STMicroelectronics says its new manufacturing process, known as H9SOI_FEM, allows production of complete integrated front-end modules. This process is an evolution of the H9SOI SOI process, a groundbreaking technology introduced by ST in 2008 and subsequently used by customers to produce more than 400 million RF switches for mobile phones and Wi-Fi applications. Building on that experience, ST has optimized H9SOI for creating integrated front-end modules, resulting in today’s announcement of H9SOI_FEM offering the industry’s best figure of merit for antenna switch and antenna tuning devices with Ron x Coff at 207fs2 . ST has also invested to ensure suitable manufacturing capacity for even the most demanding of customers. The new process greatly reduces size of multi-band radios for 4G and other high-speed wireless connections.
The H9SOI_FEM process is a 0.13µm technology with dual-gate 1.2V and 2.5V MOSFETs. Unlike conventional SOI processes, such as those used for discrete devices like RF switches, H9SOI_FEM supports multiple technologies such as GO1 MOS, GO2 MOS, and optimized NLDMOS. This allows H9SOI_FEM to support full monolithic integration of all key functions of an RF front end, which comprise RF switches, Low Noise Amplifier (LNA), multi-mode multi-band cellular Power Amplifiers (PAs), diplexers, RF coupling, antenna tuning and RF energy-management functions.
H9SOI_FEM is suitable both for devices targeting the low end of the market, where low cost and extensive integration are crucial, as well as the high-end smartphone segment. High-end products typically require a combination of many frequency bands to support not only 2G, 3G and 4G standards, but also various other wireless connectivity standards such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and NFC (Near-Field Communication) for contactless payments.