MMIC/RFIC Examples

This page contains additional information about some of our MMIC/RFIC designs.

39GHz SMT Packaged PA for 5G Applications

Spectrum at 39GHz (38.6 to 40GHz) and 37GHz (37 to 38.6GHz) has been made available by the FCC on a flexible use basis; the allocation was intended to encourage the development and trial of 5G systems. The photograph to the right shows the an evaluation PCB containing a 5G PA designed by Plextek RFI, which covers both of these bands. It has a gain of around 20dB gain and has an output referred IP3 of +40dBm from 37 to 42GHz, as evaluated on the PCB. The IC is fabricated on a high volume 0.15µm GaAs PHEMT process and assembled into an SMT compatible air-cavity QFN plastic package. It incorporates an on-chip power detector, which allows the transmitted output power to be monitored. Plextek RFI has also designed many other 5G components; a video of presentation on “Mm-wave Technologies and Components for 5G Applications” can be viewed using the link below:

icon_filmVideo on Mm-wave Components and Technologies for 5G Applications

2-18GHz MMIC up-converter

The UK Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) commissioned Plextek RFI to undertake the design and evaluation of a 2-18GHz upconverter IC for Electronic Surveillance Measures (ESM) applications. The function of the IC was to enable a signal anywhere in the 2-18GHz frequency band to be converted to 21-23GHz for subsequent downconversion to an IF suitable for digitisation; the required LO range is therefore 23-41GHz. The RF, LO and IF ports of the IC were all single ended but in order to achieve adequate port to port isolation the internal mixer was balanced at all ports. The IC therefore included novel broadband active and passive balun structures to convert the single-ended signals to differential. The IC was fabricated on the Qorvo\TriQuint Semiconductor Texas’ 0.25mm PHEMT process and has a measured conversion loss of 7dB to 14GHz, rising to 10dB by 18GHz. Input return loss is better than 12dB from 2 to 18GHz and LO rejection is over 30dB across the band.

icon_pdf More information on this 2-18GHz upconverter MMIC …


LNAs, PAs and switches for 40.5 to 43.5GHz microwave point to point links

Plextek RFI’s knowledge of high volume commercial product development and an in-depth understanding of mm-wave technology allowed the team to develop a range of low cost 40 to 43GHz mm-wave components for a high data rate wireless infrastructure system. This work included the development of full custom LNA, PA and switch MMICs. The LNA and PA were realised on a short gate length PHEMT process but this process was not suitable for implementing low loss mm-wave switches. Qorvo\Triquint Semiconductors’ commercially available GaAs Vertical PIN diode (VPIN) process was selected for this purpose and Single Pole Double Throw (SPDT) and Single Pole 4 Throw (SP4T) switch designs were produced. Parts addressing the entire 24 to 45GHz band were developed in two bands: 24 to 34GHz and 34 to 45GHz. The resulting MMICs exhibited a measured performance in close agreement with simulated and had an insertion loss of around 1dB.

icon_pdf More information on 40.5 to 43.5GHz SP4T MMICs …


CMOS transceivers for 1.8GHz and 2.4GHz applications

When National Semiconductor Corporation needed to ensure their new range of digital wireless tranceivers were launched on time, Plextek RFI was on hand to provide the experienced design skills required. The resulting products were successfully launched and to date over 500 million units have been sold. Plextek RFI’s team worked as an extension of National’s own design team with responsibility for key blocks but also attending project meetings and collaborating with the development of the complete radio transceiver.

icon_pdf More information on CMOS transceiver IC design …


GaAs phase shifters for phased array applications

Phase shifters find applications in electronic beam-forming, channel matching networks and measurement systems. MMIC implementations are particularly attractive for electronic beam-forming applications because they are small, repeatable and can be produced in low cost at high volumes. Plextek RFI has a long history of phase shifter MMIC design including stand-alone phase shifter MMICs, gain/phase control MMICs, core chips and complete Tx/Rx module for phased array radars.

icon_pdf More information on MMIC phase shifter design …