UMC innovates 5G with first 3D IC technology for RFSOI

UMC innovates 5G with first 3D IC technology for RFSOI

Technology News |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

United Microelectronics Corporation has announced the industry’s first 3D IC technology for RFSOI, which reduces circuit footprint and addresses the challenge of RF interference,

Available on UMC’s 55nm RFSOI platform, the stacked 3D IC silicon technology reduces die size by more than 45% without any degradation of RF performance, enabling customers to efficiently integrate more RF components to address the greater bandwidth requirements of 5G.

As mobile device manufacturers pack more frequency bands in newer generations of smartphones, the 3D IC technology for RFSOI addresses the challenge of integrating more RF front-end modules (RF-FEM) — critical components in devices to transmit and receive data — in a device by vertically stacking dies to reduce surface area. RFSOI is the foundry process used for RF chips such as low noise amplifiers, switches, and antenna tuners.

Utilizing wafer-to-wafer bonding technology, UMC’s 3D IC technology for RFSOI resolves the common issue of RF interference between stacked dies. The company has received multiple patents for this process, which is now ready for production.

“This groundbreaking technology not only solves the challenges of increased frequency band demands in smartphones in the 5G/6G era, but also helps in mobile, IoT, and virtual reality devices with faster data transfer by accommodating more frequency bands in parallel,” said Raj Verma, Associate Vice President of Technology Development at UMC. “We will continue developing stacked die solutions to meet our customers’ RF needs, such as for 5G millimeter-wave, in the future.”

With over 500 product tape-outs completed and more than 38 billion RFSOI chips shipped, UMC’s family of RFSOI solutions are available in 8-inch and 12-inch wafers, as well as in a variety of technology nodes from 130nm to 40nm. In addition to RFSOI technologies, UMC’s 6-inch fab (Wavetek Microelectronics Corporation) offers compound semiconductor technologies gallium arsenide (GaAs) and gallium nitride (GaN) as well as RF filters to supplement the needs of RF-FEM applications.

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