Some phased arrays are larger than highway billboards and the most powerful used as sophisticated radar, surveillance and communications systems for military aircraft and ships can cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The high cost has prevented significant spread beyond military and high-end satellite communication applications. Engineers are now working to miniaturize them and fully integrate them into silicon-based electronic systems for both military and commercial applications.
The new UCSD chip packs 16 channels into a 3.2 by 2.6 mm chip. The input signal is divided on-chip into 16 different paths with equal amplitude and phase using an innovative design, and the phase and gain of each of the 16 channels is controlled electronically to direct the antenna pattern (beam) into a specific direction.
By manipulating the phase, you can steer the beam electronically in nanoseconds. With the amplitude, you control the width of the beam, which is critical, for example, when you send information to from one satellite to another but you dont want the signal to reach any nearby satellites. And with amplitude and phase control, you can synthesize deep nulls in the antenna pattern so as to greatly reduce the effect of interfering signals from neighboring transmitters.
|Contact: Daniel Kane|
University of California - San Diego