Low power 140GHz beamforming transmitter in CMOS

Low power 140GHz beamforming transmitter in CMOS

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

imec in Belgium has developed a short-range, high-speed wireless beamforming transmitter in CMOs that operates above 100GHz.

The CMOS 4×4 beamforming transmitter developed by imec can provide data at 56Gbit/s per channel at D-band frequencies from 120 to 145GHz.

The transmitter is built in a 22nm FD-SOI process with each channel occupying 1.17×0.3mm². The device consumes 232mW of power for an output  of 3dBm for 16QAM modulation and 2dBm for 64QAM modulation.

The design uses the local oscillator circuit to steer high-gain narrow beams in specific directions, in combination with a zero-IF transceiver architecture. This reduces the number of components in the signal path and preserves the dynamic range of the signal path with a wide bandwidth.

The design also has a wideband analog baseband section covering channel bandwidths up to 14GHz, enabling high data rates (up to 56Gb/s per channel) across a broad frequency range.


IMEC to site R&D fab in Malaga, Spain, say reports

The beamforming transmitter design will be shown at the IEEE RFIC Symposium this week for D-band wireless applications such as wireless fail-safes in data centres, fixed wireless access (FWA)  to extended reality (XR) links and 6G networks..

The shorter wavelength allows for smaller antennas, enabling increasingly compact access points and handheld devices. The high sensing resolution will prove invaluable in future applications such as gaming, smart buildings and Industry 5.0.

“When CMOS technology ventures into the realm of 100GHz and beyond, it encounters various obstacles. The first challenge is to achieve sufficient output power to overcome the higher pathloss at these frequencies. It’s also much more difficult to realize wideband circuitry with good dynamic range and acceptable power consumption. These challenges are at the heart of our novel CMOS-based D-band beamforming transmitter,” said Joris Van Driessche, programme manager at imec.

“Another unique feature of our chip is its completeness which integrates LO beamforming and a full analog baseband section across all four channels, along with the complete RF chain and beamforming functionality. To our knowledge, this is a significant first.”

“With this chip, we aim to build a D-band wireless system that will allow partners to experiment with beamforming technology, joint communication and sensing (JC&S) applications, and more – while demonstrating the viability of CMOS technology for next-generation, short-range wireless applications at frequencies above 100GHz,” he said.

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