This section provides overview, applications, and principles of microwave monolithic integrated circuits (mmic). Also, please take a look at the list of 24 microwave monolithic integrated circuit (mmic) manufacturers and their company rankings.
MMIC is an integrated circuit that integrates the functions of microwave amplification, switching, and mixing on a single semiconductor substrate and is called a monolithic microwave integrated circuit.
There are two types of integrated circuits: hybrid integrated circuits and monolithic integrated circuits. Hybrid integrated circuits are those in which monolithic integrated circuits and other elements are densely integrated into a single integrated circuit.
Compared to conventional microwave integrated circuits (MICs), which are made by combining discrete components, MMICs are characterized by low failure frequency due to the absence of soldering parts. MMICs also have fewer components and are smaller and lighter in weight. A typical example is a satellite broadcasting receiver, which is expected to be smaller, lighter, and lower in price through mass production.
In recent years, MMICs has also been installed in cell phones and used in wireless communication devices such as RFID.
MMICs integrate a single circuit block on a single semiconductor chip thanks to improvements in semiconductor microfabrication technology.
Active elements, such as transistors and diodes, control waveforms and frequencies, and passive components, such as resistors, inductors, and capacitors, are formed on the substrate surface.
Active elements often used in MMICs include MESFETs, HEMTs, HBTs, and MOSFETs, made from compound semiconductor materials such as gallium arsenide and silicon. Different semiconductor materials have different electron mobility and energy gaps.
Passive elements are mainly inductors, capacitors, and resistors. Inductors are often used in high-impedance lines and spiral inductors. Capacitors include those with a MIM structure, in which the dielectric and counter electrodes form a sandwich-like structure, and those with a structure of comb-shaped electrodes arranged in a row.
Typical examples of MMICs include MMICs on GaAs substrates and MMICs on SiGe.
MMICs on GaAs substrates and SiGe MMICs are commonly used in high-frequency power amplifiers for cellular and wifi communications used in cell phones and smartphones. The reason for this is that the base stations need to amplify and output several W-class power for transmission, so it is possible to form transistors with high amplification ratio and high efficiency, and the capacitors and spiral inductors used in the matching circuits for high frequency can also ensure a reasonably high Q-value. MMICs on GaAs substrates and SiGe are suitable for this purpose.
HBTs (Heterojunction Bipolar Transistors) are often used as transistors. This is because they are relatively easy to control variations and do not require negative power supply bias like HEMT devices.
Typical examples of MMICs circuits are power amplifiers and low-noise amplifiers. The advantages of using MMICs are smaller area and lower cost due to the reduced number of components by forming matching elements on-chip. In particular, MMICs are preferred for cellular applications such as Sub6GHz frequency and Wifi 5GHz frequency because the inductance and capacitance values are convenient for designing matching circuits around 5GHz, and it is more convenient to form them on-chip.
Although PA modules composed of discrete components were often seen in the past, current power amplifiers usually have at least the input and inter-stage matching circuits of multi-stage amplifiers together with active elements as MMICs on a chip.
Applications that require MMICs to be configured with MMICs include millimeter-wave applications for 5G communications and automotive radar for collision avoidance.
In this case, GaAs HEMT devices with excellent frequency response, InP-based HBTs, and Si-based micro CMOS are commonly used as active elements. In millimeter-wave applications, antenna array technology called beamforming is sometimes used with MMICs to generate power.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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