Millimeter wave technologies

A photo of three radio towers rising up against a blue sky.

We develop millimeter wave communication and sensor solutions to address the global challenges of digitalisation, robotisation and climate change.

Key facts

Holistic design of millimetre-wave systems ranging from 5G wireless communications to imaging radars and cryogenically cooled receivers for radio astronomy.

Component to system level prototyping using different MMIC technologies, antenna configurations and packaging technologies. 

State-of-the-art testing facilities for millimetre-wave components and circuits including reliability testing and space qualification.

We have been developing millimeter wave technologies at VTT for more than three decades. Our service portfolio covers research and concept development as well as prototyping and testing of millimeter-wave components and systems for terrestrial, air- and spaceborne applications. We also host European Space Agency’s External Laboratory on millimeter wave technology, MilliLab, who helps the European space industry meet the demands of future millimeter wave missions.

Solutions for 5G and beyond wireless communications

We develop prototypes and demonstrators from component to system level. VTT offers world leading design expertise on silicon and III-V compound monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) semiconductor technologies. 

For instance, we are currently developing scalable, digitally controlled active antenna arrays (phased arrays) for E-band 5G backhauls. We advance these technologies to D-band to enable cost effective beyond 5G networks with unprecedented wireless data rates. Next, we demonstrate a communication link around 250 GHz with hybrid InP/SiGe MMICs assembled using our in-house developed silicon platforms.

Sensing solutions – imaging radars and radiometers

Our sensing solutions have applications ranging from multiperson vital sign extraction to cryogenic receivers for radio astronomy. 

As a radar example, our current 60 GHz FMCW frequency division multiplexing MIMO radar system uses VTT’s in-house designed SiGe MMIC front-ends and is scalable to extremely large aperture sizes effortlessly for high spatial resolution imaging. Multiperson vital sign measurements, people flow monitoring, autonomous robots and UAVs are new application areas.

Millimeter wave technologies are an integral part of the next-generation 5G and beyond wireless networks and sensing solutions.

For imaging radiometers, we are developing interferometric aperture arrays with custom SiGe MMICs, FPGA backends and waveguide feed systems fabricated using latest 3D printing techniques. This leads to low-cost, low power consumption and small size. They operate without mechanically scanning antennas, making them feasible payloads in UAV and cube sat applications. 

Furthermore, we are forerunners in developing silicon based SiGe and CMOS millimeter wave MMIC amplifiers for cryogenic operation.

Prototyping and testing services

We have unique research infra for manufacturing and testing of millimeter wave components and systems. In our clean room laboratories we have developed integrated passive device (IPD) and low temperature co-fired ceramics (LTCC) technologies that are suitable for integrating and packaging of millimeter wave systems. We have the equipment and expertise on assembling high frequency electronics using both flip-chip and wire-bonding methods. 

VTT has excellent high-frequency measurement capabilities and knowledge through MilliLab. They cover micro and millimeter wave circuit characterization as well as dedicated systems for THz device characterization. S-parameters can be measured on-wafer up to 220 GHz and off-wafer up to 700 GHz. Also, noise figures and spectrum analysis can be performed for both on- and off-wafer. 

A more thorough description is given in MilliLab’s web pages.

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