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Peregrine BSOS RF Chip in Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE-A – That’s SOI!

Peregrine has announced that the company’s new UltraCMOS antenna switch is driving RF performance in the Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE-A smartphone.

UltraCMOS technology is an advanced RF SOI process leveraging bonded silicon-on-sapphire (BSOS) substrates from Soitec. The new dual SP7T Multiswitch in the Samsung leverages Peregrine’s latest version of its UltraCMOS® process technologySTeP8 for RF Front End ICs.

The PE421280 MultiSwitch solves complex carrier aggregation challenges, says Peregrine. Samsung chose it for its ability to support simultaneous multi-band operation of up to 14 frequency bands while delivering exceptional linearity, insertion loss performance and small size.

With Peregrine Semi’s main antenna switch on BSOS substrates from Soitec, the Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE-A smartphone can support 14 frequency bands simultaneously, for a three-fold improvement in download times. (Image courtesy Samsung)

The Samsung Galaxy S4 marks the first implementation on the 4G LTE-A network. The LTE-A protocol uses carrier aggregation – or the simultaneous reception of multiple frequency bands – to improve data throughput. According to Samsung, a three-minute download over 4G LTE would only take about one minute on 4G LTE-A.

“The data throughput enabled by LTE-A dramatically improves the wireless experience, and we are pleased to support a leader like Samsung in delivering this technology to consumers,” said Jim Cable, CEO of Peregrine Semiconductor. “Peregrine’s MultiSwitch devices are designed specifically to solve the challenges of carrier aggregation as used in LTE-A platforms. Based on our UltraCMOS technology, the devices feature not only the linearity required for simultaneous, multi-band switching performance, but also the integration, low power, and manufacturability required of high-volume consumer applications.”

(Image courtesy Peregrine Semiconductor)

High linearity and isolation performance are critical to ensure that radio signals don’t spill into other bands during multi-band operation.

As you may have seen in the ASN Buzz in recent months, this announcement about the Samsung phone is latest in a steady stream of product announcements and design wins (others include LG and Pantech) from Peregrine leveraging the latest UltraCMOS technology.

Another recent announcement concerns the PE42423 RF Switch, which the company says is the highest isolation, carrier-grade Wi-Fi switch, delivering delivers 50 times more isolation and 10 times better linearity for 802.11ac Wi-Fi access points.

If you’d like to understand more of the technology details, Peregrine did an excellent article for ASN last spring, clearly explaining the use of sapphire as a highly insulating substrate for RF SOI CMOS processing. As stated there, “Peregrine Semiconductor’s UltraCMOS technology involves combining silicon with the highly-insulating substrate without incurring major defects, resulting in a highly-manufacturable semiconductor process. This process can be implemented in any standard CMOS foundry, leveraging existing CMOS capacity and avoiding substantial investment.”

The UltraCMOS process, an advanced form of RF SOI technology, can be implemented in any standard CMOS foundry. (Image courtesy Peregrine Semiconductor)

The article concludes, “STeP10 devices are currently in laboratory evaluation and the results look promising to follow this path, with no foreseen limits to advancing the technology further. ”

That’s SOI in action!

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