Jazz sees growth opportunities for SiGe

LONDON — Jazz Semiconductor Inc. (Newport Beach, Calif.), a subsidiary of foundry chip maker Tower Semiconductor Ltd. (Migdal Haemek, Israel), has announced it is looking to use its silicon-germanium BiCMOS technology to replace GaAs components in millimeter wave and cell phone applications.

Jazz claimed that its process technology includes a SiGe transistor that operates at up to 200-GHz as well as noise and power performance that is competitive with GaAs while offering as much as 40 percent lower die cost. Also included are CMOS options to enable mixed-signal and digital functions on the same chip further reducing cost of the complete system.

The combined millimeter wave and front-end mobile market is estimated to grow from $400 million in 2009 to over $750 million in 2012, a compound annual growth rate of over 23 percent, Jazz referenced Strategy Analytics as saying. Other opportunities lie in such applications as automotive collision avoidance, phased-array radar, and HDTV wireless distribution.

To facilitate the transition from GaAs to SiGe-based designs, Jazz has partnered with Agilent to provide a SiGe design kit that works with Agilent's ADS (Advanced Design System) EDA software for GaAs-based products targeting applications up to and beyond 60- to 77-GHz.

“We continue to see migration of GaAs products into SiGe as an exciting growth opportunity for our technology. This transition is largely complete in optical front-end components but just beginning in cellular phone front-ends and millimeter-wave applications,” said Marco Racanelli, a senior vice president at Jazz, in a statement.

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