Thursday, March 29, 2012

UC San Diego and TowerJazz Develop Wafer-Sized Phased Array with 16 Antennas

The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and TowerJazz have demonstrated the first wafer-scale phased array with 16 different antenna elements operating at 110 GHz frequency range. By integrating the antennas on-chip, the design eliminates the need for expensive and lossy transitions and distribution network between the phased array and the off-chip elements.

The wafer-scale SiGe BiCMOS chip is 6.5x6.0mm and combines the 110 GHz source, amplifiers, distribution network, phase shifters and high-efficiency on-chip antennas. The wafer-scale phased array with 16 radiating elements, together with all the necessary CMOS control circuits, is capable of electronic beam scanning to +/-40 degrees in all planes. The architecture could be scaled to 64 elements (8x8) or 256 elements (16x16) due to on-chip antenna integration and the single chip integration of multiple elements.

The researchers said the design paves the way for a new generation of miniature and low-cost phased arrays for W-band (75-110 GHz) applications. Potential applications include auto radar and passive imaging (security).

The chip was designed and tested by Woorim Shin, Ozgur Inac, and Bonhyun Ku, all from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UCSD under the supervision of Prof. Gabriel M. Rebeiz, and was partially sponsored by the DARPA GRATE program under the direction of Dr. Carl McCants. The work was done under a subcontract to UCSD from TowerJazz.

"This is yet another advancement in the area of phased arrays that we are proud to announce. We have a track record of successful collaboration with TowerJazz and the ability to bring this innovative design from UCSD to market depends strongly on TowerJazz's SiGe BiCMOS process which enables lower-cost phased arrays by integrating many functions and high efficiency antennas on the same silicon chip," said Dr. Gabriel M. Rebeiz, Professor of Electrical Engineering at UCSD, the lead professor on this chip.


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