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Challenges in On-Chip Antenna Design and Integration with RF Receiver Front-End Circuitry in Nanoscale CMOS for 5G Communication Systems
2019-03-18, Hedayati, Mahsa Keshavarz, Abdipour, Abdolali, Sarraf Shirazi, Reza, Cetintepe, Cagri, Staszewski, Robert Bogdan, et al.
This paper investigates design considerations and challenges of integrating on-chip antennas in nanoscale CMOS technology at millimeter-wave (mm-wave) to achieve a compact front-end receiver for 5G communication systems. Solutions to overcome these challenges are offered and realized in digital 28-nm CMOS. A monolithic on-chip antenna is designed and optimized in the presence of rigorous metal density rules and other back-end-of-the-line (BEoL) challenges of the nanoscale technology. The proposed antenna structure further exploits ground metallization on a PCB board acting as a reflector to increase its radiation efficiency and power gain by 37.3% and 9.8 dB, respectively, while decreasing the silicon area up to 30% compared to the previous works. The antenna is directly matched to a two-stage low noise amplifier (LNA) in a synergetic way as to give rise to an active integrated antenna (AIA) in order to avoid additional matching or interconnect losses. The LNA is followed by a double-balanced folded Gilbert cell mixer, which produces a lower intermediate frequency (IF) such that no probing is required for measurements. The measured total gain of the AIA is 14 dBi. Its total core area is 0.83 mm2 while the total chip area, including the pad frame, is 1.55 \times 0.85 mm2.