3 May 2023
Semiconductor foundry United Microelectronics Corp of Hsinchu, Taiwan says that its 40nm radio-frequency silicon-on-insulator (RFSOI) technology platform is now ready for the production of millimeter-wave (mmWave) RF front-end products, enabling the proliferation of 5G wireless networks and applications including smartphones, fixed-wireless access (FWA) systems, and small-cell base stations.
While most existing 5G networks operate in sub-8GHz bands, mmWave technology employs a new frequency spectrum between 24GHz and 60GHz, making it possible to deliver fast transfer speeds, extremely low latency, and more reliable connectivity. UMC’s new platform 40RFSOI is optimized for manufacturing RF switches, low-noise amplifiers (LNA) and power amplifiers (PAs) capable of handling the wider bandwidth of mmWave frequencies. Balancing the need for more RF components in mmWave modules while keeping the size compact, 40RFSOI is suitable for customers designing integrated RF chips that combine beam-formers, 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,” says Raj Verma, UMC’s associate VP of technology development. “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,” he adds. “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.”
UMC offers RF front-end module solutions serving applications spanning mobile, Wi-Fi, automotive, IoT, and satellite communications. Its family of RFSOI solutions ranges from 8-inch to 12-inch wafer manufacturing. Since 2014, UMC has had over 400 product tape-outs and more than 35 billion RFSOI chips shipped. Its 55nm RFSOI technology has been in production for years serving the 5G sub-8GHz market.