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REFERENCE

Rf Engineered substrates to FostER fEm performaNCE

Publié le 6 janvier 2021


REFERENCE: Rf Engineered substrates to FostER fEm performaNCE



 

Starting date: Dec. 2015 > Nov. 2019

Lifetime: 42 months

Program in support:

H2020 ECSEL JU, Research and Innovation Actions,  Call 2015

 

Status of project: complete

Target market: 

  • Three application domains: cellular, automotive and aviation. The research results will progress European position in the next generation connectivity –compatible with 4G+ and 5G standards, it will be applicable in all sorts of devices. 
  • It will also contribute to next-generation, fully automated vehicles equipped with high connectivity, and improve connectivity with the in-flight and ground environments. The program aims to prove the feasibility of low latency, secure and reliable wireless aircraft communication

CEA-Leti's contact: Yves Quéré                           

 

Project Coordinator: SOITEC

Partners 

Fifteen multidisciplinary partners from four European countries, including manufacturers marketing or using semiconductors 

  • Soitec
  • STMicroelectronics,
  • Globalfoundries, 
  • Siltronic, 
  • Sentronics, 
  • TELIT, 
  • ATEP, 
  • AED, 
  • Airbus

Three of Europe's largest centers for applied research in microelectronics 

  • CEA
  • FhG
  • IMEC

High-level universities

  • UCB-Lyon
  • TU-Dresden
  • UBW-Munich



Total Investment: € 10 mi


More info on website




Stakes

The main challenge is targeted market expected needs of RF FEM development as:
  • Performance achievement to match the new standards requirements
  • To rely on a cost effective solution for standard semiconductor industry manufacturing
  • To develop industrial scale exploitation of the technology
    REFERENCE project intend to develop the technology solution among the whole value chain to address these challenges and demonstrate the performance on demonstrators at device or system level. The gaps to match 4G+/5G can be summarized on three main success criteria: 
    • Performance to match the new standards requirements above 1Gb/s data rate, which implies linearity enhancement and significant reduction of signal losses, device and performance stability, reduction of device performance variability, but also integration of RF, analog and digital on the same silicon chip.
    • A cost effective supply chain and process steps. As a consequence substrate must be compatible with standard silicon manufacturing processes, match standard characteristics and perform at standard yield level for current industry technology nodes.
    • Industrial scale exploitation of the technology : Maximum 200mm manufacturing capacity will be reached in mid- to short term; hence, transition to 300mm manufacturing and integration with advanced technology nodes need to be anticipated. RFSOI is not available in 300mm diameter on the market today and gives an opportunity to a European leadership for substrates (starting material and advanced substrates).
    • Physically available demonstrators covering three application domains : communication in cabin (airplane), Automotive Front End Module, Cellular/IOT Front End Module.

OBJECTIVES

REFERENCE projects steps in to develop Radio Frequency communication applications based on RF Silicon-on-Insulator (RF-SOI), which is perceived as the most promising disruptive technology to address performance, cost and integration needs for next generations' RF FEM components.
The core objectives of REFERENCE are:
  • Improving the performance to match the new standards requirements above 1Gb/s data rate, which includes linearity enhancement and significant reduction of signal losses, increased device and performance stability, and integration of RF, analogue and digital on the same silicon chip;
  • Developing of innovative RF-SOI substrates for 4G+ / 5G that are compatible with standard silicon manufacturing processes, match characteristics and perform at standard yield-level for current industry technology nodes;
  • Moving from 200mm diameter into 300 diameter manufacturing in order to reach the best performance. Additionally, RF-SOI is not available in 300mm diameter on the market today; this gives an opportunity for Europe to take over leadership in substrate manufacturing (starting material and advanced substrates).


IMPACT

  • Today's world is overwhelmingly digitalized. The integration of information and communication technologies in people's lives is unprecedented, and the volume of data being constantly exchanged is growing drastically. 
  • This need for instant access to web and information and for quick communications has a massive impact on the consumer electronics landscape. With the growing number of connected devices from a wide range of sectors, including automotive and aviation industries, there is a need for improved semiconductor performance which will help to maximize the benefits and lower the costs.
  • All this technology relies on semiconductor as a Key Enabling Technology - each connected object contains several semiconductor components for data reception, computing, sensing, system management, and data emission. 

  • Among these components, the Radio Frequency Front End Modules (RF FEM), which enables signal reception and transmission, are the key elements to move to 4G+ and 5G standards which will be the leading communication technology of the next decade. However, at this moment no silicon-based solution is available to meet 4G+ and 5G performance and integration requirements.