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Low-Cost Beamforming SiGe MMIC Receivers at mm-Wave, Phase II

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Project Introduction

NxGEN Electronics Inc. (, teamed with its subcontractor Linear Signal, LLC ( has successfully completed a Phase I contract for the 2011 NASA SBIR Phase I, Topic S1.02, subtopic, "Low Cost mm-wave Beamforming MMIC Receiver". These receivers, operating at 35.6 GHz and 94 GHz, are targeted for the space-borne, polarimetric, Doppler-capable radar for the NASA Aerosol/Cloud/Ecosystems (ACE) Mission, the successor to other cloud-study satellite missions such as CloudSat and EarthCare. The radar antenna itself will consist of 3.3 meter wide, 35.6 GHz and 94 GHz co-located linear antenna arrays that scan across the direction of orbit. The size of integrated receiver electronics behind each of these arrays does not extend beyond the antenna outline. The critical physical specification for phased array antennas is the spacing between antenna elements. At 94 GHz, this implies an element spacing of 1.6 mm, while at 35.6 GHz the spacing is more generous at ~4.2 mm. Then, for this particular configuration of 3.3 meter wide arrays the total number of receive elements is ~800 for the 35.6 GHz antenna and ~2048 for the 94 GHz antenna. The integrated receiver combines multiple array elements and their supporting circuitry into one integrated electronics package which results in an order of magnitude reduction in per channel cost and size. Moreover, the decrease in package interconnect will also result in marked increase in reliability. The other main goal of this project is to meet the functional requirements for W-band receiver. The original requirements per the Phase I solicitation is as follows: - Frequencies: 35.6, 94 GHz - Input Channels: 16 - Phase shifter: 360 degrees, 5 bits - Serial phase update rate: > 10 kHz for all channels - Output IF: 1 channel, < 2 GHz - Bandwidth: >100 MHz More »

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