Real100G.RF - Fully integrated Radio-Front-End Module for wireless 100  Gbps Communication


Prof. Dr. Ullrich Pfeiffer

Bergische Universität Wuppertal

Campus Freudenberg

Fachbereich E - Elektrotechnik, Informationstechnik, Medientechnik

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Zwick

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Institut für Hochfrequenztechnik und Elektronik (IHE)


The project’s main objective is to leverage silicon-based economies-of-scale for a technology breakthrough in wireless communication above 200 GHz. This will be done with a completely new crosscutting design methodology for silicon-MMIC, e.g. the development of wideband receiver and transmitter arrays, including on-chip antenna arrays and novel packaging concepts. This will enable a real quantum leap in the functionality (number of RF elements), performance (data rate), component size (fully integrated high-density arrays with integrated antennas), low power, and cost over existing III/V communication systems – and by doing so will also spur economic growth in new markets. One of many promising applications for silicon-MMICs is a short range, high-speed wireless data transmission of up to 100Gbps. A possible system could be a data kioskwhere people can load different contents as e.g. movies onto their mobile electronic systems over a distance of a few meters in just seconds. A high carrier frequency above 200 GHz can be used to achieve an ultra-compact radio module with high data rates using a high absolute bandwidth of 25 GHz to 40 GHz, while keeping the relative bandwidth moderate (10% to 15%). At millimeter-wave frequencies, a complete RF front-end can be realized on a single silicon chip and integrated into a single chip package together with an antenna array. Thus, a multi-purpose system-in-package results whose inputs are only the baseband data, DC signals, and additional control signals. The major challenge of this project besides realizing circuits and antennas on silicon in a package at these frequencies is to find concepts to overcome the very limited link budget. Therefore the feasibility of different multi-antenna concepts (dual-polarized antennas linear and circular, power combining in air etc.) in the available technologies will be investigated. The Real100G.RF proposal will make the following major innovations available to the SPP community:

  • Wideband RF front-end circuit architectures enabling 100Gbps wireless communication in silicon process technologies for the first time (group Pfeiffer)
  • Ultra-compact radio module with integrated antenna arrays (group Zwick)
  • Novel silicon based multi-antenna frontend concepts for high-speed data transmission (both groups together)

The initial three-year work plan of the first phase comprises major circuit, antenna and packaging innovations in the frequency range from 200-280GHz. A first prototype of the fully integrated radio front-end is planned for the third year of the project. This prototype as well as later ones would then be usable for all other research groups in the priority program, which require a RF frontend. The final goal of the second phase, will be a 100Gbps wireless demonstration including monolithic integration of RF, IF and baseband electronics together with other partners in the priority program.