Navigation chip shrinks to new levels

Ottawa, Ontario: A new Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver IC is claimed by manufacturer SiGe Semiconductor as the smallest in the industry. The SE4110S Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver and the SE4120S GPS/Galileo receiver, each based on the company’s patent-pending softwarebased receiver architecture, exploit chip-scale package technology to enable complete receiver solutions that measure 2.2 by 2.2 by 0.4mm.

With SiGe’s software-defined RF approach, correlation and navigation functions can be performed efficiently by using the existing processing power available in the application microprocessor of consumer electronic devices. This increases scalability, which in turn delivers greater GPS/Galileo performance, while also allowing customers to integrate more features.

The SE4120S is based on SiGe’s SE4120L, a GNSS receiver with built-in support for software- defined satellite signal processing for both GPS and Galileo. The integrated architecture includes an on-chip, highgain LNA that delivers 18dB of gain at a 1.6dB noise figure without the need for bulky active antennas and costly, power-hungry external amplification. Under controlled conditions, systems using the SE4120S are able to track satellite signals down to as low as 170 dBm. The device also uses a 3-wire IF connection bus that features near-zero IF and serialised data output, which simplifies the interfacing of non-proprietary, general-purpose microprocessors running software-defined signal processing with the device.

Potential applications for the IC include mobile handsets, cellular telephones, personal navigation devices (PNDs), and personal digital assistants (PDAs).

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