Eying emerging millimeterwave market opportunities researchers have produced a CBS antenna working at 135 GHz as well as a 3D architecture

Seed-Sized Antenna Paves Way For Millimeter-Wave Manufacturing

Sept. 17, 2012
Together, this silicon-based 135 GHz integrative antenna technology and the proposed 3D architecture offer the potential for mass production of millimeter wave systems.

To enable the next size and cost leap for communications systems, researchers from the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research’s (A*STAR’s) Institute of Microelectronics (IME) have developed a compact, silicon-based cavity-backed slot (CBS) antenna. Compared to on-chip antennas working at the same frequency (135 GHz), the antenna purportedly demonstrates 30X stronger signal transmission. Measuring just 1.6 x 1.2 mm, it is expected to help realize a wireless-communications system with a very small form factor. At the same time, the antenna should cost almost two-thirds less than a conventional CBS antenna.

Together with other millimeter-wave building blocks, the antenna can support wireless data rates to 20 Gb/s. This is more than 200 times faster than IEEE 802.11n, which can support data rates of more than 100 Mb/s. Much of the antenna’s performance advantages can be traced to the use of a polymer filling instead of air. According to Dr. Hu Sanming, an IME researcher, this approach enables more than 70% antenna size shrinkage as well as high gain of 5.68 dBi at 135 GHz. It can also be formed on a flat surface, making it well suited for mass production.

The research team also created a three-dimensional (3D) architecture to integrate the antenna with active circuits. According to Dr. Je Minkyu, Principal Investigator of IME’s Integrated Circuits and Systems Laboratory, the resulting millimeter-wave system-in-package (SiP) solution provides high performance, a reduced footprint, and low electromagnetic interference (EMI). The combination of the antenna technology and 3D architecture may provide the needed form and function for mass production of millimeter-wave systems.

About the Author

Nancy Friedrich | Editor-in-Chief

Nancy Friedrich began her career in technical publishing in 1998. After a stint with sister publication Electronic Design as Chief Copy Editor, Nancy worked as Managing Editor of Embedded Systems Development. She then became a Technology Editor at Wireless Systems Design, an offshoot of Microwaves & RF. Nancy has called the microwave space “home” since 2005.

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