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FLEXWIN

Flexible microsystem technology for micro- and millimetre-wave antenna arrays With Intelligent Pixels

Objective

FLEXWIN (Flexible microsystem technology for micro- and millimetre-wave antenna arrays With Intelligent Pixels) proposes a significant advance towards smart RF microsystems by combining

  1. an RFMEMS switch process monolithically integrated with a Si/SiGe BiCMOS process,
  2. highly reconfigurable mm-wave building blocks, able to be used over a broad frequency range and for different applications,
  3. a new RF-system design paradigm built around the concepts of reusability, multifunctionality and reconfigurability and
  4. environmental sensing and control built into multifunctional RF ICs with digital control.

As a first demonstrator of the proposed highly innovative FLEXWIN technology platform, a smart reflectarray architecture for broadband communication links will be realized. In fact, the core FLEXWIN ICs will be used as intelligent pixels providing spatial power combining with full individual amplitude and phase settings of each pixel in transmit and receive mode controlled by a serial bus. Together with the monolithic integration of the environmental sensors on the very same IC, it dramatically reduces the antennas control system complexity providing significant advances in RF frontend adaptability.

 

The validity of the design paradigm will be further explored in two reconfigurable IC demonstrators using the RF MEMS SiGe BiCMOS technology and deliberately spaced in the radio spectrum: reconfigurable “commodity” building blocks up to 5 GHz, addressing mobile and wireless data applications, and for the 30-64 GHz range, addressing point-to-point, and emerging wireless LAN applications.

 

Overall, FLEXWIN will demonstrate enhanced and smart capabilities of mm-wave systems due to built-in intelligence allowing convenient and flexible control of important parameters, and the use in harsh environments due to built-in sensing and autonomous parameter adjustment in each module. Further, it will establish reconfigurable multi-functional millimetre-wave ICs as an off-the-shelf commodity which will ease mm-wave system implementation and shorten the time-to-market.

IHP's Contribution

In FLEXWIN project, IHP is responsible to develop the technological processes for the monolithic heterointegration of the SiGe BiCMOS and the RF-MEMS technology. This includes the development of BiCMOS embedded RF-MEMS switch for mm-wave applications. By using this advanced process module, the multi-functional and reconfigurable millimetre-wave ICs will be fabricated for the integration in the FLEXWIN demonstrators together with the digital control circuits.

Funding

FLEXWIN project is supported by the European Community Framework Programme 7, grant agreement no. 257335.

Selected Publications

  1. M. Kaynak, et al., “BEOL embedded RF-MEMS switch for mm-wave applications," IEDM Tech. Dig., pp.1-4, 2009.

  2. M. Kaynak, et al., “BiCMOS Embedded RF-MEMS Switch for above 90 GHz Applications using Backside Integration Technique” IEDM Tech. Dig., pp.832-835, 2010.

  3. M. Kaynak, et al., "Robustness and Reliability of BiCMOS Embedded RF-MEMS Switch” SiRF Tech. Dig., pp. 177-180, 2011.
The building and the infrastructure of the IHP were funded by the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union, funds of the Federal Government and also funds of the Federal State of Brandenburg.