Mark Hoffman No Comments

pSemi Releases World’s First, Fully Integrated, 8-channel LED Boost

Power Supply in Package (PSiP) Uses a Unique Design Based on a Patented, Two-stage Architecture that Relies on Capacitors to Handle the Bulk of the Power-conversion Work

SAN ANTONIO – APPLIED POWER ELECTRONICS CONFERENCE (APEC) – March 6, 2018 – pSemi Corporation (formerly Peregrine Semiconductor), a Murata company focused on semiconductor integration, introduces the PE23300, the industry’s only fully integrated LED boost power supply in package (PSiP) based on a charge-pump, switched-capacitor architecture that offloads most of the power-conversion work from the inductor to capacitors in the charge pump.

Powering up to eight LED strings at a total power level of up to 10 watts, the PE23300 is designed specifically to power LED backlight arrays in ultra-high-definition (UHD) and high definition (HD) LCD panels for 2-cell and 3-cell narrow-voltage DC notebooks, industrial and automotive displays.

“The PE23300 truly demonstrates pSemi’s power-semiconductor capabilities. The PSiP delivers a unique, two-stage architecture that brings ground-breaking conversion efficiency and small solution size and is packaged with Murata’s advanced, 3D-packaging technology and passive components,” says Stephen Allen, director of strategic marketing at pSemi. “All components required for operation are integrated into a 7.7 x 11.7 millimeter laminate-based LGA package, which is just 1.6 millimeters in height. To achieve this small size, we used a ‘die-in-substrate’ 3D-packaging technology. The low profile is also a result of our two-stage architecture that allows us to use a tiny chip inductor. All of this can be achieved with an efficiency that is on average about 5 to 7 percent higher than the competition, halving the losses in the LED boost.”

Power conversion creates a compromise between size and efficiency: The smaller the solution, the worse the efficiency. This compromise impacts OEMs trying to make next-generation, ultra-compact products, because they need both a very high conversion efficiency and a very small size at the same time. pSemi solves this problem with a novel, two-stage architecture that offloads most of the power-conversion work from the inductor to a virtually lossless charge pump and relies on small, multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) to do most of the work. As a result, the inductor – usually the largest and tallest component – can be reduced dramatically in size, and traditional wire-wound inductors can be replaced with chip inductors. This patented architecture was first developed by Arctic Sand Technologies, an MIT spin-out acquired by pSemi in March 2017, and commercialized this year.

Beyond the smaller inductor and higher efficiency, this architecture delivers several other key benefits for LED boosts, including full short-circuit protection and a very flat efficiency over the entire load range. Also, efficiency is virtually independent of the output voltage, and this allows more LEDs per string. With fewer strings, efficiency is optimized, and the display-bezel size can be reduced in width. pSemi’s PE23300 features low power dissipation – up to half that of competing products – that improves reliability and supports portable applications’ extensive battery run times.

Product Features

The PE23300 features an input voltage range of 4.5V to 15V DC and powers up to eight strings of LEDs at up to 45V and 40 mA per string.

The PSiP provides full programmability via an I2C interface with settings stored in non-volatile memory or by using GPR pins. Dimming resolution is up to 12-bits resolution with an additional 3-bit dithering and can be either linear/logarithmic analog and PWM dimming or direct PWM dimming for maximum flexibility and resolution. The part features an LED brightness ramp up/down control with programmable ramp rate, linear/logarithmic ramp profiles and phase-shifted PWM dimming among active strings to minimize audible noise.

About pSemi 

pSemi Corporation is a Murata company driving semiconductor integration. pSemi builds on Peregrine Semiconductor’s 30-year legacy of technology advancements and strong IP portfolio but with a new mission: to enhance Murata’s world-class capabilities with high-performance RF, analog, mixed-signal and optical solutions. With a strong foundation in RF integration, pSemi’s product portfolio now spans power management, connected sensors, optical transceivers antenna tuning and RF frontends. These intelligent and efficient semiconductors enable advanced modules for smartphones, base stations, personal computers, electric vehicles, data centers, IoT devices and healthcare. From headquarters in San Diego and offices around the world, pSemi’s team explores new ways to make electronics for the connected world smaller, thinner, faster and better. To view pSemi’s semiconductor advancements or to join the pSemi team, visit

(News release by pSemi/March news )

Mark Hoffman No Comments

A Perfect Low Noise Amplifier

Low Noise Amplifiers (LNAs) are a critical component in virtually all radar, wireless communications and instrumentation systems. But while the noise figure (NF) performance is often your primary focus, other microwave system considerations related to performance and size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C) can be equally, if not more important.  We’ll describe a few other key characteristics that may help you save time during your design cycle, save money during assembly, and even enhance your microwave assembly or subsystem at-large.

