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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S01005X/1
Title: Non-linear (large signal) Millimetre-wave Devices, Circuits and Systems On-Wafer Characterization Facility
Principal Investigator: Tasker, Professor PJ
Other Investigators:
Elgaid, Professor K Lees, Dr J Benedikt, Professor J
Cripps, Professor S C Bell, Dr JJW Wallis, Professor DJ
Quaglia, Dr R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Engineering
Organisation: Cardiff University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2018 Ends: 30 September 2019 Value (£): 1,459,153
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
RF & Microwave Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Communications
Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
10 Jul 2018 EPSRC Strategic Equipment Interview Panel July 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Mobile telephones and the communications they enable have now become an essential part of our everyday lives. The number of people using mobile technologies, which was practically unused 20 years ago, is astonishing: Unique mobile subscribers have recently exceeded 5 billion, and more than 3 billion people have subscribed to mobile broadband services. The pervasiveness of this technology means that future societies will be built with telecommunications at their heart, with visionary concepts such as Smart-Cities relying on the rapid exchange of information for the optimisation of available resources and the improvement of people's lives. For this reason, 5th generation (5G) of mobile networks will be much more than just an evolution of the previous mobile generations. While maintaining the role of connecting devices, such as mobile telephones, with more than ten times the current data rate, 5G will also provide a platform to underpin a large number of services, including the connection of billions of sensors and devices in the Internet of Things, Smart Grid control, autonomous driving, and remote health care.

This paradigm change in mobile telecommunications can only happen if supported by viable and fundamental enabling technologies. In particular, the use of communications in the millimetre-wave (mm-wave) spectrum has been identified as the technology of choice to support the demand in higher data-rates. For this reason, mm-wave technology, which in the past has always been considered as niche, is now becoming a mass-market technology ($8.69B by 2025, source:Grand View Research), with a huge revenue potential and with a clear strategic role in the future of the telecom market. Moreover, the drive from the telecommunications market to make mm-wave technology affordable, will also benefit other mm-wave applications, such as radar and imaging systems that have important consequences on other strategic markets (military and aerospace).

To enable the overall high-performance mm-wave electronics for these applications and markets in terms of energy consumption, size and cost, it is crucial to optimise circuits at a single device (transistor) level. This is very difficult to achieve when devices are operating in non-linear regimes, where the usual design approximations simply fail. Source and load-pull measurements are the de-facto standard method of characterising high frequency devices working non-linearly. The experimental data can be used directly in the design of key, high-frequency components such as high-efficiency power amplifiers, in the verification and development of design kit models, to assess the improvement, reliability and repeatability of new device technologies, and to derive and verify new theoretical design concepts.

The Centre for High Frequency Engineering at Cardiff University is a world leader in large-signal characterisation and modelling of high-frequency devices. This position has been achieved thanks to the development of novel concepts such as waveform engineering and state-of-the-art load-pull and waveform measurement systems that have provided trusted experimental data, enabling timely research and support to industry. This world-leading position is however now at risk due to the frequency limitations of the current experimental setup available.

This proposal outlines the need for a new source/load-pull capability for mm-wave on-wafer characterisation that will extend measurement capabilities at Cardiff up to 110 GHz. The flexible configuration proposed will be unique, and will guarantee significant competitive advantage to Cardiff, UK Universities and UK industry. It will also bolster the international profile of UK research, by attracting collaborations with the world's best scientists.

The system will be promoted among Cardiff partners and to other institutions and companies to perform cutting-edge collaborative research, as well as to external users who desire a pure measurement service.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.cf.ac.uk