Electronic Design

Advanced SiGe Process Shrinks Features, Boosts Performance

The 8HP silicon-germanium (SiGe) process doubles its predecessor's performance. This IBM development utilizes 130-nm design rules to achieve a top transistor cutoff frequency (fT) of 200 GHz.

Designers can use this performance to implement 24-GHz radar for blindside detection and 77-GHz radar systems for automobile collision warning or advanced cruise control. It also could deliver 60-GHz Wi-Fi chips for next-generation wireless local-area networks (LANs) and backbone networks, software-defined radios for cellular handsets, and high-frequency automatic test equipment.

While the 8HP process targets highperformance applications, IBM's lowpower and lower-cost 8WL process offers a maximum fT of 100 GHz. It also trims power consumption to levels suitable for many battery-powered applications, such as cell phones and wireless LAN subsystems for portable computers.

The 130-nm SiGe process combines bipolar transistors for the RF functions and dense CMOS logic for baseband and other digital functions. The biCMOS technology can reduce the cost of mobile consumer products, advance high-bandwidth wireless communications, and help enable innovative applications such as collisionavoidance automobile radar.

The technology is compatible with IBM's ASIC technology platform, so foundry clients can port a wide range of intellectual-property circuit blocks and standard-cell library elements. An RF CMOS technology option will permit designers to craft various RF and mixedsignal solutions like those needed in software-defined radios, high-speed analogto-digital and digital-to-analog converters, and video signal processing.

As part of the 130-nm process, SiGebased npn transistors with emitter widths of just 120 nm are available (see the figure). The 130-nm CMOS structures operate with 1.5- or 2.5-V supply levels. Multiple copper wiring levels provide high-performance interconnects between devices.

Design support resources include a full suite of passive elements—resistors, varactors, metal-oxide semiconductor and metal-insulator-metal capacitors, and high-Q inductors. IBM also provides process design kits that include precision RF device models. Contact IBM to determine nonrecurring engineering fees and manufacturing charges.

IBM Corp.

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