February 11, 2018

A fully integrated scalable W-band phased-array module with integrated antennas, self-alignment and self-test

Advanced SiGe BiCMOS and CMOS processes continue to push the frontier on millimeter-wave (mm-wave) and highly integrated phased-array systems for a variety of communication applications [1,3]. Furthermore, next-generation mobile technology (5G) demands ultra-low latency and high data-rates with ubiquitous deployment supporting multi-users through the use of pico-cells. These cells may require up to hundreds of active elements capable of producing thousands of beam patterns. In order to make wide adoption of such mm-wave systems a reality, the overall cost of the system must be significantly reduced. This can be accomplished through several means. First, producing highly-integrated phased arrays eliminates the need for additional external components (such as expensive mm-wave synthesizers, amplifiers and switches), which reduces the overall system costs. Second, eliminating exotic packaging processes and materials would allow low-cost traditional manufacturing techniques to be applied to mm-wave systems. Lastly, incorporating self-test, fault-detection, health-monitoring and self-calibration into the RFIC significantly reduces the costs of factory testing (by eliminating the need for any mm-wave verifications) and enables remote-maintenance and system-reconfiguration in case of failures.

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