Ultra-low power transitors for millimetre-wave amplification

In the design of an amplifier, there is always a trade off between gain, bandwidth and power consumption. Last decade, much focus has been on reduced power consumption in analogue circuits. For mm-wave frequencies above 30 GHz, such circuit design must normally be made at relatively high power consumption in order to meet the gain requirement of a typical amplifier. We propose to test a relatively unproven high electron mobility III-V HEMT technology allowing a radical reduction in power consumption for a mm-wave amplifier operating at only 100 mV drain bias. The research takes advantage of optimization of an InAs HEMT technology in the weak drain bias regime. The optimization is based on Monte Carlo device simulations, heterostructure engineering and device design for low power. By using the measured DC and RF results at 300 K and 10 K, a 15 dB low-noise amplifier will be designed and fabricated in a monolithic process. The process takes advantage of our recent innovation in isolation technology which allows us to make monolithic circuits in the oxidation-sensitive InAs/AlSb system. Using the original concepts in device and circuit design for low-power LNA at 30 GHz, we aim at a dc power consumption below 500 microwatt, This is one order of magnitude lower than present state of the art and 700x lower than commercial solutions. The project may open up the door for a new design paradigm in power-hungry arrays for passive imaging, radio telescopes and phased-array radars.


Jan Grahn (contact)

Professor at Microtechnology and Nanoscience, Microwave Electronics


Swedish Research Council (VR)

Funding years 2013–2016

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Sustainable Development

Chalmers Driving Force

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