X-FAB Releases New Ultra-Low-Noise Transistors for Noise-Sensitive Applications

X-FAB has announced the expansion of its low-noise transistor portfolio based on the company’s proprietary 180 nm XH018 mixed-signal CMOS technology. Three new transistors are now available: a 1.8 V low-noise NMOS, a 3.3 V low-noise NMOS and a 3.3 V low-noise PMOS - all of which offer drastically reduced flicker noise compared to standard CMOS offerings.  

These transistors are mainly designed for sensor deployments which require very low-noise signal amplification to achieve high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Among the key target applications are analog and digital microphone amplifiers, which are widely used in mobile phones and headsets, as well as implantable medical devices, such as pacemakers.

The new 1.8 V low-noise NMOS transistor introduced by X-FAB delivers an improvement factor of eight times lower flicker noise compared to the standard XH018 device. The new 3.3 V low-noise NMOS transistor gives up to ten times lower flicker noise, while the flicker noise for the 3.3 V low-noise PMOS transistor that complements it is halved for all drain currents.

Flicker noise, also known as 1/f noise, is the dominant noise at low frequencies, between 1 Hz to 1 MHz. For applications working in this spectrum, it is important that the flicker noise is kept to a minimal level. 

Using the new complementary low-noise 3.3 V transistors makes it easier for designers to realize noise-critical designs, enabling them to achieve a high SNR - as required, for example, by digital amplifier ICs. Designers can also benefit from more accurate models which are supplied in the new BSIM4 format. With this, the chances for achieving first-time-right implementation of complex analog circuits are significantly improved.

The new 180 nm low-noise CMOS transistors, integrated within the XH018 process design kit (PDK), are available immediately for new designs. Noise parameters are included within the device models to facilitate an accurate simulation of the noise behavior of a circuit, before it is actually implemented.

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