Project C11 - Efficient Subharmonically Locked THz Indium Phosphide Heterojunction Bipolar  Transistor Circuits for Mobile Applications

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Nils Weimann

Compact and energy-efficient electronic high-power sources, wideband low-noise receivers, mixers and phase shifters are needed in the THz frequency range (300 GHz – 3 THz) to realize the vision of mobile phase-steered THz transceiver arrays.The project is aimed at Challenge 2, compact realization of sub-mm-wave transceivers for efficient mobile material exploration, in MARIE’s area C, Chips from technology.

Indium phosphide (InP) transistors display high output power capability, and extend the reach of electronics to frequencies beyond 1 THz by leveraging the high breakdown field and electron mobility in this material. Electronic components are mechanically robust and lightweight, and can be cost-effectively fabricated and packaged. InP heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) integrated circuits add energy-efficient THz electronic functionality including power generation, signal amplification and mixing to MARIE’s technology portfolio, enabling mobile operation on a battery supply. The focus on power-efficient low multiplication factor transistor sources and wideband phase-shifters and mixers, for applications in e.g. coherent THz sensing, imaging and ranging, is complementary to technologies already under investigation within MARIE. The availability in foundry mode with high manufacturability of InP circuits, heterogeneously integrated on complex BiCMOS chips, circumvents critical mm-wave packaging connections between silicon and InP circuitry, and enables their inclusion in demonstrator setups. This invites collaboration within MARIE with projects related to silicon chip exploration, aiming at extending the frequency range and output power of these complex system-on-chips. Furthermore, the vertical layer stack of the InP HBT technology enables flexible on-chip antenna integration of various designs, e.g. in a collaborative effort with project C05.