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Dynamically Controllable Integrated Radiation and Self-Correcting Power Generation in mm-Wave Circuits and Systems


Bowers, Steven Michael (2014) Dynamically Controllable Integrated Radiation and Self-Correcting Power Generation in mm-Wave Circuits and Systems. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z9MP518K.


This thesis presents novel design methodologies for integrated radiators and power generation at mm-wave frequencies that are enabled by the continued integration of various electronic and electromagnetic (EM) structures onto the same substrate. Beginning with the observation that transistors and their connections to EM radiating structures on an integrated substrate are essentially free, the concept of multi-port driven (MPD) radiators is introduced, which opens a vast design space that has been generally ignored due to the cost structure associated with discrete components that favors fewer transistors connected to antennas through a single port.

From Maxwell's equations, a new antenna architecture, the radial MPD antennas based on the concept of MPD radiators, is analyzed to gain intuition as to the important design parameters that explain the wide-band nature of the antenna itself. The radiator is then designed and implemented at 160 GHz in a 0.13 um SiGe BiCMOS process, and the single element design has a measured effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) of +4.6 dBm with a total radiated power of 0.63 mW.

Next, the radial MPD radiator is adapted to enable dynamic polarization control (DPC). A DPC antenna is capable of controlling its radiated polarization dynamically, and entirely electronically, with no mechanical reconfiguration required. This can be done by having multiple antennas with different polarizations, or within a single antenna that has multiple drive points, as in the case of the MPD radiator with DPC. This radiator changes its polarization by adjusting the relative phase and amplitude of its multiple ports to produce polarizations with any polarization angle, and a wide range of axial ratios. A 2x1 MPD radiator array with DPC at 105 GHz is presented whose measurements show control of the polarization angle throughout the entire 0 degree through 180 degree range while in the linear polarization mode and maintaining axial ratios above 10 dB in all cases. Control of the axial ratio is also demonstrated with a measured range from 2.4 dB through 14 dB, while maintaining a fixed polarization angle. The radiator itself has a measured maximum EIRP of +7.8 dBm, with a total radiated power of 0.9 mW, and is capable of beam steering.

MPD radiators were also applied in the domain of integrated silicon photonics. For these designs, the driver transistor circuitry was replaced with silicon optical waveguides and photodiodes to produce a 350 GHz signal. Three of these optical MPD radiator designs have been implemented as 2x2 arrays at 350 GHz. The first is a beam forming array that has a simulated gain of 12.1 dBi with a simulated EIRP of -2 dBm. The second has the same simulated performance, but includes optical phase modulators that enable two-dimensional beam steering. Finally, a third design incorporates multi-antenna DPC by combining the outputs of both left and right handed circularly polarized MPD antennas to produce a linear polarization with controllable polarization angle, and has a simulated gain of 11.9 dBi and EIRP of -3 dBm. In simulation, it can tune the polarization from 0 degrees through 180 degrees while maintaining a radiated power that has a 0.35 dB maximum deviation from the mean.

The reliability of mm-wave radiators and power amplifiers was also investigated, and two self-healing systems have been proposed. Self-healing is a global feedback method where integrated sensors detect the performance of the circuit after fabrication and report that data to a digital control algorithm. The algorithm then is capable of setting actuators that can control the performance of the mm-wave circuit and counteract any performance degradation that is observed by the sensors. The first system is for a MPD radiator array with a partially integrated self-healing system. The self-healing MPD radiator senses substrate modes through substrate mode pickup sensors and infers the far-field radiated pattern from those sensors. DC current sensors are also included to determine the DC power consumption of the system. Actuators are implemented in the form of phase and amplitude control of the multiple drive points.

The second self-healing system is a fully integrated self-healing power amplifier (PA) at 28 GHz. This system measures the output power, gain and efficiency of the PA using radio frequency (RF) power sensors, DC current sensors and junction temperature sensors. The digital block is synthesized from VHDL code on-chip and it can actuate the output power combining matching network using tunable transmission line stubs, as well as the DC operating point of the amplifying transistors through bias control. Measurements of 20 chips confirm self-healing for two different algorithms for process variation and transistor mismatch, while measurements from 10 chips show healing for load impedance mismatch, and linearity healing. Laser induced partial and total transistor failure show the benefit of self-healing in the case of catastrophic failure, with improvements of up to 3.9 dB over the default case. An exemplary yield specification shows self-healing improving the yield from 0% up through 80%.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Dynamic Polarization Control ; Integrated Circuits ; mm-Wave Radiation ; Multi-Port Driven ; on-chip antenna ; Self-Healing
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Electrical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Hajimiri, Ali
Thesis Committee:
  • Hajimiri, Ali (chair)
  • Rutledge, David B.
  • Emami, Azita
  • Weinreb, Sander
  • Vahala, Kerry J.
  • Choo, Hyuck
Defense Date:27 September 2013
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:10102013-145125571
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7988
Deposited By: Steven Bowers
Deposited On:13 Jan 2017 23:47
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 00:02

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