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ASTRON chip design

Submitter: Koos Kegel
Description: A phased array antenna system is able to points its beam by controlling the signal's phase from the individual antenna elements. By summing all individual phase controlled antenna signals, the final antenna beam is created.

ASTRON designed and integrated the basic functionality of this phase control function using an advanced NXP SiGe chip process. This beamformer function consists of a wideband 90 degrees phase shifter combined with analogue inverters and variable gain amplifiers. This concept allows both amplitude control and 4 quadrant phase shift control. As such, it behaves as a vector modulator.

The chip process allows relatively easy integration of digital control functions. Next iterations are planned to include digital control functionality for an even more compact beamforming function.

To test and verify this circuit and its next iterations, an automated test setup is designed allowing fast, repeatable and accurate component verification.

The pictures show the chip mounted on a testboard, the chip layout, its amplitude response and a set of fixed control points at different frequencies. The issue at the positive axes is due to a measurement error.

This activity is part of the SKA-Noord-Nederland project and funded by Samenwerkingsverband Noord-Nederland.
Dit project wordt medegefinancierd door het Europees fonds voor regionale ontwikkeling en door het Ministerie van EZ, Pieken in de Delta en door de provincie Drenthe en door de provincie Groningen.
Copyright: ASTRON
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