Developing traceability for the high-performance chips used in current and emerging technologies
Many modern and emerging technologies such as the rollout of 5G mobile networks, driverless cars and the large-scale deployment of the ‘Internet of Things’ require high-performance integrated circuits (IC). These utilise the millimetre-wave regions of the electromagnetic spectrum (30 GHz to 300 GHz, approximately 10 mm to 1 mm) to increase data rate, but a lack of traceable, on‑wafer measurements at these frequencies has hampered their development. The EMPIR project PlanarCal established SI traceability for on-wafer measurements up to 110 GHz for Scattering parameter (S-parameter), a fundamental measurand for characterising IC. A Best Practice Guide was also developed, detailing how to perform these measurements using Vector Network Analyser tools. Further work is required however before these results can be translated into industrial applications.
Building on PlanarCal, the project has developed an industrial-level user guide detailing methods for making precise, reliable on-wafer calibrations. In conjunction with an industrial partner, the guide has been validated through a measurement comparison exercise. Training courses, forums and a workshop will then be held to disseminate the information to industrial stakeholders.
At the end of the project in 2022 the increased accuracy in millimetre-wave measurements will allow manufacturers to have greater confidence in the specifications of their products and benefit other sectors involved in the characterisation and modelling of high-frequency IC.