GaN Versus Silicon For 5G


The global race to launch 5G mmWave frequencies could provide a long-anticipated market opportunity for gallium nitride (GaN) as an alternative to silicon. GaN is more power-efficient than silicon for 5G RF. In fact, GaN has been the heir apparent to silicon in 5G power amplifiers for years, especially when it comes to mmWave 5G networks. What makes it so attractive is its ability to efficie... » read more

200mm Cools Off, But Not For Long


After years of acute shortages, 200mm fab capacity is finally loosening up, but the supply/demand picture could soon change with several challenges on the horizon. 200mm fabs are older facilities with more mature processes, although they still churn out a multitude of today’s critical chips, such as analog, MEMS, RF and others. From 2016 to 2018, booming demand for these and other chips ca... » read more

Case Study—RF ASIC Validation Of A Satellite Transceiver


ASIC validation in the RF world comes with its own set of hurdles and challenges, with high-quality lab equipment, experience and know-how essential. A recently completed RF sub-system validation at S3 Semiconductors is presented in the form of a case study of the execution. The validation PCB design focussed on impedance matching and shielding RF signals from noise sources. We built up an effi... » read more

The Limits Of Energy Harvesting


Energy harvesting, once considered an inexpensive alternative to low-power design and a way of achieving nearly unlimited power in mobile devices, has settled down to more modest expectations. This approach to generating energy through a variety of means—from solar to motion to ambient RF and even pH differences between soil and trees—has been proven to work. The problem is that it doesn... » read more

5G Heats Up Base Stations


Before 5G can be deployed commercially on a large scale, engineers have to solve some stubborn problems—including how to make a hot technology a whole lot cooler. 5G-capable modem chipsets are already on the market from Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei, MediaTek, Intel and Apple, with some 5G service (LTE-Advanced/LTE-Advanced Pro) available in the U.S. But still mostly missing from the 5G equati... » read more

Gaps In 5G Test


Add one more industry to the long list that analysts expect 5G technology to disrupt—test. While the initial versions of this wireless technology will be little more than a faster version of 4G, concern is growing about exactly how to test the second phase of this technology, which will be based upon millimeter wave. A number of fundamental problems need to be addressed. Among them: T... » read more

VCSEL Technology Takes Off


By Kevin Fogarty and Ed Sperling Vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) technology, a proven but mostly niche technology until recently, is suddenly a very hot commodity thanks to the introduction of facial recognition in phones and other mobile devices. VCELS primarily have been used as a low-cost way of tracking movement and transfering data in computer mice, laser printers and ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Jan. 14


Optical memory Researchers at the University of Oxford, University of Exeter, and University of Münster propose an all-optical memory cell that can store more optical data, 5 bits, in a smaller space than was previously possible on-chip. The optical memory cell uses light to encode information in the phase change material Ge2Sb2Te5. A laser causes the material to change between ordered and... » read more

Consolidating RF Flow for High-Frequency Product Design


Design flows are currently fragmented due to the use of poorly connected EDA tools for various design tasks. Fragmented flows are unable to meet new challenges such as increased system and circuit complexity, stricter bandwidth requirements, smaller device sizes, and changing packaging needs. In this white paper, we look at how the Cadence Virtuoso RF Solution provides a single, well-integrated... » read more

Fundamental Shifts In 2018


What surprised the industry in 2018?  While business has been strong, markets are changing, product categories are shifting and clouds are forming on the horizon. As 2018 comes to a close, most companies are pretty happy with the way everything turned out. Business has been booming, new product categories developing, and profits are meeting or beating market expectations. "2018 was indeed a... » read more

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