What is Antenna in Package?

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Editorial Team - everything RF

Jan 20, 2020

Antenna in Package (AIP) is when the antenna is integrated in to a package along with the RFIC. In this case, antennas are no longer a separate component placed within the wireless device, but they are directly integrated into the package along with other ICs. Traditionally, an antenna is placed on a board, separate from the RFIC chipset. This approach is known as a discrete antenna approach. The figure below shows the AiP solution in a wireless system with respect to the discrete antenna approach, where the RFIC and the antenna are integrated in to a single package.

AiP technology can reduce the size of a wireless system significantly. Also, since the antenna in an AiP solution is closer to the RFIC, the transmission losses are lower, which helps to improve the transmitter efficiency and the receiver noise figure. In addition, the AiP solution reduces system and assembly cost and time to market.

The development of AiP technology has been driven by the great demand for better antenna solutions to single-chip radios and radars. This forced the antenna designers to look at other options and provided an excellent opportunity for a few researchers to systematically explore the feasibility of integrating an antenna (or antennas) in chip packages.

The term “package” in “Antenna-in-Package” can be leaded and leadless. Leaded packages have significant parasitic effects, limiting their applications in AiP technology. Whereas, leadless packages offer a tremendous size advantage over leaded counterparts and a significant performance advantage due to the reduced parasitic effects. Thus, the leadless package is the foundation for AiP technology.

Applications

AiP technology is now widely adopted by chipmakers for high-frequency applications as the antenna size can be small enough to fit into a small package. As a result, it is used in 60 GHz radios, gesture radars, 79 GHz automotive radars, 94 GHz phased arrays, 122 GHz, 145 GHz, and 160 GHz sensors, as well as 300 GHz wireless links.

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