Graphene mixer could speed up future electronics
A mixer is a key building block in all electronic systems – a device that combines two or more electronic signals into one or two composite output signals. Future applications at THz frequencies such as radar systems for security and safety, radio astronomy, process monitoring and environmental monitoring will require large arrays of mixers for high-resolution imaging and high-speed data acquisition. Such mixer arrays or multi-pixel receivers need new type of devices that are not only sensitive but also power-efficient and compact.
Schematic picture of a subharmonic graphene-FET mixer. The LO and RF signals are fed to the gate and drain terminals, respectively, and the IF signal is extracted from the drain terminal. Image: Chalmers
The ability in graphene to switch between hole or electron carrier transport via the field effect enables a unique niche for graphene for RF IC applications. Thanks to this symmetrical electrical characteristic, the researchers at Chalmers have managed to build the G-FET subharmonic resistive mixer using only one transistor. Hence, no extra feeding circuits are required, which makes the mixer circuit more compact as opposed to conventional mixers. As a consequence, the new type of mixer requires less wafer area when constructed and can open up for advanced sensor arrays, for example for imaging at millimetre waves and even sub millimetre waves as G-FET technology progress.
“The performance of the mixer can be improved by further optimising the circuit, as well as fabricating a G-FET device with a higher on-off current ratio”, says Jan Stake, professor of the research team. “Using a G‐FET in this new topology enables us to extend its operation to higher frequencies, thereby exploiting the exceptional properties of graphene. This paves the way for future technologies operating at extremely high frequencies.”
SEM image of a subharmonic graphene-FET mixer, which utilises the ability in graphene to switch between hole or electron carrier transport via the field effect.
In addition to enabling compact circuits, the G-FET provides potential to reach high frequencies thanks to the high velocity in graphene, and the fact that a subharmonic mixer only requires half the local oscillator (LO) frequency compared to a fundamental mixer. This property is attractive especially at high frequencies (THz) where there is a lack of sources providing sufficient LO-power.
Moreover, the G-FET can be integrated with silicon technology. For example, it is CMOS compatible (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) and among other things it can be used in CMOS electronics for backend processing on a single chip.
Visit the Chalmers University of Technology at www.chalmers.se
- Triplexer LC filter supports PMR communications between emergency services
- Redux Labs spins out from HiWave to develop new haptics and embedded audio
- Freeform packaging technology flexibly encapsulates semiconductor sensors or MEMS
- ETSI publishes first specification for Ultra Low Energy DECT aimed at the M2M market
- 100-mA synchronous buck converter delivers 150-V input capability with 12-uA quiescent current
- Piezoelectric taxels made up of zinc oxide nanowires convert motion to electronic signals
- Mouser launches dedicated MEMS technology site
- Virtual ECU development environment awarded at CDN Live
- 20-A DC/DC step-down micromodule regulator delivers guaranteed 1.5 percent total VOUT accuracy
- Low noise, 1-mV output ripple, 5-A step-down uModule regulator supports data converters and high speed transceivers
- New generation of thermal sensor arrays overcome the limitations in single-element sensors
- Altera acquires power technology innovator Enpirion
- Ultra-sensitive touch sensor is able to be operated through glass or steel sheet
- Impulse radio ultra-wide band IC takes the lead on accurate geo-positioning
- Better, cheaper OLED micro displays do away with color filter
- OPV solar modules project aims to optimize energy harvesting by autonomous sensors within buildings
- Infineon adds compact half-bridge gate driver family to address power applications
- Over 30 Billion devices to wirelessly connect to the Internet of Everything in 2020
- Ultra-low noise, high PSRR linear voltage regulators reduce jitter, simplify power design
- Nordic Semiconductor releases world's smallest Bluetooth low energy and ANT+ ICs
- K-Type Thermocouple Measurement System with Integrated Cold Junction Compensation
- 16-Bit, 100 kSPS Low Power Successive Approximation ADC System
- Fast and simple measurement of position changes
- Interfacing Microcontrollers to the Industrial World
- Accurate Temperature Sensing with an External P-N Junction
- Complete Closed-Loop Precision Analog Microcontroller Thermocouple Measurement System with 4 mA to 20 mA Output
- How to use USB safely in harsh environments
- Optimizing the Performance of Very Wideband Direct Conversion Receivers
- How Extended Photocoupler Performance is Enabling Next-Generation Applications
- 42V, 2.5A Synchronous Step-Down Regulator with 2.5μA Quiescent Current