Low Power InP MMICs for Low Noise Receivers

Period of Performance: 05/09/2000 - 02/09/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Hittite Microwave Corp.
20 Alpha Road
Chelmsford, MA 01824
Principal Investigator


In large phase array antenna systems, the power dissipation in the receiver becomes a limiting factor, as the small space between array elements limits the heat dissipation allowed in the space. This problem becomes more pronounced at millimeter wave frequencies, as the spacing between elements is further reduced. One of the most promising approaches to overcome this problem is to develop T/R modules using indium phosphide (InP), as InP devices provide the low noise performance at millimeter wave frequencies at very low drain bias. This proposal is addressed to the need to develop a low-noise receiver front end for a millimeter wave phased array using an advanced InP process. In addition to the low-noise amplifier (LNA), which is the most critical element of the receiver chain, the proposal also describes Hittite's design approach for phase shifter and attenuator circuits built in InP. A preliminary assessment shows that the power dissipation in a receiver chain may be reduced by 50% compared to a similar T/R module built in GaAs. Hittite Microwave Corporation is a "fabless" semiconductor supplier with access to a variety of advanced processes including GaAs, Si, Si-Ge and InP. For the proposed program, Hittite will rely on the InP process available at TRW. This proposal outlines Hittite's design approach for InP LNAs and other receiver components. The proposed program will lead to development of MMICs LNAs and receiver components built by an InP process operating at millimeter wave frequencies. Commercial applications of those devices will be in broadband communications systems (LMDS, K/Ka-band satellite ground stations, point-to-point radios) and sensors for automotive radars.