Why RF CMOS?

Recently, mobile wireless communication systems have become one of the biggest drivers in the demand for semiconductor products. Today, major wireless technologies, such as cellular, cordless, GPS, and ISM systems need further innovations in application technologies to expand their market. For example, the military market of the 1980s was based on the high performance III-V compounds or very expensive semiconductor technologies, but these techniques ultimately had to be replaced with BiCMOS or Bipolar process in order to meet the cost requirement associated with the cellular market place. As portable wireless communications such as digital cellularphones and PDAs become a part of our lives, the need for highly integrated receivers/transceivers with lower cost becomes even more important. Another price-sensitive technology, Bluetooth, a recent major innovation, also needs very low cost fabrication processes to survive. For these types of high-frequency RF technologies, BiCMOS and Bipolar technologies are often preferred with their good RF performance and high-yield fabrication processes. Still these processes are high-cost and limited in implementing further integration of combing RF front-end and baseband digital parts on a single chip or SoC (system-on-a-chip). In order to implement a single chip radio or SoC which realize both low cost and high performance integration, CMOS technology has evolved supporting RF ICs through advanced RF engineering design.

CMOS has been known to be relatively slow and to consume very little power. Today, those disadvantages of CMOS have being improved by scaling down gate sizes to as low as 0.13um. This can provide continuous improvements in the functional performance of RF devices built with RFCMOS technology.

RFCMOS is the most cost-effective solution which can be realized by higher integration density, higher speed performance, and larger wafer sizes. RFCMOS satisfies the market demands for low cost, low power consumption, and high integration wireless applications of 1-3GHz bands today. That is why RFCMOS technology is becoming a vehicle for the implementation of future wireless communication technologies. Eventually, RFCMOS will be the most common solution for SoCs.

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