LAKE WALES, Fl. -- Researchers from the University of California-Irvine unveiled last week a system-on-chip radiator that could serve as the emitter element for a handheld medical diagnostic unit that the doctor merely passes over the patient's body to perform diagnoses in the manner of Dr. McCoy of the Star Trek franchise.
The device, billed as the most powerful and highest efficiency G band (110 to 300 gigahertz) SoC radiator, was presented last week in a paper at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco.
"The applications range for our patented device range from imaging, sensing, spectroscopy, radar, and short-range indoor communications," Payam Heydari, UCI professor of electrical engineering and computer science, told EE Times in an exclusive interview. The work was performed along with his graduate student, Peyman Nazari.
Tiny though it is, the Heydari lab’s radiator chip boasts the highest power and efficiency of any device in its class, according to its creators.
(Source: Steve Zylius / UCI)
The duo call the chip an SoC because it acts as a resonator, a power combiner and a radiator, thereby avoiding the usual multi-chip set-ups using coupling networks and antenna buffers. Using circularly polarized emissions that outperform linearly polarized signals by tolerating loose antenna and receiver alignment, the 5.8 square millimeter silicon geranium BiCMOS chip achieves 14dBm equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) with -99.3dBc/Hz phase noise.
"We have discovered a revolutionary idea that uses an on-chip cavity with multi-port excitation to realize extremely high efficiency radiator," Heydari told EE Times.
UCI professor of electrical engineering & computer science Payam Heydari (left) and grad student researcher Peyman Nazari have engineered a circularly polarized radiating element that could have widespread applications.
(Source: Steve Zylius / UCI)
To achieve application-quality performance, such as the medical scanner that distinguishes normal versus malignant internal organs (by sending its output up to the cloud where analytics produce realtime diagnoses) the architecture will have to be extended into higher power arrays.
"We will be designing an array of radiators out of this single element to achieve watt-level equivalent radiated power, something which is considered uncharted territory," Heydari said.
The octagonal multi-port circular design uses an amplifier-based loop oscillator driving a cavity radiator.
For the future, the team plans to enhance its millimeter wavelength (teraherz) radiation for specific applications beyond medical, such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices that analyze building fractures, heavy equipment faults, driverless-vehicle hazard detection and car-to-car communication.
Funding was provided by the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology’s Global Research Outreach Program.
— R. Colin Johnson, Advanced Technology Editor, EE Times