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DARPA Partners with Northrop to Demo All-Silicon Transmitter

DARPAThe Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency recently demonstrated wireless transmission using an all-silicon, microchip-size, system-on-a-chip transmitter operating at a millimeter-wave frequency of 94 GHz, as part of the Efficient Linearized All-Silicon Transmitter ICs program.

DARPA said Jun. 30 it partnered with Northrop Grumman‘s aerospace systems segment to demonstrate a silicon SoC transmitting at millimeter-wave frequencies for the first time.

The findings are expected to give silicon integrated circuits advantage over ICs made with gallium compounds for wireless communications in terms of cost, power output and efficiency.

“This accomplishment opens the door for co-designing digital CMOS [complementary metal oxide semiconductors] and millimeter-wave capabilities as an integrated system on an all-silicon chip, which should also make possible new design architectures for future military RF systems,” said Dev Palmer, program manager at DARPA.

Palmer added the all-silicon SoC also supports different modulation formats and uses a digital transmission power amplifier to adapt to signal requirements.

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