NEC Corporation, a global technology leader, has achieved a significant milestone in the realm of mobile access radio communication systems, unveiling a groundbreaking 150 GHz transmitter IC chip and accompanying technologies in anticipation of the future of connectivity: Beyond 5G and 6G.
This development marks a pioneering demonstration of superior beam steering performance through 4-channel Antenna-on-Chip (AoC) IC technology, leveraging On the Air (OTA) radiation pattern measurement.
This innovation is rooted in advanced RF circuit design technology, enabling the integration of 150 GHz phased array antenna elements, phase shifters, and transmission amplifiers into a single chip. The manufacturing of this IC employs 22-nm SOI-CMOS technology, renowned for its cost-effectiveness and suitability for mass production, while facilitating large scale integration of digital, analog, and RF functionalities within a chip. Consequently, this integration leads to higher frequencies, smaller sizes, lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), and potential acceleration of societal implementation.
Beyond 5G and the upcoming 6G technology are projected to deliver broadband communications at a staggering 100 Gbps class, surpassing 5G speeds by more than tenfold. To achieve this remarkable feat, leveraging the sub-terahertz band (100 GHz to 300 GHz) is essential, offering a broad bandwidth of 10GHz or more. Notably, the D-band (130 GHz to 174.8 GHz), designated for fixed wireless communication systems globally, holds promise for early social implementation.
However, the sub-terahertz band poses challenges due to significant propagation losses and interconnection losses, pushing device performance to its limits. Overcoming these hurdles requires the development of highly directional, high-gain antenna technology and efficient beam steering technology. NEC has responded to this imperative by pioneering the development of a new IC chip designed to support the 150GHz band.
Looking ahead, NEC remains committed to advancing cutting-edge technologies with the goal of contributing to the commercialization of 6G, expected to come to fruition in the 2030s.
NEC is set to present at the 2023 IEEE BiCMOS and Compound Semiconductor Integrated Circuits and Technology Symposium (BCICTS) in Monterey, CA, USA, from October 15 to 18, 2023.
Previously, NEC showcased the fundamental principles and implementation of the “Switching Gain based Phase Shifter” at the European Microwave Integrated Circuits Conference 2023 held in Berlin, Germany, in September 2023.