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Tower Integrates RF Phase Change Switches In SiGE Process

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Provides record Figure of Merit performance for 5G and high-performance RF switch applications

Tower Semiconductor has announced a novel high performance RF switch technology based on phase change materials, which it has integrated into a production SiGe BiCMOS process and a Power CMOS process.

At the live stream International Microwave Symposium (IMS 2020) this week (Aug. 4 - 6, 2020), Tower will describe three RF circuits built using the new switches within its SBC18H3B SiGe process. The circuits include: a five-bit DSC with 32 states with a tuning range from 33 fF to 6.75 pF in ~215 fF increments; a wideband 24.25 GHz to 33.4 GHz switched filter using two SPDTs; and finally, a bandpass filter tuneable between 400 MHz up to 6 GHz that uses seven phase change switches.

According to the company the new switch technology demonstrates a record RF device figure of merit of Ron x Coff < 10 femtoseconds. For comparison, 70-100 femtoseconds is typical today for the most advanced applications. The switch is also said to perform over an extremely wide range of frequencies spanning MHz to all frequency bands discussed for 5G, and further into the mmWave.

The switch is also nonvolatile so consumes no energy when in the on-state or off-state, making it attractive for IoT, and other power and battery sensitive product applications.Tower says that the monolithic integration of PCM RF switches did not impact the performance of the BiCMOS process components, such as FETs and bipolar devices.

It will be offering multi-project wafer runs (MPWs) in 2021 for select customers.

Tower's IMS presentations are part of the Tu1G: Innovative RF Switches and Applications session (Tu1G-2 and Tu1G-5).


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