Last evening I attended TriQuint’s customer presentation on their new TQP15 process, which was conveniently held at the hotel where I am staying. Enjoying the relaxed atmosphere, wine and canapés were two dozen or so representatives of MMIC design houses such as Plextek and Roke Manor, journalist, investors and other interested parties. Following the meet and greet with various TriQuint foundry management and marketing folks, the event centered around a presentation by Corey Nevers and Ed Knapp on the technical aspects and targeted applications of the new process. This presentation was followed by an informative Q&A session with attendees.
TQP15 is based on TriQuint’s well-established Pseudomorphic High Electron Mobility Transistor (pHEMT) process portfolio and represents both and evolutionary step in their technical development as well as stable technology built on well-established process techniques. This is the best of both worlds – new capabilities based on trusted and proven tools. At the heart of the processing breakthrough that supports the 0.15um gates is the TQP15 utilization of optical lithography (based on their i-line stepper) to reduce cost when compared to traditional E-beam based solutions. The process also incorporates refractory gate metal architecture which does not exhibit the standard metal gate sinking failure mechanism of non-refractory gate pHEMT processes. The TQP15 is targeting at the Ka-band segment and is designed for cost-effectively building millimeter wave (mmWave) MMICs for applications such as VSAT, satellite communications and point to point radios.
TQP15 offers an economical high-frequency pHEMT process designed for high volume runs. The company claims to have already produced thousands of wafers. The company has successfully used TQP15 for high efficiency amplifiers and control functions up to K-band frequencies, and look forward to using this process to grow our product portfolio through Ka band. Performance highlights include a power density of 740 mw/mm at 24 GHz with over 50% PAE, which hit a maximum at P1db rather than the typical 3 db into compression. This means optimum PAE can be achieved at lower drive levels than most common PHEMT devices. They demonstrated 10 db MSG as well as usable gain up to 50 db.
The transistors have a 14 v breakdown, Idss of 380 mw/mm, noise figure of 0.6 db at 15 GHZ (and low sensitivity between source matching impedance and optimum noise figure), Of note for reference designs was a 40 GHz 3 stage power amplifier developed as a demonstration of capabilities. Adding TQP15 solidifies Triquint position as a technology leader of HBT, E-beam and optical pHEMT technologies. Together with their other fully released optical pHEMT technologies, TQPED and TQP13-N, and the soon to be released TQP25 process, TriQuint is focused on enabling the commercialization of mmWave markets, said Mike Peters, Director of Marketing for Commercial Foundry at TriQuint. This was certainly believable from the information presented and positive audience reaction.