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18 February 2014

Imec and Vrije Universiteit Brussel report first 79GHz radar transmitter in 28nm CMOS

At the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC 2014) in San Francisco (9-13 February), nanoelectronics research center Imec of Leuven, Belgium, In collaboration with Vrije Universiteit Brussel, presented what is claimed to be the first 79GHz radar transmitter implemented in plain digital 28nm CMOS silicon (Giannini et al, ‘A 79GHz phase-modulated 4GHz-BW CW Radar TX in 28nm CMOS’). With output power above 10dBm, the transmitter front-end paves the way towards full radar-on-chip solutions for automotive and smart environment applications, says Imec.

Millimeter-wave radar systems, featuring a range resolution finer than 10cm and an angular resolution finer than 10 degrees, will be used in next-generation driver assistance systems to improve safety in blurry conditions (dust, fog and darkness) where image-based driver assistance systems fail. However, the high bandwidth and carrier frequency (needed to achieve such high resolution, wide field of view and high angular resolution) translate into large, expensive and power-hungry mm-wave antenna arrays. A low-power compact radar technology will be key to enabling the application of mm-wave sensors in next-generation automotive and smart environment applications, says the research center.

Imec’s continuous-wave radar transmitter operates in the 79GHz band. Implemented in 28nm CMOS, with a supply voltage of 0.9V, it only consumes 121mW and is fully compliant with the spectral mask imposed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). Phase modulation guarantees high resilience against interference and enables code-domain multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) radar.

Imec says that it welcomes industrial and academic partners for joint R&D. After developing receiver functionality (by the end of 2014), it aims to fabricate a complete multi-antenna lab prototype by the end of 2015. Afterwards, the integration of analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) and digital logic should lead to a full system-on-chip (SoC).

Tags: Imec CMOS Radar

Visit: www.imec.be

Visit: www.vub.ac.be/en

Visit: www.isscc.org

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