500 billion devices are expected to be connected to the Internet by 2030. Basically, all of these interconnected devices communicate wirelessly and therefore require front-end modules with transmitters and receivers, power supplies, filters and antennas. The application areas are enormous and range from smart cities, smart home, smart factory, smart grid, automated driving, health care and Space. Looking at the latest developments there is a strong trend of all front-end modules towards higher integration levels incorporating multiple radios to address multiple standards and frequency bands. In the future wireless communication and data links will also operation at higher millimeter-wave frequencies to account for larger bandwidth and higher data throughput requirements as reflected in the 5G Standard. Considering the colocation of many connected devices and the integration density it is evident, that interaction and interference between multiple radios becomes increasingly a problem, however the interoperability between connected devices needs to be ensured. Only very limited validated models concerning the electromagnetic compatibility for embedded components and sub-systems are available today. Therefore, the overlaying research question of the proposed CD Lab can be formulated:
Research innovative methodologies for higher integration of passive components with combined functionalities, investigate the impacts when operating passive devices at mm-wave frequencies, develop comprehensive models for electromagnetic compatibility, and provide the theory and capabilities to validate and characterize these models and related technology demonstrators.
We address the overall research objective in four challenges:
Challenge 1: Theory and modelling of passive microwave planar circuits and systems
We will investigate a new theory and modelling approach to optimize and combine the functionality of antennas and filters and at the same time reduce size and complexity. In a further step, we will investigate the design of beam steering antenna systems in multilayer 3D structures and novel (heterogeneous) materials.
Challenge 2: Embedding of passive and active components and subsystems
We will investigate new models for passive interconnects, passive components and waveguides that represent the requirements for mm-wave applications. Furthermore, we will look at new materials (ferrites) and novel technologies (e.g. optical PCB) that could even more enhance the functionality of layered integration and embedding technologies.
Challenge 3: Accurate circuit and system characterization
We will develop a methodology capable of conducting wideband measurements on planar substrates with known uncertainties and manufacturing tolerances. This methodology should be able to detect faults and inaccuracies in the measurement process. In this way we are able to validate the results of the other work packages and provide valuable feedback to our partners in optimizing their design and manufacturing processes.
Challenge 4: Interoperability and electromagnetic compatibility modelling and test
Downsizing of all electronic components as well as applying modern 3D integration technologies causes strong electromagnetic interaction between neighboring components. We will investigate a simulation and design framework to predict electromagnetic compatibility right from the beginning of the development process