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20 March 2019

IQE partners in DLINK wireless communications project for 5G infrastructure

Epiwafer foundry and substrate maker IQE plc of Cardiff, Wales, UK is participating in a new £850,000 research project DLINK - funded with over £850,000 from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) - that aims to put the UK at the forefront of the next generation of millimeter-wave wireless communications technology for 5G infrastructure.

The project addresses the challenge of ubiquitous wireless connectivity for 5G, and is a collaboration between Lancaster University and Glasgow University along with major industrial partners including BT, Nokia Bell Labs, IQE, Filtronic, Optocap and Teledyne e2v. The advisory board includes Intel. The project aims to provide ‘fiber-in-air’ communication links with unprecedented data rates and transmission distance by exploiting a thus-far unused D-band (151-174.8GHz) portion of the wireless communications spectrum. The D-band is particularly relevant for 5G because, being very wide, it enables the wireless transmission of high data rates – of around 45Gb/s.

DLINK’s goal is to enable data transmission over distances of 1km using a novel transmitter with excellent ability to withstand the high attenuation from rain and other atmospheric conditions that can be problematic at that portion of the spectrum.

There is an urgent need for new wireless communications technologies capable of delivering data at high speeds and low cost and without needing installations of fiber or large unsightly equipment to be fitted on the tops of many of the buildings in cities, says IQE. This is because wireless data demands are continuing to gather pace, with widespread proliferation of Internet-connected devices such as smartphones, tablet computers and laptops. What people choose to do with their devices is also increasingly demanding – about 74% of mobile data traffic is expected to come from video streaming within the next five years. All of these connected devices are placing huge strains on the existing wireless communications systems, and its limited data capacity.

IQE’s role in DLINK is to provide the epitaxial needs for high-quality indium phosphide (InP)-based resonant tunneling diode (RTD) structures, building on the completion of a previous program (iBROW) in which IQE played a major role in supplying InP-based RTD structures grown on InP and silicon substrates using its proprietary germanium-on-silicon (Ge-on-Si) template process.

“The huge growth of mobile data and consumer demand for video streaming - along with the Internet of Things (IoT), driverless vehicles, virtual reality and a multitude of other emerging technologies - are going to require fibre-quality data speeds but delivered wirelessly and ubiquitously,” notes professor Claudio Paoloni, the Cockcroft Chair and head of Engineering at Lancaster University.

“5G networks will function across an unprecedented frequency range, from traditional cellular bands to millimeter wave,” says IQE vice president Dr Wayne Johnson. “IQE offers a powerful array of materials solutions enabling 5G, including enhanced-efficiency gallium arsenide (GaAs) heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) PAs, novel RF filter products utilising IQE’s proprietary cREO [crystalline rare-earth oxide] technology, and high-performance switches for mobile devices, gallium nitride (GaN) high-electron-mobility transistors (HEMTs) for wireless infrastructure, InP products for high-speed oscillators and photodiodes, and many more,” he adds. “This DLINK program is another example of how compound semiconductors produced by IQE will continue to fuel the connected world as it transitions to 5G platforms.”

Tags: IQE

Visit:  http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/dlink

Visit:  www.iqep.com

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