Texas Instruments Announces Revolutionary Manufacturing Process Enabling Faster, Quieter Analog and Mixed-Signal Integrated Circuits

7/30/2002 - Extending its leadership in high-performance analog and mixed-signal technology, Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE: TXN) announced today a new silicon-germanium (SiGe) complementary bipolar-CMOS manufacturing process that increases speeds up to 3X over other currently available complementary bipolar processes. The new SiGe process is the industry´s first to integrate both NPN- and PNP-type bipolar transistors. This achievement enables a 3X speed increase and a 50 percent noise reduction for operational amplifiers and other high-performance mixed signal products. Designers of high-performance systems such as wireless infrastructure, test and measurement, medical imaging and others will benefit from the faster speeds, lower distortion, wider dynamic range and higher levels of integration offered by the new technology.

"The BiCom-III process and other new analog processes in development demonstrate TI's commitment to the high performance analog business. BiCom-III gives our engineers the ability to create an awesome array of high performance products - products that customers want, but can't currently get," said Gregg Lowe, senior vice president for TI's high-performance analog business. "This technology, and the ensuing products which will spring from it, strengthens TI's position in the high-performance analog market."

Designers Benefit From Higher Speeds, Less Noise
Faster speed and lower noise and distortion in BiCom-III transistors will benefit a number of high-performance applications. In high-speed wireless systems such as telephone base stations, LANs and data transfer stations, these features will enable more channels with wider bandwidth and greater accuracy in less space. Greater dynamic range will eliminate intermediate frequency stages, enabling customers to simplify design while saving power and cost. Semiconductor test equipment using BiCom-III products will be fast enough to keep pace with future generations of high-performance devices under development. Medical imaging will profit from greater dynamic range, and other applications such as cable modems and hard disk drive preamps will also benefit.

The combination of SOI (Silicon On Insulator); deep trench isolation; complementary SiGe bipolar, state of the art 5V CMOS transistors, resistors and capacitors in BiCom-III has provided chip designers with a set of high-performance, high-precision components that can be modularly optimized for a wide range of new product designs.

The new BiCom-III process focuses TI's state-of-the-art analog manufacturing technology on the future needs of high-performance systems. TI is the first company to develop complementary NPN and PNP transistors that take advantage of the exceptionally high speeds of SiGe. The 0.4-micron emitter NPNs and PNPs are rated with a gain-linearity characteristic of 30,000 volts and 10,000 volts, respectively. As a result of TI's development breakthrough with SiGe PNPs, devices based on the BiCom-III process can operate much faster over wider ranges with greater precision. For the first time, it will be possible to develop analog components that operate at 100 megahertz (MHz) with a distortion level of -100 decibels (dB).

Higher Levels of Integration Expand TI Product Capabilities
The BiCom-III process allows 0.5-micron CMOS transistors for adding digital functions, as well as precision resistors and capacitors to support a high degree of integration at the system level. The combination of bipolar, CMOS and passive components will enable TI product development teams to use the new process for building extremely fast, high-resolution operational amplifiers and mixed-signal ASICs that could not have been created previously. With BiCom-III and other new analog process developments, TI can extend the scope of its analog and mixed-signal offerings to new levels of integration and performance for years to come.

BiCom-III Products in Development
Now TI´s new BiCom-III process will be used for the manufacture of new voltage feedback operational amplifiers and variable gain operational amplifiers that feature a 2X performance increase over the top-rated competitive products. Other products based on the process are also in development, with samples planned for upcoming months.

The BiCom-III process, developed in TI facilities in Freising, Germany, with contributions from a worldwide TI engineering team, is scheduled for final qualification in third quarter, 2002. Volume manufacturing of BiCom-III products on 200 mm wafers is scheduled by the end of 2002.

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