Integrated Circuit Design for High Data Rate Polymer Microwave Fiber Communication
Abstract: The rapid development of semiconductor processes with a maximum frequency of oscillation well above 300 GHz enables new applications at frequencies above 100 GHz to be researched and developed. Such applications include wireless backhaul, wireless access, radar and radiometer sensors, wireless energy distribution and harvesting, etc. For several of these applications, a throughput in data rate well above 10 Gbps, even up to 100 Gbps, is required. Optical fiber communication is the leading option for high data rate and long-range wired communication. However, for shorter ranges like chip-to-chip or module-to-module (up to ten meters), millimeter-wave communication over a polymer microwave fiber (PMF) is an interesting alternative due to its potential low cost. Other advantages include flexibility, less sensitivity to temperature variations, and a more relaxed mechanical tolerance requirement. Similar to optical fiber, dispersion occurs on PMFs and will cause symbol interference. Different ways to deal with this effect are investigated, for example, pulse shaping and equalization of the signal. This work proposes and presents various circuit solutions enabling high data rate communication. Two technologies are used, 250 nm InP DHBT and 130 nm SiGe BiCMOS. An energy-efficient solution using an RF-DAC and power detector for pulse amplitude modulated links are evaluated, as well as an I/Q modulated solution. I/Q (de-)modulators require more complexity, but the increased spectral efficiency can also increase the data rate further. In summary, I explore the opportunities and challenges of short-range, ultra-high data rate, PMF bound communication, which is found to support 56 Gbps error-free (BER<10-12) data and 102 Gbps with a BER=2.1'10-3.
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