At the annual FSA Suppliers Expo and Conference, IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced the introduction of a new semiconductor technology designed for mobile handset and wireless technology markets. This new offering will enable chipset providers for mobile devices to further reduce the complexity of their components — representing a significant savings in manufacturing costs for the next generation of mobile phones, laptops and other portable communication devices.
This new semiconductor technology — named CMOS 7RF SOI — is designed to enable single-chip Radio Frequency (RF) solutions by integrating the multiple RF/analog functions of today’s handsets — such as multi-mode/multi-band RF switches, complex switch biasing networks, and power controllers — into single-chip solutions for mobile devices. Single-chip solutions address the need for fully integrated multimedia functionality on low-cost handsets, providing entry-level users in emerging markets such as China, India and Latin America with affordable, power-efficient and high-performance mobile devices.
As this technology evolves, it could create additional integration opportunities that include filter, power amplifier, power management and receiver/transmitter functions — the types of integration possibilities that are cost-prohibitive or technically unfeasible with semiconductor technology used in mobile devices today. Supporting this integration pathway is an array of IBM engineering and go-to-marketing services that will help clients solve challenges related to component design and manufacturing.
“CMOS 7RF SOI is yet another example of how we deliver advanced, cost-effective features for integration and performance that are new to both our clients and the industry,” said Steve Longoria, vice president for Semiconductor Solutions, IBM Global Engineering Solutions. “Our clients can turn to IBM for lower cost solutions, with the assurance of a stable technology base founded on our years of experience in manufacturing CMOS, RF CMOS and silicon germanium technologies.”
The 180-nm CMOS 7RF SOI is tailored for RF switch applications that provide a low-cost alternative to solutions based on gallium arsenide (GaAs). The breakthrough technology in SOI can minimize insertion loss and maximize isolation to help avoid issues such as loss of signal or dropped calls, potentially enabling significant cost advantages to mobile handsets.
Initial hardware evaluations have been completed; general availability for design kits is planned for the first half of 2008.
IBM innovations in microelectronics and the company’s groundbreaking system-on-a-chip designs have transformed the world of semiconductors. IBM breakthroughs include High-k, which enhances the transistor’s function while allowing it to be shrunk beyond today’s limits, dual-core and multi-core microprocessors, copper on-chip wiring, silicon-on-insulator and silicon germanium transistors, strained silicon, and eFUSE, a technology that enables computer chips to automatically respond to changing conditions. The White House has awarded IBM the National Medal of Technology, the nation’s highest technical honor, for 40 years of innovation in semiconductors.
IBM chips are the heart of the company’s server and storage systems, the world’s fastest supercomputers and many of the best known and widely used communications and consumer electronics brands.