European Consortium Increases Speed Limit Of Silicon-Based Transistor

PARIS, FRANCEA European consortium, led by STMicroelectronics, held the kick-off meeting of the EU-funded project DOTFIVE and titled "Towards 0.5 TeraHertz Silicon/Germanium Heterojunction Bipolar technology (SiGe HBT)."

The consortium is setting out to develop advanced silicon-based bipolar transistors with a maximum operating frequency of 0.5 THz or 500 GHz needed for future millimeter-wave and TeraHertz communication, radar, imaging, and sensing applications. The three-year project is worth Euros 14.75 million with Euros 9.7 million European Commission funding, making it the largest "More than Moore" nanoelectronics project under EU Framework Programme 7. DOTFIVE is aiming to establish a leadership position for the European semiconductor industry in SiGe HBTs for millimeter-wave applications, where semiconductor manufacturers like STMicroelectronics and Infineon Technologies are involved.

Emerging high-volume millimeter-wave applications encompass, for example, 77-GHz automotive radar applications and 60-GHz Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) communication systems. According to US market research company Strategy Analysts, the market for long-range anti-collision warning systems in cars could increase by more than 65-percent per year until 2011. In addition to these evolving markets, DOTFIVE technology sets out to be a key enabler for silicon-based millimeter-wave circuits penetrating the socalled TeraHertz gap, enabling enhanced imaging systems with applications in the security, medical, and scientific area.

Today's state-of-the-art SiGe HBTs achieve roughly a maximum operating frequency of 300 GHz at room temperature. The DOTFIVE project has set its goal at 500 GHz at room temperature, a performance usually thought only possible with III-V compound semiconductor technologies.

The DOTFIVE partners will team up for research and development on silicon-based transistor architectures, device modeling, and circuit design. The project involves 15 partners in five countries: Infineon Technologies (Germany) and STMicroelectronics (France); IMEC (Belgium) and IHP (Germany); XMOD Technologies (France) and GWT-TUD (Germany); and seven academic partnersthe Johannes Kepler University of Linz (Austria), the ENSEIRB (Ecole Nationale Suprieure d'Electronique, Informatique et Radiocommunications de Bordeaux), the Paris-Sud University (France), the Technical University of Dresden (Germany), the Bundeswehr University in Munich ( Germany), the University of Siegen (Germany), the University of Naples (Italy); and ALMA (France).

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