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MMIC Design Future in USA - RF Cafe Forums

Because of the high maintenance needed to monitor and filter spammers from the RF Cafe Forums, I decided that it would be best to just archive the pages to make all the good information posted in the past available for review. It is unfortunate that the scumbags of the world ruin an otherwise useful venue for people wanting to exchanged useful ideas and views. It seems that the more formal social media like Facebook pretty much dominate this kind of venue anymore anyway, so if you would like to post something on RF Cafe's Facebook page, please do.

Below are all of the forum threads, including all the responses to the original posts.


guest
Post subject: MMIC Design Future in USA Posted: Sun May 22, 2005 4:13 am
What is the COMMERCIAL future for MMIC Design in the USA?

Will this be outsourced to Asia as well...

Any advice, comments or tips welcome!


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Guest
Post subject: Posted: Thu May 26, 2005 2:25 pm
There is bound to be a good demand esp in miniaturized radars. What area of MMIC are you working on?


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guest
Post subject: guestPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 7:02 pm
cellular.

that is not a growth market anymore.


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Guest
Post subject: Posted: Fri May 27, 2005 9:18 pm
thats understandable with 3G not getting implemented in many places. I see UWB, high speed WLAN/MAN etc, automotive radars etc will mean some demand for awhile. I read somewhere there is research to find applications at 100 GHz range.

Btw, is CMOS replacing GaAs for MMIC/RFIC except at the very front-end in commercial applications? Do you foresee GaAs completely replaced by CMOS, BiCMOS ?


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guest
Post subject: gaas dead againPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 1:28 am
cmos not until 65nm if that, not too much gain plus other issues.

sige hbt is destroying inp hbt and gaas but has high noise, poor linearity.

work is ongoing for sige hbt right now at 100GHz at many schools in north america for fiber and wireless applications.

gaas only companies have precious little market left, as is the usual scenario except for military where low noise and high linearity demands gaas/inp.


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Guest
Post subject: Posted: Sat May 28, 2005 8:16 am
GaAs still outperforms SiGe although SiGe has come a long way. I use design SiGe power amps and everytime we came up with something that matched the performance of GaAs along came RFMD with a higher performing GaAs PA. The bottom line is price, at some point SiGe will win out because of the diversity it allows for integrated chip design, For example alot of these high efficiency PA desings will have a couple chips in it , a GaAs chip for the PA and a CMOS chip for the bias control. SiGe, the same cicuitry can be achieved on one chip. Lower cost. Also, larger wafers are possible with SiGe, 12" compared to 6-8" GaAs. Again lower cost.


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guest
Post subject: guestPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 5:31 pm
well rfmd is doing well with gaas in the market but outside of cellular commencially at least there is no low cost application for gaas or for inp.
sige has pretty much taken it all over, and cmos is closing fast.

gaas just does power amps? not much to stake a career in gaas mmic on.


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Guest
Post subject: Posted: Sun May 29, 2005 8:17 am
How about high power transceiver switches? No gaas there too?


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guest
Post subject: gonePosted: Sun May 29, 2005 6:15 pm
wow, that cannot sustain a company. and cmos switches can't sustain a company.

face is, commercially and finally gaas is dead. can't stake a company on it anymore.


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Guest
Post subject: Re: gonePosted: Sun May 29, 2005 7:21 pm
guest wrote:
wow, that cannot sustain a company. and cmos switches can't sustain a company.

face is, commercially and finally gaas is dead. can't stake a company on it anymore.


So who's making a competitive Si or SiGe PA for GSM or (W)CDMA?

Let me answer that for you - NOBODY.

PAE sucks compared to GaAs, and battery life/talk time means everything in the cellphone world. Come back when you have an arguement


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guest
Post subject: guestPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 9:53 pm
listen
the point is not that sige can do PA's. it can't.

the point is how can 10+ companies and a few staking the whole farm on one application for gaas commercially? pa's and that's it for commercial gaas.

that was my point.


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Guest
Post subject: Posted: Tue May 31, 2005 1:06 pm
I'm not sure what company(ies) you are referring to, but someone like RFMD (since it was mentioned earlier) has products that span many semiconductor technolgies (just looked at a datasheet):

Si, Si Bi-CMOS, SiGe, SiGe Bi-CMOS, GaAs, InGaP, GaN

Other major GaAs companies like Skyworks does too. So care to name names?


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guest
Post subject: guestPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 5:56 pm
well more than that i meant that can you stake a career designing gaas ic's commercially.

and that pa's are the only active block left in gaas still viable - cmos, sige took everything else over


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Guest
Post subject: Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 9:25 am
SiGe and CMOS are only good upt 3GHz, maybe 5GHz. Anything higher still needs GaAs. So companies still need GaAs if they want to build LNB's for the likes of Direct TV. Not to mention that satellites use GaAs since it is naturally rad hardened.


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Guest
Post subject: Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 9:43 am
People are doing research to implement 60 GHz transceivers in CMOS; and I am sure we will see that in the not-too-far future.


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guest
Post subject: out of gaasPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 1:14 pm
exactly, so why stake a career in gaas/inp COMMERCIALLY any more?


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Guest
Post subject: Posted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 8:21 am
Because the cost of GaAs is going down..


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Guest
Post subject: Posted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 8:30 am
...and GaAs can do EVERYTHING that Si can do, but Si CANNOT do everything that GaAs can!!!

Maybe you're putting all of your eggs in the wrong basket, dude!


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guest
Post subject: solutionsPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 1:50 pm
so what is your solution

build a career in multiple processes?


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Guest
Post subject: Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 7:16 am
If your a good design in GaAs the transition to other processes is not difficult. It is a matter to of learning the new design rules. In fact, it you are a GaAs designer and your company changes it process ot you go to a different foundry, then you will need to re-learn particular design rules and models for the different process. Granted they will be similar. Bottom line is if your a good designer in MMIC, regardless of the technology, you can make the transition fairly easily.


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Guest
Post subject: Posted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 10:49 am
Is it true that you can make the transition - especially to CMOS? Especially when you see that companies looking to hire CMOS RFIC engineer specifically ask for CMOS design skills?


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guest
Post subject: RFCMOS HypePosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 7:16 pm
people have only been doing rf cmos in the last what less than 10 years?

hard to find someone with a lot of experience in rf cmos since so few companies have survived doing it!


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Guest
Post subject: Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 8:43 am
Naturally a company is going to want someone with RF CMOS skills, but if you cant find that person what do you do, say oh well and close up shop? No, you go to th e next logical choice, hire someone who is a MMIC designer and expect a 1-2 month learning curve. The design principles do not change, just the way you fabricate it.


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Guest
Post subject: Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 9:19 am
thats very encouraging to hear.


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guest
Post subject: learning curvePosted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 7:00 pm
accepting a learning curve -- is this possible in this economy?






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