CEA-Leti Develops System to Guide mmWave Radio Signals Through Flexible Plastic Tubing

CEA-Leti has developed a hybrid, ultra-fast, ultra-low latency technology that guides mmWave radio signals through flexible plastic tubing. This low-cost, energy-saving system called H-Link ensures Gb/s broadband connectivity that also overcomes the limits of copper wire and optical fiber, such as oxidation of metal and brittleness. In addition to being flexible and less sensitive to vibration and electromagnetism, H-Link’s wireless technology delivers transmission speeds of up to 15 Gb/s.

The H-Link system meets next-generation wireless-system performance requirements of the automotive, aeronautics, telecom, Industry 4.0 and healthcare sectors. The first-of-its-kind technology can transfer information over distances up to 10 meters at a speed of 15 Gb/s, with an average data transmission speed of 6 Gb/s over a little more than two meters. CEA-Leti’s team is now developing new RF components that should allow it to reach speeds up to 100 Gbs/s over 10 meters by the end of this year.

Advantages of H-Link by application include:

  • Automotive: 100 percent wireless system delivers strong 360° signal and ultra-low energy consumption, which is essential in moving vehicles and that require multiple high-speed connections; not affected by vibration. 
  • Aeronautics/space applications: ultra-low power consumption is essential because of limited power supply; low weight is suitable for space missions.
  • Telemedicine: robotics allows remote treatment, e.g., dentists working with patients in a clinic from a distant office; no cable kinking.
  • Lab research: manipulation of robotic arms in enclosed containers, e.g., glove boxes, protects researchers from dangerous materials and eliminates electromagnetic interference that could affect findings.
  • Industry 4.0, no cable kinking, no electromagnetic interference.
  • Telecommunications: Reduces cost, power consumption and need for physical/cable links to meet data deluge in data centers. For 5G, need to transfer info from base station to emitting antenna at ultra-low cost.

mmWave systems operate in frequency ranges from 30 to 300 GHz. CEA-Leti’s previous work in mmWave communications includes design and use of 5G networks on the MINATEC campus in Grenoble. In addition to being the next challenge to delivering the full potential of 5G, mmWave technology will be required for future innovative services such as fixed, super-high-speed broadband access, industrial automation, healthcare and intelligent transport systems.

“H-Link is a highly versatile and adaptable robotic system for multiple applications that use high-data-rate communication for performing scientific, industrial and medical tasks,” said Didier Belot, an RF and mmWave design senior expert at CEA-Leti. “For example, in addition to allowing scientists to perform chemistry experiments or jobs in confined spaces and protected biology work with viruses and bacteria in gloveboxes, the system allows remote micro- and nanotechnology development and remote nuclear material manipulation.”

The plastic-based system, which is much lighter than copper, uses one-tenth of the energy of copper and less than fiber-optic cable. In addition, it can be connected by hand with tape, because it uses millimeter waves rather than nanometer waves (optical fiber) and eliminates the need for heat splicing or welding.

H-Link will be featured during the Leti Innovation Days virtual event from 22-23 June. Click here to register for the event.