Modern solutions of wireless RF systems require multi-standard multi-band functionality for future software defined radio and agile radio products. The high number of wireless standards implemented in mobile devices (GSM/EDGE, UMTS, LTE, Wi-Fi, GPS, Wireless HD, Wireless USB, NFC, DVB-S2, ….) with preferably single radio architectures creates a number of challenges which are not covered by “classical” RF-circuit design and analog-mixed signal design methodologies only.
Figure 1 Focus areas of proposed Ressel center
A high number of challenges like strong interference between the different RF frontends, a complex interface between the RF integrated circuit, external components and the antenna, as well as limitations of available power, chip area, PCB area and mainly costs needs to be solved for future products.
This leads to the necessity of new RF frontend concepts leveraging reconfigurable building blocks using “digitally assisted RF” concepts to cope with non-idealities in the RF performance such as gain control, offset control or noise and crosstalk compensation. These concepts are already quite established in standard low-frequency analog design, while they were hardly used for RF applications in the past. Furthermore, there is strong signal interaction between RF, analog blocks, digital blocks on a system-on-chip (SoC) and external components on package and board level. This requires new multi-disciplinary design and modeling approaches, which are necessary to combine the diverse field of knowledge and tooling used for development of integrated RF systems.
The research activities of the proposed Ressel center at Fachhochschule Kärnten will focus on reconfigurable integrated radio-frequency (RF) systems and circuits based on standard integrated circuit CMOS technologies. Also electromagnetic interference and co-existence issues in modern wireless transceivers will be investigated and improved. The tasks include all necessary development steps like modeling, simulation, circuit implementation and lab characterization, supporting future integrated wireless communication systems.
The focus of proposed Ressel center is illustrated in Figure 1.