RFMD Technology Enables Enhanced Integration in RF Applications

NEW YORK /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- RF Micro Devices (RFMD), a global leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance radio frequency systems and solutions, announced the introduction of its proprietary microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, technology for RF and other applications. RFMD is a pioneer in the development of MEMS technology for low-cost, integrated RF applications (RF MEMS) and has been actively engaged in the commercialization of MEMS technology since 2004. RFMD expects its proprietary MEMS technology will enable breakthrough performance and unprecedented levels of functional integration in RF and other applications.

The first RF MEMS devices to be introduced by RFMD will be an RF MEMS transmit/receive switch and an RF MEMS mode-switch for 3G multimode handsets. RFMD's MEMS switch technology will help accelerate 3G deployment by significantly reducing the product footprint and improving efficiency, thereby extending handset talk time. When combined with RFMD's industry-leading process technologies for front-end solutions (e.g., GaAs, SOI, and silicon), RFMD's RF MEMS switch technology will set new standards for low-cost, small size, and high-performance front ends.

RFMD's MEMS switches will also be used in the output circuit of power amplifiers (PAs) to create a tunable PA, which the company anticipates will enable a truly adaptive transmitter solution.

Victor Steel, Vice President of Research and Development for RFMD, said, "The commercialization of RFMD's proprietary MEMS technology and the construction of our 200 mm MEMS R&D fab underscore RFMD's continued commitment to product leadership through cutting-edge innovation. RFMD is the only company capable of combining mixed signal CMOS, power management, power amplifiers, RF switches, and RF MEMS in cost-effective, wafer-level packaged, single-chip solutions. With the commercialization of our industry-leading MEMS capabilities, we will extend our ability to deliver highly-integrated RF solutions that anticipate and exceed our customers' evolving RF requirements."

Gabriel M. Rebeiz, University of California at San Diego professor and early pioneer in MEMS development, added, "Existing RF MEMS switch technology is based on small fabrication lots and wafer-to-wafer packaging techniques, which result in high device cost. The RFMD approach, with its high level of integration on silicon, addresses this problem head-on and will result in improved yield, higher performance and much lower cost."

RFMD's RF MEMS switches are high-power, ohmic contact MEMS switches that are post-processed above-IC on RF CMOS SOI wafers and are encapsulated in hermetically sealed wafer-level packaged dielectric domes. All necessary circuitry required for the operation of the RF MEMS switches is integrated into the underlying CMOS, including the generation of the large voltages and control signals required for reliable actuation of power MEMS switches. The RF MEMS switches fully support RFMD's rigorous cellular RF power-module requirements, including low-insertion loss and high isolation (typ. 0.2dB / 35dB @ 1.9 GHz) and high harmonic rejection (typ. >90dBc), while also meeting stringent requirements for reliability and cost of design and production.

In addition to RF MEMS switches, RFMD is also actively pursuing the commercialization of other MEMS devices, such as RF MEMS filters, RF MEMS resonators (crystal replacement), and MEMS sensors. The company expects its MEMS technology, coupled with its existing core competencies in high-performance radio frequency systems, will ultimately enable single-chip front ends and software defined radios capable of accommodating any wireless protocol—cellular or noncellular.

RFMD will construct a 200 mm R&D wafer fab to support its continued MEMS development. The MEMS R&D fab will be located with RFMD's GaN R&D organization in a new facility in Mooresville, NC.

About RFMD
RF Micro Devices is a global leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance radio frequency systems and solutions for applications that drive wireless and broadband communications. RFMD's cellular front ends, cellular transceivers, RF components, and system-on-chip solutions enable worldwide mobility, provide enhanced connectivity, and support advanced functionality in the cellular handset, cellular base station, wireless local area network (WLAN), CATV networking, aerospace, defense, and global positioning systems (GPS) markets. Recognized for its diverse portfolio of state-of-the-art semiconductor technologies and vast RF systems expertise, RFMD is a preferred supplier to the world's leading mobile device and RF equipment manufacturers.

Headquartered in Greensboro, NC, RFMD is an ISO 9001- and ISO 14001- certified manufacturer, with worldwide engineering, design, sales, and service facilities.