Thursday 26 May 2016

High Efficiency Power Amplifier Could Bring 5G Cell Phones


5G Devices Designed to Download/Transmit Data/Videos Quickly

Latest efficient power amplifier for electronics will assist in making it possible for the next generation cell phones, reduced-cost collision-avoidance radar for cars and lightweight micro satellites for communications. The fifth-generation or 5G mobile devices which are anticipated in 2019 would need improved power amplifiers operating at very high frequencies.

The new phones would be designed to download and transmit data and videos much quicker than the present phones, would provide improved coverage, consume less power and would meet the needs of a developing `Internet of things’ wherein daily objects will have network connectivity, enabling them to send and receive data. Power amplifiers are essential in transmitting signals.

Since the present cell phone amplifiers are made of gallium arsenide, they are unable to integrate in the silicon based technology of the phone known as complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor – CMOS. The latest amplifier design is CMOS-based which means that it enables researchers to integrate the power amplifier with the electronic chip of the phone, thus reducing the manufacturing costs as well as the power consumption while enhancing performance.

Silicon Less Expensive than Gallium Arsenide

An associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University, Saeed Mohammadi states that `Silicon is much less expensive than gallium arsenide, more reliable, having a longer lifespan and if one has everything in one chip, it tends to get easier to test and maintain.

The highest efficiency CMOS power amplifier has developed in the frequency range needed for 5G cell phones and the next-generation radars’. Results are detailed in two papers, one which is to be presented during the IEEE International Microwave Symposium on 24 May in San Francisco, authored by the earlier doctoral student Sultan R. Helmi together with Mohammadi. They had authored another paper with Jing-Hwa Chen, the former doctoral student to appear in a future issue of the journal IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques.

The researcher have created the new kind of amplifier by utilising a high performance king of CMOS technology known as silicon on insulator – SOI wherein the design has many silicon transistors loaded together which reduces the number of metal interconnections generally essential between transistors, reducing `parasitic capacitance that hinders performance and could lead to damage to electronic circuits.

Eradicate Metallization between Transistors

The amplifier attains an efficiency of 40% comparable to amplifiers made of gallium arsenide. Mohammadi had commented that they have merged transistors to use less metallization around the device and that they have reduced the capacitance to achieve higher efficiencies. Moreover they are attempting to eradicate metallization between transistors. The latest amplifiers is said to bring low-cost collision-avoidance radars for cars and electronics for lightweight communications microsatellites. The CMOS amplifiers would enable researchers in designing microsatellites which are one-hundredth the weight of the present day technology. Three U.S. patents with regards to the amplifier have been issued. The research was funded partly by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.Researchers have been working on the latest version of the amplifier which would be twice as powerful. Additional work would be essential in integrating the amplifier into a cell phone chip.

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