The aim of the collaboration is to bring together X-FAB’s proficiency in semiconductor manufacture with IHP’s wireless communication expertise.
The IHP is an institute of the Leibniz Association and the European Research and Innovation Center for wireless communication technologies and conducts research and development of silicon-based systems and ultra-high frequency circuits and technologies including new materials.
IHP’s active devices will be directly integrated into the backend of line (BEOL) of X-FAB’s 130 nm XR013 RF-SOI process featuring Cu and thick-Cu based metallization, alongside high-performance passive elements, such as inductors and transformers. This integration will mean that a wide array of next generation wireless systems concepts can be experimented with and developed.
Another focus of the collaboration will be on the development of advanced SiGe BiCMOS technologies - the foundation of which will be IHP’s SiGe heterojunction bipolar transistors. These offer strong performance parameters, with fT/fmax figures of up to 250/340 GHz for SG13S-Cu and up to 300/500 GHz for SG13G2-Cu. The use of 3 µm thick low-loss copper interconnects are seen as helping to boost RF performance levels.
Both companies said that there will be opportunities for the technologies developed by IHP and X-FAB in terms of both optoelectronics and 5G wireless communication systems, as well as for innovative radar implementations.
“SiGe BiCMOS remains an attractive prospect for a number of wireless applications, including 5G, because it enables the integration of high-performance RF on a silicon-based platform. IHP and X-FAB both recognize the huge potential here,” said Dr. Greg U’Ren Director of RF Technology at X-FAB. “The technologies that we are working on are the fruit of a synergistic relationship that leverages the respective strengths of each partner.”
Prof. Gerhard Kahmen Scientific Director at IHP added, “We are very excited to cooperate with X-FAB being one of Europe’s leading semiconductor manufacturers. This partnership enables us to transfer first class research into commercial applications laying ground for next generation high performance RF systems, such as 400G data communication, 60-300 GHz radars and sub-THz imaging.”