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- Widely used in mobile phones and wireless devices.
- Low-cost one-chip alternative to discrete PLL and VCOs solution.
- With STMicroelectronics advanced 0.3µm SIGE process.
- Featuring low phase noise performance and noise floor of -155 DBC/Hz.
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Professional RF Integrated Circuit Supplier - Rantle East Electronic
RANTLE RF Integrated Circuit are widely used in mobile phones and wireless devices. RF Integrated Circuit are analog circuit that usually run in the frequency range of 3 kHz to 2.4 GHz. It works at about 1 THz (1 trillion hertz) being in development. It also run in the 2- to 100- GHz range, or microwave frequencies, and are used in radar systems, in satellite communications, and as power amplifier for cellular telephones.
RANTLE offers many parts of RF Integrated Circuit with voltage-controlled oscillators. Showing high performance, high integration, low power, and multi-band performances. RF Integrated Circuit is a low-cost one-chip alternative to discrete PLL and VCOs solution.
RANTLE RF Integrated Circuit includes an integer-N frequency synthesizer and two fully integrated VCOs featuring low phase noise performance and noise floor of -155 DBC/Hz. It is designed with STMicroelectronics advanced 0.3µm SIGE process.
RANTLE RF integrated Circuit features digital clock detector, programmable charge pump current, 3.3V power supply, and many more. It has dual differential integrated VCOs with automatic center frequency calibration.
RANTLE RF integrated circuit offering dual transmitters and receivers, integrated synthesizers, and digital signal processing functions. The IC delivers a versatile combination of the high performance and low power consumption demanded by 3G and 4G macro cell TDD base station applications.
RANTLE RF integrated circuit offerings provide the broadest capabilities in the industry coupled with deep system design expertise. We can support your designs with complete signal chain capability including RF integrated circuit. Discover the difference of RANTLE can make for your RF integrated circuit designs in communication.
With almost 15 years of distributing electronic components, RANTLE can assures you good quality, high performance, and reliable RF integrated Circuit. If you are interested on our RF integrated circuit, please feel to contact with us. Our friendly and knowledgeable sales team will contact with you immediately.
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RF Integrated Circuit: The Ultimate FAQs Guide
Before you buy RF integrated circuits (ICs), read this guide.
It covers everything from application, operating frequency, components, communication channels, design to testing procedures, amongst others.
By the end of this guide, you’ll definitely be an expert in the RF ICs.
Take a look:
- What is RF Integrated Circuit?
- What are the Applications of RF integrated circuit?
- What are the differences between RFIC and MMIC?
- RFICs operate in which Range of Frequency?
- Which are the main components of Radio Frequency IC?
- Which are the Key Parameters of Inductors that Affect the Design of RF IC?
- Which are the Channels of Communication in RFIC?
- Which are the Multiple Access Techniques used in RFICs?
- What are the Benefits of RFIC?
- Which are the different Technologies in Fabrication of RFIC?
- How does IF Direct Conversion Technology Work in RFIC?
- Which are the RFICs Design Process?
- What are the challenges in Designing RFICs?
- What is the importance of using RFI Absorbing Material in RFICs?
- Which are the Methods of Testing RFI Material?
- Which are the Processes involved in RFICs Packaging?
- Which are the Packages for RF Integrated Circuit?
What is RF Integrated Circuit?
Radio frequency IC
The radio-frequency integrated circuit, usually abbreviated as RFIC is a microchip that relays and accepts radio waves.
They are analog circuitries that normally function in the 3 kHz to 2.4 GHz frequency range.
RFICs are always considered ASICs although it is possible to configure some for various similar applications.
The advancement of smaller, highly power-responsive wireless communication devices has intensified the exponential development of RF integrated circuits.
Extremely integrated radio-frequency modules now fill ICs, substituting the hybrid circuits which utilized discrete semiconductor gadgets.
Consequently, you can find RFICs in applications covering the wireless sphere, spanning from wireless LANs to cellular and every device in between.
What are the Applications of RF integrated circuit?
RFICs are often used in the following devices:
Radio frequency equipment
- Mobile phone
- Bluetooth and GPS devices
- Wi-Fi devices
- Wireless base stations
- wireless routers
- satellite transceivers
- microwave equipment
What are the differences between RFIC and MMIC?
RF Receiver IC
As you already know, RFICs run in a frequency range that is appropriate for wireless transmission.
They function at frequency range down to 3 GHz.
In most cases, the fabrication of RF integrated circuits uses BiCMOS technology.
