Technology for high-performance RF ICs

The broadband data boom and associated evolving telecommunication standards are calling for high-performing devices with ever increasing circuit complexity. New high data-rate services are driving the use of higher operating frequencies on optical and wireless systems, while requiring greater chip integration, reduced power consumption, and optimized costs.
New microwave applications such as automotive radars (24 / 77 GHz), satellite communications, LAN RF transceivers (60 GHz), point-to-point radio (V-Band / E-Band), defense, security or instrumentation are also extremely demanding of RF performance and operating conditions.
To support this demand, ST is investing aggressively in BiCMOS technology that provides the optimal answer for those needs.

BiCMOS: the best of two worlds

BiCMOS combines the strengths of two different process technologies into a single chip: Bipolar transistors offer high speed and gain, which are critical for high-frequency analog sections, whereas CMOS technology excels for constructing simple, low-power logic gates.
By integrating the RF, analog and digital parts on a single chip, ST’s BiCMOS SiGe (Silicon-Germanium) technology drastically reduces the number of external components while optimizing power consumption.

bicmos-radio-receiver Typical cellular base station or point-to-point radio receiver
bicmos-optical-fiber Typical optical fiber and active optical cable module

ST’s BiCMOS process technology today offers a level of performance attainable in the recent past only with more expensive technologies such as gallium arsenide (GaAS), while providing a significant advantage in integration.
Compared to bulk CMOS, the BiCMOS Heterojunction Bipolar Transistor (HBT) allows a much higher cut-off frequency at a given technology node. To reach similar frequency, bulk CMOS designs have to use much smaller process nodes, forcing compromises on the design and leading most of the time to overall lower performance and higher cost.
Thus, thanks to its better cost profile compared to the alternatives, ST’s BiCMOS enables new business cases.

ST leads in BiCMOS process technology


With strong know-how in design, architecture and process integration, ST offers a leading-edge SiGe BiCMOS technology, enabling the design of high-performance RF ICs.

Today, ST’s BiCMOS technology can be found in most of the wireless base stations and optical transceivers around the world as well as in wireless terminals, automotive radars and instrumentation solutions.

A complete offering for optimal design and manufacturing

ST’s BiCMOS design platform is supported by leading-edge CAD tools in a complete and effective design flow, including a very accurate set of simulation models. Its effectiveness has been already proven by many customers on successful IC designs.
ST can synchronize with many different business models for its BiCMOS technology, from a pure foundry service to a range of services for ASIC design, development and support. This flexibility allows ST to provide the most appropriate answer to meet any customer requirements.
ST’s extensive experience on a wide range of analog, RF and digital IPs, developed on its BiCMOS technology eases the customers’ product design and ensures fast time-to-market.