Millimeter wave technology could make future vehicles much safer


Millimeter wave technology

Hiroshima University researchers announced the development of a low-power millimeter wave amplifier that feeds on 0.5 V power supply and covers the frequency range from 80 GHz to 106 GHz.

The amplifier was fabricated by using MIFS’s Deeply Depleted Channel (DDC) technology.

This is the first W-band (75−110 GHz) amplifier that can operate even in low power-supply voltage. The W-band covers the frequencies used by automotive radars.

Advanced driver-assistance and self-driving will require millimeter-wave beam scanning capability that can see in day and night conditions and also in adverse weather conditions.

W-band amplifier

However, transistor performance drops with voltage and no W-band amplifier has so far operated at as low as 0.5 V.

The DDC technology offers high-performance silicon MOS transistors even at low voltages, and is currently available from MIFS as a 55-nm CMOS process.

The design techniques further improve transistor and circuit performance at millimeter-wave frequencies.

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Professor Minoru Fujishima, Graduate School of Advanced Sciences of Matter, Hiroshima University, said, today’s smartphones can already have sensors. But, a tiny LED can illuminate at most a few meters. Add a millimeter-wave radar on a smartphone, which only detects waves reflected back.

He said, the smartphone responds waves from others radar and send some signal back. Another significance of 0.5-V W-band amplifier is reliability. The 0.5-V supply voltage will significantly reduce hot-carrier generation.

Researchers said, the DDC transistors offer excellent performance in low-power operations. We have proven that we can extend those outstanding qualities of the millimeter band.