Commonly abbreviated as MMIC, monolithic microwave IC is a special kind of RFIC.
These circuitries normally operate in the 2-100 GHz frequency range, also known as microwave frequencies.
MMIC finds use in power amplifiers of cell phones, satellite communications, and in radar systems.
MMICs often use gallium arsenide as the semiconductor material since silicon provides excessive resistance for these circuits.
However, GaAs is not mechanically as strong as strong.
It fractures easily, therefore, it is more expensive to fabricate GaAs wafers than silicon types.
RFICs operate in which Range of Frequency?
Radio-frequency ICs extensively find use in wireless devices and cellular phones.
RF integrated circuits are analog circuitry that normally operates in the 3 kHz to 2.4 GHz frequency range.
However, there is work ongoing to develop RFICs with the capacity to run at approximately 1 THz.
The majority of semiconductor circuits functioning beyond 500 MHz result in unusual interference between the electronic modules and their linking paths.
Therefore, designers need to apply special design methods to manage the high-frequency interaction of microelectronic in the RF integrated circuits
Which are the main components of Radio Frequency IC?
An RF integrated circuit is composed of passive components which include:
Components of RF IC
Polysilicon resistors find extensive use in analog and digital CMOS technology presently.
They are highly fit for RF applications since they provide low parasitic capacitance resulting in higher operating frequency.
Capacitors have various roles in RFIC design, consisting of regulating the frequency of operation, bypassing the signals of low frequency to ground, and coupling AC signals.
Most RF integrated circuits use a parallel-plate type of capacitor.
An RF integrated circuit has two types of amplifiers, including a low‐noise amplifier and a power amplifier.
The low-noise amplifier is the most crucial building block for an advanced RFIC.
This is because it has the potential of receiving exceptionally small inbound signals relayed by the front-end antenna.
On the other hand, the power amplifier is among the most critical front-end components of a wireless transceiver in an RF integrated circuit.
It has the primary role of boosting the power of the signal to a specified power level capable of transmitting to the receiver within a required distance.
Essentially, all modern RF applications require oscillators to help in frequency synthesis so as to attain low phase noise and good stability in frequency.
There are two main types of oscillators used in RFIC, namely, negative-resistance oscillators and feedback oscillators.
The role of radio frequency filter in RF integrated circuit is to remove undesired signals, comprising of interferences, signal leakage, image signals, thermal noise, and harmonic distortion.
To convey and receive signals, modern radio frequency integrated circuits apply multiband multimode wireless transceivers.
This type of transceivers is made up of two fundamental parts: a receiver and a transmitter.
The other passive components of RF IC are:
- Modulators and mixers
Which are the Key Parameters of Inductors that Affect the Design of RF IC?
Achieving a high-performance inductor is, nevertheless, among the greatest challenges faced by RF ICs fabricators.
Other than the main target in inductor design, its inductance value L, there are two other variables of the inductor that greatly influence the RFICs design.
These are values of merit specifying how near it is to a perfect inductor.
The self‐resonant frequency specifies the maximal useful frequency of operation of the inductor, while the Q factor defines the on-chip inductor’s loss mechanism.
Even though there are other variables, like maximum power handling, the fsr and Q are the most essential parameters to consider when designing an RFIC inductor.
Which are the Channels of Communication in RFIC?
Computer and telecommunications networking have three types of communication channels. These channels of communication give pathways to transmit information.
· Simplex Mode
In simplex mode, the signal is sent in only one direction.
For instance, a radio station often relay the signal to the listeners but cannot receive transmissions from them.
Fiber optic communication also often apply the simplex channel of communication.
Here one strand transmits the signals while the other receives the signals.
However, this may not always be the case as the fiber strands pair are commonly combined to a single cable.
The advantage of a simplex channel is that you can use it entire bandwidth during the signal transmission.
· Half Duplex Mode
You can transmit signals in either direction on a RFIC though not concurrently.
In principle, it is basically a simplex communication channel that you can switch the direction of transmission.
Using half-duplex mode is advantageous due to the fact the single tracks are less expensive compared to the double tracks.
A type of application of half-duplex mode in RFICs is in the walkie-talkie.
You can use the “push-to-talk” button in the walkie-talkie to switch on the transmitter yet switch off the receiver.
Thus, after pushing the button, it will not be possible to hear the individual you are communicating with but they will hear you.
· Full Duplex
In full-duplex mode, it is possible to transmit signals in either direction simultaneously using a RF integrated circuit.
It is fabricated as a set of simplex links that permit bidirectional concurrent transmission.
