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Semiconductor Review

3 Jan 2022

The One-Stop-Shop for Semiconductor Devices
Over the years, the progress made in analogue and digital integrated circuits (IC) and the push by the defence and commercial sectors to apply semiconductor technology in their systems, led to the development of high performances single and multichip MMICs as we know them today, viable for both military and commercial applications. The systems requirements in the markets such as defense and aerospace, satcom, telecom, and test and measurements are requiring more and more high-performance MMICs.

Therefore, what original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in these markets are looking for is a semiconductor company with a strong technology expertise with experience of the various semiconductor technology processes as well as a strong expertise in MMIC designs in order to cater to their specific and challenging requirements. Let’s introduce VectraWave, a semiconductor company with over 16 years of experience in microwave and radio frequency (RF) MMIC design and product development from single to multi-function chips. Based in France, VectraWave focuses on the development of the whole spectrum of semiconductor devices, from single functions to highly-integrated semiconductor solutions.

The company has expertise in developing a whole range of families of MMICs, radio frequency integrated circuits (RFIC), electro-optical integrated components (EOIC), and multi-chip modules (MCM). While their MMIC product range spans from single function amplifiers, phase shifters, attenuators, to multi- function chips (MFCs), they are also proficient in developing MCMs (MultiChip Modules), RF/fiber and optical modules, transmit and receive modules (TRMs), and solid-state power amplifiers (SSPAs), among others. Interestingly, VectraWave’s technological expertise extends across a wide range of foundry processes, including Gallium Arsenide(GaAs),GalliumNitrideonSiliconCarbide(GaN/SiC), Gallium Nitride on Silicon (GaN/Si), and Silicon on Insulator (SOI). At the same time, the company provides solutions operating from DC to 70 GHz frequency range. “But while catering to DC to 70GHz solutions, our core focus is on the applications in X-band and Millimeter Wave (MMW) to address the defence and telecom sector, the 5G, in particular,” states Brahim Zaim, CEO of VectraWave.

The Fabless Design House
Notably, what’s making VectraWave a key player semiconductor manufacturer in Europe is the company’s fabless strategy. The company is working with multiple foundry partners in Europe that have different technologies, enabling them to choose the right technology for the right design. Thus, an OEM with a specific application requirement can get a custom device developed with the best available technology.

VectraWave focuses on the development of the whole spectrum of semiconductor devices, from discrete semiconductors to highly-integrated solutions.

This fabless strategy is also empowering the team at VectraWave to design and develop highly customised devices with the best specifications and size that would help the customer to develop highly competitive solutions. Consequently, it has leveraging which, the company is swiftly carving a niche as the ideal semiconductor partner in the domain. Hence, it’s no wonder why VectraWave has managed to create a broad client base across Europe, North America, and Asia. The company has well-established sales channels, across these countries enabling them to better address and support the customers. How VectraWave is catering to this extensive clientele can be best reflected from a recent client success story.

A leading telecom enabled the company to design a wide range of custom solutions for different markets and applications. For instance, on one end, VectraWave develops GaN PAs in X-band for the defence sector that necessitate high power and efficiency. On the other end, Vectrawave has also a strong expertise in developing GaAs LNA in X-band for the telecom and satcom markets, which require very low noise performances. Some of the other custom- made solutions of VectraWave include MMIC/GaN: X-band: 20W/40W/50W, and 100 W; MMIC/GaN: Wideband (2-18GHz) 10W; MMIC/GaAs: UWBA (DC-70 GHz) and LNA (NF <1dB); MCM: X-band high power radar for military drone: 100W pulsed, RX and TX calibration, DC supply, and temperature protection; and MCM: SSPA 10W (30GHz).

But that’s not all! Besides providing solutions in dies, VectraWave also specialises in developing products in different packages, from dies and quad flat no-lead (QFN) packages to flange and connectorised packages depending upon customer’s requirements. Adding on to these competencies is the expansive pool of R&D and design experts that VectraWave has at its disposal, client recently approached VectraWave, citing their performance issues. Once the team at VectraWave analysed and understood the customer system requirements, they provided a custom- made phase shifter module. Upon further scrutiny, the team realised that the client could improve the receiver module’s noise figure to enhance the performance. Thus, VectraWave developed a low-noise amplifier (LNA) with the best available noise figure in the market today. This is typical example of how VectraWave’s support their customers.

Riding on the coattails of such successes, VectraWave has become the go-to partner for enterprises in the domain. The company is also extending its focus onto emerging markets and segments, like drone radar and 5G applications. Concurrently, Mr. Brahim ZAIM remarks that VectraWave is looking forward to investments to secure and propel its focussed and determined development program. “That will be an added impetus for us to expand our global footprint and deliver unique and high performances semiconductor devices for challenging applications from DC to 70GHz,” concludes ZAIM.

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