Imec and Renesas pioneer high-performance RF solutions in 28nm CMOS technology

Imec and Renesas Electronics Corporation, a supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, unveiled the world’s first multi-standard radio frequency (RF) receiver in 28nm CMOS technology, and a 28nm analog-to-digital converter (ADC) targeting wide-bandwidth standards such as LTE-advanced and next-generation WiFi. The companies released this new development at this week’s VLSI circuits Symposium in Kyoto, Japan.

Imec specializes in developing reconfigurable RF solutions, high-speed/low-power ADCs and new approaches to digitize future RF architectures and minimize antenna interface requirements. The company combines innovative design with advanced chip technology (28nm and beyond) to develop small, low-cost, energy-efficient RF solutions with competitive performance. Imec aims at developing solutions that cover all key broadband communication standards including emerging cellular and connectivity standards such as LTE advanced and next-generation WiFi.

The 28nm receiver is a linear software-defined radio (SDR) operating from 400MHz up to 6GHz and supporting reconfigurable RF channel bandwidths up to 100MHz. Through novel design and architecture techniques, the receiver operates at a low standard supply of 0.9V, while maintaining +5dBm of out-of-band IIP3 and tolerating 0dBm blockers.  It achieves noise figures down to 1.8dB, occupies an active area of 0.6mm2, and consumes less than 40mW.

The ADC is a 410MS/s dynamic 11bit pipelined SAR ADC in 28nm CMOS. It achieves a peak Signal-to-Noise Distortion Ratio (SNDR) of 59.8dB at 410MS/s with a power consumption of 2 mW. By combining novel digital calibration techniques with a new ADC architecture, an excellent energy efficiency was achieved. The ADC, including an on-chip calibration engine, occupies an active area of 0.11mm2.

“High-volume consumer devices require advanced chip technology that is cost-effective,” stated Joris Van Driessche, program manager of reconfigurable radios at imec. “Along with our partner, Renesas, we are thrilled to continue to offer innovative solutions to the market. Our 28nm wireless receiver brings the electronics industry closer to the development and adoption of next-generation wireless devices.”

“High level integration and low power are strongly required for recent wireless transceivers. There is every possibility of creating epoch-making architecture for RF and analog cores by using fine CMOS technology,” said Hisayasu Sato, senior manager of 2nd Analog Core Development Department, Core Technology Business Division, 1st Solution Business Unit, Renesas Electronics Corporation. “Through the collaboration with imec, we have been developing cutting-edge technologies. We continue to supply competitive IP cores and solutions to our customers.”

28nm CMOS technology

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