In 2008, Infineon Technologies AG started the volume production of its first bulk-CMOS radio frequency (RF) switch. Then, in the dawn of 5G era, Infineon’s well-engineered portfolio and products have received an unprecedented welcome from innovators in wireless markets across the world. By now, the company reached a yearly run-rate far above one billion and a cumulated number of five billion radio frequency bulk-CMOS switch shipments to its valued customers.
“With its proven expertise and legacy in semiconductor manufacturing, Infineon became a preferred partner of all original equipment and design manufacturers and chipset distributors,” said Philipp von Schierstaedt, vice president and general manager for Radio Frequency Systems at Infineon. “The overwhelming market acceptance underlines our radio frequency front-end system understanding, our technical strength, superb quality and supply assurance interwoven into Infineon’s production strategies.”
Bulk-CMOS offers multiple product integration advantages. Since the introduction of “solid-state” in the 1960s, design technologies for RF switches fall into two categories: electromechanical switches (MEMS) and solid-state switches. Low switching speed, weak repeatability and reliability of MEMS exclude itself automatically from being an ideal candidate for 5G applications.
In the meanwhile, scientific efforts have furthered solid-state with several technology options. In comparison with gallium arsenide and gallium nitride, transistor-to-transistor logic based on bulk-CMOS manifested best integration capability. This ultimately enables space-constrained designs on printed circuit boards. Unlike other alternatives, bulk-CMOS requires neither extra oxide layer, nor different materials as part of wafer processing, which implies direct economic benefit.
The advent of the 5G telecommunication is placing ambitious challenges on an array of technical parameters in the hands of OEMs and OMDs besides the ever accelerating pace of the industry overall. Infineon is about to develop more products that foster RF-designers’ ambitions.
The industry-leading electrical performance is proven by available samples of the next-generation bulk-CMOS RF switches, the new antenna swapping devices BGSX22G5A10 and BGSX33MA16. Volume production will start in late summer 2018, guaranteeing continued supply of RF switches.