UMC develops 192 GHz circuit, sets sight on THz chips

Semiconductor foundry UMC today said that it has developed a 130 nm Voltage-Controlled Oscillator (VCO) that runs at an operating frequency of 192 GHz. According to the company, the chip was developed by the Silicon Microwave Integrated Circuits and Systems Research Group (SIMICS) of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Florida.

VCOs are typically used in all RF and wireless systems. High frequency oscillators such as the 192 GHz VCO can be used for advanced remote sensing and imaging applications to accomplish chemical detection, detection through fabric, imaging through fog and clouds, and the detection of skin cancer.

UMC claims that it is also running a 90 nm VCO at 140 MHz, which it pans to 280 GHz in the foreseeable time. The company expects 65 nm chips to reach a range of 350 to 400 GHz. After that "a THz signal in CMOS technology is not far off," said Patrick T. Lin, chief SoC architect of system and architecture support at UMC.