UltraCMOS® Technology

Our UltraCMOS® technology—a patented, advanced form of silicon on insulator (SOI)—enables pSemi to offer a market-leading combination of large- and small-signal performance. With its outstanding RF and microwave properties, SOI provides an ideal substrate for integration. When paired with high-volume CMOS—the most widely-used semiconductor technology—the result is a reliable, repeatable technology platform that offers superior performance compared to other mixed-signal processes.

Over 30 years ago, our team pioneered the use of SOI for RF applications using sapphire substrates because of their ultra-pure and near-perfect insulator qualities. Today, we maintain a leadership advantage in SOI process technology. Our process development is custom, our process selection is flexible and controlled, and our cycle time and quality are proven.

After decades of advancing silicon-on-insulator (SOI) for RF applications, we readily apply other semiconductor technologies to further optimize our product offerings. We are now both a process-focused company and a solution-focused company. We continue to develop custom processes—as in our proprietary UltraCMOS® technology platform—but we also leverage off-the-shelf technologies. Our team evaluates each solution and uses the best combination of semiconductor technologies to meet the market requirements.

5G mmWave Beamformer

As the rapid growth of consumer data demand exceeds the capacity of 5G sub-6 GHz networks, operators will accelerate worldwide deployments of 5G mmWave networks. In an increasingly crowded frequency spectrum, mmWave bands can maximize capacity as an integral part of 5G networks.

Forecasts estimate that by 2025, over 150,000 mmWave base stations and 60 million mmWave devices will ship to support essential 5G services such as enhanced mobile broadband, massive machine-type communications, and ultra-reliable and low-latency communications.

Since mmWave bands have shorter wave lengths, a major deployment challenge comes from high signal attenuation due to environmental effects such as rainfall, foliage and line-of-sight obstacles. Beamforming antenna arrays can overcome this challenge with spatial power combining that focuses the signal into narrow beams to accurately steer the signal to targeted users.

While a large antenna array can offer a wider coverage, mmWave networks may become limited by RF power and heat dissipation. To address these technical challenges, pSemi has partnered with our parent company, Murata, to co-design high-efficiency 28 GHz and 39 GHz beamforming front ends with advanced package and antenna technology.

pSemi and Murata have co-designed a mmWave 5G antenna-integrated module (AiM) that incorporates multi-channel, beamforming front-end RFICs by pSemi, offering high-efficiency transmitters and low-noise receivers for advanced mmWave products. The modular approach using AiM is suitable for building antenna arrays of any size. Our innovation is critical to enabling 5G wireless communications for base stations, customer premises equipment and smartphone applications.

Our products for 5G mmWave applications include:

  • mmWave RF switches
  • mmWave RF digital step attenuators

Smart Integration (Wi-Fi FEM)

As a Murata company, we are spearheading Murata’s efforts in new semiconductor growth markets and driving semiconductor integration. Our combined innovation adds value and performance to many applications by making smaller, lighter, thinner and more efficient components that save power and boost run times. Smaller components also enable space to be freed up on PCBs so that new features and innovations can be added. We provide solutions with high integration, superior linearity and excellent efficiency in a wide range of low-power fields. The capabilities of Murata and pSemi allow truly integrated, next-generation modules at lower cost and with smaller footprints, lower profiles and better performance than the larger assemblies of the past.

pSemi’s high-performance Wi-Fi front-end modules (FEMs) deliver a high-linearity signal and excellent long-packet error vector magnitude (EVM) performance. The innovative design combines the integration capabilities of pSemi’s SOI technology and expertise in Wi-Fi connectivity solutions and advanced packaging. The Wi-Fi FEM integrates an LNA, a PA and transmit/receive RF switches in a single die solution. The pSemi 2.4 GHz/5 GHz/5–7 GHz Wi-Fi FEMs deliver exceptional performance, low power consumption and high reliability. Through advanced analog and digital design techniques, the Wi-Fi FEMs deliver excellent long-packet EVM performance with less than 0.1 dB of gain drop while operating across the entire -40°C to 85°C temperature range. pSemi delivers best-in-class dynamic error vector magnitude and current consumption without requiring digital pre-distortion and excellent MCS11 performance for Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) applications.

Power Management

Traditional synchronous switched mode power management ICs use a single-stage architecture with two FETs rated according to the highest voltage in the system and an inductor doing all of the work to slew voltage between input and output. This results in relatively large and inefficient power conversion systems where the inductor dominates the total solution size, often dictating the thinness and size of the host system. With the proliferation of low-voltage rails needed in many systems, power conversion often occupies 35-50% of the total PCB.

Our power management ICs - LED Boosts, Charge Pumps and Buck Regulators - employ a unique hybrid architecture based on patents originating from MIT, using capacitors instead of inductors to do most of the power conversion. This capacitive stage is virtually lossless (typ. 98%), irrespective of the conversion ratio, and offloads work done by any inductive stage, thus reducing both the amount of inductance needed and dramatically reducing the overall solution size.

Our architecture enables the whole switching stage and associated control to be built on a monolithic die using low-voltage standard BCD CMOS process - a key benefit allowing for higher switching frequencies and further reducing inductor size, whilst significantly improving reliability.

Our power management ICs significantly reduce the size of the passive components required, decreasing overall solution size and also enabling Murata to produce the world’s smallest, thinnest and most efficient buck regulators using their advanced 3D packaging technology. Our solutions demonstrate ultra-low EMI and much lower ripple, requiring much smaller input and output filters to further reduce total solution size.