Millimeter-Wave Front-End Circuits for Wireless Communications

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
School of Electrical Engineering | Doctoral thesis (article-based) | Defence date: 2023-03-17
Degree programme
78 + app. 58
Aalto University publication series DOCTORAL THESES, 21/2023
This thesis focuses on the design and characterization of millimeter-wave monolithic active and passive circuits for 5G-and-beyond 5G communication systems. Specifically, this thesis focuses on different active and passive components, the transmit-receive (T/R) switch, the low-noise amplifier (LNA), the power amplifier (PA), the bidirectional PALNA, the power detector, the phase shifter, and the receiver chain for mm-wave applications. This dissertation presents an overview of the research topic and summarizes the major outcomes of this thesis presented in six publications. Various issues and challenges associated with the design of mm-wave passive and active components in nanoscale BiCMOS technologies are described. Brief design details of different passive and active components have been presented. Among mm-wave passive components, different transmission lines including the microstrip line and coplanar waveguide are studied and modeled. The on-chip transformer and Marchand baluns are designed and utilized in different circuits. A wideband, low-loss and compact 3-dB differential quadrature generator is designed. The RF pads with the GSG configuration are designed with a compensation structure beneath the signal pad. The modeling techniques of the transistor operating in the high mm-wave region are presented. An E-band semi-switchless PALNA with a single-ended LNA and high-power differential PA is designed. The LNA and the PA are isolated from each other by the impedance matching networks and a differential switch. The semi-switchless PALNA achieves the lowest NF of 5.8 dB and the highest FOM in receive mode compared to the literature while it delivers a maximum power of +9.2 dBm at 76 GHz in the transmit mode. A compact and high-performance RF power detector is designed. It is demonstrated that the Meyer topology can be used to detect power at mm-wave frequencies with a suitable impedance matching network. The design of an E-band receiver front-end containing an LNA, a phase shifter, a buffer amplifier, and a switch at the input and the output for a phased array application is presented. The measured peak gain is 18.5 dB with a 3-dB bandwidth of 23 GHz from 56 to 79 GHz and the minimum noise figure is 9 dB at 75 GHz. A compact vector modulator phase shifter operating from 200 GHz to 250 GHz is designed utilizing a compact and differential I/Q generator. The achieved gain is -10.3 dB at 230 GHz with the maximum gain setting and the maximum rms gain and phase errors of 1.25 dB and10o  from 200 GHz to 250 GHz, respectively. A high-gain phase shifter chain is designed by adding an LNA to the input of the phase shifter and an additional gain amplifier at the output of the phase shifter. The measured peak gain from the phase shifter chain is 20 dB at 230 GHz and the minimum noise figure of 11.5 dB at 230 GHz. The high-gain phase shifter is capable of 360◦ phase tuning and 10 dB of gain tuning. 
Supervising professor
Halonen, Kari, Prof., Aalto University, Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering, Finland
Thesis advisor
Varonen, Miko , Dr., VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Finland
millimeter-wave, MMIC, transmitter, receiver, 5G, beyond 5G
Other note
  • [Publication 1]: R. Ahamed, M. Varonen, D. Parveg, J. Saijets and K. A. I. Halonen. Design of high-performance E-band SPDT switch and LNA in 0.13 μm SiGe BiCMOS technology. in Proceedings of the 2017 IEEE Nordic Circuits and Systems Conference (NORCAS): NORCHIP and International Symposium of System-on-Chip (SoC), Linköping, Sweden, pp. 1-5, October 2017.
    Full text in Acris/Aaltodoc:
    DOI: 10.1109/NORCHIP.2017.8124975 View at publisher
  • [Publication 2]: R. Ahamed, M. Varonen, D. Parveg, M. Najmussadat, M. Kantanen and K. A. I. Halonen. Design and Analysis of an E-Band Power Detector in 0.13 μm SiGe BiCMOS Technology. in Proceedings of the 2020 IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS), Seville, Spain, pp. 1-4, October 2020.
    Full text in Acris/Aaltodoc:
    DOI: 10.1109/ISCAS45731.2020.9181170 View at publisher
  • [Publication 3]: R. Ahamed, M. Varonen, D. Parveg, M. Najmussadat, Y. Tawfik and K. A. I. Halonen. A 200-250-GHz Phase Shifter Utilizing a Compact and Wideband Differential Quadrature Coupler. IEEE Microwave and Wireless Components Letters, Volume 32, Issue 7, pp 883 - 886, July 2022.
    DOI: 10.1109/LMWC.2022.3157790 View at publisher
  • [Publication 4]: R. Ahamed, M. Varonen, J. Holmberg, D. Parveg, M. Kantanen, J. Saijets and K. A. I. Halonen. A 71–76 GHz wideband receiver front-end for phased array applications in 0.13 μm SiGe BiCMOS technology. Analog Integrated Circuits and Signal Processing, Volume 98, Issue 3, pp 465–476, March 2019.
    DOI: 10.1007/s10470-018-1268-4 View at publisher
  • [Publication 5]: R. Ahamed, M. Varonen, D. Parveg, M. Najmussadat, M. Kantanen, Y. Tawfik and K. A. I. Halonen. An E-band Bidirectional PALNA in 0.13 μm SiGe BiCMOS Technology. in Proceedings of the 2021 16th European Microwave Integrated Circuits Conference (EuMIC)), London, UK, pp. 281-284, April 2022.
    DOI: 10.23919/EuMIC50153.2022.9783945 View at publisher
  • [Publication 6]: Md Najmussadat, Raju Ahamed, Mikko Varonen, Dristy Parveg, Mikko Kantanen, and K. A. I. Halonen. 220-240-GHz High-Gain Phase Shifter Chain and Power Amplifier for Scalable Large Phased-Arrays. Submitted to IEEE Access, 2022