Peregrine Semiconductor Introduces UltraCMOS® Monolithic Phase & Amplitude Controller (MPAC)

New Product Family Marks Industry’s First Monolithic RF Solution To Optimize Doherty Power Amplifier Performance

TAMPA, Fla. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — June 3, 2014 — In Booth #515, Peregrine Semiconductor Corp. (NASDAQ: PSMI), founder of RF SOI (silicon on insulator) and pioneer of advanced RF solutions, debuts its new line of UltraCMOS® Monolithic Phase & Amplitude Controllers (MPAC), the industry’s first monolithic RF solution to maximize Doherty amplifier performance. Through a digital interface, MPAC enables alignment of the phase and amplitude between the Doherty amplifier’s carrier and peaking paths. Designed for wireless infrastructure applications, MPAC improves system performance, lowers costs, increases reliability and provides maximum tuning flexibility.

“Doherty architectures have long been plagued by difficulties in optimizing performance, which leads to higher manufacturing and engineering costs,” says Duncan Pilgrim, Peregrine’s vice president of marketing. “MPAC provides an ideal solution for this RF challenge and does so monolithically through intelligent integration—something gallium arsenide (GaAs) technologies could never achieve. Once again, Peregrine is introducing a superior UltraCMOS product that will disrupt GaAs-based alternatives.”

MPAC Is the Wireless Infrastructure Solution

While widely used in the wireless infrastructure industry, Doherty amplifiers require a considerable engineering investment to manually implement and optimize. Any mismatch or misalignment in phase and amplitude between the Doherty architecture’s carrier and peaking paths can quickly contribute to higher costs and degradation of the system’s overall performance. Even after optimizing with discrete components, the system remains inflexible to manufacturing variances from power amplifier assemblies.

MPAC solves this engineering challenge with the industry’s first monolithic solution to maximize asymmetric and symmetric Doherty amplifier performance. With more than 25 years of RF expertise, Peregrine leverages superior technology, a sophisticated IP portfolio and advanced product knowledge to develop solutions for complex RF challenges such as Doherty amplifier optimization. MPAC also integrates Peregrine’s industry-leading digital step attenuators and phase shifter products onto a single die.

On an UltraCMOS chip, each MPAC product includes:

  • 90-degree hybrid splitter
  • Two phase shifters
  • Two amplitude controllers
  • Digital SPI interface

MPAC offers RF engineers improved system performance, lower costs, increased reliability and maximum tuning flexibility for either LDMOS (laterally diffused metal oxide semiconductor) or GaN (gallium nitride) based Doherty power amplifier architectures. MPAC performance advantages include improvements in power added efficiency, linearity across the frequency range, Doherty bandwidth through better matching and effectiveness of the digital pre-distortion (DPD) loop. MPAC reduces bill of materials (BOM) costs by eliminating the need for external components such as DC blocking capacitors and reducing component count for greater board area. It also lowers costs by providing tighter production distributions on expensive power amplifier assemblies. With uniformity and repeatability between transceiver paths, MPAC increases system reliability and increases transceiver yield. Finally, MPAC delivers improved flexibility with adjustable phase and amplitude tuning for each independent path through the SPI digital interface. This flexibility enables real-time adjustments in order to optimize for operational or environmental changes.

The Time Is Now

The explosive growth of the LTE market has fueled demand for Doherty architectures, and this demand will increase with LTE-A requirements. Both LTE and LTE-A need high peak-to-average ratios (PAR), and the Doherty architecture provides an ideal solution for optimizing amplifier performance. Due to its lower cost, the market has largely adopted asymmetric Doherty amplifiers, which receive the maximum MPAC benefits due to their complex performance optimizations.

“Despite a relatively flat market value in base stations, transceiver shipments will grow by 8 percent annually over the next five years,” says Joe Madden, founder and principal analyst at Mobile Experts. “At the same time, several features of LTE and LTE-A are creating a need for tighter control over Doherty amplifier performance. The market needs low-cost solutions that improve phase and amplitude precision.”

Features & Availability

With a wide positive and negative phase shift range and a fine step size, MPAC delivers high linearity of 65 dBm IIP3 and extremely low power consumption of 300 µA. It provides performance advantages in power handling and port-to-port isolation. As MPAC is built on an UltraCMOS monolithic chip, RF engineers can rest assured with the most reliable and repeatable solution on the market. UltraCMOS technology enables superior ESD performance of 1 kV, an extended temperature range up to 105-degree Celsius and a wide power supply range from 2.7 to 5.5 V.

The first product in the MPAC family is the PE46120. Currently being sampled to select customers, the PE46120 covers a frequency range of 1.8 to 2.2 GHz. The MPAC product family plans to cover all cellular frequency bands.

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