Packaging is no doubt a critical part of RF/microwave component design and Skyworks Solutions Inc. has come out with a new process that enables linear products to operate at high frequencies while also reducing the cost of such components.
Skyworks' Hermetic Surface Mount Package (HSMP) is a ceramic packaging process that lends itself for high-volume, hermetically sealed devices such as diodes used for WiMAX, military, space and other applications that require high-frequency operation. The solution, which uses low-temperature, co-fired ceramic packaging (LTCC) and prevents any kind of leakage into the environment, can be assembled using high-flow manufacturing processes unlike Skyworks' other ceramic packaging offerings, which require manual assembly.
For design engineers, a ceramic packaging solution built around an automated manufacturing process spells a break in price. “The significance of this solution is it will drive costs down,” says Sue Van Nostrand, product manager for Skyworks' Linear Products business unit.
The HSMP's ability to support high-frequency applications is another key differentiator. The package is more stable over wide frequency and temperature ranges compared with packaging alternatives around plastic and it is capable of handling high processing and operating temperatures without any degradation in performance, Van Nostrand says. Specifically, the diodes available in this package can operate over the low-junction temperature range of -40 to 150C.
Another benefit of HSMP for designers is its compliance with Skyworks' Green initiative. The package is lead free, contains no halogens or antimony and it fully adheres to current RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive) standards. “There's a huge push for RoHS for all plastic components … and with HSMP, designers don't have to worry about compliance and they have an environmentally friendly package free of leads,” Van Nostrand says.