Further integration with semiconductor technology shrinks passives and protection devices

September 25, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Next-generation integrated devices for matching, filtering and protection help shrink circuit size and boost end-product performance, using wafer-level manufacturing techniques

STMicroelectronics has shown new structures for integrated micro-package components for ultra-miniature filtering, protection and RF matching devices. ST uses semiconductor technologies to integrate circuit elements such as passive filters, ESD suppressors and wireless baluns in a much smaller size. As semiconductor devices, ST’s components also display tighter tolerances and higher stability than conventional discrete components.

The latest advanced devices joining ST’s micro-package families include the world’s smallest single-line Transient-Voltage Suppressor, the ESDAVLC6-1BV2, in a 01005 surface-mount package to protect sensitive circuitry against hazardous voltage surges. ST is also introducing the first five members of its new ECMF family of common-mode filters embedding ESD protection. These are built using advanced silicon technology and are offered in ultra-thin packages only 0.55 mm high.

Another new member of ST’s IPD (Integrated Passive Device) family, the BAL-NRF01D3 ultra-miniature wireless balun, has already enabled ST’s customers to boost the performance of their low-power wireless solutions and save up to 90% of the pc-board space occupied by discrete antenna-matching and harmonic-filtering components.

ST’s technologies leverage advanced component-fabrication technologies to combine into a single device multiple circuit elements including resistors, capacitors, inductors and ESD diodes that are otherwise typically implemented as individual components on the pc-board. In this way, ST’s integrated devices eliminate multiple components and the interconnections between them, resulting in a large net saving in pc-board area. Hence designers can use them to create smaller end-products, increase functionality by designing-in extra ICs, simplify PCB layout and shorten time-to-market for new products.

These integrated devices deliver better performance than equivalent discrete devices, as they are produced using semiconductor processes that display greater quality, reliability and process control. Component values have closer tolerances and reduced variation over time compared with conventional devices such as Metal-Oxide Varistors (MOVs), Low-Temperature Co-fired Ceramic (LTCC) devices and general-purpose passive components.

The BAL-NRF01D3 comes in a 5-bump flip-chip package, priced from $0.18 (5,000). ts. The ECMF common-mode filters are priced from $0.16