The objective of Car2TERA is to develop emerging sub-THz (150-330 GHz) smart electronic systems based on latest semiconductor, microsystem and nanoelectronics technologies, and is aimed to implement TRL-4 demonstrators in two high-potential application scenarios: (1) a new class of compact, high-resolution, electronic-beam-steering short-range car radar sensors, with the primary application being in-cabin passenger monitoring (currently fastest growing car sensor market) for individually and real-time adjusted crash mitigation measures; (2) short-distance, high data-rate THz-over-plastic data links for telecommunication radio-access and backbone networks facilitating the data growth demanded by 5G and IoT. Car2TERA combines, for the first time, the results of recent achievements in semiconductor, micro- and nanoelectronics scientific projects, including the Graphene Flagship, an ERC and several EU collaboration projects, with the following emerging THz technologies: (1) 600-GHz-fmax SiGe monolithic-microwave integrated circuits (MMICs); (2) silicon micromachining for system integration, packaging and phased-array antenna front-end; (3) integrated MEMS reconfigurability; and (4) large-bandwidth, high-linearity graphene MMICs; (4) advanced signal processing including OFDM radar signals and AI sensor fusion. The main work of the first reporting phase of this project was: (1) exchange of technology information between the partners, including design kits, technology capability; (2) discussion of the applications and delivery of specifications to the specific applications; (3) discussion of possible concepts for implementation of prototype solutions.
Work performed from M19-M36
- Preparation of the Design Kit for the B12HFC technology. Alignment meeting between relevant Car2TERA partners hosted by Infineon at Munich HQ.
- Preparation of the Design Kit (first version).
- Performed the requirement analysis and system specifications for primary and secondary applications.
- D1.1, D1.2 and D1.3 have been submitted.
A tape out in B11 was completed, including generic circuits for task 2.1 (deliverable D2.2). Several complex designs both in the B11 and in the B12 technology were implemented. The very extensive deliverable D2.4 summarizes the circuit achievements.
Implementation and characterization of the MMIC circuits for the two demonstrators, several fabrication runs in the B11 and B12 technology, on the way to the final tapeout (D2.5).
- Graphene material grown on SiC substrates delivered to Chalmers for processing of MMICs.
- Different micromachined beam-steering front-end concepts were investigated
- An innovative new beam steering front-end concept with significantly lower hardware complexity was proposed
- Mixer measurements showed a minimum conversion loss of 14 dB in E-band (which is the best conversion loss for a Graphene mixer so far)
- MMIC-interconnection concepts were proposed and simulated
- Micromachined static, phased-array antenna concepts were developed
- Micromachined beam-steering/switching circuit prototypes (though MEMS switches fixated in either on or off position) were fabricated and the radiation and beam-steering properties were successfully characterized by antenna radiation pattern measurements. Design of final chips with full functionality (MEMS switches functional) for final fabrication run
Development towards final graphene MMIC prototypes (D3.5). Prototypes of antenna chips for DEM1. Final design of fully-functional micromachined beam-steering/beam-switching chips.
- Suitable radar concepts for a micromachined radar front end were investigated. Measurements were performed of an available micromachined test antenna with beam-steering capability. The results were presented to the “44th International Conference on Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves (IRMMW-THz 2019)” (accepted for a keynote (30 minute) oral).
- Micromachining process development was completed with successful fabrication test runs.
- D4.1 and D4.2 have been submitted to the EC.
- Micromachined interposer and PMF-MMIC interconnect concept have been finalized.
- Details about the designs were presented in D4.4.
- investigation of eWLB integration process for frequencies above 120 GHz.
- Micromachined radar front-end chip were successfully completed, successfully demonstrating the integration of the antenna array and the beam-steering/beam switching structure, even though these prototypes did not have the full beam-shape switching functionality implemented
- Signal processing of radar with beam-shape switching completed (using computational imaging). Two journal papers in writing phase.
- finalizing the investigation of the eWLB process for frequencies beyond 120 GHz (D4.5)
- preliminary prototypes of the beam-steering/beam-shape-switching micromachined front-end chips, work towards D4.6
- Requirements for the in-cabin monitoring use case specified
- Analysis of possible performance based on different radar implementation techniques
- D5.1 delivered i.e. the system test and verification specification, delivered
- Reference sensor system designed and implementation started
- Delivered report on the data collection and HMI system (D5.2)
- Concept and design, and partly already implementation of the setup for the final demonstrator
- Testing of radar cross-section of different materials and objects relevant for in-cabin car radar
D5.2 submitted to the EC.
- Concept for PMF-to-MMIC transition defined.
- PMF vendor identified and cooperation is ongoing to find/design a suitable PMF for >200 GHz in terms of the fiber geometry, material and cladding/shielding method.
- System simulation has started on baseband hardware
Basic requirement for PMF is derived, presented and delivered based on the system simulation carried out by EAB
- Implementation work towards final demonstrator, including completed material selection, finalization of the integration concept, setup with all surrounding components for the final link demonstrator
Finalization of technology concept; finalizing components and material concept for the link; start of technology implementation for final demonstrator.
- The initial requirements on resolution and accuracy have been defined
- D7.1 Report on modulation waveforms is released
- radar test measurements at 240 GHz
- Set up of project website and social media accounts (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
- Creation of a project logo and of a project leaflet useable for upcoming dissemination activities
- Active management of social media accounts, weekly postings, quarterly statistics
- Publication of two Newsletters (1st issue: July 2019; 2nd issue: February 2020) and of a 2-minutes explanation video for the broad public
- ZENODO community set up (for open access of papers, presentations, etc.)
- Car2tera animated video “Car2TERA explained in under 2 minutes”
- Organisation of a Winter School together with H2020 projects SERENA and GRACE
- 5 Podcasts recorded and published
- Submission of D8.1, D8.2 and D8.3.
- Successful start of the project and ongoing work on schedule
- Collaboration among partners well functioning and efficient due to effective project management
- Well established IT infrastructure and regular, focused conference calls with Executive Board
- D9.1 “Project quality plan” and D9.2 “Risk Assessment Plan” submitted
- Two amendments to GA executed which have been accepted
- NDAs with AB members signed, AB conf calls and AB meeting executed
- Successful Technical Meeting in Gothenburg in June 2019, and in Poland in February 2020
- 1st intermediate review meeting in September 2019 executed and 2nd review meeting for September 2020 in planning
Expected results until the project end
The project achieved several innovations in circuit design, and concepts and design RF front-ends for beam-shape switching. Prototype fabrication of these designs will be implemented in subsequent project phases.