ISSCC report: Fast changes in wireless, imaging

by Michel Durr, Leti

February 24, 2011 – Things are moving quickly in the domain of wireless links in the 60GHz band, as was clearly shown in the wireless morning session at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC, Feb. 20-24 in San Francisco). There were four papers on this topic, two of which presented solutions for a complete link.

SiBeam presented more details on the first product on the market to address 60GHz wireless short-range communications on both Wireless HD and WiGig standards with datarate up to 3.8Gsps. The product is a chipset module associated with a specific 32 miniature-antenna-module driven with beam-forming techniques to achieve a range of about 10m. The full link functionality was shown in a demonstration session.

A paper presented by CEA-Leti in collaboration with STMicroelectronics offered a serious challenger with a fully integrated transceiver for 60GHz WirelessHD implementing the full four channels of the WirelessHD specification, when the SiBeam product is limited to two channels. The chipset is developed in 65nm CMOS process and all functions, including antennas, are included in a 114mm module working at 3.8Gsps at a range of 1m with a power consumption of 1.3W.

Two other papers on the 60GHz band gave more partial solutions. The University of Tokyo showed the first direct-conversion architecture transceiver using a 60GHz quadrature oscillator. And the University of California presented a very interesting low-power architecture implementation of four elements using phase shifter at analog baseband level for up/down fast downloading applications (WiGig).

Beyond the conference, this year’s ISSCC carried the flag of "Electronics for Healthy Living," a theme that is widely dominating the trends. A quick overview on a sample of papers illustrates this point.

The work at Caeleste paves the way toward color X-ray imaging. An ultralow-power SAR ADC developed by MIT can be used for autonomous portable health monitoring. Several neuronal acquisition systems are in the works at UCLA, Delft, etc.

In the area of emerging technologies, there were several works on THz imaging and remarkable realization from the University of Wuppertal with an integrated 820GHz source.

Michel Durr is program manager, analog and RF IC design, at CEA-LETI France. E-mail: [email protected]


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