ISSCC 2017
Conference paper

A 28GHz 32-element phased-array transceiver IC with concurrent dual polarized beams and 1.4 degree beam-steering resolution for 5G communication

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Next-generation mobile technology (5G) aims to provide an improved experience through higher data-rates, lower latency, and improved link robustness. Millimeter-wave phased arrays offer a path to support multiple users at high data-rates using high-bandwidth directional links between the base station and mobile devices. To realize this vision, a phased-array-based pico-cell must support a large number of precisely controlled beams, yet be compact and power efficient. These system goals have significant mm-wave radio interface implications, including scalability of the RFIC+antenna-array solution, increase in the number of concurrent beams by supporting dual polarization, precise beam steering, and high output power without sacrificing TX power efficiency. Packaged Si-based phased arrays [1-3] with nonconcurrent dual-polarized TX and RX operation [2,3], concurrent dual-polarized RX operation [3] and multi-IC scaling [3,4] have been demonstrated. However, support for concurrent dual-polarized operation in both RX and TX remains unaddressed, and high output power comes at the cost of power consumption, cooling complexity and increased size. The RFIC reported here addresses these challenges. It supports concurrent and independent dual-polarized operation in TX and RX modes, and is compatible with a volume-efficient, scaled, antenna-in-package array. A new TX/RX switch at the shared antenna interface enables high output power without sacrificing TX efficiency, and a t-line-based phase shifter achieves <1° RMS error and <5° phase steps for precise beam control.