EECS Professor Gives Presentation at 2011 TowerJazz Global Symposium

Payam Heydari spoke about millimeter-wave imaging systems in silicon


Professor Payam Heydari, Ph.D., Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), presented an “Invited Speech” at the 2011 TowerJazz Global Symposium, the sixth annual technology conference held by TowerJazz in Newport Beach, Calif., last November. The Symposium is a two-day event with presentations on the advanced process technologies and design enablement capabilities for many business applications; and for academic researchers to present important studies that use TowerJazz’s silicon-germanium(SiGe) technology.

Heydari’s speech focused on the design of millimeter-wave imaging systems in silicon, as new frontiers on electronics technologies. He presented two breakthrough silicon-based fully integrated imaging systems operating in W-band from 80-100 GHz that realize the world’s most complex focal-plane array imaging receivers.


Extensive research efforts have been made in developing silicon-based millimeter-wave systems for the target applications of short-range, high data-rate wireless communication, automotive radar, sensing and imaging. Within the millimeter-wave frequency range, the atmospheric absorption is relatively low, making it possible to design imaging systems that can “see” not only in clean air but also through smoke, dust, fog and clothing. A millimeter-wave imaging system is therefore an ideal candidate for various applications such as remote sensing; security surveillance, such as concealed weapon detection at the airport; non-destructive inspection for biological tissues; and industrial process control.


Advanced compound semiconductor technologies have been commonly used to realize millimeter-wave radiometers or passive imaging receivers that are based on multi-chip modules. Recently, silicon technologies have shown the capability for implementation of W-band passive imaging receivers with fine image and temperature resolution. However, these efforts are limited to a single receiver/pixel, and the transition of W-band signals from chip to antenna remains questionable.


To reduce the scanning time and to enable video rate real-time imaging, focal-plane array could be used with an array of detectors located at the focal-plane of a focusing system. Heydari and his Ph.D. students used this method to design and implement the world’s first fully integrated ultra-high-frequency 96 GHz focal-plane array imaging system in silicon.


TowerJazz manufactures integrated circuits with geometries ranging from 1.0- to 0.13-micron and provides industry-leading design enablement tools to allow complex designs to be achieved quickly and more accurately; and offers a broad range of customizable process technologies.