RFSOI boost for mobile and 5G on 300mm wafers

RFSOI boost for mobile and 5G on 300mm wafers

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By Nick Flaherty

GlobalFoundries has enhanced its RFSOI foundry process that uses 300mm wafers to improve the cost effectiveness.

The 9SW RFSOI (radio frequency silicon on insulator) process is the most advanced at GF, based on the 8SW RFSOI technology launched in 2017 and now built on 300mm volume wafers in Singapore. It was designed in collaboration with key customers such as Qualcomm and Broadcom.

The process brings significant improvements in performance, integration and area advantages in front-end modules (FEMs) for today’s 5G operating frequencies, as well as future 5G mobile and wireless communication applications, spanning Sub-8 GHz, mmWave and FR3 says GF.

The 9SW RFSOI technology sees significant reduction in standby currents for longer battery life, creating products over 10% smaller than previous generations with more than 20% enhancement in efficiency through lower on-resistance and off-capacitance.  

GF currently cites a switch performance of Ron*Coff of under 110 fs for low noise amplifiers with a transmission frequency up to 112 GHz, and dual oxide and trap rich substrate options. The low noise figure (LNA > 200) with high linearity is combined with power handling capacity for high RF receiver sensitivity and improved signal quality over a broad range.

This allows for more energy-efficient designs with lower power consumption in both inactive and active states. Enhancements in performance and reduction in cost are key to both Broadcom and Qualcomm keeping Apple as a major customer.

“Developing high-speed, more reliable connectivity is critical for the key 5G mobile and next-generation applications that we all depend on to live, work and play,” said David Archbold, vice president of product marketing, Wireless Semiconductor Division, Broadcom. “With this new generation of technology, Broadcom will enable our customers to deliver the best possible 5G mobile experience to their end users.”

“Wireless Connectivity comes in many shapes and sizes. GF has long standing leadership, in highly efficient wireless whether it’s short, medium, or long range. The ever-increasing reliance on 5G and smart mobile devices combined with the explosion of data necessitates more connectivity and improved efficiency.  GF’s newest generation of industry-leading RF SOI technologies will allow us to meet the global demand for solutions that deliver more reliable seamless connectivity, while using significantly less power,” said Dr. Thomas Caulfield, president and CEO at GF.

The 9SW technology will be manufactured on GF’s 300mm production line at its fabrication site in Singapore. This will provide the industry with manufacturing capacity to meet expected market demand says the company.


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