Research Projects

Antentronics: Merging Antenna Design with Electronics

Amin Arbabian and Ali Niknejad

National Science Foundation 0403427 and Various Other Sources

Recently, there has been a trend towards the increase of the operation frequency in IC technology. This together with the increase of the average chip size in the advanced mm-wave transceivers has made the integration of on chip antennas on the same die possible. Previous research has demonstrated the effectiveness of modulating the properties of antenna for the desired characteristic [1] [2] [3] [4]. Building on previous research, our goal is to use CMOS transistors in advanced processes to change the physical structure of the antenna. In the design space provided by this merged design (Antentronics), we are no longer limited by the constraints of the traditional antenna structures. Integrated circuit components working together with the antenna element could be used to manipulate the field and current distribution such that the desired transient or steady state response is obtained. This could be used for achieving the desired impedance, pulse response, radiation pattern or frequency spectrum. For example, beam-steering on a single antenna element will be made possible with adjusting the phase of the signal at various points of the antenna. As an example of this technique, an Antentronics structure is shown below [5]. A slot folded dipole antenna is co-designed with CMOS switches attached to it. The parasitic capacitances of these switches are “absorbed” in the inductance of the element (similar to a distributed amplifier) and in doing so the antenna efficiency in the transmit-mode is kept more or less intact. In switching the antenna off, distributed elements “de-Q” the antenna more effectively and provide a sudden transition in depleting the signal. As another example for this technique, a dual loop antenna with integrated switches to obtain short pulses in the mm-wave and possibly THz region is also implemented in 0.13um SiGe process.

Figure 1
Figure 1: A pulse-based 90GHz Antentronic structure

Figure 2
Figure 2: Antentronic structure with dual-loop antenna and integrated switches for pulse generation in mm-wave/THz region.

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