Millimeter-wave and Terahertz Integrated Circuits in Silicon Technologies: Challenges and Solutions
The vastly under-utilized spectrum across millimeter-wave (mm-wave) and terahertz (THz) bands has generated great deal of excitement to investigate futuristic systems for 10+ gigabit short-range wireless as well as wideband sensing/imaging applications. Simply put, the shorter wavelength associated with the mm-wave/THz band is appealing since the physical dimensions of the antenna and associated electronics are reduced in size, making it possible to design multi-antenna structures to achieve beamforming, spatial diversity and multiplexing.
On the imaging applications front, THz imaging is considered to be one of the emerging technologies. Electromagnetic wave at these frequencies can pass through non-conducting materials. Meanwhile, many materials have a fingerprint spectrum at millimeter-wave/THz frequency range, making it possible to be used in non-ionized imaging and material spectroscopy. On the radar/sensing and communications front, the availability of broad unlicensed frequency spectrum across the millimeter-wave/THz frequency range unfolds new ideas on super-precise sensing at micrometer-level and multi-10-gigabit instant wireless access at the centimeter-level spacing between transmitter (TX) and receiver (RX).
Owing to aggressive scaling in feature size and device fT/fmax, nanoscale (Bi)CMOS technology potentially enables integration of sophisticated systems at THz frequency range, once only be implemented in compound III-IV semiconductor technologies.
This talk will give a brief overview of recent advances in designing silicon-based integrated circuits will be capable of operating close to the maximum operation limits of silicon-based transistors. The talk then will discuss two case studies designed in UCI’s Nanoscale Communication Integrated Circuits (NCIC) Labs; namely, the world’s highest fundamental frequency fully differential transceiver in CMOS at 210 GHz, and the world’s highest frequency PLL-based Synthesizer in Silicon at 300GHz with a wide tuning range.
Nanoscale Communication Integrated Circuits (NCIC) Labs
Dept. of EECS, University of California
Irvine, CA 92697-2625