For example, it is possible for individuals at both ends of a telephone call to talk and be heard by one another simultaneously.
This is because there exist two channels of communication between them.
Therefore, full duplex mode exceptionally enhance communication efficiency in RFIC systems.
Which are the Multiple Access Techniques used in RFICs?
There exist a number of ways to gain channel access. These comprise of primarily the following techniques:
Radio frequency ICs
· Frequency Division Multiple Access
FDMA is the oldest technique of communication employed in radio broadcasting among other applications.
It starts with a frequencies band that is further split into various narrow frequencies bands.
Also referred to as a channel, each frequency is utilized for full-duplex communication.
This type of multiple access technique maintains communication in both directions, which can be either in the time or frequency domain.
Two basic operating modes known as Time Division Duplex and Frequency Division Duplex govern this communication.
· Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access
This is an upgraded version of FDMA, which places each frequency band at the null of the adjoining frequency band.
Fourier transform controls this by ensuring that the adjoining bands of frequency are orthogonal to one another.
OFDMA method of conveying and receiving signals is a full-duplex communication mechanism.
It maintains a communication links in both directions within the time domain referred to as time division duplex.
· Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA)
TDMA is a technique of transferring and receiving multiple individual signals through a single transmission channel.
Known as a multiplexer, the TDMA placed at the transmit section allocates multiple channels in preset time slots.
Referred to as de-multiplexer, the TDMA located at the receive side separates the inbound composite impulse into parallel streams.
A common clock synchronizes both the de-multiplexer and multiplexer to receive information as per the transmit sequence.
· Code Division Multiple Access
In CDMA, all users occupy the same bandwidth, though they are allocated different codes. These codes help in distinguishing them from one another.
CDMA applies a spread spectrum mechanism where a spreading signal is utilized to widen the narrowband information signal.
The frequently applied technology for CDMA is the Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum.
In DS-SS, you multiple the message signal by a pseudo-random noise code.
The technology assigns every user their specific codeword that is orthogonal to other user’s code.
The receiver should recognize the codeword utilized by the transmitter so as to identify the user.
What are the Benefits of RFIC?
Some of the advantages of Radio-frequency ICs include:
- Higher performance
- Lower cost (specifically cost of assembling and packaging)
- Higher reliability
- Smaller size
- Exceptionally linear from input to output hence avoids distortion of information signal or modulation.
Which are the different Technologies in Fabrication of RFIC?
Some of the main technologies in radio frequency integrated circuit fabrication include:
Radio frequency integrated circuit
· Si Bipolar Technology
Si Bipolar is among the pioneering technologies at the start of the wireless era.
All silicon technologies use a planar device manufactured through ion implantation.
The device structure is usually high advanced to enhance high-frequency performance.
This RFIC fabrication technology commonly use double polysilicon device.
This ensures higher levels of integration, higher power gain, better heat dissipation, higher transition frequencies and simpler matching.
Si bipolar RFIC devices always have high base resistance, which implies that they have higher noise value than FETs and reduced fmax.
But you can overcome this challenge to some degree by carefully designing the device.
Nevertheless, applying Si Bipolar technology for RF IC fabrication will typically result in various parameters that ultimately clash.
This happens specifically when attempting to optimize the IC for high performance.
· RF CMOS Technology
CMOS technology is the basis of the revolution in computer technology, with RF solutions not left out.
However, for radio frequency IC, most designers, and fabricators have drifted towards BiCMOS.
In this hybrid technology, the bipolar technique is applied for RF functions and CMOS for others.
Nonetheless, the process is highly complex and needs very many levels of masks.
Fabricating RF ICs using CMOS technology is the perfect means of achieving a single-chip transceiver.
Moreover, techniques like direct-conversion and software radio architectures have helped with this.
To fabricate oscillator, LNA, and power amplifier on-chip needs high-performance RF devices; you cannot compromise on performance.
Therefore, RF CMOS is the right technology for this blend of baseband and RF circuitry.
· GaAs HBT Technology
This is a BiCMOS technology that employs heterojunction bipolar transistor which uses gallium arsenide as the semiconductor material for the base regions and emitter.
The HBT enhances on the bipolar junction transistor since it can manage very high frequency signals.
GaAs HBT technology is commonly applied in modern ultrafast circuitry, particularly RF IC systems.
You can also use it in applications needing a high power efficiency, like radio-frequency power amplifiers used in cellular phones.
· GaAs MESFET Technology
The MESFET is a type of high performance field effect transistor, which you can use mostly in microwave applications.
You can utilize it both in high power RF integrated circuits and as an amplifier for low noise signal.
Gallium arsenide is normally the material used to make the semiconductor in GaAs MESFET technology.
GaAs is usually the preferred material due to excellent electron mobility it offers.
This makes it possible to attain high frequency operation in the RF IC devices.
· SiGe HBT
This is a BiCMOS technology which consists of high-speed SiGe heterojunction bipolar transistor in an RF CMOS technology setup.
It blends the high computing power and high integration level of Si CMOS and exceptional RF execution of SiGe HBTs.
Just as in GaAs HBTs, this technology of fabricating RFICs is also has a broader bandgap at the emitter compared to the base region.
In comparison to silicon, SiGe has a more reduced bandgap, though Si and Ge have different lattice constants.
Due to this fact, there is a restriction to the maximum Ge concentration you can use.
These technologies turned out to be an essential facilitator for demanding monolithic microwave systems.
Particularly for devices that incorporate RFICs with digital signal processing and control circuitry on one chip.
How does IF Direct Conversion Technology Work in RFIC?
It is also known as a zero-IF receiver, synchrodyne, or homodyne.
A direct-conversion receiver is a type of radio receiver which demodulates the inbound radio signal applying synchronous detection.
A local oscillator having a frequency equivalent to, or almost equal to the intended signal carrier frequency drives the synchronous detection.
This is not always the case with the ordinary superheterodyne receiver.
The synchronous detection is attained only after a preliminary transformation to an intermediate frequency.
The direct-conversion receiver converts the modulated signal to baseband in one frequency conversion.
This helps in avoiding the IF phase(s), image rejection challenges, and double or more frequency conversions of the superheterodyne.
Just as with superheterodyne receiver, the synchrodyne feeds the received RF signal straight into a frequency mixer.
But, different from the superheterodyne, the local oscillator frequency is not counterbalanced from but is the same as the frequency of the received signal.
This results in a demodulated output just the same as you would achieve from a superheterodyne receiver employing synchronous detection after an IF stage.
Several recognized issues that have over time affected direct-conversion receiver AM detection, dc offset, and self-detection because of LO-RF leakage.
It is important to note that some direct-conversion issues may as well impact on low-IF superheterodyne in the actual world.
Which are the RFICs Design Process?
Here is a list of all the steps involved in RFIC design process:
- Identifying Topology alternatives
- Selecting a Foundry
- Obtain Design Rules and Device Models of Foundry
- First Simulations
- Selecting final Topology
- Stability examination which entails amplifiers only
- Temperature examination of Initial Layout
- Integrating all layout parasitic components in the topology
- Minimizing the layout area, maintaining performance (Trade Off)
- Completing the Final Layout
- Creating Test Cells for crucial Circuit Blocks
- Design rule checking
- Assembling the Reticle (tapeout)
- Making mask (fabrication of wafer)
What are the challenges in Designing RFICs?
Some of the most common challenges include:
The presence of noise makes it very difficult to detect the signal.
The RFIC device is as well as collecting noise from the surround together with the desired signal.
Noise present in all active devices resistors restricts the minimal detectable signal within the system.
The resistor is among the major common sources of noise in an RF integrated circuit.
Thermal energy resulting in the motion of electrons generates noise in resistors.
· Linearity and Distortion in RF Circuits
In a typical radio-frequency IC, the amplifier will cause both distortion and noise to the waveform of the signal.
Nonlinearities within the circuit blocks will result in distorted output signal, which limits the maximum signal amplitude.
To design RFICs having realistic specifications, you need to know the impact of nonlinearity on distortion and effect of noise on minimal detectable signals.
· Integration of Wireless SoC
The integration of wireless system-on-chip in RFICs remains a big challenge.
This is because of complexity in accomplishing high-performance on-chip parts coupled with minimized voltage headroom and reduced active components breakdown voltages.
In BiCMOS/CMOS, on-chip inductors generally have Quality factor (Q) spanning from 5-30 in comparison to several Hundred for off-chip inductors.
This remains a problem in the incorporation of high-performance modules like Power Amplifiers in single-chip RFIC systems.
What is the importance of using RFI Absorbing Material in RFICs?
Radio-frequency interference is a kind of electromagnetic interference that occurs within the RF spectrum.
Even though these frequencies are crucial for wireless communication, their broadcasting can come with undesirable impacts.
The necessity for RFI absorbent material shielding is usually application-specific.
For instance, RFI absorbing medium employed in RFICs of medical equipment may have greatly differing specifications in comparison to those used in consumer electronics.
