Skip to main content

Deep mm-Wave RF-CMOS Integrated Circuits

Final Report Summary - DARWIN (Deep mm-Wave RF-CMOS Integrated Circuits)

The objectives of the project were:
1. Development of mm-wave measurement techniques (WP-1)
2. Development of high-frequency models and simulation/design tools (WP-2)
3. Design of CMOS RF front-ends in the 30-300GHz frequency band (WP-3)
Since the three objectives are strongly linked to each other (characterization of circuits in objective 3 should be designed via the objectives in 2) and measured via the set-up and developed measurement techniques in 1), and since over the course of the project almost every year a mm-wave CMOS circuit was demonstrated in the aimed frequency range (30 GHz-300GHz), the project objectives are fully met. Even better, nowadays circuits are measured over 0.5 THz in main stream CMOS,
Even a complete wireless link at 120GHz was demonstrated. The chip, developed by the research team, demonstrated state-of-the art performance in terms of distance and data-rate. Furthermore, the chip contained an on-chip antenna.
A second major achievement is the feasibility to demonstrated plastic-waveguides. Here, we made use of the results developed in the DARWIN project, to establish a novel communication concept that uses cheap plastic fibers and on-chip antennas. As such, we were able to achieve 10Gbps over 1 meter distance and 2Gbps over 10 meters. These numbers are highly competitive compared to copper wire line or optical communication. For sure, the research team will continue to investigate the potential of this concept for consumer and automotive applications.
Altogether, the research is ended with great success. Whereas in the beginning of the DARWIN project, the focus was on basic building blocks, towards the end of the project the focus was clearly on the development of entire radios in the 30-300GHz frequency range and the final one was to measure and evaluate new techniques to demonstrate towards the semiconductor industry the capabilities of this frequency range.
This has lead to various publications on a wide range of frequencies: 60GHz, 85GHz (E-band communication), 120GHz (wireless connectors and plastic waveguides) and even 200GHz.
It is fair to say that thanks to this DARWIN project, not only has KU Leuven maintained its leading position in the field of RF and mm-wave design, it has also allowed us to expand our field of expertise into this new and promising frequency domain. Today, the research group has many collaborations with industry and various follow-up projects thanks to the ERC grant.