GaN MMIC design, test and characterisation

Introduction

INEX Microtechnology are developing a custom GaN High Power Amplifier (HPA) Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit (MMIC) and require design and characterisation services to support this project.  The part is to be designed on the GaN technology presently under development at INEX Microtechnology Ltd (INEX).

Background

INEX has successfully demonstrated building blocks of the HPA device including active (transistors) and passive components and wishes to engage a design house with RF design experience to support realisation of a MMIC device.  The design house will use INEX’s IG50 Process Design Kit (IG50 PDK) to model, simulate and optimise device designs to ensure the MMIC delivers the required performance.  The PDK is a collection of foundry specific data files and script files used with electronic design automation tools (EDA) in chip design flow. The PDK includes electrical models, symbols and technology files and is the industry standard method for deigning integrated circuits. The supplier will have experience in designing devices using this methodology and will have delivered such services to other customers which address a wide variety of applications in the wireless communications, aerospace and defence sectors.

The Project

The objective of this project is for a supplier to supply the device designs described above.  INEX require that this design process is split into two phases as detailed below.

 

Phase 1

Phase 1 to include the following deliverables.

Preliminary Design Phase (The Supplier)

The supplier will examine circuit architectures which have the capability to meet the requirements for the GaN HPA MMIC. This will also require detailed analysis of both the INEX technology capability and Process Design Kit (PDK). Schematic based simulations will be carried out and simulated performance will be compared to specifications in order to assess compliance. Partial layout of the MMIC chips will be undertaken to understand die size and pad positions. Preliminary thermal analysis will also be carried out to understand any potential reliability issues at an early stage in the circuit architecture evolution.

The preliminary design phase will culminate in a preliminary design review (PDR). At the PDR, a review of the circuit architectures, performance versus compliance, layouts (size and positions) and proposed design versions will be reviewed. It is envisaged that approximately three design versions will be proposed at the PDR to offer a level of design risk mitigation.

 Preliminary Design Phase Delta (The Supplier)

Following a successful PDR the development activity will move to a delta phase. The designs proposed at the PDR will be evolved to full manufacture-ready layouts in this section. The design flow will cover a scaled down set of analysis compared to a full HPA design due to time constraints. The aim of this stage is to allow significant input into Secondary Design Phase 2.

Engineering Samples Manufacture Phase BATCH 1 (INEX)

Following a successful PDR-Delta, the project will move into a manufacture phase. This work package will be carried out by INEX. The supplier and INEX will work closely to ensure the data is input to the INEX foundry in an efficient manner.

Engineering Characterisation Phase BATCH 1 (The Supplier)

The samples from BATCH 1 will be characterised by the supplier on key performance parameters so inputs can be obtained for Secondary Design Phase 2

 

Phase 2

Phase 2 to be delivered after the successful completion of phase 1 and include the following deliverables

Secondary Design Phase (The Supplier)

Following input from Phase 1, the development activity will move to a secondary design phase. The designs proposed at the PDR will be evolved to full manufacture-ready layouts in this section. The design flow will include full electromagnetic simulations for all passive elements, process sensitivity analysis, updated small-signal / large-signal simulations and final thermal simulations.

The secondary design phase will culminate in a joint design Secondary Design Review (SDR) with INEX. During this review all MMIC layouts for all versions will be presented, a full set of electrical simulations and finalised layouts will be reviewed.

Engineering Samples Manufacture Phase BATCH 2 (INEX)

Following a successful SDR, the project will move into a manufacture phase. This work package will be carried out by INEX. The supplier and INEX will work closely to ensure the data is input to the INEX foundry in an efficient manner.

Engineering Characterisation Phase BATCH 2 (The Supplier)

Following a successful manufacture of the GaN wafers then parts will be given to the supplier for characterisation. MMICs will be characterised with custom designed probe cards with integrated pulse circuits. The aim of the characterisation will be to demonstrate performance versus specifications for the key RF parameters. Approximately six parts (two of each version) will be characterised at room temperature. A down-selected version (one part) will be assembled into a connectorised test fixture for over temperature characterisation.

 

How to respond

If you wish to submit a proposal, please contact Emma Crowley at emma.crowley@inexmicro.com no later than Friday 17th January 2020 with a brief outline of your relevant experience and capabilities.  If we feel that you have the capabilities to satisfy our requirements, further discussion of the specification in more detail will take place.  Please note that a Non-Disclosure Agreement will be necessary prior to these discussions.

If you have any questions regarding this tender opportunity, please contact Emma Crowley on the above email address.

Please include the following in your response:

  • An overview of the company/individual submitting the proposal
  • Detail on how you will deliver the required specification
  • Examples of relevant work you have carried out
  • Price structure

How we will select a provider

We will use the following criteria to select a provider for this work:

Criteria Weighting
Demonstrable expertise within the design and characterisation of GaN MMICs 50%
Quality of proposal against tender specification 15%
Value for money 20%
UK Based Company or individual 15%

 

 

 

 

 

Due Diligence you will be required to:

  • Technical/Product specification will only be released to providers who can demonstrate experience in the design and characterisation of GaN MMICs
  • Sign an NDA
  • Sign a contract that ensures that all IP will be sign over to INEX Microtechnology Ltd
  • Undertake a pre-qualifying questionnaire (PQQ) process in line with our funders