Peregrine Semiconductor, a fabless supplier of high-performance radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs), has announced at this year”s Mobile World Congress, that it has expanded its DuNe Digitally Tunable Capacitor (DTC) product line with six second-generation devices for antenna tuning in 4G LTE smartphones.
The PE623060, PE623070, PE623090 (PE6230x0) DTCs have a capacitance range of 0.6–7.7 pF, and support main antenna power handling of up to +34 dBm. The PE621010, PE621010 and PE621020 (PE6210x0) DTCs have a capacitance range of 1.38 to 14.0 pF and have been designed to optimise power handling of up to +26 dBm, making them suited for diversity antennas.
All of the new DTCs are manufactured on Peregrine’s UltaCMOS technology process, with HaRP technology enhancements that enable the devices to meet the challenging harmonic and linearity requirements of LTE. The highly-versatile devices support a wide variety of tuning circuit topologies, with an emphasis on impedance matching and aperture-tuning applications.
“Smartphones are now required to support a subset of the more than 40 different LTE frequency bands, as well as MIMO, and carrier aggregation,” said Dylan Kelly, vice president of Peregrine Semiconductor’s Mobile Wireless Solutions business unit. “To keep up, these devices now contain multiple antennas, making it difficult to keep the end device thin and slim. Tuning the antenna solution with DuNE DTCs enables the system to support multiple bands, while at the same time reducing antenna size, and providing optimal RF performance.”
The new product families enable designers to develop smaller, higher-performing antennas. Antenna tuning functions, including bias generation, integrated RF filtering and bypassing, control interface, and ESD protection of 2 kV HBM, are incorporated into a slim, 2 mm x 2 mm x 0.55 mm package. All decoding and biasing are integrated on-chip, and no external bypassing or filtering components are required. The devices offer superior tuning accuracy, quality factor, linear step size, and tuning ratio, combined with excellent power handling and temperature stability. They are controlled through the widely-supported 3-wire (SPI-compatible) interface and are easy to incorporate into the RF Front-End design. The DTCs provide a monolithically-integrated antenna-tuning solution that improves Total Radiated Power (TRP), with direct battery voltage operation, enabling a more efficient smartphone with extended battery life.
The PE6230x0 DTCs have been optimised for key cellular frequency bands from 700 to 2,700 MHz, featuring direct battery voltage operation with consistent performance enabled by on-chip voltage regulation. They have IIP3 of >+70 dBm at 50 Ohm, and exceptional harmonic performance of 2fo/3fo = -40/-50 dBm @ 34 dBm RF (900 MHz), and 32 dBm RF (1900 MHz). The 5-bit, 32-state PE623060/70/80 DTCs have a capacitance range of 0.9 to 4.6 pF (5.1:1 tuning ratio) in discrete 119 fF steps; 0.85 to 2.4 pF (2.82:1 tuning ratio) in discrete 50 fF steps; and 2.15–7.7 pF (3.6:1 tuning ratio) in discrete 180 fF steps, respectively. The 4-bit, 16-state PE623090 DTC has a capacitance range of 0.6 to 2.35 pF (3.9:1 tuning ratio) in discrete 117 fF steps. The lower minimum capacitance of the PE623090 DTC solves a critical problem in high-frequency tuning.
The 5-bit, 32-state PE6210x0 DTCs support the 100 to 3,000 MHz frequency range. These DTCs extend the range of diversity antennas and improve data rates by optimizing the antenna performance at the operating frequency. The PE621010 DTC has a capacitance range of 1.38 – 5.90 pF (4.3:1 tuning ratio) in discrete 146 fF steps; the PE621020 of 1.88 – 14.0 pF (7.4:1 tuning ratio) in discrete 391 fF steps.
Peregrine also unveiled the PE6230x0 and PE6210x0 Evaluation Kits, to help designers get started using the new DTCs in their applications. The kits include an interface board and USB cable to enable quick evaluation, prototyping, and debugging via simple-to-use Graphical User Interface (GUI)-based control software.