High-frequency silicon-germanium reconfigurable circuits for radar, communication, and radiometry applications
Schmid, Robert L.
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The objective of the proposed research is to create new reconfigurable RF and millimeter-wave circuit topologies that enable significant systems benefits. The market of RF systems has long evolved under a paradigm where once a system is built, performance cannot be changed. Companies have recognized that building flexibility into RF systems and providing mechanisms to reconfigure the RF performance can enable significant benefits, including: the ability support multiple modulation schemes and standards, the reduction of product size and overdesign, the ability to adapt to environmental conditions, the improvement in spectrum utilization, and the ability to calibrate, characterize, and monitor system performance. This work demonstrates X-band LNA designs with the ability to change the frequency of operation, improve linearity, and digitally control the tradeoff between performance and power dissipation. At W-band frequencies, a novel device configuration is developed, which significantly improves state-of-the-art silicon-based switch performance. The excellent switch performance is leveraged to address major issues in current millimeter-wave systems. A front-end built-in-self-test switch topology is developed to facilitate the characterization of millimeter-wave transceivers without expensive millimeter-wave equipment. A highly integrated Dicke radiometer is also created to enable sensitive measurements of thermal noise.