UC San Diego electrical engineers have developed the worlds most complex phased array or radio frequency integrated circuit. This DARPA-funded advance is expected to find its way into U.S. defense satellite communication and radar systems. In addition, the innovations in this chip design will likely spill over into commercial applications, such as automotive satellite systems for direct broadcast TV, and new methods for high speed wireless data transfer.
This is the first 16 element phased array chip that can send at 30-50 GHz. The uniformity and low coupling between the elements, the low current consumption and the small size it is just 3.2 by 2.6 square millimeters are all unprecedented. As a whole system, there are many many firsts, said Gabriel Rebeiz, the electrical engineering professor from the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering leading the project. The work was done by two graduate students, Kwang-Jin Koh and Jason May, both at the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE) at UCSD. Rebeiz presented the new chip at DARPA TEAM Meeting, August 28-29, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. Additional details of the chip will be submitted to an academic journal later this year.
This chip the UCSD DARPA Smart Q-Band 4x4 Array Transmitter is strictly a transmitter. We are working on a chip that can do a transmit and receive function, said Rebeiz.
This compact beamforming chip will enable a breakthrough in size, weight, performance and cost in next-generation phased arrays for millimeter-wave military sensor and communication systems, DARPA officials wrote in a statement.
DARPA has funded us to try to get everything on a single silicon chip which would reduce the cost of phased arrays tremendously. In large quantities, this new chip would cost a few dollars to manufacture. Obviously, this is only the transmitter. You still need the receiver but one can easily build the receiver chip based on the designs available in
|Contact: Daniel Kane|
University of California - San Diego