SBIR Phase I:CHIP-SCALE MICROWAVE/MM-WAVE INSTRUMENTATION

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1013695
Agency Tracking Number: 1013695
Amount: $139,835.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: IC
Solicitation Number: NSF 09-609
Small Business Information
Modelithics
3650 Spectrum Blvd UTC II, Suite 170, Tampa, FL, 33612
DUNS: 111268673
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Lawrence Dunleavy
 PhD
 (813) 866-6335
 ldunleavy@modelithics.com
Business Contact
 Lawrence Dunleavy
Title: PhD
Phone: (813) 866-6335
Email: ldunleavy@modelithics.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will investigate a new class of chip-scale instrumentation for microwave and mm-wave device characterization. The primary elements of the proposed instruments are silicon integrated circuits for signal generation and detection, and advanced passive circuits to provide reconfigurable signal routing and conditioning. The instruments will utilize system-in-package (SIP) technology. The goal is to realize custom chip-level instruments as alternatives to conventional bench-top laboratory instruments, with significant advantages in terms of cost and versatility. In this project novel chip-scale microwave/mm-wave systems will be investigated as a disruptive technology in the test and measurement industry. The research objectives include the development appropriate silicon IC designs, RF MEMS signal conditioning circuits and a proof-of-concept packaging scheme for a miniature 20 GHz vector network analyzer. The IC and signal conditioning circuit designs will be based on existing technology developed at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida, and adapted for this specific application. It is anticipated that a preliminary functional prototype, utilizing a new packaging scheme and existing chip architectures, will be demonstrated by the end of this Phase I project. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will revolutionize microwave test. Today's microwave test instruments are typically rack-mounted, interfaced to devices under test through cables and some form of fixture (e.g. on-wafer probes) and to computers for data acquisition. The proposed chip-scale instruments have the potential to transform the microwave/mm-wave test industry, particularly in production line or maintenance operations where application-specific designs would offer dramatically lower cost in comparison to expensive, laboratory-type instruments that are currently the only available option. For characterization into the mm-wave frequencies the chip-scale instruments may outperform traditional instruments, since measurements can be performed immediately next to the device thereby eliminating much of the noise and loss induced by cables and other interconnects. The chip-scale instrument concept can be extended to enable mobile monitoring through battery-powered wireless telemetry, opening up many new potential applications in the automotive and biomedical device (sensor) industries, among others. With the appropriate circuit designs the measurement capabilities could include impedance, network (scattering) parameters, noise, spectrum and linearity. Potential societal benefits include a significant reduction in the cost of performing characterization that is critical to new technology development, and enabling new technologies where instrumentation cost represents a barrier to entry.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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