FLEXWIN (European FP7 project on FLEXible microsystem technology for micro- and millimetre-wave antenna arrays With INtelligent pixels)

The FLEXWIN project proposes a significant advance towards smart RF microsystems by combining:
•    RFMEMS switch process monolithically integrated with a Si/SiGe BiCMOS process
•    Highly reconfigurable mm-wave building blocks, able to be used over a broad frequency range and for different applications
•    New RF-system design paradigm built around the concepts of reusability, multifunctionality and reconfigurability
•    Environmental sensing and control built into multifunctional RF ICs with digital control.
As a first demonstrator of the proposed highly innovative FLEXWIN technology platform, a smart reflectarray architecture for broadband communication links will be realized.  The core FLEXWIN ICs will be used as intelligent pixels providing spatial power combining with full individual amplitude and phase settings of each pixel in transmit and receive mode controlled by a serial bus. Together with the monolithic integration of the environmental sensors on the very same IC, it dramatically reduces the antennas control system complexity providing significant advances in RF frontend adaptability. The validity of the design paradigm will be further explored in two reconfigurable IC demonstrators using the RF MEMS SiGe BiCMOS technology and deliberately spaced in the radio spectrum: reconfigurable “commodity” building blocks up to 5 GHz, addressing mobile and wireless data applications, and for the 30-64 GHz range, addressing point-to-point, and emerging wireless LAN applications.
Within this project, the EBS institute leads the circuit design effort work package and is involved in the following research and development activities:
•    Mixed-signal design of key RF building blocks for a 20GHz/30GHz antenna-array demonstrators employing  on-chip RF-MEMS capacitive switches, which become available as part of a Si/SiGe BiCMOS process for the first time in this project
•    Mixed-signal design of a reconfigurable 3-5 GHz receiver


List of selected references:
[1]    A. C. Ulusoy, M. Kaynak, T. Purtova, B. Tillack and H. Schumacher, “A 60 to 77 GHz Switchable LNA in an RF-MEMS Embedded BiCMOS Technology”, Microwave and Wireless Components Letters, IEEE, Vol. 22, 2012.
[2]    G. Liu, M. Kaynak, T. Purtova, A. C. Ulusoy, B. Tillack and H. Schumacher, “Dual-band millimeter-wave VCO with embedded RF-MEMS switch module in BiCMOS technology”, In proceedings of 12th Topical Meeting Silicon Monolithic Integrated Circuits in RF Systems (SiRF), Austin, USA, 2012.
[3]    M. Kaynak, V. Valenta, H. Schumacher and B. Tillack, “MEMS Module Integration into SiGe BiCMOS Technology for Embedded System Applications(Invited Talk)”, In proceedings of Bipolar / BiCMOS Circuits and Technology Meeting, (BCTM), Portland, Oregon, 2012.
[4]    V. Valenta, M. Kanyak, G. Liu, A. Çagrı Ulusoy, T. Purtova, A. Trasser, Hermann Schumacher. “From enabling technology to applications: reconfigurable SiGe BiCMOS ICs with fully integrated RF MEMS switches for millimetre wave transceivers”, ESA, Microwave Technology and Techniques Workshop, Noordwijk, 2012.
[5]    G. Liu, M. Kaynak, T. Purtova, A.C.  Ulusoy,B. Tillack, H. Schumacher, “Dual-Band Millimeter-Wave VCO with Embedded RF-MEMS Switch Module in BiCMOS Technology” , In proceedings of 12th Topical Meeting Silicon Monolithic Integrated Circuits in RF Systems (SiRF), Austin, USA, 2012.
[6]    X. Gai, S. Chartier, A. Trasser, H. Schumacher, “A 35 GHz dual-loop PLL with low phase noise and fast lock for millimeter wave applications”, In proceedings of the International Microwave Symposium (IMS), Baltimore, USA,  2011.
[7]    X. Gai, A. Trasser, H. Schumacher, “A fully integrated low phase noise, fast locking, 31 to 34.9 GHz dual-loop PLL”, In proceedings of the European Microwave Integrated Circuits Conference (EuMIC 2011), Manchester, UK, 2011.
[8]    X.Gai, G. Liu, S. Chartier, A. Trasser, H. Schumacher, “A PLL with Ultra Low Phase Noise for Millimeter Wave Applications ”, In proceedings of the  European Microwave Conference (EuMC), Paris, France, 2010

Contact person: Dr.-Ing. Václav Valenta (vaclav.valenta@uni-ulm.de)
More details can be found at flexwin.unical.it