42. InP mm-wave designs for 140GHz 6G communication

The future communication standard, 6G, will make use of higher frequency band to have short range communication in the D-band (110-170GHz) using antenna arrays. This puts some very tough constraints on the transceiver designs, demanding the usage of microwave design techniques and the usage of non-classical CMOS design techniques.

In these master theses, we want to explore the limitation of a InP technology by designing the building blocks that are key in 140GHz transceivers. As each small connection introduces small parasitic capacities and inductances you will need to design and simulated the layout using 3D field simulations. Furthermore, even small transistor interconnections need to be modelled as microstrip or grounded coplanar waveguide. Shortly, you will become a real mm-wave microelectronic designer.

These master theses are in cooperation with the imec which provides the technological support to the design kit for the InP technology used. In order to have a kick-start to use the imec infrastructure and design methodologies, it is advisable to do a short internship at imec to learn the imec’s design flow on a design which is not part of the actual master thesis.

The blocks that we aiming for are

  1. Study of the various possible Power Amplifier configuration (CE, CB, cascode, use of power combiners) while trading off both power added efficiency and chip array. The latter is important to be compliant with the size of a single patch antenna.
  2. Frequency multiplier which doubles or triples its input frequency (of resp 70 and 56.6GHz) towards 140GHz,
  3. Voltage controlled oscillators at 140, 70 and 56.6GHz, focusing on aspects such as frequency tuning range and phase noise.
  4. Researching High-speed frequency dividers using ECL to be used within fractional PLL
  5. Design of a fractional-N PLL that uses a low frequency reference signal (e.g. a 1 GHz signal) to generate the signal required for the frequency multipliers.
  6. 140GHz Low Noise Amplifiers
  7. 140GHz Frequency converters and IQ modulators

2021
Piet Wambacq (imec/vub-etro)
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