Switch & chip integrate RF, digital & analogue components

10th October 2014
Siobhan O'Gorman

Integrating RF, digital and analogue components onto a single chip, a True SPDT DC switch and an X-band core chip have been released by Peregrine Semiconductor. The products, which are built on the company's UltraCMOS technology, offer performance advantages in high-performance markets through intelligent integration.

The products provide configurability, flexibility, reliability, repeatability, ease-of-use, a reduced form factor and enhanced performance. According to Peregrine Semiconductor, the PE42020 switch is the first RF integrated switch to provide true DC compatibility. Operating across a previously unachievable frequency range of 0-8000MHz, the switch is suitable for markets that rely on accuracy and precision, such as test and measurement. Featuring high power handling of 30dBm at 0Hz and 36dBm at 8GHz, the switch provides high RF performance and linearity from DC through 8000MHz. Unlike competing switches, the PE42020 can switch DC and AC peak voltages in the range of +10 to -10V at currents of up to 80mA.

By using advanced circuitry, the switch can provide fast switching times at low frequencies. The circuitry enables a 10μs switching time and a 15μs settling time, which is essential for test-and-measurement applications. A high-linearity (IIP3) performance of 63dBm, and high port-to-port isolation of 37dB at 6GHz is provided by the PE42020. While operating over a temperature range of -40 to +85ºC, the switch supports standard +1.8 and +3.3V control logic. Offered in a compact 20-lead 4x4mm QFN plastic package, the switch supports 1000V HBM ESD tolerance. The switch, which is expected to replace problematic mechanical relays and MEMS switches in the test-and-measurement market, will be sampling and shipping in early 2015. 

The integrated X-band, CMOS core chip, claimed to be an industry first, is designed to enable highly accurate signal control with minimal power loss in MMIC design techniques. Previously, MMIC design techniques have only been used by III-V technologies. Due to the way in which silicon loses power at high frequencies, using MMIC design techniques on silicon has always been challenging. The company have addressed this by using an UltraCMOS sapphire substrate, which is an insulating substrate that enables integration. For intelligent integration at microwave frequencies, the X-band core chip combines standard CMOS design with passive MMIC circuitry.

Due to the X-band core chip's resolution, control, reliability and small form factor, it is particularly suitable for modern satellite and radar systems, including SAR and phased-array radar. The chips can be used within these systems for weather monitoring, air traffic control, defence tracking and earth observation. Offering a maximum power handling of +18dBm from 9-10.1GHz, the chip covers 31.75dB attenuation range in 0.25dB steps. 358° of phase range with a resolution of 7° are provided by the phase shifter. The chip, which exhibits low power consumption, maintains high attenuation and phase accuracy over frequency and temperature.

“From integrated switches to Global 1, Peregrine has introduced a broad range of industry-leading integrated products and technologies over our more than 25-year history,” says Duncan Pilgrim, Vice President of Marketing, Peregrine. “Today, we continue that legacy of innovative integration with two new ground-breaking products that include RF, digital and analogue components on a single die. Only Peregrine’s UltraCMOS technology enables this level of integration. Utilising our integrated solutions, our customers are now able to maximise their resources, simplify their designs and focus on delivering high-quality and high-performance products to their customers.”

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