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Radio Frequency front-end technologies and solutions

The technologies and solutions that VTT provides for tunable, reconfigurable and adaptive radio front ends and antennas enable energy-efficient, wide-band and multi-band communication. These technologies are used to realize miniaturized, low-loss module solutions with optimized, co-designed antennas. We also design circuits and modules for outside manufacture.

Examples of RF solutions include:

  • tunable and reconfigurable antennas for handsets
  • tunable and reconfigurable circuits and sub-systems for products from handsets to millimeter wave systems
  • RF front-end modules for GPS/GLONASS navigation receivers
  • millimetre wave transmitter/receiver modules with integrated antennas on low-temperature cofired ceramic substrates (LTCC) for 60 GHz and E-Band communication links.

For other solution examples, see VTT’s RF sensing solutions

RF Technologies

1. Integrated Passive Devices (IPD)

Integrated passive devices (IPDs) are used for realizing high quality, discrete components such as inductors, capacitors, antennas and filters. VTT’s IPDs are also used as an integration platform, as they have flip chipped or wire bonded active circuits and all requisite passives.

2. RF-MEMS switches and switched capacitors

Surface MEMS-based capacitive tuning and switching technology has been developed for tunable and reconfigurable RF circuits and systems. This technology is suitable for use from direct current (DC) to terahertz (THz) frequencies and can be integrated with high quality factor passives. Examples of realized circuits include low loss / high linearity matching and tuning circuits, switching circuits, phase shifters and tunable filters. 

3. LTCC

Lo-temperature co-fired ceramics (LTCC) technology is used for modules and passive components such as antennas and filters in microwave and millimetre wave radio link radars. LTCC typically has between four and twenty ceramic layers and metallizations between. LTCC is a real 3D manufacturing technology with hermetically packaged, low loss, interconnection technologies for RFIC and MMIC integration. VTT prototypes LTCC-based antennas, antenna arrays, passive circuits as well as transmitter and receiver modules up to about 110 GHz. We can also produce them on a small scale.

4. BAW

Bulk acoustic wave resonator technology is used mostly for handset filters. Typical properties for the technology are compact, high quality resonators (Q>1000) with low loss. 

5. 3D integration technologies

In addition to LTCC and IPD module technologies, VTT is developing integration technologies for RF and millimetre wave components and circuits. These include for example through-substrate-vias and flip-chip techniques. Advantages are high component density, small module size and good RF performance.

VTT also provides on-wafer transistor and MMIC characterization services of up to 220GHz through MilliLab, and both MEMS and IPD production services are available through VTT MEMSfab.