Startup offers RF IP for 5G communications

March 02, 2016 //By Peter Clarke
Multifractal Logo
Multifractal Semiconductors SA (Pretoria, South Africa) is a fabless microelectronics company focused on providing silicon IP RF circuit blocks for the global telecommunications market.

The company provides silicon-proven analog IP as well as turnkey semiconductor development services with a primary focus on millimeter-wave and ultra-high bandwidth applications, such as future 5G telecommunication systems. 

Circuit blocks already on offer include specialised front-end RF blocks such as tunable high-Q millimeter-wave resonators and bandpass filters and DSPs with multi-gigahertz bandwidths. Such bandwidth is roughly a factor of 10 greater than the previous state-of-the-art, the company claims. These circuits have been proven with on-chip RF measurements in commercial CMOS and silicon-germanium BiCMOS manufacturing processes, the company said.

"Our unique design experience, equipment infrastructure and foundry agreements place us in a rare position to offer turnkey millimeter-wave semiconductor development services," said Nish Singh, one of two co-founders of the company, in email correspondence with eeNews Europe .

The company’s primary application area is in ultra-high bandwidth millimeter-wave communications systems for 5G and beyond. However the company is also able to develop circuits for other analog applications. 

Multifractal was founded in 2014 by Singh and Piotr Osuch, two post-graduate students from Carl and Emily Fuchs Institute for Microelectronics at the University of Pretoria. They are both working towards gaining Ph.D. degrees at the university.

Osuch's research interests lie in the synthesis of microwave filters and quasi-arbitrary group delay elements. Singh has five years of business management experience with an industrial background in contracting, consulting and manufacturing. His current research interests lie in the miniaturization of millimeter-wave front-end components such as resonators and filters and he has published research on tunable resonators and is currently characterising frequency agile filters prototyped in commercial SiGe BiCMOS. 

The company business model is conventional IP licensing with upfront fees and royalties and services contracts, Singh said.

"Our goal is to enable full monolithic integration of ultra-high bandwidth communication systems using commercial silicon processes. We support our customers all the way through to tape-out to ensure desired manufactured results and yields," he said.

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