First 300GHz beam forming for 6G

First 300GHz beam forming for 6G

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

NTT and researchers with the Tokyo Institute of Technology have demonstrated a 6G phased-array transmitter module at 300GHz for the first time.

The 300GHz band is expected to be a key band for 6G wireless communications systems but faces the problem of large path loss during signal propagation through space. Beamforming is a key technology to overcome this problem.

Beamforming concentrates and directs radio energy toward the receiving device. In 5G wireless systems that use radio waves in the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands, beamforming has been realized with CMOS devices. 

For the 6G beamforming, NTT developed indium phosphide integrated circuit (InP-IC) chips that integrates its proprietary high-output power amplifier circuit and antenna circuit. This uses a proprietary indium phosphide-based heterojunction bipolar transistor (InP HBT) technology.

Tokyo Tech has succeeded in fabricating a highly scaled CMOS chip containing frequency conversion and control circuits. NTT and Tokyo Tech have now developed a compact four-element phased-array transmitter module5 by mounting the CMOS and InP chips on the same printed circuit board. With a steering range of 36 degrees, maximum data rate of 30 Gbps, and communication distance of 50 cm, this transmitter module has succeeded in achieving the world’s first high-speed wireless data transmission in the 300 GHz band using beamforming.

Conventionally, to connect different types of ICs for the 300 GHz band, each IC is mounted on a waveguide module and the modules are connected together. However, this approach has the problem of energy loss when radio waves pass through the waveguides. NTT and Tokyo Tech’s demonstration uses flip-chip bonding of the CMOS-IC and the InP-IC and connects them using metal bumps of several tens of microns in size. This packaging approach reduces connection loss and achieves high-output power.

Short-distance mobile communication devices are expected to be deployed in 6G networks in the future and the NTT and Tokyo Tech technology promises to expand these applications such as interactive kiosks and femtocells.

The two are working on demonstrating two-dimensional 6G beamforming with a 2D array and extending the communication distance by increasing the number of arrays. NTT and Tokyo Tech are also engaged in the development of receiver modules to meet the needs of 6G applications, and in the practical implementation of wireless communication with transmission capacity ten-fold greater than is available today.

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