Vol. 130

Latest Volume
All Volumes
All Issues

System-on-Chip 36.8 GHz Radiometer for Space-Based Observation of Solar Flares: Feasibility Study in 0.25 μm SiGe BiCMOS Technology

By Luca Aluigi, Luca Roselli, Stephen M. White, and Federico Alimenti
Progress In Electromagnetics Research, Vol. 130, 347-368, 2012


This paper deals with a feasibility study for a System-on-Chip (SoC) mmwave radiometer devoted to space-based observation of solar flares and operating in the Ka-band. The radiometer has been designed in 250 nm SiGe BiCMOS process. The circuit integrates a three stages differential LNA with 37.2 dB gain and 4.8 dB noise figure at 36.8 GHz and a differential square-law detector based on HBTs, featuring a 96 mV/μW responsivity. The full radiometer achieves, potentially, a NETD of 0.1 K for 1 s integration time in Dicke mode. This work represents the first study of such an integrated instrument for Ka-band space-based observation of solar flares.


Luca Aluigi, Luca Roselli, Stephen M. White, and Federico Alimenti, "System-on-Chip 36.8 GHz Radiometer for Space-Based Observation of Solar Flares: Feasibility Study in 0.25 μm SiGe BiCMOS Technology," Progress In Electromagnetics Research, Vol. 130, 347-368, 2012.


    1. Kappenman, J., "A perfect storm of planetary proportions," IEEE Spectrum, Vol. 49, No. 2, 26-31, 2012.

    2. Aja, B., E. Artal, L. De La Fuente, J. P. Pascual, A. Mediavilla, N. Roddis, D. Kettle, W. F. Winder, L. P. Cara, and P. De Paco, "Very low-noise differential radiometer at 30 GHz for the PLANCK LFI ," IEEE Trans. MTT, Vol. 53, No. 6, 2050-2062, 2005.

    3. Bonafoni, S., F. Alimenti, G. Angelucci, and G. Tasselli, "Microwave radiometry imaging for forest fire detection: A simulation study ," Progress In Electromegnetic Research, Vol. 112, 77-92, 2011.

    4. Joardar, S., S. Bhattacharyya, A. B. Bhattacharyya, and C. R. Datta, "Radio astronomy and super-synthesis: A survey," Progress In Electromagnetic Research B, Vol. 22, 73-102, 2010.

    5. Aluigi, L., F. Alimenti, and L. Roselli, "Fully integrated millimeter-wave radiometers: Development level and perspectives," Proceedings of the IEEE RAWCON, 1-4, New Orleans, LA, 2010.

    6. May, J. W. and G. M. Rebeiz, "Design and characterization of W-band SiGe RFICs for passive millimeter-wave imaging," IEEE Trans. MTT, Vol. 58, No. 5, 1420-1430, 2010.

    7. Zito, D. and A. Fonte, "Dual-input pseudo-switch RF low noise amplifier," IEEE Transaction on Circuit ans Systems-II: Express Brief, Vol. 57, No. 9, 661-665, 2010.

    8. Yang, M.-H., F.-H. Guan, J. Xu, X. Shi, and X.-W. Sun, "Signal model analysis of a 35 GHz alternating current direct detection receiver," Progress In Electromagnetic Research, Vol. 88, 275-287, 2008.

    9. Rassel, R. M., J. B. Johnson, B. A. Orner, S. K. Reynolds, M. E. Dahlstrom, J. S. Rascoe, A. J. Joseph, B. P. Gaucher, J. S. Dunn, and S. A. Onge, "Schottky barrier diodes for millimeter wave SiGe BiCMOS applications," Proceedings of IEEE BCTM, 1-4, Monterey, CA, 2006.

    10. Dacquay, E., A. Tomkins, K. H. K. Yau, E. Laskin, P. Chevalier, A. Chantre, B. Sautreuil, and S. P. Voinigescu, "D-band total power radiometer performance optimization in an SiGe HBT technology," IEEE Trans. MTT, Vol. 60, No. 3, 813-826, 2012.

    11. Alimenti, F., S. Leone, G. Tasselli, V. Palazzari, and D. Zito, "IF amplifier section in 90nm CMOS technology for SoC microwave radiometers," IEEE MWCL, Vol. 19, No. 11, 731-733, 2009.

    12. Tomkins, A., P. Garcia, and S. P. Voinigescu, "A passive W-band imaging receiver in 65-nm bulk CMOS," IEEE JSSC, Vol. 45, No. 10, 1981-1991, 2010.

    13. Microelectronics for Aerospace, Innovations for High Performance microelectronics (IHP) Frankfurt Oder, Germany. Available: http://www.ihp-microelectronics.com/en/solutions/aerospace.html.

