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Breakthrough wireless silicon-chip design

28 February 2001 News

Researchers in Lucent's Bell Labs have created what they believe are the first 'all-silicon' chips for the receivers in base stations that get radio signals from mobile devices, such as cellphones or handheld computers. Radio receivers in current use now generally have 10 to 20 chips made of gallium arsenide, which is a substantially more costly semiconducting material than silicon, yet is needed to satisfy the high-performance requirements.

The new receiver, which is comprised of only three silicon chips - roughly the size of a small coin - is 100 times smaller than the gallium arsenide-based radio receivers. The silicon chips are also 10 to 100 times less expensive to manufacture, said the researchers.

The all-silicon fabrication approach also may lead to the combination of a base-station radio receiver and DSP on a single chip - further reducing base-station cost and moving closer to creating a system-on-a-chip solution for base-station radio receivers, claims Lucent.

www.bell-labs.com





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