Materials used in RFICs should be tested to determine and specify their varied performance metrics.
RFI material testing also aids analysts forecast how well a specific material will function in a particular application.
In addition, it as well as help in determining the needed thickness and size of the absorbing material.
Radio frequency interference can greatly degenerate the performance of neighboring electrical electronic devices or hinder it from working completely.
In extreme scenario, RFI has the potential of permanently damaging digital and solid-state equipment.
These problems are of specific concern in the pharmaceutical and medical industry where the smallest system performance loss can always have disastrous impacts.
To tackle these impacts, RFI absorbing mediums block or minimize the transmission of RF electromagnetic radiation.
Chiefly utilized to shield delicate electrical and electronic circuitry and avoid varied safety and health hazards.
These materials find application in several consumer and medical electronics with RFICs such as cell phones, audio devices, imaging devices, laptops/computers, and laboratory equipment.
Which are the Methods of Testing RFI Material?
Transmitter RF IC
There are two testing methods popularly used to assess RFI absorbing materials, they include:
· Reflectivity Testing
As hinted by its name, reflectivity testing evaluates the capability of a specific material to reflect inbound RF signals.
The standard test for determining materials reflectivity is the NRL Arch Test.
The test comprises of a transmitting antenna linked to a signal generator.
It also has a receiving antenna linked to a signal detector located at different spots along an arch.
Testing involves placing the test material that lies on a metal plate, within the arch under the receiving and transmitting antenna.
The transmitting antenna aims a signal in the direction of the test material whilst the receiving antenna determines the surplus energy reflected off by it.
The system then analyzes the results to evaluate the reflectivity performance of the material.
· Insertion Loss Testing
This RFI testing method checks the quantity of energy dissipated when you transmit a signal via an RFI material along its path.
The test also comprises of two antennas, a receiver, and a transmitter, with both linked to a signal detector and generator respectively.
However, the testing method is different from the NRL Arch Test in which the antennas are stationed in a coplanar way within an arch.
In insertion loss testing, the antennas should face one another on opposite sides of the target material.
The insertion loss testing of RFI materials used in radio-frequency ICs is comparatively straightforward.
You simply aim a signal in the direction of the test material on one end, while the receiver at the other end of the test material measures the response.
The energy transferred via the RFI absorbent material is an indication of its performance level when exposed to signals of a particular wavelength.
Which are the Processes involved in RFICs Packaging?
Packaging process of RF integrated circuits comprise of several steps, which can be categorized into the following:
The process of RFIC bonding involves electrically coupling a semiconductor die with a lead substrate.
Also, the procedure normally entails thermostatically joining a bond wire (commonly copper, gold, silver, or aluminum) to the die.
The thickness of the wire can span 15 µm and go beyond several hundred micrometers.
Therefore, the process requires the application of complex equipment having great 3D positional precision.
After completing the wire bonding process, you protect the RFIC package utilizing a molded encapsulation.
The encapsulants can come in a number of materials, such as polyimide, epoxy blends, or silicon.
Besides, the encapsulation material chosen depends on the circuit requirements and specific application.
The commonly used method of encapsulation is transfer molding.
Also, the technique entails driving a liquefied epoxy resin via a mold chamber above the die. Consequently, the epoxy hardens to create the package body.
3) Wafer Bonding
This is an important process in radio-frequency IC packaging because it ensures a hermetically sealed and mechanically stable encapsulation.
The wafer bonding procedure is crucial because the reliability and stability of the RFICs greatly rely on the encapsulation process integrity.
Anodic bonding, plasma activated bonding, surface activated bonding and direct bonding are the commonly applied wafer bonding techniques.
Which are the Packages for RF Integrated Circuit?
The packaging of RF Integrated circuits covers a broad array of technologies, with several exhibiting rooms for future advancements.
Moreover, the end applications for RFICs span from high portability, handheld applications to the fixed base infrastructure.
Both forms require that you pay aggressive economic and performance consideration to techniques of packaging.
The common package choices are the single microchip plastic encapsulated radio-frequency IC and its sister, the ceramic package.
Improved package technologies comprise of the numerous types of multiple chip modules and leadless array packages (consisting of near-chip scale pages and ball grid array).
Other advanced packages include the thermally improved packaging in laminate and ceramic substrate materials.
With the information in this guide, I am sure you can definitely evaluate and choose a suitable RF integrated circuit.
At Rantle, we design and manufacture various types of RF ICs, for a range of applications.
We can customize RF Integrated Circuits according to your unique requirements.