Packaging 5G active antenna arrays cost-effectively 


Fifth generation (5G) communications technologies will provide high-speed internet access to a wide range of applications: from billions of low data rate sensors to high resolution video streaming. Designed to scale across these different use cases, the 5G network will use different radio technologies for each one.

To support the very high data rates needed for video streaming and also for automotive ADAS systems, 5G will use wide bandwidth spectrum allocation at millimeter wave (mm-wave) frequencies to increase bandwidth to more than ten times what is possible today.  However, bringing affordable, high-performance mm-wave active antenna arrays into production is a major challenge. 

The 5G_GaN2 project aims to substantially lower the cost and power consumption of mm-wave active antenna systems, while also increasing the output power. This will be achieved through the heterogeneous integration of state-of-the-art semiconductor technologies (GaN & Advanced CMOS) to create compact RF front-end demonstrators covering Ku, Ka, Q, E bands. 

Packaging requirements

Packaging plays a key role in delivering these compact RF front-ends. The packaging must be able to effectively handle power dissipation, while also meeting cost and integration targets.  

RF modules are among the most complex of all electronic devices, often integrating analog, digital and RF components in a single multichip module (MCM). While this brings numerous benefits in terms of size and performance, it does incur added challenges for package design and assembly. Drawing on our experience of using MCM molding for a range of automotive qualified applications and our QFN map molding technology, Sencio is developing an innovative System-in-Package (SIP) solution for this project. 

Partners

The 5G_GAN2 project is a collaboration of 17 partners from research and industry across Europe. The project is being coordinated by UMS and, in addition to Sencio, also includes Ericsson, Fraunhofer IAF and Thales CS. A full list of all 17 partners can be found on the 5G_GaN2 website. 

Related links

5G_GaN2 website

 

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