ECE Seminar Series (EE290) CMOS Integration: Engine of Disruptive Innovation in Wireless Communications

Speaker Name: 
Tom McKay
Speaker Title: 
IC designer
Speaker Organization: 
RF Solutions Group, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Santa Clara
Start Time: 
Monday, April 15, 2019 - 10:40am
End Time: 
Monday, April 15, 2019 - 11:45am
Prof. Yu Zhang & Prof. Ken Pedrotti


The ubiquitous wireless connection now so low cost as to be invisibly embedded in daily life, owes this state in large measure to waves of disruptive innovation in highly integrated systems implemented with complementary metal-oxide silicon  (CMOS) manufacturing processes.  Gordon Moore observed the economy of integrated circuit component integration in his famous 1965 paper during the early days of integrated circuit manufacturing.  And while the obvious digital systems shrink set the tide of sustainable manufacturing process development, ingenious wireless circuit and system architectures riding those waves continue to create value for the most advantaged and disadvantaged of humanity.  A new wave of “Christiansen” new market disruptive innovation, under the loose heading “internet of things” will flood our infrastructure, due in part, to highly integrated, wide-area connected integrated circuit systems development creativity.  Internet connections with 10 year battery life will soon be implemented in the now rather mature 22nm node, while 7nm and below will serve sustaining development in digital systems at the high end.  The pull for systems reinvention, the constraints and opportunities of wireless communications physics promise an exciting ride we’re all about to take at 22nm.


Tom McKay is Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff, GLOBALFOUNDRIES RF Design Solutions Engineering, Santa Clara.  Tom is an IC designer, architect and technologist with over 30 years’ experience in wireless IC design and innovation. Under the mentor-ship of John Eisenberg, Tom published original theory and results for a 2-18 GHz GaAs distributed amplifier IC in 1986. In the early 90's at Harris- and later, Samsung-Microwave Semiconductor Tom designed, developed and qualified low noise amplifiers for television and for Qualcomm's Globalstar satellite phone design.. Tom joined VLSI Technology in the late 90's, showing  benefits of 180nm CMOS for microwave applications. In 1999, Tom co-founded Zeevo, leading RF development on the first single-chip 180 nm CMOS Bluetooth RF SoC, shipping in volume to tier 1 customers. Zeevo was acquired by Broadcom in 2005.  As  Principal Engineer with RF Micro Devices (now Qorvo), Tom invented compact, frequency agile RF filters with Q’s over 200, with measured demonstration in 2007 at the 90 nm node.  Tom drove RFSOI development from a design perspective for cellular front-ends, now widely utilized in smart phone antenna switches and tuners.  In 2009 Tom joined  MStar (now part of MediaTek), where he patented and developed multi-mode, multi-band cellular CMOS receiver techniques. Tom has held positions of Senior Manager at Samsung Semiconductor, Staff Scientist at WJ Communications and Sr. Principal Engineer at MStar.   Tom now leads RF pathfinding efforts focused on the synergy between circuit design and GLOBALFOUNDRIES process technologies to address new market needs through early-phase hardware demonstrators. Tom holds an MSEE from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a Senior Member of the IEEE and is inventor on 15 US patents and patents-pending.