SEATTLE, June 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Scientists from IBM (NYSE: IBM) have achieved a milestone in creating a phased-array transceiver that contains all of the millimeter-wave components necessary for both high data-rate communications and advanced-resolution radar imaging applications. The newly demonstrated integrated circuits (ICs) tackle data bottleneck issues for mobile communications applications and allow radar-imaging technology to be scaled down to the size of a computer laptop.
Advanced radio frequency integration has been a key driver in the explosive growth of mobile device capability and sophistication. Millimeter-wave bandwidth has the ability to support Gb/s wireless communications, dramatically expanding opportunities for mobile backhaul, small cell infrastructure, and data center overlay network deployment.
The frequency range of the ICs is well suited for high-resolution radar imaging applications due to its short wavelength, relatively low atmospheric attenuation, and ability to penetrate debris. The ICs enable radar technology to be scaled down, giving pilots the ability to penetrate fog, dust and other vision impairing obstructions."This transceiver presents the highest level of integration achieved so far in a silicon-based solution for millimeter-wave frequency applications," said Dr. Alberto Valdes-Garcia, IBM Research, Communications and Computation Subsystem Group. "It is a key step toward phased-array systems of the future that are scalable, low-volume, light-weight, and low-cost." About the Integrated Circuit and Scalable Array Assembly Technology The packaged transceiver operates at frequencies in the range of 90-94GHz and is implemented as a unit tile, integrating four phased array ICs and 64 dual-polarized antennas. By tiling packages next to one another on a circuit board, scalable phased arrays of large aperture can be created while maintaining uniform antenna element spacing. The beamforming capabilities enabled by hundreds of antenna elements will allow for communications and radar imaging applications that will extend over a range of kilometers.