Fully integrated millimeter-wave CMOS phased arrays


A decade ago, RF CMOS, even at low gigahertz frequencies, was considered an oxymoron by all but the most ambitious and optimistic. Today, it is a dominating force in most commercial wireless applications (e.g., cellular, WLAN, GPS, BlueTooth, etc.) and has proliferated into areas such as watt level power amplifiers (PA) [1] that have been the undisputed realm of compound semiconductors. This seemingly ubiquitous embracement of silicon and particularly CMOS is no accident. It stems from the reliable nature of silicon process technologies that make it possible to integrated hundreds of millions of transistors on a single chip without a single device failure, as evident in today’s microprocessors. Applied to microwave and millimeter wave applications, silicon opens the door for a plethora of new topologies, architectures, and applications. This rapid adoption of silicon is further facilitated by one’s ability to integrate a great deal of in situ digital signal processing and calibration [2]. Integration of high-frequency phased-array systems in silicon (e.g., CMOS) promises a future of low-cost radar and gigabit-per-second wireless communication networks. In communication applications, phased array provides an improved signal-to-noise ratio via formation of a beam and reduced interference generation for other users. The practically unlimited number of active and passive devices available on a silicon chip and their extremely tight control and excellent repeatability enable new architectures (e.g., [3]) that are not practical in compound semiconductor module-based approaches. The feasibility of such approaches can be seen through the discussion of an integrated 24GHz 4-element phased-array transmitter in 0.18μm CMOS [2], capable of beam forming and rapid beam steering for radar applications. On-chip power amplifiers (PA), with integrated 50Ω output matching, make this a fully-integrated transmitter. This CMOS transmitter and the 8-element phased-array SiGe receiver in [5], demonstrate the feasibility of 24GHz phased-array systems in silicon-based processes

    Similar works