Each of the four phased-array ICs in a tile integrates 32 receive and 16 transmit elements with dual outputs to support 16 dual polarized antennas. Multiple operating modes are supported, including the simultaneous reception of horizontal and vertical polarizations. Fabricated using an advanced IBM SiGe semiconductor process, the ICs also integrate frequency synthesis and conversion as well as digital control functions.
The complete scalable solution, which includes antennas, packaging, and transceiver ICs, transforms signals between millimeter-wave and baseband, all in a form factor smaller than an American nickel.
Mobile Back-Haul Technology
Mobile service providers have started to alleviate backhaul congestion issues by using E-band wireless links. E-Band spectrum, allocated by the FCC for point-to-point communications, covers frequencies in the range of 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and 92-95 GHz, and enables wireless data transfer at very high rates. The atmospheric attenuation in this band is relatively low, making it well suited for supporting long-range communications links.
Today's E-band solutions consist of multi-chip modules and bulky mechanically aligned antennas. The newly developed compact scalable phased array solution provides electronic beam steering and the bandwidth to support Gb/s wireless communications.
Millimeter-wave Radar and Imaging Capabilities
Millimeter-wave spans 30 GHz to 300 GHz on the electromagnetic spectrum, 10 to 100 times higher than the frequencies used for mobile phones and Wi-Fi. Frequencies in the range of 90-94GHz are well suited for short and long range, high-resolution radar imaging.
Weather, debris and other vision impairing obstructions often leave aircraft pilots helpless, but 94GHz radar imaging technology could alleviate this problem. Moreover, the design's support for two antenna polarizations—with minimal increase in footprint—provides a further advantage while navigating through fog and rain.
IBM will debut the phased-array transceiver design at the IEEE Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit Symposium in
Tuesday, June 4
, 2013. The work was partially funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Strategic Technology Office (STO).
The views, opinions, and/or findings contained in this document are those of the author and should not be interpreted as representing the official views or policies, either expressed or implied, of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or the Department of Defense.