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A Low Cost, High Dynamic Range, Versatile Digital Readout Integrated Circuit Unit Cell Prototype for Infrared Imaging Applications

Description

Readout Integrated Circuits(ROICs) are important components of infrared(IR) imag

ing systems. Performance of ROICs affect the quality of images obtained from IR

imaging systems. Contemporary infrared imaging applications demand ROICs that

can support large dynamic range, high frame rate, high output data rate,

Readout Integrated Circuits(ROICs) are important components of infrared(IR) imag

ing systems. Performance of ROICs affect the quality of images obtained from IR

imaging systems. Contemporary infrared imaging applications demand ROICs that

can support large dynamic range, high frame rate, high output data rate, at low

cost, size and power. Some of these applications are military surveillance, remote

sensing in space and earth science missions and medical diagnosis. This work focuses

on developing a ROIC unit cell prototype for National Aeronautics and Space Ad

ministration(NASA), Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s(JPL’s) space applications. These

space applications also demand high sensitivity, longer integration times(large well

capacity), wide operating temperature range, wide input current range and immunity

to radiation events such as Single Event Latchup(SEL).

This work proposes a digital ROIC(DROIC) unit cell prototype of 30ux30u size,

to be used mainly with NASA JPL’s High Operating Temperature Barrier Infrared

Detectors(HOT BIRDs). Current state of the art DROICs achieve a dynamic range

of 16 bits using advanced 65-90nm CMOS processes which adds a lot of cost overhead.

The DROIC pixel proposed in this work uses a low cost 180nm CMOS process and

supports a dynamic range of 20 bits operating at a low frame rate of 100 frames per

second(fps), and a dynamic range of 12 bits operating at a high frame rate of 5kfps.

The total electron well capacity of this DROIC pixel is 1.27 billion electrons, enabling

integration times as long as 10ms, to achieve better dynamic range. The DROIC unit

cell uses an in-pixel 12-bit coarse ADC and an external 8-bit DAC based fine ADC.

The proposed DROIC uses layout techniques that make it immune to radiation up to

300krad(Si) of total ionizing dose(TID) and single event latch-up(SEL). It also has a

wide input current range from 10pA to 1uA and supports detectors operating from

Short-wave infrared (SWIR) to longwave infrared (LWIR) regions.

Contributors

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Created

Date Created
2019

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Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Reconfigurable Apertures for Imaging and Wireless Communication Applications

Description

This work focuses on the analysis and design of large-scale millimeter-wave andterahertz (mmWave/THz) beamforming apertures (e.g., reconfigurable reflective surfaces–
RRSs). As such, the small wavelengths and ample bandwidths of these frequencies enable
the development of high-spatial-resolution imaging and high-throughput wireless

This work focuses on the analysis and design of large-scale millimeter-wave andterahertz (mmWave/THz) beamforming apertures (e.g., reconfigurable reflective surfaces–
RRSs). As such, the small wavelengths and ample bandwidths of these frequencies enable
the development of high-spatial-resolution imaging and high-throughput wireless
communication systems that leverage electrically large apertures to form high-gain
steerable beams.
For the rigorous evaluation of these systems’ performance in realistic application
scenarios, full-wave simulations are needed to capture all the exhibited electromagnetic
phenomena. However, the small wavelengths of mmWave/THz bands lead to enormous
meshes in conventional full-wave simulators. Thus, a novel numerical decomposition
technique is presented, which decomposes the full-wave models in smaller domains with
less meshed elements, enabling their computationally efficient analysis. Thereafter, this
method is leveraged to study a novel radar configuration that employs a rotating linear
antenna with beam steering capabilities to form 3D images. This imaging process requires
fewer elements to carry out high-spatial-resolution imaging compared to traditional 2D
phased arrays, constituting a perfect candidate in low-profile, low-cost applications.
Afterward, a high-yield nanofabrication technique for mmWave/THz graphene
switches is presented. The measured graphene sheet impedances are incorporated into
equivalent circuit models of coplanar switches to identify the optimum mmWave/THz
switch topology that would enable the development of large-scale RRSs.ii
Thereon, the process of integrating the optimized graphene switches into largescale mmWave/THz RRSs is detailed. The resulting RRSs enable dynamic beam steering
achieving 4-bits of phase quantization –for the first time in the known literature–
eliminating the parasitic lobes and increasing the aperture efficiency. Furthermore, the
devised multi-bit configurations use a single switch-per-bit topology retaining low system
complexity and RF losses. Finally, single-bit RRSs are modified to offer single-lobe
patterns by employing a surface randomization technique. This approach allows for the use
of low-complexity single-bit configurations to suppress the undesired quantization lobes
without residing to the use of sophisticated multi-bit topologies.
The presented concepts pave the road toward the implementation and proliferation
of large-scale reconfigurable beamforming apertures that can serve both as mmWave/THz
imagers and as relays or base stations in future wireless communication applications.

Contributors

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Created

Date Created
2021