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Peregrine Expands Into Both Ends of the Frequency Spectrum

Integrated range includes a true DC switch and an X-band core chip

Peregrine Semiconductor has announced the expansion of its integrated product portfolio into DC and X-band frequencies including a True DC switch and an X-band core chip. Built on Peregrine's UltraCMOS technology, both products integrate RF, digital and analogue components onto a single chip.

The X-Band chip is claimed to be the industry's first integrated X-band, CMOS core chip to use MMIC (monolithic microwave integrated circuit) design techniques, enabling highly accurate signal control with minimal power loss.

MMIC design techniques, such as Lange couplers, have only been used by III-V technologies. The use of these passive techniques on silicon has always presented a challenge due to silicon's lossy nature at higher frequencies. Peregrine solves this challenge by using an UltraCMOS sapphire substrate - a near-perfect insulating substrate that naturally lends itself to integration. With this X-band core chip, Peregrine combines standard CMOS design with passive MMIC circuitry for a truly intelligent approach to integration at microwave frequencies.

The X-band core chip integrates a seven-bit digital phase shifter; a 7-bit digital step attenuator; high isolation signal-path switching; and compact digital serial interface control with CMOS compatibility.

The X-band segment of the frequency spectrum is used by many modern satellite and radar systems, including synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and phased-array radar. Applications include weather monitoring, air traffic control, defense tracking and earth observation. Peregrine's integrated chips offer a significantly reduced form factor delivering a distinct advantage within these systems that are tightly packaged within a small physical area.

The X-band core chip offers a maximum power handling of +18 dBm from 9-10.1 GHz and covers 31.75dB attenuation range in 0.25 dB steps. The phase shifter offers 358 degrees of phase range with a resolution of 7 degrees. It maintains high attenuation and phase accuracy over frequency and temperature and exhibits low power consumption.

Low Frequency Intelligent Integration

At the lower end of the frequency spectrum, Peregrine claim to have set a new standard with the industry's first and only RF integrated switch to achieve true DC capability. With a wide frequency range of 0 to 8000 MHz, the UltraCMOS True DC switch (PE42020) operates in a previously unobtainable portion of the frequency spectrum. This frequency expansion is for applications that rely on accuracy and precision, such as test and measurement.

The True DC SPDT switch features high power handling, 30dBm at 0 and 36dBm at 8GHz, and maintains excellent RF performance and linearity from DC through 8000MHz. Moreover, it can switch DC and AC peak voltages in the range of +10V to -10V at currents of up to 80mA, a first for this kind of product. 

On a single chip, the True DC switch integrates multiple functions: High-performance RF switching, analogue DC tracking, and digital control logic and impedance control (50-ohm absorptive or open reflective)

While low-frequency operation typically requires a slow switching time, the True DC switch uses advanced circuitry to remove this dependence, resulting in a 10 microsecond switching time, and a 15 microsecond settling time which is critical for test-and-measurement applications.

"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, Peregrine's vice president of marketing. "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."

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