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History

The activity of the group dates back to the early seventies, when research in the field of high-frequency electronics and, in particular, on circuit-oriented device modeling for MMIC design, was initiated.

  • In 1979, two research contracts with the European Space Agency (ESA) in cooperation with the Polytechnic of Turin, Italy, addressed the problem of modeling and CAD of microwave electron devices. An accurate two-dimensional simulator for GaAs electron devices and a technique to determine the parameters of a non-linear equivalent circuit for a MESFET were proposed. The same simulator was also employed for noise analysis and for developing an original approach to the Harmonic-Balance (HB) analysis of nonlinear circuits. In the following, numerical techniques were investigated for intermodulation analysis.
  • From the mid-90s, the research activity had been devoted to the characterization techniques and empirical modeling of electron devices based on III-V compounds, taking into account distributed phenomena and low-frequency dispersion. In this context, contracts with ESA/ESTEC were stipulated. Under a research contract with Ericsson Lab Italy, non-linear PHEMT models for intermodulation prediction in the design of K-band high-linear power amplifiers were developed. In the context of two contracts with ST Microelectronics, Catania, Italy, research activities on the non-linear modeling of high-speed bipolar transistors were also carried out.
  • At the same time, the group also engaged with the design and manufacturing of MMICs, among which: high-linear cold-FET mixers, 20 GHz GaAs HFET and 35 GHz GaAs PHEMT power amplifiers, MMIC DROs and push-push VCOs, Silicon 2.4 GHz power amplifiers and MMIC X-band HBT HPAs. These designs were developed in collaboration with several companies and foundries, including Dassault Electronique, SIAE Microelettronica, ST Microelectronics, Alenia Spazio, and UMS.
  • In 2004, the academic spin-off MEC srl (http://www.mec-mmic.it/) was founded. In those years, the group has been involved in a continuous design activity, including VCOs, MMICs and HPAs in GaN technology for telecom, satellite and radar applications. In addition the development of low-frequency CW and pulsing signals measurement benches for the study of dispersive effects in Gallium Nitride (GaN) devices was initiated, leading to the formulation of new modeling approaches. Other projects were dedicated to new characterization methods for nonlinear noise modeling and behavioural modeling for analogue-to-digital converters.
  • Lately, research is being performed for the characterization, behavioural modeling, design methods and digital predistortion of high-efficiency power amplifier architectures. A special attention has been recently dedicated to the envelope-tracking amplifiers and the design of suitable switching power converters. While new advances are being sought in the field of GaN compact device modeling, recent areas of research also include wireless power transfer for industrial applications and novel measurement techniques for next generation wireless systems.

Useful links

Contacts

Alberto Santarelli

Associate Professor

Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell'Energia Elettrica e dell'Informazione "Guglielmo Marconi" - DEI

Viale del Risorgimento 2

Bologna (BO)

tel: +39 051 20 9 3039

Pier Andrea Traverso

Associate Professor

Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell'Energia Elettrica e dell'Informazione "Guglielmo Marconi" - DEI

Viale del Risorgimento 2

Bologna (BO)

tel: +39 051 20 9 3080