Imec Announced an Ultra-Wideband Transmitter Chip Pushing Data Rates up to 1.66Gb/s with Milliwatt Power

By Chad Cox

Embedded Computing Design

March 08, 2022

News

Image Courtesy of Imec

At this year’s International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), Imec announced a new impulse-radio ultra-wideband (IR-UWB) transmitter chip that could reimagine the future of UWB technology. 

UWB (Ultra-wideband) is capable of supporting a wide range of applications that combine the need for high data transfer rates at short distances with very low energy consumption, within a small form factor. 

UWB communication technology is used to support many consumer applications such as secure keyless entry for automotive and hospitality, indoor localization, and asset tracking. 

The IR-UWB chip is constructed in 28nm CMOS and has a surface area of only 0.155mm² with data transfer rates up to 1.66Gb/s for in-body and short-range applications. The IR-UWB chip is more than 50 times faster than previous chips using the current IEEE 802.15.4z standard. 

Despite the high bitrates it supports, it comes with a power consumption of less than 10 milliwatt (mW) while its energy efficiency of 5.8pJ/b is an improvement over Wi-Fi. 

The IR-UWB leverages complex (and even combined) modulation schemes allowing hybrid impulse modulation schemes at the lowest possible footprint with the help of an energy efficient and low jitter ring oscillator in combination with a low-power polar transmitter.

“A matching use case includes the next generation of smart glasses to enable immersive AR/VR experiences”, Bachmann says. “And neuroscientific research could benefit from these new insights as well, powering high bitrate and miniaturized wireless telemetry modules for intracortical sensing purposes. In each of these cases, UWB could become a strong contender to Wi-Fi technology – as the latter typically comes with a much larger footprint and more complexity.” 

Further research and standardizations are required to mature this technology. Imec welcomes partners to join its UWB R&D program and extensive partner network.

For more information, visit imec-int.com.