New XO035 Process Targets Leading-Edge Blu-ray and Optical Data Communication Markets

X-FAB Silicon Foundries, the leading analog/mixed-signal foundry, today expanded its 0.35 micrometer technology offerings with the first foundry technology optimized for Blu-ray and high-speed optical data communication applications. Dubbed XO035, the new 0.35 micrometer process includes X-FAB's unique blue PIN module.

This integration of the PIN diode into the widely used 0.35 micrometer CMOS environment enables the design of high-performance photo detectors. Both the sensitivity – especially in the blue wavelength range – and the speed for the entire detectable light spectrum are higher than for X-FAB's optical sensor at 0.6 micrometers, allowing customers to develop their next generation of products. Available now, the XO035 is ideal for all applications for which high sensitivity and high bandwidth are crucial – such as photo detector chips (PDICs) for Blu-ray and other optical data storage applications, optical data communication devices and high dynamic range cameras.

Dr. Konrad Bach, Fellow & Manager CMOS / BiCMOS development at X-FAB, said, “X-FAB is pushing the optoelectronics envelope with its new PIN diode. It offers the highest sensitivity for blue light in the market – about 0.31 Amperes per Watt – which is close to the physical limit. This high sensitivity, combined with high bandwidth and low noise, enables the design of a leading-edge PDIC with 12 times Blu-ray speed.”

The PIN diode's sensitivity for red and IR wavelengths is higher than 0.4 A/W, resulting in good performance for DVDs and CDs, and making it suitable for combined optical data storage drives. The modular approach also offers bipolar transistors required for low noise applications, and fast MOS transistors required to support high-speed PIN diodes with signal conditioning.

X-FAB is the only foundry that provides integrated PIN diodes as part of its standard CMOS offerings, in combination with optical window etching and an ARC (Anti-Reflective Coating) layer on top. X-FAB also offers a suite of RF active and passive components as part of its general analog/mixed-signal standard offering. These features allow customers to design integrated optoelectronic systems on a single chip instead of the two-chip solutions required previously. A single-chip solution increases total performance for sensitivity and bandwidth, and reduces total system costs.

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