12/18/2002 - RF Micro Devices, Inc. (Nasdaq: RFMD), a leading provider of proprietary radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) for wireless communications applications, announced the availability of five linear power amplifier (PA) modules for use in code division multiple access (CDMA) wireless handsets and other handheld systems.
The 4 mm x 4 mm PA modules obtain superior efficiency and linearity and are manufactured on a new, next-generation gallium arsenide (GaAs) heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) process technology developed by RF Micro Devices.
Each PA module in the family features 50 ohm input and output matching and is designed to be compliant with CDMA IS-95, CDMA2000 1x and CDMA2000 1x EV-DO air interface standards. The family of PA modules offers multiple voltage reference (V REF) and output power options to accommodate existing and next-generation CDMA baseband chip sets. Additionally, the RF6100-4 PCS PA module (see table on page 2) has been optimized to deliver an industry-leading 29 dBm of output power to accommodate additional functions, such as global positioning system (GPS), and enable the use of lower cost or smaller size duplexer alternatives.
"The RF6100 family of PA modules provides cost-effective, high-performance, integrated solutions for next-generation handsets," said Bob Bruggeworth, president of RF Micro Devices. "The 4 mm x 4 mm form factor is the smallest available for CDMA PA modules, and the performance of our advanced, next-generation GaAs HBT process technology enables new industry benchmarks for efficiency and linearity, both of which are increasingly important in today's feature-rich wireless devices. The PA modules operate at between 38- and 40-percent power added efficiency (PAE) and meet critical system parameters across temperature and voltage conditions. Additionally, the RF6100 series is designed to reduce the need for external components and integrates more functionality onto the semiconductor die, which leverages our core competencies in semiconductor process technologies. We have already experienced significant design activity with the leading CDMA phone manufacturers, and we believe the competitive benefits of our solutions position us well for continued market share gains."
William J. Pratt, chief technical officer and co-founder of RF Micro Devices, said, "These modules reflect our breakthrough product design and semiconductor process capabilities. The RF6100 series integrates much of the PA module's functionality onto the GaAs die, which increases RFMD's content as a percentage of the total bill of materials. By comparison, most current-generation PA modules contain numerous external components that add cost and supply line complexity and decrease the value of the product offering. Additionally, these products are manufactured using our advanced GaAs HBT process, which we believe offers the best combination of performance, reliability and low cost. These products represent the beginning of a new wave of next-generation, highly integrated PA modules that will extend across all major air interface standards and provide our customers better performance and greater value."
The integration of multiple passive components on the GaAs HBT die enables the use of two-layer laminate technology that features a single dielectric layer and costs less than both the four-layer laminate and multi-layer LTCC technologies used in most PA modules. By reducing discrete component count and product complexity, the integrated passive component (IPC) design architecture helps to lower costs and improve yields, while also increasing the semiconductor content of the device, which helps to increase capacity utilization. These benefits are expected to contribute to gross margin improvement as next-generation modules ramp and become a greater percentage of module sales.
GaAs HBT Optimized For Next-Generation Devices
RF Micro Devices' GaAs HBT process has been optimized to address the higher data rate requirements of next-generation air interface standards, such as CDMA2000 1x EV-DO and WCDMA. This advanced process technology features lower current variation across temperature and improves the efficiency of power amplifiers for all air interface standards. It also delivers improved gain per stage, which improves efficiency and performance in high-band air interface standards, such as CDMA, WCDMA, DCS and PCS. Additionally, RFMD's next-generation GaAs HBT provides for more rugged power amplifiers by delivering higher breakdown voltages and enables reductions in component count and package size through higher levels of on-die integration. RFMD's next-generation GaAs HBT process benefits from the superior reliability of its current generation GaAs HBT process and is fabricated using the same high-volume manufacturing infrastructure.
RF Micro Devices, Inc., an ISO 9001-certified manufacturer, designs, develops, manufactures and markets proprietary radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) primarily for wireless communications products and applications such as cellular and PCS phones, base stations, wireless LANs, and cable television modems. The Company offers a broad array of products - including amplifiers, mixers, modulators/demodulators, and single-chip receivers, transmitters and transceivers - representing a substantial majority of the RFICs required in wireless subscriber equipment. The Company's strategy is to focus on wireless markets by offering a broad range of standard and custom-designed RFICs in order to position itself as a "one-stop" solution for its customers' RFIC needs. RF Micro Devices, Inc. is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol RFMD.
RF MICRO DEVICES(R) and RFMD(R) are trademarks of RFMD, LLC.
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