THz Space Components (SPACETHZ)

Motivation
This project relies heavily on processing in the Chalmers clean room facility and RF and DC characterisation in the Chalmers microwave and terahertz laboratories. Equally important are the human resources in the form of the expertise and know how of dedicated personnel from processing to characterization and testing. Various types of tests from cryogenic to room temperature spanning from device and component characterization to system and reliability tests are foreseen. RF and DC characterization equipment from Dc to 750 GHz will be used, including custom developed source modules which are key for high frequency measurements.

Objectives
This project aims at developing cutting edge receiver technology for the next generation of scientific instruments for spaceborn and terrestrial applications in radioastronomy and earth science operating in the 1-1000 GHz regime. The project will be based on two technologies, InP HEMT MMIC technology and GaAs Schottky diode membrane technology.

A variety of circuit demonstrators; LNAs, active and passive multipliers, mixers, and power amplifiers, in the 1-1000 GHz regime defined by the project partners will be developed. These will then be packaged or integrated into subsystem demonstrators and tested according to commercial standards.

  • Stabilization of the Chalmers 100 nm InP MMIC and GaAs TMIC processes, including modelling and design kits and reliability tests.

  • 2 tapeouts/year for each process respectively on 3” InP wafers and 1”(0.5”-3”) GaAs wafers for the varistor and varactor epi’s. 

  • Designs by the industrial partners and Chalmers senior scientist/ PhD students.

  • Evaluation/measurement procedure for extremely low noise levels (InP HEMT’s).

  • Development of the TRL calibration technique for the SD TMIC process in the 500-750 GHz band including dedicated processing. 


Exploitation
This project will support the education of a number of PhD students as well as maintaining state-of-the-art process lines, creating a world class research environment and efficient collaboration with industry. From a research perspective the demonstration of a world record performance in terms of noise for the InP HEMT process and successful demonstration of an integrated signal source and receiver operating above 1 THz are considered as key results.
LNF was founded in 2005 as a spin-off from Chalmers University of Technology and manufactures and sells cryogenic LNA’s in the 1-110 GHz range mostly for academic customers (Physics research, Radio Astronomy). LNF would like to work with Chalmers on developing a new product line of cryogenic InP HEMT MMICs for the 1-130 GHz frequency range.

Omnisys' main operations are development and production of high performance electronics hardware for space applications. Two major business areas are identified; power systems for satellites and THz range scientific radiometer instrumentation. Omnisys competitive advantage in developing state-of-the-art technology solutions is enhanced by continuous research collaborations with Chalmers University of Technology.

SP is the National Metrology Institute (NMI) of Sweden and maintains the national standards for microwave metrology. As part of its mission the microwave metrology group also conducts research to improve its capabilities and prepare for future metrology challenges. SP sees the GHz Centre as a good way to share its expertise in microwave measurements techniques and assuring measurement quality as well as learning about the particular measurement challenges that THz frequencies pose. At this time traceable measurements at THz frequencies are very limited and a few NMIs in the world are just getting started in this area. SPs participation in the project will give valuable knowledge when we prepare to get into this area ourselves.

Wasa Millimeter Wave AB (Wasa) is a spin-off company from Chalmers University of Technology and operates in the market for millimetre wave and THz components and sub-systems. Product examples are diode based mixers and multipliers, amplifiers and phased-locked oscillators. Wasa combines in-house diode technology with commercial MMICs with the aim to provide a unique customer offering. The GHZ Centre is primarly seen as a tool to get access to cutting edge technology outperforming competitors on the market. The nature of the research and development then naturally comes at a higher risk and with longer timeframes, meaning that WASA rather focus on developing the technologies of the future than on pure product development.
Project leader
​Peter Sobis, Omnisys Instruments
Deputy project leader: Per-Åke Nilsson, Chalmers
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Published: Wed 23 Apr 2014.