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Terahertz sensors and networks for next generation smart automotive electronic systems

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Car2TERA (Terahertz sensors and networks for next generation smart automotive electronic systems)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2020-06-30

The objective of Car2TERA is to develop emerging sub-THz (150-330 GHz) smart electronic systems based on latest semiconductor, microsystem and nanoelectronics technologies, and is aimed to implement TRL-4 demonstrators in two high-potential application scenarios: (1) a new class of compact, high-resolution, electronic-beam-steering short-range car radar sensors, with the primary application being in-cabin passenger monitoring (currently fastest growing car sensor market) for individually and real-time adjusted crash mitigation measures; (2) short-distance, high data-rate THz-over-plastic data links for telecommunication radio-access and backbone networks facilitating the data growth demanded by 5G and IoT.

Car2TERA combines, for the first time, the results of recent achievements in semiconductor, micro- and nanoelectronics scientific projects, including the Graphene Flagship, an ERC and several EU collaboration projects, with the following emerging THz technologies: (1) 600-GHz-fmax SiGe monolithic-microwave integrated circuits (MMICs); (2) silicon micromachining for system integration, packaging, and phased-array antenna front-end; (3) integrated MEMS reconfigurability; and (4) large-bandwidth, high-linearity graphene MMICs; (4) advanced signal processing including OFDM radar signals and AI sensor fusion.

The main work of the first reporting phase of this project was: (1) exchange of technical information between the partners, including design kits, technology capability; (2) discussion of the applications and delivery of specifications to the specific applications; (3) discussion of possible concepts for the implementation of prototype solutions.
"- WP1:
• Preparation of the Design Kit for the B12HFC technology. Alignment meeting between relevant Car2TERA partners hosted by Infineon at Munich HQ.
• Preparation of the Design Kit (first version).
• Performed the requirement analysis and system specifications for primary and secondary applications.
• D1.1 D1.2 and D1.3 have been submitted.

Objectives:
Requirements and system specifications for the primary and secondary applications.

- WP2:
• A tape out in B11 was completed, including generic circuits for task 2.1.

Objectives:
The main objective for period 1 is to design generic circuits for the two demonstrators.

- WP3:
• Graphene material grown on SiC substrates delivered to Chalmers for processing of MMICs.
• Different micromachined beam-steering front-end concepts were investigated
• An innovative new beam steering front-end concept with significantly lower hardware complexity was proposed
• Mixer measurements showed a minimum conversion loss of 14 dB in E-band (which is the best conversion loss for a Graphene mixer so far)
• MMIC-interconnection concepts were proposed and simulated
• Micromachined static, phased-array antenna concepts were developed

Objectives:
The state-of-the-art graphene grown on SiC substrates suitable for MMICs processing and graphene obtained using other technologies are to be applied in MMICs applications. The observed earlier linear characteristics is to be confirmed in view of graphene attractiveness in comparison to SiGe. GR-MMICs designing and processing, which is extremely challenging, as well as the antenna concept development, are necessary to confirm the viability of graphene applications in THz car sensors.

- WP4:
• Suitable radar concepts for a micromachined radar front end were investigated. Measurements were performed of an available micromachined test antenna with beam-steering capability. The results were presented to the “44th International Conference on Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves (IRMMW-THz 2019)” (accepted for a keynote (30 minute) oral).
• Micromachining process development was completed with successful fabrication test runs.
• D4.1 and D4.2 have been submitted to the EC.
• Micromachined interposer and PMF-MMIC interconnect concept have been finalized.
• Details about the designs will be presented in D4.4.

Objectives:
• Investigation of suitable radar concepts for implementing to a micromachined beam-steering front-end
• Finalize the micromachined process development
• Finalize the design for the micromachined interfaces to SiGe MMICs
• Designs of micromachined interposer and packaging for the two demonstrators

- WP5:
• Requirements for the in-cabin monitoring use case specified
• Analysis of possible performance based on different radar implementation techniques
• D5.1 delivered i.e. the system test and verification specification, delivered
• Reference sensor system designed and implementation started

Objectives:
D5.1 submitted to the EC.

- WP6:
• Concept for PMF-to-MMIC transition defined.
• PMF vendor identified and cooperation is ongoing to find/design a suitable PMF for >200 GHz in terms of the fiber geometry, material and cladding/shielding method.
• System simulation has started on baseband hardware
The basic requirement for PMF is derived, presented, and delivered based on the system simulation carried out by EAB.

Objectives:
Finalize the demonstrator specification, test plan and test specification (Task 6.1).

- WP7:
• The initial requirements on resolution and accuracy have been defined
• D7.1 Report on modulation waveforms is released

Objectives:
System analysis of modulation waveforms and beam steering, with respect to required resolutions, in many dimensions, in automotive scenarios (Task7.1).

- WP8:
• Set up of project website and social media accounts (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
• Creation of a project logo and of a project leaflet useable for upcoming dissemination activities
• Publication of two Newsletters (1st issue: July 2019; 2nd issue: February 2020) and of a 2-minutes explanation video for the broad public
• ZENODO community set up (for open access of papers, presentations, etc.)
• Car2tera animated video “Car2TERA explained in under 2 minutes”
• Organization of a Winter School together with H2020 projects SERENA and GRACE
• 3 Podcasts recorded and published (#1 with Joachim Oberhammer, #2 with Olof Eriksson, #3 with Wlodek Strupinki)

Objectives:
• Handle and boost social media accounts activities (e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter)
• Start with activities for scientific papers and participate in conferences and workshops
• Prepare a video and first podcasts

- WP9:
• Successful start of the project and ongoing work on schedule
• Collaboration among partners well functioning and efficient due to effective project management
• Well established IT infrastructure and regular, focused conference calls with Executive Board
• D9.1 “Project quality plan” and D9.2 “Risk Assessment Plan” submitted
• Two amendments to GA executed which have been accepted
• NDAs with AB members signed, AB conf calls and AB meeting executed
• Successful Technical Meeting in Gothenburg in June 2019, and in Poland in February 2020
• 1st intermediate review meeting in September 2019 executed and 2nd review meeting for September 2020 in planning

Objectives:
• Successful intermediate review meeting and first periodic reporting
• Efficient project management (risk assessment, project monitoring and support of partners)"
The project achieved several innovations in circuit design, and concepts and design RF front-ends for beam-shape switching. Prototype fabrication of these designs will be implemented in subsequent project phases.