Ultra-compact radar sensors to advance industrial sensor technology

September 28, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Ultra-compact radar sensors to advance industrial sensor technology
Advances in microelectronics allow a further step in the miniaturisation of ultra-high frequency technology. Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics (IAF) and an industrial partner are developing extremely compact radar sensors with a modular design, which will be particularly suitable for the requirements of industrial sensor technology.

The best resolution is achieved by radar sensors in which the antennas are also integrated on the semiconductor level or in the chip housing due to the small wavelength. However, the opening up of the frequency range above 100 GHz has so far been hampered by complex assembly and connection technology, which for a long time represented a limitation on the way to low-cost integrated modules.

Now, variants from the "Real100G.RF" project of the German Research Foundation (DFG) are being brought together with circuits from Fraunhofer IAF. From this, the researchers are developing a scalable miniature radar front-end, which will then be evaluated for industrial applicability in cooperation with VEGA Grieshaber KG, a supplier of industrial level and pressure measurement technology.

The project "Scalable THz miniature radar for industrial applications" (SATIRE) is one of six trilateral projects funded by the DFG and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (FhG). The aim is to transfer scientific findings to industry. In the trilateral SATIRE project, companies can participate in innovations from research at an early stage.

This project aims to develop a scalable, highly integrated 300 GHz radar sensor with a bandwidth of over 50 GHz and thus a resolution in the millimetre range. The modules, including the lens, with a maximum size of 10 mm x 10 mm x 7 mm, can be interconnected on a control board to form a MIMO system and can be used individually. This makes the modules particularly suitable for the versatile requirements of industrial sensor technology.

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