Integrated Circuit and Antenna Technology for Millimeter-wave Phased Array Radio Front-end
Nezhad Ahmadi Mohabadi, Mohammad Reza
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Ever growing demands for higher data rate and bandwidth are pushing extremely high data rate wireless applications to millimeter-wave band (30-300GHz), where sufficient bandwidth is available and high data rate wireless can be achieved without using complex modulation schemes. In addition to the communication applications, millimeter-wave band has enabled novel short range and long range radar sensors for automotive as well as high resolution imaging systems for medical and security. Small size, high gain antennas, unlicensed and worldwide availability of released bands for communication and a number of other applications are other advantages of the millimeter-wave band. The major obstacle for the wide deployment of commercial wireless and radar systems in this frequency range is the high cost and bulky nature of existing GaAs- and InP-based solutions. In recent years, with the rapid scaling and development of the silicon-based integrated circuit technologies such as CMOS and SiGe, low cost technologies have shown acceptable millimeter-wave performance, which can enable highly integrated millimeter-wave radio devices and reduce the cost significantly. Furthermore, at this range of frequencies, on-chip antenna becomes feasible and can be considered as an attractive solution that can further reduce the cost and complexity of the radio package. The propagation channel challenges for the realization of low cost and reliable silicon-based communication devices at millimeter-wave band are severe path loss as well as shadowing loss of human body. Silicon technology challenges are low-Q passive components, low breakdown voltage of active devices, and low efficiency of on-chip antennas. The main objective of this thesis is to investigate and to develop antenna and front-end for cost-effective silicon based millimeter-wave phased array radio architectures that can address above challenges for short range, high data rate wireless communication as well as radar applications. Although the proposed concepts and the results obtained in this research are general, as an important example, the application focus in this research is placed on the radio aspects of emerging 60 GHz communication system. For this particular but extremely important case, various aspects of the technology including standard, architecture, antenna options and indoor propagation channel at presence of a human body are studied. On-chip dielectric resonator antenna as a radiation efficiency improvement technique for an on-chip antenna on low resistivity silicon is presented, developed and proved by measurement. Radiation efficiency of about 50% was measured which is a significant improvement in the radiation efficiency of on-chip antennas. Also as a further step, integration of the proposed high efficiency antenna with an amplifier in transmit and receive configurations at 30 GHz is successfully demonstrated. For the implementation of a low cost millimeter-wave array antenna, miniaturized, and efficient antenna structures in a new integrated passive device technology using high resistivity silicon are designed and developed. Front-end circuit blocks such as variable gain LNA, continuous passive and active phase shifters are investigated, designed and developed for a 60GHz phased array radio in CMOS technology. Finally, two-element CMOS phased array front-ends based on passive and active phase shifting architectures are proposed, developed and compared.