    14. Berrilli, F., A. Bigazzi, L. Roselli, P. Sabatini, M. Velli, F. Alimenti, F. Cavallini, V. Greco, P. F. Moretti, S. Orsini, M. Romoli, and S. M. White, "The ADAHELI solar mission: Investigating the structure of Sun's lower atmosphere," Advances in Space Research, Vol. 45, No. 10, 1191-1202, 2010.

    15. Raulin, J. P., S. M. White, M. R. Kundu, A. V. R. Silva, K. Shibasaki, "Multiple components in the millimeter emission of a solar flare ," Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 522, No. 1, 547-558, 1999.

    16. Luthi, T., "Solar flares at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths instrumental techniques and observations," Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland, Apr. 2004.

    17. Raulin, J. P. and A. A. Pacini, "Solar radio emission," Advances in Space Research, Vol. 35, No. 5, 739-754, 2005.

    18. Miller, J. A., P. J. Cargill, A. G. Emslie, G. D. Holman, B. R. Dennis, T. N. La-Rosa, R. M. Winglee, S. G. Benka, and S. Tsuneta, "Critical issues for understanding particle acceleration in impulsive solar flare," Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 102, No. A7, 14631-14659, 1997.

    19. De Castro, C. G. G., P. Kaufmann, and J. P. Raulin, "Recent results on solar activity at sub-millimeter wavelengths," Advances in Space Research, Vol. 35, No. 10, 1769-1773, 2005.

    20. Karoff, C. and H. Kjeldsen, "Evidence that solar flares drive the global oscillations in the sun," The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Vol. 678, L73-L76, 2008.

    21. Nakajima, H., H. Sekiguchi, M. Sawa, K. Kai, S. Kawashima, T. Kosugi, N. Shibuya, N. Shinohara, and Y. Shiomi, "The radiometer and polarimeter at 80, 35 and 17 GHz for solar observations at Nobeyama ," Publ. of the Astronomic Society of Japan, Vol. 37, 163-170, 1985.

    22. Kraus, J. D., Radio Astronomy, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1966.

    23., Solar radio astronomy at Metsähovi, Metsähovi Radio Observatory, Finland, 2008, Available: http://kurpwww.hut.f/sun/metsahovia.

    24. NoRP, the Nobeyama Radio Polarimeter, Nobeyama Radio Observatory, Japan, 2008, Available: http://solar.nro.nao.ac.jp.

    25. Kim, W. G., N.-W. Moon, J.-M. Kang, and Y.-H. Kim, "Loss measuring of large aperture quasi-optics for w-band imaging radiometer system ," Progress In Electromagnetic Research, Vol. 125, 295-309, 2012.

    26. Alimenti, F., V. Palazzari, A. Battistini, L. Roselli, S. M. White, M. Velli, A. Bigazzi, and F. Berrilli, MIOS: The ADAHELI millimeter-wave instrument for the observation of the sun, 5th ESA Workshop on Millimetre Wave Technology and Applications, Noordwijk, NL, 2009.

    27. Lüthi, T. Nulling interferometer zur Beobachtung von Sonneneruptionen bei 90 GHz, Master Thesis, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland, 1999.

    28. Aluigi, L., F. Alimenti, and L. Roselli, "Automatic design and 3D electromagnetic simulation of sub-nH spiral inductors," PIERS Proceedings, 1719-1722, Marrakesh, Morocco, Mar. 20-23, 2011.

    29. Zheng, L., L. Gilreath, V. Jain, and P. Heydari, "Design and analysis of a W-Band detector in 0.18-μm SiGe BiCMOS," IEEE SiRF, 196-199, New Orleans, LA, 2010.

    30. Giambuzzi, G. Progetto di un rilevatore di Potenza in tecnologia SiGe BiCMOS per applicazioni radiometriche a 31.4 GHz, Master Thesis, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy, 2011.

    31. Aluigi, L., F. Alimenti, and L. Roselli, "Design of a Ka-band LNA for SoC space-based millimeter-wave radiometers," IEEE MTT-S IMWS, Barcelona, Spain, 2011.

    32. Navon, D. H., "Technique for thermal stabilization of transistors," IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, Vol. 20, No. 10, 907-909, 1973.

    33. Hersman, M. H. and G. A. Poe, "Sensitivity of the total power radiometer with periodic absolute calibration," IEEE Trans. MTT, Vol. 29, No. 1, 32-40, 1981.

    34. Lynch, J. J., H. P. Moyer, J. H. Schaffner, Y. Royter, M. Sokolich, B. Hughes, Y. J. Yoon, and J. N. Schulman, "Passive millimeter-wave imaging module with preamplified zero-bias detection ," IEEE Trans. MTT, Vol. 56, No. 7, 1592-1600, 2008.

    35. Tanner, A. B., A high stability ka-band radiometer for tropospheric water vapor measurements, IEEE Aerospace Conference, 1849-1863, 2001.