Hanwha-Phasor to double UK chip design team

Hanwha-Phasor to double UK chip design team

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Hanwha-Phasor  is aiming to double its chip design team working on satellite communication systems in in Cambridge, UK.

Hanwha of South Korea bought Phasor Solutions in 2020 for its phase array antenna technology. It is now looking to develop its own custom ASIC chips, doubling its design team form 10 to 20 people.  

“A commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) chip can only take you so far. If you have your own custom ASIC, you can really tackle the power consumption issues the satcom industry is very preoccupied with,” said Dom Philpott, Hanwha Phasor’s Chief Operating Officer since February (above).

“Power consumption is set by the ASIC, and there’s little choice when it comes to low power options with COTS. It’s the same when it comes to the number of beams. Functional limits force you into an architecture that involves putting system-level features on PCBs as discrete components. We are not satisfied with that.”

“With your own ASIC, you can change the game. We can include features such as chip monitoring, temperature, phase and wavelength shift and up and down conversion. Greater integration of system functionality leads to miniaturization, lower cost and greater reliability,” he said.

The company recently showed 8,000 antennas on a single array, controlled by ASICs in a high bandwidth design for aircraft. It has also signed a partnership deal with local RF expert Plextek.

“Developing our own ASIC is the only way to break the trade-off between power consumption, cost and performance in satcom antennas,” said Dongwan Yoo, CEO of Hanwha Phasor.

Yoo became Hanwha Phasor’s CEO earlier this year and undertook a strategic review of the business, including Hanwha Phasor’s ASIC Centre of Excellence in the UK’s Cambridge Science Park.

“We want to build the best antenna on the market. To do that, we must develop our own integrated circuits to break the trade-off between power consumption, cost and performance. That’s what will set us apart from the competition,” he said. “We want to keep upgrading our products and our own ASICs will continue to be a core component of our Ku- and Ka-band variants.”

“We’re focusing on antennas today for commercial aero and defence-based land applications and our parent Hanwha Systems is already bidding our antenna onto exciting Asian platforms. The market potential is huge,” said Philpott.

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