Researchers see a broad set of high-volume apps emerging for millimeter wave radios.
At the high end of the spectrum, Imec is among a growing set of researchers that see many mass-market applications emerging in the millimeter wave spectrum from 60 to 90 GHz, spanning automotive radar to 5G cellular links.
Imec reported earlier this year on its work on a 79 GHz radar transceiver in 28 nm CMOS that has more than 10% efficiency. It is now measuring results of its work, aiming to integrate the transceiver into a cm2 SoC with a phased array antenna.
Such millimeter wave designs will benefit from emerging work in massive MIMO antennas, says Liesbet Van der Perre, a group science director in wireless research at Imec. She predicts 2020 base stations could use the technique to deliver backhaul connections at 1.17 Gbit/s at power consumption levels of 90 W. That's up from 270 Mbit/s for today's base stations consuming 700 W, she said.
Imec is leading a research collaboration in the European Union that aims to develop core technology for algorithms, DSPs and radios for massive MIMO. "It's not classic MIMO, it's a new scheme and very disruptive," she told us.
Separately, Van der Perre discussed early work on a reconfigurable 10 Gbit/s radio module for 5G, targeting the 16 nm node. It would integrate past work in basebands, transceivers, and frequency-flexible front-end modules.
The group's work is focused on CMOS, which she claims is catching up to the millimeter wave capabilities of silicon germanium at the 20 nm node.
CMOS will catch up with SiGe's millimeter wave capabilities at 20 nm, Imec believes.
— Rick Merritt, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, EE Times