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Peregrine integrates RF, digital, analogue in single device

09 Oct 2014

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Peregrine Semiconductor Corp. has extended its line-up of integrated products into DC and X-band frequencies. The True DC switch and an X-band core chip, built on Peregrine's UltraCMOS technology, integrate RF, digital and analogue components onto a single chip.

While integration has traditionally offered high-volume markets the benefit of lower cost, Peregrine uses intelligent integration to offer performance advantages in high-performance markets, the company noted. Peregrine also said its integrated products offer benefits such as configurability, flexibility, reliability, repeatability, ease-of-use, a reduced form factor and enhanced performance.

At the lower end of the frequency spectrum, Peregrine sets a new standard with the industry's first and only RF integrated switch to achieve true DC capability. With a wide frequency range from zero to 8000MHz, the UltraCMOS True DC switch (PE42020) effectively operates in a previously unobtainable portion of the frequency spectrum. This frequency expansion is paramount to markets that rely on accuracy and precision, such as test and measurement. The True DC SPDT switch features high power handling, 30dBm at 0Hz and 36dBm at 8GHz, and maintains excellent RF performance and linearity from DC through 8000MHz. Moreover, it can switch DC and AC peak voltages in the range of 10V to -10V at currents of up to 80mA, a first for this kind of product, boasted Peregrine.

On a single chip, the True DC switch integrates multiple functions that include RF: high-performance switching, analogue: DC tracking, and digital: control logic and impedance control (50Ω absorptive or open reflective).

Another unique advantage of the True DC switch is efficient switching time. While low-frequency operation typically requires a slow switching time, the True DC switch uses advanced circuitry to remove this dependence, resulting in a 10ms switching time, and a 15ms settling time which is critical for test-and-measurement applications.

The PE42020 features high-linearity (IIP3) performance of 63dBm, and high port-to-port isolation of 37dB at 6GHz. It supports standard 1.8V and 3.3V control logic and operates over a temperature range of -40°C to 85°C. The True DC switch also supports 1kV HBM ESD tolerance and is supplied in a compact 20-lead 4 x 4mm QFN plastic package.

Sampling now and shipping in early 2015, the pioneering True DC switch (PE42020) is poised to replace problematic mechanical relays and MEMS switches in the test-and-measurement market.

At the higher end of the frequency spectrum, Peregrine introduces the industry's first integrated X-band, CMOS core chip to use MMIC design techniques, enabling highly accurate signal control with minimal power loss. MMIC design techniques, such as Lange couplers, have only been used by III-V technologies. The use of these passive techniques on silicon has always presented a challenge due to silicon's lossy nature at higher frequencies. Peregrine solves this challenge by using an UltraCMOS sapphire substrate, a near-perfect insulating substrate that naturally lends itself to integration, the company stated. With this X-band core chip, Peregrine combines standard CMOS design with passive MMIC circuitry for a truly intelligent approach to integration at microwave frequencies: a 7bit digital phase shifter, a 7bit digital step attenuator, high isolation signal-path switching and a compact digital serial interface control with true CMOS compatibility.

The X-band segment of the frequency spectrum is used by many modern satellite and radar systems, including synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and phased-array radar. Applications include weather monitoring, air traffic control, defence tracking and earth observation. Peregrine's integrated chips claim to offer a significantly reduced form factor delivering a distinct advantage within these systems that are tightly packaged within a small physical area. Additionally, Peregrine's UltraCMOS technology provides the high degree of reliability demanded by these critical applications.

Sampling in early 2015, this X-band core chip delivers the fine resolution and degree of control that is critical for radar applications. The chip offers a maximum power handling of 18dBm from 9-10.1GHz and covers 31.75dB attenuation range in 0.25dB steps. The phase shifter offers 358 degrees of phase range with a resolution of seven degrees. It maintains high attenuation and phase accuracy over frequency and temperature and exhibits low power consumption, added the company.

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