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Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation Introduces SOI Process with Low Noise Figure for Low-Noise RF Amplifiers for Smartphones

January 26, 2018
Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation

TOKYO-Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation today announced the development of “TaRF10,” a next generation TarfSOI(Toshiba advanced RF SOI[1]) process optimized for low-noise amplifiers (LNAs) in smartphone applications.

In recent years, the increasing speed of mobile data communication has expanded use of RF switches and filters in the analog front end of mobile devices. The resulting increase in signal loss between antenna and receiver circuit has degraded receiver sensitivity, and focused attention on LNAs with a low noise figure[2] (NF) as a means to compensate for signal loss and improve the integrity of the received signal.

Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage has used its new TaRF10 process to develop a prototype LNA with an outstanding noise figure of 0.72dB and a gain[3] of 16.9dB at a frequency of 1.8GHz.

Mobile devices use many RF switches and LNAs in the receiver circuit, generating a need to reduce circuit size in order to reduce board area utilization. Current LNAs typically use silicon-germanium-carbon (SiGe:C) bipolar transistors, and it has been difficult to integrate LNAs and RF switches fabricated with different processes on the same chip.

The new TaRF10 process can integrate LNAs, control circuits and RF switches on a single chip, as it is highly compatible with the TaRF8 and TaRF9 processes for RF switches, which secure outstanding RF characteristics. TaRF9 realizes lower insertion loss and signal distortion than TaRF8. Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage now plans to bring to market LNAs with integrated RF switches.

Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage has developed RF ICs utilizing its subsidiary, Japan Semiconductor Corporation to apply the latest SOI-CMOS technology, and by handling all aspects of the production flow, from RF process technology development to the design and manufacturing, secured a rapid products launch.

To meet next-generation market requirements for 5G smartphones, the company will continue to further improve the characteristics of the TarfSOI process and develop RF ICs with cutting-edge technology.

Fig.1. Appearance of LNA fabricated with TaRF10
Fig.1. Appearance of LNA fabricated with TaRF10

Fig.2. Functional block diagram of LNA
Fig.2. Functional block diagram of LNA

Table 1. Main Specifications of LNA

Mode LNA applying TaRF 10 process Unit
Chip Size - 0.70×0.43 Mm
Frequency - 1.8 GHz
Supply Voltage - 1.8 V
Supply Current Gain mode 7.4 mA
Bypass mode 50 μA
Control Voltage Gain mode 1.8 V
Bypass mode 0 V
Gain Gain mode 16.9 dB
Bypass mode -1.6 dB
NF Gain mode 0.72 dB
Return Loss (In) Gain mode 8.4 dB
Return Loss (Out) Gain mode 12.1 dB
Reverse Isolation Gain mode 26.5 dB
IP1dB Gain mode -8.9 dBm
IIP3 Gain mode 4.3 dBm

Notes:

[1] TarfSOI (Toshiba advanced RF SOI): Toshiba’s unique SOI-CMOS (silicon-on-insulator-complementary metal oxide semiconductor) front-end process

[2] Noise figure: the ratio of signal-to-noise ratio at the output to that at the input. The lower the noise figure, the lower the amplifier self-noise is and therefore the better.

[3] Gain: the ratio of the output power of an amplifier to its input power in dB

* Company names, product names, and service names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective companies.

Customer inquiries:

Small Signal Device Sales & Marketing Department
Tel: +81-3-3457-3411
https://toshiba.semicon-storage.com/ap-en/contact.html

*Information in this document, including product prices and specifications, content of services and contact information, is current on the date of the announcement but is subject to change without prior notice.

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