Project group "Integrated mm wave radio technology"

Contact person

Prof. Reiner Thomä
Electronic Measurements and Signal Processing Group

Phone: +49 3677 69-2622

Funding information

Project leader: Carl Zeiss Stiftung

Project number: 0563-2.8/581/2

Participating groups:

Electronic Measurements and Signal Processing Group

RF and Microwave Research Group

Electronics Technology Group

Advanced Electromagnetics Group

Period of funding: 01.03.2016 - 29.02.2020

Project information

In mobile communications, international standardization activities for the 5th generation (5G) are currently being pushed forward at full speed. The timetable envisaged for this extends beyond the year 2020. In addition to broadband multimedia access technologies for areas with a very high subscriber density, the focus is also on the real-time networking of technical systems, for example with applications in industrial automation (Industry 4.0), for teleassistance systems and cooperating automobiles (machine-to-machine/M2M, car-to-car/C2C communication). A key technology to achieve the high real-time data rates required for these applications is the development of the mm wave frequency range up to approx. 90 GHz, since large bandwidth resources are available there. There are similar requirements in radio sensor technology. High-resolution radar sensors in the mm wave range are increasingly being used in traffic telematics, logistics, environmental technology, robotics, safety engineering and even in medical technology.

For example, antenna arrays with many elements ("massive MIMO") are needed, which must be electronically controllable. Another innovative architectural concept for the acquisition of very broadband, structured RF signals is based on the principle of "compressive sensing". The implementation of such systems at mm wave frequencies and with bandwidths in the GHz range requires a paradigm shift in circuit and system technology. A technically and economically reasonable implementation is not possible with conventional technology. Instead, hybrid system concepts with integrated, mixed analog/digital signal processing will enable compact, flexibly programmable radio modules with very low energy consumption. This includes semiconductor-integrated analog functional components and a hybrid-integrated package design with excellent RF performance.

With its proven experience and preliminary work in the fields of mobile radio and ultra-wideband radio sensor technology, as well as assembly and interconnection technology, the TU Ilmenau offers excellent conditions and unique selling propositions for assuming an internationally leading position in broadband mm wave radio technology. With this structural project, the existing technology and system-oriented competencies will be combined in a cross-institute structure. This will create the prerequisites for a consistent design of ultra-wideband mm wave radio systems, ranging from architectural design to the design of the integrated circuit, signal processing and the application concept and including metrological evaluation. The project group shall be enabled to realize miniaturized, highly integrated and functionally agile radio modules as System in Package (SiP) and to open up innovative applications in different research clusters of the TU Ilmenau.