X-Fab licenses 130 nm SiGe BiCMOS platform

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

X-Fab Silicon Foundries has expanded its partnership with the Leibniz Institute for High Performance Microelectronics (IHP) to license leading edge 130nm silicon germanium (SiGe) technology.

The newly created 130nm SiGe platform provides higher performance for next generation communication chips such as WiFi 6 and WiFi 7 as well as 5G millimetre wave and 6G chips. This technology will also be pivotal in the development of +100 GHz radar systems, for use in both automotive and consumer applications.

The license agreement follows on from the collaborative work that began in 2021, where X-Fab’s copper backend was added to IHP’s SG13S and SG13G2 frontend technologies to boost the bandwidth. X-Fab is set to start engaging with selected early adopters on prototyping projects during Q4 2022 and an early-access process design kit (PDK) is available for prototyping devices. Volume manufacturing will happen at X-Fab France, the company’s facility near Paris acquired with Altis Semiconductor back in 2016.

IHP has 360 staff working on advanced process infrastructure, including 1500 m² DIN EN ISO 14644-1 cleanroom which is used to manufacture qualified Si-based RF technologies and systems for mmWave, THz and photonics applications.

”The incorporation of IHP’s HBTs into X-Fab’s RF platform will provide customers with a truly differentiated SiGe BiCMOS technology that is certain to bring tangible performance benefits,” said Prof. Gerhard Kahmen, Scientific Director at IHP. “The technology transfer between our two organizations is a perfect example of how industry and research institutions can work together to achieve outstanding results.”

“X-Fab and IHP have a successful track record of combining our respective resources to develop advanced semiconductor solutions, and this latest SiGe announcement takes that on to a whole new exciting phase,” said Dr. Greg U’Ren, RF Technology Director at X-Fab. “This is the starting point for us to make further SiGe BiCMOS related innovations that will contribute to defining the communications sector in the years ahead, covering industrial automation, consumer and automotive use cases.”;

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