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Home > Manufacturing/Packaging > Millimeter-Wave Antenna in Package (AIP) Technology

Millimeter-Wave Antenna in Package (AIP) Technology

Update Time: 2022-10-17 18:50:33

Whether in consumer electronics, industrial automation, or automotive autonomous driving, millimeter-wave is now increasingly used to enable a more intelligent sensory communication experience.


Typically, millimeter wave modules are mounted on a printed circuit board consisting of a transceiver, antenna, power management circuitry, memory, and interface peripherals.


Among them, millimeter wave antennas are pivotal in millimeter wave components.


The millimeter wave wavelength is much shorter than the low-frequency wavelength, and the antenna size is proportional to the electromagnetic wave wavelength. Hence, the millimeter wave antenna size is much smaller than the low-frequency antenna; therefore, the beam width is much smaller, and the energy is more concentrated.


Although the millimeter wave radar antenna size is smaller, the different antenna technology will directly affect the antenna on the board loss and efficiency, especially the loss of this aspect. Millimeter wave path loss itself will be larger than the low-frequency wave.


It can be said that millimeter wave antenna integration technology is the key to achieving millimeter wave high-resolution data stream, mobile distributed computing, and other application scenarios.


Millimeter wave antenna array implementation method

The current millimeter wave antenna integration can be divided into AoC and AiP. AoC antenna will be directly integrated into the back end of the RF chip stack. This integration can be done in a small size of only a few square millimeters on a single module without any RF interconnection and mutual integration of RF and baseband functions. AiP is based on packaging materials and processes that integrate the antenna and chip in a package to achieve system-level wireless functionality.


AoC technology requires advanced post-processing steps or packaging processes to reduce severe dielectric losses. Under current technology conditions, this integration approach currently does not appear to be competitive in the millimeter-wave band, and the cost-performance ratio of this antenna integration technology is more suitable for bands with higher broadband and higher carrier frequencies than millimeter-wave.


AiP technology is the most suitable solution for a millimeter wave terminal antenna in 5G millimeter wave band.


AiP technology can consider the antenna performance, cost, and volume, compared with the traditional antenna and RF module decentralized design, which is more in line with the trend of increasing integration of silicon-based semiconductor processes.


AiP antenna integration technology further integrates various communication components, such as transmission transceiver, power management chip, RF front-end, and other components with antenna, to reduce the thickness and PCB area. Most 60GHz wireless communication and radar chips currently use AiP technology.

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AiP schematic, LPKF


Millimeter Waves Enabled by AiP Technology

Various industries have widely recognized the value of millimeter waves for vertical industries, and AiP antenna technology has undoubtedly played an important role.


With AiP antenna technology, the space-saving of the layout board greatly reduces the module form factor, and the shortening of the wiring distance from the device to the antenna also helps to reduce the power loss. On the other hand, we know that the PCB antenna is required to use high-frequency substrate materials. AiP antenna technology can reduce the demand for high-frequency substrate materials for antennas. For example, TI's AIP technology uses flip chip packaging technology to directly integrate the antenna into a plastic-free package substrate to prevent the antenna from losing the plastic material, reducing efficiency and leading to stray radiation.

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AiP-enabled millimeter wave radar, TI


AiP antenna technology helps millimeter-wave radar greatly enhance near-field sensing capabilities in various scenarios requiring sensors to sense the environment.


In automotive ADAS applications, the highly integrated millimeter wave sensor using AiP can also be used in various detection applications, and the point cloud effect is also excellent. AiP millimeter wave radar solves a series of problems, such as the large size and high power consumption of common millimeter wave radar.


AiP technology is equally effective in communications. Although the 5G millimeter wave feature drives down antenna size, integrating different components in a single package can still present many problems, such as heat dissipation.


Qualcomm's TQM millimeter wave module solution also uses AiP antenna technology to solve these problems and is leading the way in integrated antenna package modules for 5G millimeter wave communications. 5G millimeter wave module upgrades also drive the continued development of antenna package AiP technology.


Final Words

Antenna integration is fundamentally about integrating all the components needed for a phased array onto a single chip, where silicon-based millimeter wave antenna systems excel. 


In today's millimeter-wave applications that are making a splash, AiP technology optimizes millimeter-wave performance, gives ample design flexibility, and pushes millimeter-wave into more applications.



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