IBM's newest millimeter wave chip holds backhaul potential

IBM is touting a new phased-array transceiver that it claims holds great promise for use in mobile backhaul, small cell infrastructure and data center overlay network deployment. The packaged transceiver operates in 90-94 GHz millimeter wave spectrum. Alberto Valdes-Garcia, a lead IBM researcher who worked on the project, told EE Times that the new integrated circuit features monolithic integration of all necessary components, including transmitter, receiver and all antennas, in a single package. This level of integration in a silicon-based solution at this frequency is unique, indicated Valdes-Garcia, noting that most existing millimeter-wave components use three-five materials rather than silicon. In addition to potential uses in mobile communications, the new IC is suited to high-resolution radar imaging applications due to its short wavelength, relatively low atmospheric attenuation and ability to penetrate debris. The new ICs are being fabricated using IBM's silicon-germanium process. IBM has been researching various millimeter wave approaches for years. For more on IBM's latest millimeter wave chip development, see this EE Times article.