Millimeter-wave Communication and Radar Sensing — Opportunities, Challenges, and Solutions

Abstract: With the development of communication and radar sensing technology, people are able to seek for a more convenient life and better experiences. The fifth generation (5G) mobile network provides high speed communication and internet services with a data rate up to several gigabit per second (Gbps). In addition, 5G offers great opportunities of emerging applications, for example, manufacture automation with the help of precise wireless sensing. For future communication and sensing systems, increasing capacity and accuracy is desired, which can be realized at millimeter-wave spectrum from 30 GHz to 300 GHz with several tens of GHz available bandwidth. Wavelength reduces at higher frequency, this implies more compact transceivers and antennas, and high sensing accuracy and imaging resolution. Challenges arise with these application opportunities when it comes to realizing prototype or demonstrators in practice. This thesis proposes some of the solutions addressing such challenges in a laboratory environment. High data rate millimeter-wave transmission experiments have been demonstrated with the help of advanced instrumentations. These demonstrations show the potential of transceiver chipsets. On the other hand, the real-time communication demonstrations are limited to either low modulation order signals or low symbol rate transmissions. The reason for that is the lack of commercially available high-speed analog-to-digital converters (ADCs); therefore, conventional digital synchronization methods are difficult to implement in real-time systems at very high data rates. In this thesis, two synchronous baseband receivers are proposed with carrier recovery subsystems which only require low-speed ADCs [A][B]. Besides synchronization, high-frequency signal generation is also a challenge in millimeter-wave communications. The frequency divider is a critical component of a millimeter-wave frequency synthesizer. Having both wide locking range and high working frequencies is a challenge. In this thesis, a tunable delay gated ring oscillator topology is proposed for dual-mode operation and bandwidth extension [C]. Millimeter-wave radar offers advantages for high accuracy sensing. Traditional millimeter-wave radar with frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW), or continuous-wave (CW), all have their disadvantages. Typically, the FMCW radar cannot share the spectrum with other FMCW radars.  With limited bandwidth, the number of FMCW radars that could coexist in the same area is limited. CW radars have a limited ambiguous distance of a wavelength. In this thesis, a phase-modulated radar with micrometer accuracy is presented [D]. It is applicable in a multi-radar scenario without occupying more bandwidth, and its ambiguous distance is also much larger than the CW radar. Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) radar has similar properties. However, its traditional fast calculation method, fast Fourier transform (FFT), limits its measurement accuracy. In this thesis, an accuracy enhancement technique is introduced to increase the measurement accuracy up to the micrometer level [E].

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