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MMIC Design Challenges

The need for small chips with high performance and low cost has made Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits (MMICs) an attractive design solution for many applications. These include cell phones, satellite communications, deep space probes, navigational, weather, and automotive radars, radiometers, and global positioning systems.

All of these applications require high frequency, high bandwidth, and high performance active circuits such as low noise amplifiers, mixers, power amplifiers, oscillators, and switches.

Efficient power use means longer battery life and less weight. Sensitivity and wide dynamic range increase receiver and transmitter range. Linearity supports higher channel density.

In every MMIC design, these and other requirements such as cost and manufacturing yield must be balanced to find the best possible design for the requirements.

Some specific challenges in MMIC design include:

  • Choosing the right device in case of active circuits.
  • Minimizing cross coupling and parasitic effects in layout.
  • Reducing the die size which is directly proportional to the cost.
  • Designing keeping in mind the yield.
  • Designing taking into account the packaging of die (after packaging there is some change in performance) .
  • Choosing right package.
  • Performance of the circuit should have minimal variation over temperature and bias voltage.

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