The University of California, San Diego and Newport Beach, Calif.-based Jazz Semiconductor have developed an 8-element RFIC phased array receiver covering the 6 to 18 GHz frequency range. The SiGe Bi-CMOS chip measures 2.2 x 2.3 mm, replaces 16 gallium arsenide (GaAs) chips, consumes 20 times less power than traditional phased array implementations.

It will be used for miniature and low-cost phased arrays—a group of antennas in which the relative phases of the respective signals feeding the antennas are varied so that the effective radiation pattern is reinforced in a desired direction and suppressed in undesired directions—for X- to Ku-Band applications.

The chip provides an RF gain from 12 to 24 dB with a noise figure of 6 dB, and can be integrated directly with eight planar antennas on a standard printed circuit board. In addition, the chip can operate over a narrow bandwidth for communication systems or over an instantaneous 12 GHz (6 to18 GHz) bandwidth, according to the university.