UMC unveils 40nm RFSOI platform to accelerate 5G mmWave applications

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Global semiconductor foundry, United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) has announced that its 40nm RFSOI technology platform can now produce mmWave radio frequency (RF) front-end products.

This will make it possible to support the proliferation of 5G wireless networks and applications including smartphones, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) systems, and small cell base stations.

While the majority of today’s 5G networks operates in the sub-8GHz bands, mmWave technology employs a new frequency spectrum between 24GHz and 60GHz, making it possible to deliver much faster transfer speeds, extremely low latency, and more reliable connectivity.

UMC’s new platform, the 40RFSOI, has been optimised for manufacturing RF switches, low noise amplifiers, and power amplifiers capable of handling the wider bandwidth of mmWave frequencies. Balancing the need for more RF components in mmWave modules while keeping the size compact, 40RFSOI is intended for customers who are designing integrated RF chips that combine beamformers, core and passive devices, as well as front-end components on a single IC.

“The full potential of 5G hinges on the mainstream rollout of mmWave to deliver the speed and capacity required for virtual and augmented reality, smart cities, industrial automation, and applications in healthcare. With the introduction of our 40RFSOI platform, UMC expands our RF portfolio to enable our customers to deliver their advanced 5G devices to market and capture opportunities in the growing mmWave market,” explained Raj Verma, Associate Vice President of Technology Development at UMC. “Several customers are currently engaged with us to customize the 40RFSOI process for their RF front-end products, and volume production is expected to start in 2024.”

UMC currently offers comprehensive RF front-end module solutions serving a broad range of applications including mobile, Wi-Fi, automotive, IoT, and satellite communications.

The company’s family of RFSOI solutions ranges from 8-inch to 12-inch wafer manufacturing and since 2014, UMC has had over 400 product tape-outs and more than 35 billion RFSOI chips shipped for various applications.