UMC launches 40nm RF SOI platform for 5G mmWave

UMC launches 40nm RF SOI platform for 5G mmWave

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

United Microelectronics (UMC) in Taiwan has launched a 40nm silicon on insulator (SOI) technology platform for building millimeter-wave (mmWave) RF chips using wafers from Europe.

The 40RFSOI platform from the foundry will be used for the latest 5G wireless networks and applications including smartphones, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) systems, and small cell base stations. This will compete with the SOI processes developed by Global Foundries and STMicroelectronics.

“Several customers are currently engaged with us to customize the 40RFSOI process for their RF front-end products, and volume production is expected to start in 2024,” said Raj Verma, Associate Vice President of Technology Development at UMC.

While the majority of today’s 5G networks operates in the sub-8GHz bands, mmWave technology employs bands between 24GHz and 60GHz for faster speeds and lower latency.

The process is optimized for manufacturing RF switches, low noise amplifiers, and power amplifiers capable of handling the wider bandwidth of mmWave frequencies. This balances the need for more RF components in mmWave modules while keeping the die size smaller for integrated RF chips that combines beamformers, core and passive devices, as well as front-end components on a single IC.

“The full potential of 5G hinges on the mainstream rollout of mmWave to deliver the speed and capacity required for virtual and augmented reality, smart cities, industrial automation, and applications in healthcare. With the introduction of our 40RFSOI platform, UMC expands our RF portfolio to enable our customers to deliver their advanced 5G devices to market and capture opportunities in the growing mmWave market,” said Verma.

UMC has a family of RFSOI process technologies on 200mm and 300mm wafer manufacturing using engineered SOI wafers from Soitec in France. Since 2014, UMC has had over 400 product tape-outs and more than 35 billion RFSOI chips shipped for various applications. Its 55nm RFSOI technology has been in production for years serving the 5G sub-8GHz market.



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