Phased Arrays for 5G Communication Links

Principal Investigator
Project Description

6G with 100+ Gbps communication links and operating in the frequency range of 60-200 GHz will require directional antennas for improved SNR due to the high space-loss factor at these frequencies. This can be done using lens based-systems such as dielectric lenses directly on the RFIC, or using phased-arrays with 16 to 64-elements. The lens-based systems employ a single amplifier per beam are useful for very short distances such as 10-30 cm. Phased-arrays, in contrast, enable 16 to 64-amplifiers to add coherently in a single beam, thus greatly improving the SNR, but are hard to build at 100 GHz and above. Also, they require phase-shifters at 60-200 GHz, which can be done either in the RF, LO or IF do- mains, each having its own drawbacks (loss for the RF domain, mixers on each element for the LO and IF domains). Finally, at 100-200 GHz and above, there is simply little available space per element, as the antennas are placed on a grid of < 0.75-1.5mm.

This work researches different solutions for millimeter-wave 6G phased-arrays, from a topology, architecture and energy perspective, and how each of these will influence the design of the RFIC. Also, different high-efficiency antennas will be considered such as dielectric resonator antennas on top of the RFIC to laminate-type microstrip antennas in the package. Also, 1-D and 2-D scanning designs will be considered as each will result in completely different antennas and phased-array design. The goal is to build a high-efficiency phased-array operating in the 100-200 GHz range and capable of sustaining a very wideband modulation scheme for 100+ Gbps links.