The advent of 5G will not only bring great new opportunities but also new challenges for the technologies enabling this next-generation of mobile communications. Not only innovations in the overall network infrastructure will be needed, but also in the technologies for the mobile devices themselves.
With a proven track record in III/V-on-300mm Si and GaN-on-200mm Si technologies, in sub-6GHz and mm-wave wireless communication, in CMOS technologies, and in modelling and circuit design technologies, imec is uniquely placed to develop RF front-end technologies for 5G mobile handsets.
About the program
Together with materials and equipment suppliers, IDM’s, foundries and system companies, we jointly explore hybrid Si/III-V technologies to enable highly performant RF front-end devices for 5G. The devices will operate at both the sub-6GHz bands and mm-wave bands. We target the development of high-speed devices with a strong driving capability to generate a high output power at a high power efficiency.
Our focus is on the following architectures:
- IIIV high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs), both GaAs and InP based, and III-N HEMTs
- IIIV and III-N MOSFET devices
- IIIV heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBT)
The program runs in two phases:
Integration of standalone non-Si RF devices on a 200mm and 300mm platform
We target the development of specific process steps and modules that are critical for integrating III-V and III-N standalone devices on a 200mm and 300mm Si platform:
- Modules targeting the reduction of parasitics in nonSi devices
- Epitaxial growth of IIIV and III-N buffer layers
- Modules for gate stack assessment and optimization
- CMOS compatible backend-of-line processes
Co-integration with Si CMOS
In a second phase, III-V/III-N devices are co-integrated with standard Si CMOS. The goal is twofold:
- Enabling a higher degree of integration for all building blocks of the RF frontend module
- Improving the energy efficiency of the overall circuit.
We explore several approaches for the co-integration:
- Monolithic or 2D integration
- 3D integration (3D stacking and sequential3D)