Toshiba Announces the Latest Generation of Its SOI Process for RF Switch ICs

March 11, 2020 by Luke James

Toshiba announced last month that it had developed the latest generation of its advanced RF SOI process, TaRF11, optimized for RF switches and low noise amplifiers in mobile devices such as 5G smartphones.

As the performance of smartphones and mobile devices improves at a rate faster than most people could have ever anticipated, they have migrated to higher wireless band frequencies.

Generally, the higher the frequency of a smartphone or mobile device, the higher the signal loss between the antenna and the receiving circuit. This trend is driving up the demand for low noise amplifiers (LNA) that exhibit advanced characteristics that improve received signal quality by compensating for signal loss.


A Toshiba billboard.

The new SOI process can integrate LNAs, control circuits and RF switches on a single chip.


Toshiba's TaRFSOI Process Technology

To keep up, Toshiba has made improvements to its silicon on insulator (SOI) process, TaRFSOI, which is an original front-end process technology designed specifically for RF switch ICs.

The latest generation of the process, TaRF11, builds on the RF characteristics of its predecessor and current generation SOI process technology, TaRF10, with an improved noise figure. Developed in the fab of its subsidiary, Japan Semiconductor Corporation, Toshiba’s new RF ICs apply the latest SOI-CMOS technology. 


SOI Process Improvements

TaRF11-based MOSFETs designed for use in LNAs were able to achieve a minimum noise figure of 0.48dB at 8 GHz. This is an improvement of 0.3dB when compared to similar devices that have been developed with TaRF10. In keeping with TaRF10, the TaRF11 process also enables the LNA, RF switch, and control circuit to be fabricated upon a single chip. 

Toshiba disclosed that it plans to advance its TaRFSOI process technology toward securing further performance improvements and to provide RF-switch and LNA ICs for applications including ultra-wideband, Wi-Fi equipment, 5G smartphones (which are due to expand from the 5GHz to the 7GHz band).