by Vikas Choudhary, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, pSemi
MPD: Please describe what you consider to be your company’s most significant technological achievements in 2023.
2023 has been a banner year for pSemi as we have advanced our technology on multiple fronts. UltraCMOS®, our patented, advanced form of silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology, has progressed to handle much higher power (greater than 20 W) while breaking barriers in linearity (85 dBm) and extreme broadband performance (near-DC to 90 GHz).
Earlier in 2023, we unveiled high-isolation SP4T switches with a frequency range of up to 8 GHz. The PE42445 high-isolation 3×3 mm package and the PE42446 high-isolation 4×4 mm package switches deliver high linearity and isolation. Both switches integrate seamlessly into 4G and 5G base stations and mMIMO architecture, providing digital pre-distortion feedback loops and transmitter monitoring of signal paths to prevent interference and maintain signal integrity.
We also announced a 3.5 GHz dual-channel switch/LNA module that offers the industry’s lowest noise figure. These two multi-chip modules—the PE53230 for 3.3–3.8 GHz and the PE53231 for 3.5–4.0 GHz—contain two switches and two LNAs for high- and low-band frequencies. This new module portfolio delivers the lowest noise figure in the industry, at less than 1 dB, enabling best-in-class receiver sensitivity and performance while handling 20 W average input power, enabling the removal of external circuitry.
MPD: Has EDA software improved in recent years, and if so, how is it helping your company meet its goals?
EDA tools have improved over the past few years and increasing computational power has enabled bringing together more integrated suites that can handle multiple technology definitions. Increased product complexity has required verifying all aspects of a new product definition, and today’s EDA tools help with that verification.
MPD: Have millimeter-wave devices advanced to the point where they can affordably be deployed for 5G?
We have offered millimeter-wave products since 2015, deepening our expertise and patent portfolio in high-frequency RF SOI design. For 5G and beyond, we continue to expand our portfolio of millimeter-wave switches, digital step attenuators, beamformers and up and down converters, and to invest in technology that supports higher frequencies.
We are making significant progress on millimeter-wave devices to make them more affordable for 5G deployments. pSemi has developed integrated products such as the packaged beamforming chips PE188200 for 28 GHz, the PE188100 for 26 GHz, and the PE188210 (28 GHz) that offer high power and excellent LNA performance.
MPD: What does the Department of Defense need most from the microwave industry?
Cybersecurity is a significant challenge the microwave industry is working hard to address as connectivity becomes ubiquitous. According to AAG, an estimated 53.35 million U.S. citizens were affected by cybercrime in the first half of 2022. Between July 2020 and June 2021, the U.S. was the most targeted country for cyber attacks, accounting for 46% globally. These statistics are staggering, and the Department of Defense (DoD) must prepare for and defend against all these threats.
MPD: An increasing number of applications rely on RF and microwave technology. What application is most likely to significantly contribute to the industry by the end of the decade?
Joint connectivity and sensing, along with enterprise AI, will likely be the emerging applications that drive the next generation of RF technology. As a result, pSemi will be laser-focused on connectivity and JCAS and ISAC solutions that can provide experiences such as the autonomous driving car, in-car sensing, vehicle communication such as V2X, infotainment, and telematics. We also anticipate the consumer retail experience, healthcare (i.e., vital sensing, patient tracking, etc.) and industrial applications to increase, including higher accuracy for use cases such as tags and indoor navigation and sensing.