Advances in SiGe, CMOS RFSOI and Phase-Change Circuits for High Performance Phased-Arrays
Although electronically steered arrays are a century old concept, the research and development interest was primarily driven by the defense industry and radio astronomy without any room for potential commercial applications due to the insurmountable cost. The insufficient beamformer chip performance made the implementation of large phased arrays with high effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) and increased sensitivity prohibitive. Only with the recent advancements in silicon technologies was the cost barrier reduced to an extent that large phased array systems can be employed in a multitude of commercial applications. Particularly, developments in silicon beamformer chips have enabled the commercialization of phased arrays for 5G wireless communications, satellite communications (SATCOM) and > 100 GHz communication links.
This dissertation focuses on the implementation of high performance beamformer chips in different technologies for low-cost and high performance phased array systems. It presents several implementations of ultra wideband switches along with a true-time delay unit from DC-67 GHz using a novel phase change material (PCM) switch that is utilized for the achievement of large instantaneous bandwidths. The presented TTD unit achieves a record 124 ps relative true time delay reported on an IC from DC-67 GHz.
This dissertation also presents a K-Band 19-22 GHz Tx/Rx beamformer channel with a state of the art linearity and sensitivity performance. The chip can achieve a very competitive OP1dB / IIP3 (8 dBm / 0 dBm) while its NF is 7 dB leading to state-of-the-art sensitivity performance in K-Band.
Finally, this dissertation presents a D-band full RF beamforming Rx channel at D-band. The full RF implementation of the phase shifter and the VGA is introduced at 140 GHz with a NF performance that substantiates this architecture as a potential candidate for D-band phased arrays along with its competitive phase, amplitude control and power dissipation.
All presented beamformer chips, illustrate significant advancements in various performance aspects and can be utilized for the implementation of high performance phased arrays.