The EU project “GaN mm-wave Radar Components Embedded” (GRACE) is led by Dan Kuylenstierna (to the right), associate professor at the Microwave Electronics Laboratory at the Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience – MC2 at Chalmers:
“The impact of aviation on global warming is something that is frequently discussed in society. Concepts such as “flight shame” have been invented to make people fly less. However, much in our society depends on reliable and sustainable transport”, he says.
The Advisory Council for Aeronautical Research in Europe (ACARE) has therefore set ambitious targets for reducing the climate impact of aviation. The goal is to reduce emissions by 50%, of which a more efficient ATM is expected to contribute 10%.
A key technology for such better ATMs is the so-called enhanced flight vision system (EFVS), which is used to facilitate lifting and landing in poor visibility conditions. In the EFVS systems of the future, millimeter wave radar for the frequency range 93-100 GHz is expected to be an important building block for completing of the IR cameras that form the basis of today's system.
“At present, however, there are no cost-effective surface-mounted components to build these radar systems”, explains Dan Kuylenstierna.
Together with partners from Fraunhofer IZM in Germany, OMMIC in France and MC2 Technologies, also located in France, Chalmers has therefore taken up this challenge. The EU project GRACE covers both circuit design and packaging of the radar components. For the circuit design, so-called GaN HEMT monolithic microwave circuit (MMIC) technology is used, a type of semiconductor technology particularly suitable for generating high power at higher frequencies. The end-goal is to demonstrate a technology concept for future surface-mounted millimetre-wave radar components.
The signal sources are designed at Chalmers and the power amplifiers at MC2 Technologies. OMMIC is liable for the GaN HEMT MMIC technology including processing. Fraunhofer IZM's responsibility is to package the completed circuits.
After system analysis and design, the first circuits have now left OMMIC´s foundry for characterization at Chalmers and MC2. After characterization, functional chips will be sent to Fraunhofer IZM for packaging.
The GRACE project started in November 2018 and is funded by the EU's research and innovation program Horizon 2020 for two years with a total of SEK 18.7 million.
Text: Michael Nystås
Photo of Dan Kuylenstierna: Michael Nystås
Dan Kuylenstierna, Associate Professor, Microwave Electronics Laboratory, Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience – MC2, Chalmers University of Technology, firstname.lastname@example.org
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