An AESA Revolution Utilizing the Disruptive Technology of Highly-Integrated Silicon ICs

It is constructive to reflect on the words of Gordon Moore, who said, “The successful realization of such items as phased-array antennas, for example, using a multiplicity of integrated microwave power sources, could completely revolutionize radar.”

As will be shown in this paper, silicon is the key to this revolution. In fact, Moore’s Law is the reason silicon is so capable at millimeter-wave frequencies today. It brings with it high performance and an impressive array of features—all in highly integrated IC form. This paper will first give an overview of phased-array antenna fundamentals and basic Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) principles and challenges, and then will explain how planar solutions can help with form-factor issues. Anokiwave will also show how planar solutions at frequencies at or above X-band require increased integration, as well as highlighting some associated challenges.

They then illustrate how the capabilities of silicon technologies (SiGe BiCMOS, CMOS, SOI) can provide a platform for this integration, while also enabling other performance possibilities. Finally, you will see examples of performance metrics that demonstrate the feasibility of silicon technologies for high-frequency AESAs.