IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits

A fully integrated 16-element phased-array transmitter in SiGe BiCMOS for 60-GHz communications

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A phased-array transmitter (TX) for multi-Gb/s non-line-of-sight links in the four frequency channels of the IEEE 802.15.3c standard (58.32 to 64.8 GHz) is fully integrated in a 0.12-μ SiGe BiCMOS process. It consists of an up-conversion core followed by a 1:16 power distribution tree, 16 phase-shifting front-ends, and a digital control unit. The TX core is a two-step sliding-IF up-conversion chain with frequency synthesizer that features 40 dB of gain programmability, I/Q balance and LO leakage correction, and a modulator for 802.15.3c common-mode signaling. The tradeoffs involved in the implementation of a 1:16 power distribution network are analyzed and a hybrid passive/active distribution tree architecture is introduced. Each of the 16 front-ends consists of a balanced passive phase shifter and a variable-gain, 3-stage PA that features oP1dB programmability through the bias control of the its final stage. All of the chip features are digitally controllable and individual memory arrays are integrated at each front-end to enable fast beam steering through a high-speed parallel interface. The IC occupies 44 mm2 and is fully characterized on wafer. The TX delivers 9 to 13.5 dBm oP1dB per element at 60.48 GHz with a total power consumption of 3.8 to 6.2 W. Each element attains a phase-shift range 360°c with an amplitude variation < ± 1 dB across phase settings and adjacent elements. Measurement results from a packaged IC in an antenna chamber are also presented including the demonstration of spatial power combining up to +40dBm EIRP and 16-element radiation patterns. © 2006 IEEE.