafer) program. The chip was designed and tested by the Electrical and Computer Engineering School at UCSD, and was sponsored by the DARPA RF VLSI program, Dr. Mark Rosker, Program Monitor.

"UCSD believes that the quad-beam phased array receiver will enable high-performance phased arrays for satellite communications by integrating many functions on the same silicon chip and replacing several GaAs ICs, drastically lowering the cost of phased array assembly,” said Dr. Gabriel M. Rebeiz, Professor of Electrical Engineering at UCSD, a co-developer of this chip.

“Our success in developing this first-of-a-kind chip depended largely on Jazz’s 0.18-micron SiGe BiCMOS process, models and design kit. We view Jazz as a leading specialty foundry with unrivaled design enablement capabilities.”

This is the first demonstration of a single silicon chip capable of producing four simultaneous beams from two different antennas, and together with all the necessary CMOS controlling circuits. Alternatively, this chip can be connected to a single antenna with two different polarization ports, thereby allowing the formation of four simultaneous beams of different polarizations.

"We are pleased with the results achieved by UCSD with its RFIC quad-beam phased array receiver and are excited to enable an innovative technology designed to address the needs of high data-rate communications and satellite-based systems markets,” said David Howard, Executive Director of New Product Technology at Jazz Semiconductor. “This collaboration demonstrates the capabilities of the highly advanced specialty wafer processes, models and kits we offer to our customers.”

“The chip is currently being transitioned by the U.S. Office of Naval Research to a 1000+ element phased-array capable of four simultaneous beams at Ku-Band, and a contract to a leading U.S. defense company was recently issued based on this chip,” added Dr. Rebeiz.

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