British chipmaker Plessey Semiconductors today announced it has commenced the development of a 0.35 micron silicon germanium (SiGe) BiCMOS process technology.
The process will be used on its 8-inch line at its Plymouth, England semiconductor plant. This is all a cunning plan to develop its three core product lines of sensors, RF components and power management devices. The products manufactured on this process will take advantage of having a 70GHz, 2.5V breakdown voltage architecture together with a 40GHz 5V breakdown voltage architecture on the same substrate. The process will also include a range of analogue and high performance passive components including Schottky diodes, varactors, high Q inductors and MIM capacitors.
The company told Fudzilla that the combination of a high frequency capability combined with high voltage and the added component features opens up a wide range of applications. Ideas for products include high performance transceivers for optical communications, next generation data converters for test and measurement systems and high-speed amplifiers including logarithmic amplifiers. A log amp design using SiGe technology could operate at frequencies up to 5GHz, a ten-fold increase in performance compared to a previous technology implementation.
It is planned that the SiGe BiCMOS process will be generally available by mid-2011 and the first Plessey products will be sampled by end-2011. Dr. Peter Osborne, Chief Technologist, said that he had looked at SiGe bipolar and BiCMOS process technologies for some time and have developed processes for other fabs.
“We believe that our exceptional complementary bipolar processes on SiGe together with our 0.35 CMOS capability should provide a compelling platform from which Plessey can develop outstanding product lines,” he said.