/Complex-sensing integrated circuits for built-in self-test of millimeter-wave transceivers

Complex-sensing integrated circuits for built-in self-test of millimeter-wave transceivers

PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

You will investigate, design, and validate on-chip sensing techniques to test mm-wave integrated circuits operating above 100 GHz.

Researchers at the forefront of mobile wireless development are already experimenting with key technologies that will be critical for the 6th generation of wireless communication (6G). Precise targets for 6G are not yet defined, but visions predict that 6G will move towards frequencies above 100 GHz (sub-THz frequencies). This transition will require the co-integration of multiple millimeter-wave and sub-THz monolithic technologies, including both silicon- and III-V-based semiconductors. On the one hand, this co-integration opens the opportunity for many fascinating applications, such as multi-Gbit/s wireless communication, radar sensing and spectroscopy. On the other hand, the move to sub-THz frequencies profoundly challenges instrumentation that is used for testing and characterization purposes. 5G has already shown that there is a constant increase in measurement complexity, which is projected to get even worse with the advent of 6G. This complexity increase is a direct result of the move towards higher frequency bands, wider and more complex waveforms, an exponential increase in number of test points, and the transition towards multiport systems in support of beamforming technology.


This PhD research aims at developing built-in self-test (BIST) functionality for mm-wave/sub-THz RFICs that integrate measurement and characterization capabilities such that the IC can test its own operation. To reach this objective, innovative circuit solutions need to be investigated and developed that enable to perform on-chip sensing, such as the detection of the signal power/envelope, the sensing of complex impedance, and the coherent/incoherent sensing of transmit/reflection coefficients. The developed circuitry should additionally consume as little as possible energy, be compact in area, and be able to handle wide bandwidths. This research is meant to complement or even replace expensive external measurement equipment and to innovate BIST for such high operating frequencies.


You will be part of the Advanced-RF department of imec and will work alongside experts in the field of mm-wave/sub-THz RFIC design and high-frequency characterization. The position will be based in the headquarter of imec in Leuven, Belgium.

Who you are

  • MSc degree in electrical, electronic or communication engineering or equivalent
  • Solid knowledge of RF and analog IC design
  • Solid understanding of RF basics (signal theory, fundamentals in electromagnetics)
  • Experience with high-frequency design, lumped or distributed, is a plus
  • Experience with IC layout or high-frequency measurement techniques is a plus
  • You are a team player and have good communication skills
  • Ready to focus on tasks and open to the big picture
  • You work independently, are responsible, and can commit to milestones of a research plan
  • You are proficient in English and possess good writing and presentation skills
  • Open to learn and grow in all the points forementioned, inspired by colleagues and the unique imec environment that mingles academia with industry

Required background: MSc degree in electrical, electronic or communication engineering or equivalent

Type of work: 10% literature, 20% architectural study, 50% IC design, 20% experimental

Supervisor: Piet Wambacq

Co-supervisor: Dries Peumans

Daily advisor: Giovanni Mangraviti

The reference code for this position is 2023-089. Mention this reference code on your application form.

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