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WIN Joins The BiFET Brigade With H2W Foundry Process

WIN has joined a select band of chip makers with its own BiFET technology. The H2W foundry process optimizes HBTs and PHEMTs independently, and it integrates power amplifiers, low-noise amplifiers, logic control and a power switch on a single chip, says Cheng-Kuo Lin.

Ruthless component price erosion is prevalent in the highly competitive market of front-end modules (FEMs) for cellular phones. To stay competitive, chip makers have to reduce their manufacturing costs by reducing die size and count, and increasing functionality, which ultimately lowers overall component costs. At the same time, the FEM s performance has to undergo continual improvement to satisfy the desires of handset system designers.

GaAs still offers an RF performance advantage over silicon technologies, such as SiGe and BiCMOS, but it is falling behind in terms of cost and the level of integration. To address this weakness, most component manufacturers in the RF industry integrate several technologies into a multichip module (MCM) package, such as the HBT-based power amplifier (PA), PHEMT switch, CMOS controller and surface-mount passives. However, this approach suffers from high packaging costs that typically account for half of the overall bill of materials.

Recently, GaAs chip makers – including the US manufacturers Anadigics, Skyworks and TriQuint – have addressed this weakness by monolithic integration of the HBT and E/D-PHEMT. These sophisticated chips, which are often referred to as BiFETs, can eliminate the cost associated with MCM packaging. Now foundry customers can get access to this technology and receive an additional benefit – simplification of supply-chain management.

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