3G CMOS power amplifier family enables drop-in replacement for GaAs chips

February 23, 2012 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Black Sand Technologies has extended its established BST34 series of CMOS power amplifiers (PAs) with two devices that complete its range of products for use in every common global cellular frequency band. The latest BST3405 and BST3408, for use in Band-5 (824-849MHz) and Band-8 (880-915MHz) respectively, are drop-in replacements for the gallium-arsenide (GaAs) components traditionally found in every 3G mobile phone, tablet and datacard.

Black Sand manufactures the BST34 series using an industry-standard CMOS semiconductor process – the same technology that is used to produce the majority of silicon chips in the world today. By replacing specialized ‘boutique’ GaAs process technology, customers can benefit from lower costs, enhanced product robustness and reliability, and an improved supply chain.

The company says the BST34 series is already shipping into multiple design wins with multiple customers.

Chris Taylor, who earlier this month published data on the cellular PA market for analyst firm Strategy Analytics, said: "Last year the cellular PA market grew 19 per cent to $3.3 billion and, as the non-handset market grows, we predict it will increase to $4 billion by 2016."

The BST34 series devices deliver up to 28 dBm of linear power and are packaged in a 3- x 3-mm 10-pin form factor. The products include an integrated directional coupler with daisy-chain support, integrated overvoltage and over-temperature protection circuitry. Black Sand also offers the BST35 series, premium range products that include the company’s TrueDelivered™ power detection technology, which allows mobile phones to produce up to 2 dB higher Total Radiated Power than is possible using GaAs power amplifiers.

The BST3401/2/4 are available and shipping now. The BST3405/8 will ship in Q2 2012.