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Imec, Panasonic develop low-power 7Gb/s 60GHz transceiver

Posted: 09 May 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:radio transceiver? CMOS-based solution?

Imec and Panasonic Corp. have partnered to develop a prototype of a 60GHz radio transceiver that allows data rates to reach to up to 7Gb/s over short distances at low power consumption.

The chip achieves this performance over the four channels specified by the IEEE802.11ad standard. Imec's low-power 60GHz solution is an important step toward adoption of 60GHz technology in low-cost battery-operated consumer products such as smart phones and tablets, the company said.

Today's wireless consumer electronic products increasingly include data-intensive applications, while applications below 10GHz such as WLAN face spectrum scarcity. This drives wireless system designers to explore higher frequency bands such as the unlicensed band around 60GHz. This band is available throughout the world and enables multiGb/s wireless communication over short distances. However, to enable 60GHz radio solutions for portable mass-market products, cost, area and power consumption need to drastically decrease. According to Imec, the ultra-low power CMOS-based solution is the answer to these challenges.

Imec's transceiver front-end prototype IC achieves an error vector management (EVM) better than -17dB for QAM16 modulation in the four channels specified by the IEEE802.11ad standard, reaching data rates of 7Gbit/s over short distances. The IC is implemented in 40nm low-power digital CMOS targeting low-cost volume production. The transmitter signal path, consisting of a power amplifier and a mixer, consumes only 90mW with 10.2dBm OP1dB. The receiver signal path, consisting of a low noise amplifier (LNA) and a mixer, consumes only 35 mW with a noise frequency of 5.5dB and 30dB gain. Electrostatic discharge robustness is more than 4kV human body model.

The compact core area of only 0.7mm2 makes this transceiver front-end solution particularly suitable for use in phased arrays. The area is kept low thanks to the use of lumped components even at 60GHz, and very compact mm-wave CMOS layout techniques. Continuous research done at Imec on power efficient CMOS PAs enables further important reductions in the power consumption of the transmitter section. The front-end is now further being integrated into a beam-forming transceiver prototype.

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