Laboratory for Millimeter wave Devices and Applications


    Electronically steered antenna arrays have been in use for several decades.  Their advantages are well known; no moving mechanical parts, higher reliability, and faster scan.  Of interest in particular are high gain antennas with thousands of elements that can be used for sensing applications. Their cost has dropped from multiple million dollars per square meter (X-band) ten years ago to under one million more recently.  During the same period, the cost of consumer computing and communications products has dropped drastically due to advances in the manufacturing of integrated circuits and packaging. If these advances are applied to electronically steered antennas, very low cost arrays could be designed for sensing and communications.   Radically lower cost would permit the use of dense networks of radars such as have been proposed for weather sensing. 
    Most future array panels will have transmit/receive integrated circuits located at each element.  The primary cost driver in such arrays is packaging cost.  Material cost, panel fabrication, IC mounting and test is significantly more expensive than IC cost. 
IC cost is less than a quarter of the panel cost. Below are some examples of the research on this subject done by students working in Professor Jackson's group.

A single layer Ball Grid Array dual polarized patch antenna with two downconverter ICs mounted in the radiating patch with an LO driver and decoupling cap. 

Sanchez, M. A. Mandeville, and R. W. Jackson,Compact, Low Cost, Surface Mount, Active Antenna,“ IEEE Trans. Antennas and Propagation Letters, Vol. 9, pp.1255-1259, December 2010. 

A prototype 4X4 dual polarized array with BGA active patch antennas and LO fed by radiating between the top two layers of the PCB.   

Sanchez, M. and R. W. Jackson, “Low Cost Electronically Scanned Arrays Based on Surface Mount Active Antennas, International Microwave Symposium ,pp 684-688. June 2010.

Other Projects on Active Antennas

A multilayer 10 GHz active Ball Grid Array (BGA) patch antenna with transceiver electronics mounted beneath the patch inside the BGA.  Enclosed electronics includes PA, LNA, mixer, LO driver, TR switch and polarization switch.

Khandelwal, N. and R. W. Jackson, “Active Antenna Module for Low Cost Electronically Scanned Phased Arrays, “ IEEE Trans. Microwave Theory and Techniques, Vol. 55, No 10, , October 2008.

Vivaldi active antenna for use in a linear array 6 - 12 GHz.  Antenna is surface mountable on its edge using circuit board castellations. 

Mandeville, A. and R. W. Jackson, “Surface Mount End-Fire Antenna Package,” Electronics Letters, Vol. 45, No. 7, pp. 340-342, 2009.

A 35 GHz 1X4 array of cavity backed patch antennas with a GaAs pHEMT LNA/mixer mounted in cavities in a silicon substrate and coated with BCB that is used to support interconnect and radiators. 

Carrillo, R.  and R. W. Jackson, “A Highly Integrated Millimeterwave Active Antenna Array Using BCB and Silicon Substrate,” IEEE Trans. Microwave Theory and Techniques, Vol. 53, No. 6, pp. 1648-1653,  June 2004.

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