Posted: February 11, 2010

Imec, Renesas and M4S report a single-chip reconfigurable multi-standard wireless transceiver in 40nm CMOS

(Nanowerk News) At today’s International Solid State Circuit Conference, imec and its research partners Renesas Technology Corp. and M4S present a complete transceiver with RF, baseband and data converter circuits in 40nm low-power CMOS. The fully reconfigurable transceiver is compatible with various wireless standards and applications, including the upcoming mobile broadband 3GPP-LTE standard.
The trend in wireless communication where terminals give their users ubiquitous access to a multitude of services drives the development of reconfigurable radios in deep-submicron CMOS. This is enhanced with the advent of 3GPP-LTE, a standard that is inherently so flexible that a reconfigurable radio is its most economical implementation. The single-chip reconfigurable transceiver developed by imec, Renesas and M4S provides an answer to this need.
The flexible receiver, including analog-to-digital converter, is fully software configurable across all channels in the frequency bands between 100MHz and 6GHz. Its properties such as the RF carrier frequency, channel bandwidth, noise figure, linearity and filter characteristics can be adapted to the requirements of the communication standard that is used. It combines high sensitivities with low phase noise and high linearity. These can be traded for lower power consumption depending on the needs of a particular standard. The flexible transmitter reaches low out-of-band noise, targeting SAW-less 3GPP-LTE operation. The transceiver integrates this multi-standard programmability in an extremely small chip area of only 5mm2 while achieving state-of-the-art performance and power consumption for each covered standard. Therefore, it is competitive to recent single mode radios in mobile devices – handsets, smart phones, PDAs, PC cards, USB dongles, etc.
In a next phase of imec’s ‘green radio’ research program, the focus will be on further reducing the bill of materials and energy consumption by continuing the research on digitally-inspired SAW-less transceivers and power efficient transmitters.
“We are excited that together with our reconfigurable radio program partners Renesas and M4S, we have reached this great achievement with the conception of a low-cost, low-power reconfigurable transceiver for next-generation mobile broadband communications;” said Liesbet Van der Perre, director green radios program at imec. “We are looking forward to continue the collaboration towards next generation wireless.”
“It gives us great pleasure to have helped achieve one of the important milestones of imec’s research program by developing an innovative reconfigurable RF transceiver that uses state-of-the-art CMOS technology;” said Yoshinobu Nakagome, general manager of Advanced Analog Technology Div. Design and Development Unit at Renesas Technology Corp. “This accomplishment bolsters our efforts to develop new RF products that support multiple communication standards, including 3GPP-LTE.”
“We are proud to have contributed to imec’s outstanding “green radio program” and more specifically to the reconfigurable RF transceiver R&D. The device presented today is an excellent Proof-of-Concept device, clearly demonstrating the potential of several innovative 40nm CMOS RF circuit concepts that where invented at Imec.” said Ivo Vandeweerd, CEO of M4S. “Some of these inventions have contributed to the competitiveness of our RF products, which we believe are the smallest, lowest power consuming, multi-mode (2G/3G/LTE), commercial RF transceivers in the world. We are looking forward to continue our collaboration with imec, seeding our internal R&D to stay at the leading edge of innovation.”
About imec
Imec performs world-leading research in nano-electronics. Imec leverages its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in ICT, healthcare and energy. Imec delivers industry-relevant technology solutions. In a unique high-tech environment, its international top talent is committed to providing the building blocks for a better life in a sustainable society.
Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than 1,650 people includes over 550 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2008, imec's revenue (P&L) was 270 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at
Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a "stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government) and imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.).
About Renesas
Renesas Technology Corp. is the world's No.1 supplier of microcontrollers and one of the world's leading semiconductor system solutions providers for mobile, automotive and PC/AV (Audio Visual) markets. It is also a leading provider of Power MOSFETs, Smart Card microcontrollers, RF-ICs, High Power Amplifiers, Mixed Signal ICs, System-on-Chip (SoC), System-in-Package (SiP) and more. Established in 2003 as a joint venture between Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE:6501, NYSE:HIT) and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (TSE:6503), Renesas Technology achieved consolidated revenue of 702.7 billion JPY in FY2008 (end of March 2009). Renesas Technology is based in Tokyo, Japan and has a global network of manufacturing, design and sales operations in 16 countries with 25,000 employees worldwide. For further information, please visit
About M4S
M4S is a fabless semiconductor startup, spun out of IMEC in 2007, delivering single chip RF transceivers for the cellular market. Leveraging IMEC’s outstanding R&D results in 40nm CMOS, 1.1V RF circuits, M4S is able to offer the world’s most competitive solutions in terms of silicon area, power consumption and feature set. M4S is a leading provider of multi-mode solutions, supporting GSM/EDGE/W-CDMA/HSPA+/LTE in a single chip. Moreover, 40nm CMOS enables low cost integration of advanced digital signal processing, resulting in a feature set of M4S’ products that is unmatched. Sampling to selected customers starts in Q2 2010.
Source: imec