Friday, March 12, 2010

ADI Poised for Growth – RF and Converters Emphasized

I attended the Analog Devices (ADI) Analyst’s Day on Thurs and discovered how much they are going to focus on RF technologies and leverage their expertise in the converter market, where they are dominant (44% market share/ $1.1 B in sales), to expand their RF business in the transmit/receive chains. They currently have RF sales of about $200 M from a total available market of about $8 B if you exclude handsets. They are targeting high performance, high margin markets so they are not aiming for the handset or WLAN markets which are more commodity oriented. They have products covering the entire T/R chain but are not widely known outside the converter, modulators and PLL/VCO/Synthesizer markets from what I have seen but they expect to change that.

I was surprised to learn that the Barry Gilbert who invented the Gilbert Cell mixer works at ADI and still leads their development efforts in that area. The also emphasized their expertise in fast hoping PLL synthesizers and RMS detectors along with variable gain amplifiers. They recently released (ADRF670x and ADRF660x) a transmit modulator and receiver down converter that integrate many functions onto a single chip for high performance infrastructure applications. They expect strong RF growth in the medical, wireless infrastructure and building automation (smart grids, security, etc.) markets and they expect to grow at over 15% in the RF market going forward. It is good to see companies expecting large growth this year in the RF market.

Monday, March 8, 2010

First Junctionless Transistor Fabricated

A team of scientists at the Tyndall National Institute have designed and fabricated the world's first junctionless transistor that could revolutionize IC chip manufacturing. Existing ICs are based on junctions which turn the current off and on to control the device but in the junctionless Tyndall device, the current flows in a very thin silicon wire and the flow of current is controlled by a ring structure that electrically squeezes the silicon wire to control the current. These devices are easier to fabricate and can be made on a smaller scale than current junction devices which seem to be nearing their limit for miniaturization. The junctionless devices also act more like a perfect transistor so they have less leakage current and could reduce power consumption.

I wonder how a RF junctionless transistor would behave. Any insights or thoughts?