World’s First CMOS 140 GHz Radar-on-Chip System with Integrated Antenna

Imec introduced the first CMOS 140 GHz radar-on-chip system with integrated antennas on standard 28nm technology at the International Microwave Symposium 2018. This achievement is an important step in the development of radar-based sensors for a myriad of smart intuitive applications, such as building security, remote health monitoring of car drivers, breathing and heart rate of patients, and gesture recognition for man-machine interaction.

Radars are extremely promising as sensors for contactless, non-intrusive interaction in internet-of-things applications such as people detection & classification, vital signs monitoring and gesture interfacing. A wide adoption will only be possible if radars achieve a higher resolution, become much smaller, more power-efficient to run, and cheaper to produce and to buy. This is what imec’s research on 140 GHz radar technology targets.

This low-power 140 GHz radar solution comprises of a two antenna SISO (Single Input Single Output) radar transceiver chip (developed by imec) and a frequency modulated continuous wave phase-locked loop (FMCW PLL), off-the shelf ADCs and FPGA and a Matlab chain. The transceiver features on-chip antennas achieving a gain close to 3dBi. The excellent radar link budgets are supported thanks to the transmitter Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP) that exceeds 9 dBm and a receiver noise figure below 6.4 dB. The total power consumption for transmitter and receiver remains below 500 mW, which can be further reduced by duty cycling. The FMCW PLL enables fast slopes up to 500 MHz/ms over a 10 GHz bandwidth around 140 GHz with a slope linearity error below 0.5% and has a power consumption below 50 mW. The FPGA contains real-time implementation of basic radar processing functions such as FFTs (Fast Fourier Transforms) and filters, and is complemented by a Matlab chain for detections, CFAR (Constant False Alarm Rate), direction-of-arrival estimation and other advanced radar processing.

This imec 140 GHz radar opens an innovation R&D collaborative program that has been endorsed by Panasonic, and imec - they are inviting all interested parties to join them.