Vendors show chips and components at IMS

June 25, 2012. IC and component makers at the International Microwave Symposium highlighted a variety of devices targeting applications ranging from handsets to test-and-measurement equipment.

Addressing both ends of this gamut was Peregrine Semiconductor, which announced new UltraCMOS devices, including high-linearity switches for 4G LTE applications; the company's PE426161 SP10T switch and PE426171 SP12T switch address the specific design needs of the 3G/4G front-end module market for use in GSM/EDGE/WCDMA/LTE handsets.

Peregrine also highlighted its PE42540 absorptive SP4T RF switch developed on UltraCMOS process technology. This switch is designed specifically to support the requirements of the test equipment and ATE market. It includes four symmetric RF ports and offers very high isolation. On-chip CMOS decode logic facilitates a two-pin low voltage CMOS control interface. High ESD tolerance and no blocking capacitor requirements provide for ease of integration and ruggedness.

Making its debut at IMS was Vishay Intertechnology Inc., which introduced high-frequency multilayer ceramic chip capacitors (MLCCs) that offer high self resistance, a Q factor of better than 2000, and a dissipation factor of 0.05% or less. The devices can serve in test equipment and other high-frequency commercial applications. Dubbed the VJ HIFREQ Series, the devices come in 0402, 0603, and 0805 cases sizes with working voltages from 25 to 250 VDC. Capacitance values range from 1 pF to 1.5 nF; tolerance is ±0.1 pF. Temperature range is -55 to +125°C. Prices for U.S. delivery start at $0.06 per piece.

Other companies offering components with some test-and-measurement applicability included Crystek, which has launched the CVSS-945 true sine-wave voltage-controlled crystal oscillator (VCXO) providing -172.9 dBc/Hz noise floor at a 1-MHz offset. The VCXO is available in the industry-standard 9×14 mm SMD package and is engineered to MIL-STD-883 and MIL-STD-202 specifications. The CVSS-945 VCXO generates frequencies between 50 MHz and 125 MHz, with output level of +5 dBm min into 50 Ω with harmonics lower than -25 dBc. The CVSS-945 consumes 30 mA max current at 5 V.

Not surprisingly, many IC vendors on the IMS exhibit floor were highlighting wireless communications applications, although Freescale did offer a solid-state microwave-oven demonstration. Freescale products highlighted at the show included new Airfast transistors engineered to boost the efficiency, peak power, and signal bandwidth of next-generation base stations. The company also highlighted its first RF power-amplifier product built using gallium nitride (GaN) technology. The company’s RF power GaN products will initially target the cellular infrastructure market, with potential future applications including avionics, radar, ISM, and software-defined radio.

NXP Semiconductors also highlighted GaN at the show, commenting that the technology offers a compelling alternative to silicon for many RF applications. “Since announcing our commitment to ‘mainstream GaN’ last year, we’ve received a great deal of interest in our GaN offerings and have worked intensively with a handful of key customers to refine our first-generation GaN portfolio,” said Mark Murphy, director of marketing for NXP's RF power product line “At the same time, by offering our customers a choice between high-performance GaN and LDMOS–and in some situations a mix of both–we’re in the unique position of being able to offer unbiased choices for fully optimized designs, depending on the specific requirements of each application.” NXP also highlighted LNAs for both portable devices and base stations.

GaN was also a focus of RFMD, which highlighted GaN RF power transistors, broadband ICs, and CATV amplifiers operating to 380 W while providing high breakdown voltages and high linearity. RFMD also exhibited its PowerSmart 3G cellular platform, high-efficiency power amplifiers, 3G/4G antenna-control solutions, analog and digital variable-gain amplifiers for wireless infrastructure applications, MMICs for point-to-point radios, and Wi-Fi front ends.

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