1. Input Power Survivability

Specifically in military and aerospace radar and communications applications, where electronic countermeasures (ECMs) may be used to overwhelm a receiver, a receiver must be capable of withstanding high levels of input power for varying intervals of time. Active or passive jamming can cause levels of noise and frequency bursts that couple large amounts of broadband or frequency-selective interference into a receiver. Moreover, in these applications there is often a high-power transmitter in close proximity to the receiver, which can lead to substantial coupling and power ingress into the receiver front end.

A common method to reduce the impact of critically high input powers to a receiver is to include a limiter or circulator on the input of a receiver chain. An unfortunate side effect of adding anything prior to the LNA in the receiver is the degradation of the overall system noise figure. These signal chain additions reduce the sensitivity of the receiver, which may shorten communications range, throughput, radar range and accuracy, and cause delays in acquiring mission critical information. A great 1 dB system noise figure can effectively become 2 dB or more when adding protection circuitry.

It’s thus very important to consider an LNA’s highest input power handling (or input survivability). Most LNAs can handle only 10-15 dBm pulsed on their input, but the highest achievers are now surviving 20 dBm continuously and 23-25 dBm pulsed and can help you eliminate the protection circuitry.

2. Gain Flatness, and Gain Stability over Temperature

Gain flatness across your required band is essential to achieve required inter-symbol-interference (ISI) levels and optimal range performance. As costly equalizers are often employed to compensate for the downward gain slope of typical LNAs, positive gain slope LNAs reduce that need.

Another factor to consider is gain stability over temperature. In applications such as aerospace communications, and SatCom, operating temperature can exceed 180 degrees F of variation within a short time window.

Temperature changes that are significant can affect an LNA by more than just changing the noise figure of the device and system; they can vary the frequency-dependent gain of the LNA. For example, large-phased array antennas may have thousands of TR modules, with many of the modules exposed to a variety of temperature gradients. If the communications system relies on gain stability throughout the TR modules, and the LNAs gain stability is temperature dependent, the system may suffer a significant loss in performance.

3. Supply Voltage and Power Consumption

Properly biasing a MMIC amplifier is critical to achieving adequate device performance. Depending upon the particular LNA design, the biasing circuitry could be composed of a positive and negative biasing circuit with temperature compensation. Some LNA MMICs have the biasing and compensation circuitry built in, but a positive and negative voltage supply must be provided to the exact specification for the biasing network to operate properly.

When designing at a system-level for a large RF or microwave assembly, many different voltage supplies may be required. Certain design constraints may also limit the noise and stability performance of those power supplies, which may impact the practical LNA performance due to limited power supply rejection ratio (PSRR). To avoid this, additional circuitry may be used to condition the voltage supplies for a given LNA MMIC. Each of these circuits and connection points introduces a potential failure mode to the voltage supplies, and thus impacts system reliability. These supply-voltage circuits also consume valuable assembly real estate and power, contribute to the overall size/weight of the assembly, add costs, and of course, consume design and test time.

In order to reduce the infrastructure necessary to integrate a MMIC LNA into a microwave assembly, engineers at Custom MMIC have applied innovative circuit-design techniques. The designs they have implemented, which only require a single positive voltage supply, also enable a wide range of voltage input for even greater flexibility. All of the necessary circuitry to properly bias these LNAs is integrated into the MMIC itself. Ultimately, when your MMIC requires only a single positive supply voltage it reduces your bill-of-material, overall system complexity, failure modes, and overall system SWaP-C.

In mobile platforms, including aerospace and satellite communications, power constraints are also a system-wide limitation that often dictates what solutions can be used. Moreover, for these applications, the power requirements of the components directly lead to the overall size and cost of the power generation circuits, and hence, the total system SWAP-C. An example of this concept is seen with satellite communications. The power required by a phased-array antenna must be generated by solar cells mounted on the satellite, which is one of the largest contributing factors of satellite weight and size. As launching satellites costs thousands to tens of thousands of dollars per kilogram, reducing the weight of a satellite system can directly influence the cost-per-bit of high-speed satellite communication services.


What makes for a perfect Low Noise Amplifier (LNA) MMIC for your microwave system? The answer could be right under your noise figure.    ( News)