HSINCHU, Taiwan--Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. here today announced delivery of its first 0.18-micron IC for Bluetooth wireless systems to silicon foundry customer Zeevo Inc., a fabless chip startup in Santa Clara, Calif.
TSMC said the 0.18-micron mixed-signal CMOS device integrates radio-frequency (RF) circuits with analog and digital baseband functions on a single chip. Zeevo--founded in 1999 and formerly called TelenComm Inc.--said it expects to announce Bluetooth products, software, and full development support later in the first quarter of 2001.
The Silicon Valley startup aims to leverage TSMC's new 0.18-micron RF-CMOS process to take a lead in system-on-chip (SoC) designs for "enhanced wireless applications, such as Bluetooth," said Anil Aggarwal, chief executive officer of Zeevo.
The market for Bluetooth chips recently began to accelerate, according to analyst Joyce Putscher at Cahners In-Stat Group in Scottsdale, Ariz. "By 2005, this semiconductor market opportunity will approach $5 billion," she said.
In Taiwan, TSMC plans to be a major supplier of foundry services for Bluetooth and other wireless chips. TSMC is already producing devices for these markets with 0.25- and 0.35-micron mixed-signal RF-CMOS technology, said John Chern, director of logic technology product marketing for the world's largest pure-play foundry company. The addition of a new 0.18-micron process provides chip engineers with multiple technologies for Bluetooth applications, said Chern, and "we're enabling designers to enter the wireless communications markets faster and with next-generation technology."
TSMC's 0.18-micron process is optimized for an NMOST fT of 62 GHz, said the company. The high frequency operation is coupled with a deep n-well option to provide a noise transmission reduction of 25 dB, which is less than traditional twin-well processes, said TSMC. In the 0.18-micron process also provides a high performance metal capacitor (Mi M), a thick metal inductor, and multiple threshold voltage (Vt) devices that enable more flexibility and higher integrity for RF designs, said the foundry company.