Another RF-SOI solution is making headlines. Leveraging SOI, Toshiba has announced an SP10T RF antenna switch for the smartphone market. The company says it achieves the industry’s lowest insertion loss and smallest size.
The company credits its new generation TaRF5 process, the latest in its line of Toshiba-original TarfSOI™ (Toshiba advanced RF SOI) processes. The new TaRF5 process delivers approximately 25% lower insertion loss (at 2.7 GHz) and approximately 40% size reduction (for SP10T), compared to the comparable devices fabricated with the TaRF3 process.
Sample shipments of the SP10T (which stands for Single Pole Ten Throw Switch) have now started.
The TarfSOI™ process was first developed in 2009. The SOI advantage, says Toshiba, is the insulating film under the channel of the MOSFET, reducing stray capacity to improve speed and power saving of the CMOS LSI. The latest improvements can lead to longer battery operating time and smaller mounting space, which can also contribute to smaller sizes for products in which they are used, says the company.
Since the first TarfSOI generation, Toshiba has been continually developing new generation processes and devices offering improved performance. The company explains that RF antenna switch requirements for the current LTE and next-gen LTE-Advanced are leaning towards multi-port and complex functions. That’s why, to meet those market demands, Toshiba plans to continue to develop products with low insertion loss and smaller sizes.
SOI for front-end RF solutions is rapidly gaining ground throughout the industry. In recent months, announcements have been made by Peregine, Magnachip, ST, IBM, TowerJazz, Skyworks, Grace Semi and RDA in China, and more. In fact, industry research firm Yole Développement recently found that more than 65 percent of substrates used in fabricating switches for handsets are SOI based. And the SOI wafer leader Soitec has said that chips built on its SOI wafers were found in over half of the smartphones and tablets in the market worldwide. This shows the massive adoption of RF-SOI for this part of the market, which is experiencing double-digit growth. Who’s next?