60 GHz multiple antenna receiver prototype introduced

Monday, 17 March, 2008


IMEC has introduced its prototype of a 60 GHz multiple antenna receiver and invites industry to join its 60 GHz research program.

The 60 GHz band offers massive available bandwidth that enables bit rates of several Gbits per second at distances up to 10 m.

To make the technology cost efficient to manufacture, low power and affordable in consumer products, IMEC has built its RF solution in a standard digital CMOS process, thereby avoiding the extra cost of alternative technologies or dedicated RF process options.

The second industry goal is to overcome high path losses at mm-wave frequencies by using a phased antenna array approach. The company’s prototype addresses this problem by implementing a programmable phase shift of various incoming signals.

The device contains two antenna paths, each consisting of a low-noise amplifier and a down-conversion mixer. The programmable phase shift is realised on the same chip. It starts from the quadrature signals of an on-chip quadrature voltage-controlled oscillator (QVCO). This QVCO design combines the highest oscillation frequency with the largest tuning range ever reported in CMOS.

The company’s multiple antenna receiver is the first step towards a complete CMOS-based phased array transceiver for 60 GHz wireless personal area networks that envisage multi-gigabit-per-second applications such as fast kiosk downloading, wireless high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) and other applications.

In the next phase of development, IMEC plans to implement four antenna paths using 45 nm CMOS technology and to integrate other subsystems such as the phase-lock loop (PLL), analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and the patch-antenna array itself. IMEC will also begin initial experiments for a power amplifier.

These results were achieved in the multi-disciplinary 60 GHz technology program. The research combines system-level aspects, algorithms, CMOS IC design, antenna design and module design, which target a low-power 60 GHz communication link based on adaptive beamforming using multiple antennas aligned with ongoing standardisation activities.

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