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Exploration of the potential of 45nm CMOS for Analog/RF applications

Project description

Nanoelectronics Single chip to boost battery life and reduce costs

A whole new generation of devices powered by integrated circuits, popularly known as chips, will be more affordable, more flexible and less-power hungry than their present-day equivalents.

For the consumer, the development will specifically lead to a longer battery life on mobile devices, lower prices for a lot of different devices for the home, car and general communications, and the ability to cram more applications onto a single device.

In large part, the advances will be due to the ongoing efforts of European researchers in project NANO-RF, which commenced in January 2006 and comes to an end in December 2008.

The project team has been focusing on CMOS technology to achieve some significant breakthroughs. CMOS, or complementary metal-oxide semiconductor, is today the major class of integrated circuits. CMOS refers both to a particular style of digital circuitry design and the processes used to implement that circuitry on silicon chips.

Smaller and stronger

The advent and development of CMOS technology has been responsible for the considerable improvement in digital technologies over the past few years, and specifically anything to do with computing power and control logic.

Processors have steadily become both smaller and more powerful as new more efficient materials and designs are developed for their manufacture. But these advances have had no effect on the special analogue chips used for radio communications connections in devices, such as mobile phones and portable computers, which have their own separate circuits.

The project NANO-RF team set out to relocate, or port, the radio frequency (RF) functions onto the same chip as the digital CMOS circuitry, thus replacing several chips with a single multi-purpose one.

More efficient chips

This achievement would not only make for a more efficient overall chip, but also improve the RF functions because of the immunity to noise and the lower power consumption of CMOS devices.

Using expertise from the industrial and academic partners involved in the project, the researchers went through two learning cycles, during which circuits for a single-chip solution were modelled, produced and tested.

They did the testing at different frequencies on the radio spectrum and for different applications. These included voice and data communication on 3G and 4G mobile networks, in-house wireless connectivity via ultra wideband (UWB), and in-vehicle applications such as avoidance signals.

What they all have in common is the combination of a radio signal and processing power.

Choice of technologies

In practical terms, the research could result in a single chip on your mobile phone for voice, data and internet connections, as well as processing and storage power. Or the chip could power a device in your home, allowing you to record wirelessly a high-definition television programme, or wirelessly transfer it between recorder, computer and mobile device, thus making the spaghetti junction a thing of the past.

The researchers aim to have developed two prototype chips using different materials and architectures by the time the project ends in December 2008. The prototypes will give chip-makers a choice of guidelines and technologies for single-chip development.

Call for proposal

FP6-2004-IST-4
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Funding Scheme

STREP - Specific Targeted Research Project

Coordinator

INTERUNIVERSITAIR MICRO-ELECTRONICA CENTRUM
Address
Kapeldreef 75
3001 Leuven
Belgium
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 1 136 373

Participants (6)

INFINEON TECHNOLOGIES AUSTRIA AG
Austria
EU contribution
€ 864 650
Address
Siemensstrasse 2
9500 Villach
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN
Belgium
EU contribution
€ 223 000
Address
Oude Markt 13
3000 Leuven
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
INFINEON TECHNOLOGIES AG
Germany
EU contribution
€ 181 183
Address
Am Campeon 1-15
85579 Neubiberg
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
PHILIPS ELECTRONICS NEDERLAND BV

Participation ended

Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 183 758
Address
High Tech Campus 52
5656 AG Eindhoven
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
NXP SEMICONDUCTORS NETHERLANDS BV
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 458 955
Address
High Tech Campus 60
5656AG Eindhoven
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
CHALMERS TEKNISKA HOEGSKOLA AB
Sweden
EU contribution
€ 223 000
Address
-
41296 Goeteborg
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments