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UCLA

Adrian Tang,

Nov 19 2014

In-Situ Rover Laboratory

Pasadena,CA

SpaceFlight Operations / DSN

Spacecraft Assembly

Adrians Lab

Since the formation of NASA, JPL has remained the leader in robotic
exploration of Earth and the solar system:
Ranger Program

Surveyor Program

- First up close image of the moon

First soft landing on the moon

Galileo Program
- First detailed study of Jupiter

*Still going!

Voyager Program*
Neptune, Uranus, Jupiter, Saturn

Mariner Program
First close studies of Venus/Mars

Viking Program
-First landing on another planet (Mars)

Cassini at Saturn

Kepler Telescope

Dawn at Vesta

NuStar Telescope

MER at Mars

MSL / Curiosity Rover

GaAS Schottky Mixers


To 1.9 THz

HEB Mixers
To 2.7 THz

Fully Integrated 500-600 GHz


Spectrometers for Venus / Mars / Jupiter

Integrated Transceivers
To 1.6 THz

Compact 680
GHz Imaging Radar

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As you travel deep into space power becomes very limited
Low-power instrumentation becomes extremely critical!

Alternative small payload platforms like CubeSat / UAVs


can support extremely limited size weight and power.

For planetary missions as launch


vehicle mass and volume is limited,
making instrument design very
challenging, especially outer planets:
Jupiter, Saturn Neptune, Uranus

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2GS/s Spectrometer Processor

88 & 110 GHz Radiometer SoCs

Ka Band CMOS Synthesizer SoC

W-band Navigation Processor

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THz Instruments For Planetary
Science & Astrophysics
Existing NASA Missions

Future NASA Missions


Target
Motor
Calibration

Calibration
Target

The reflector was originally conceptualized at JPL to provide


solid-state switching and eliminate motorized selection between
calibration and targets for THz radiometers and spectrometers.

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Base-station Device
Illuminator

Wearable Device

Reflector

Detector
Modulator
Reflective data-links allows for an illuminating signal to be reflected by a
wearable device and data modulation to be applied to the reflection.
The major advantage is the wearable device does not have to incur the power
consumption of a mm-wave transmitter (dominated by power amplifier.)

UCLA

Placing a switch at the feed-line of an antenna and selecting between


both terminated and un-terminated conditions provides modulation of
the carrier incident on the antenna.
When the antenna is well-terminated, little power is reflected, when the
antenna is poorly impedance, most of the power will be reflected from
the bad termination.

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We can implement a link with this concept by introducing a base-station


which shines CW power on the reflector and then captures the reflections
with a receiver.
The reflector side of the link has a simple implementation, limited
complexity and low power (only a single switch)

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ASK is not the only modulation that a reflector based link can operate
with
By manipulating the termination phase of the reflector antenna, PSK is
modulation can be achieved.
This can be combined with amplitude manipulation (variable attenuators) to
provide full 16 QAM or even more complex constellations.

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Wearable
Devices

Mobile Devices
Video

Our initial concept for reflectors was that they eliminated the need for a TX
in a wearable device allowing them to have Gb/s (802.11.ad type) data
links over short distances (10 20 cm), without paying a huge power price.

We envisioned moving video files or similar applications when the device


was docked or at a users workstation.

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Total Reflector
Power 204 uW

Mobile
20mm

3mm
Data simulation
Detector

Reflector

3mm

Wearable
Device

Evaluation was done first in simulation using ADS/ Cadence and


showed that achievable link performance was promising for a few
centimeters of separation.

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Assembled Reflector Module

NASA Membrane
Antenna Technology

SMA-Term

Sig In

We combined special JPL Antennas


with a custom CMOS chip to build a
simple low-cost prototype for
testing.

CMOS Reflection
Modulator in 40nm

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Simple Modulation Test
Switch Sig (2Mb/s)

Measurement Setup
Source 1 mW
110 GHz

Reflector CMOS
Chip and Antenna

Rx Sig

Downconverter
110 GHz

Strong Reflection
Data

Measured Power
Consumption

< 0.5 mW

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200 MB/sec Test

268 MB/sec Test

380 MB/sec Test

Data rate of the reflector was limited by SNR due to de-sensitization of the
receiver by the ambient blocker(will discuss later). BER is better than 10-9 in
all cases. 1mW of source power at 110 GHz.
The mm-wave setup is limited to very short ranges (only a few cm) but offers
great bandwidth for very little power on the reflector side.

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Data rate is pretty high, were able to show up to a few 100 Mb/s
with good BER however the range was limited because of the low SNR
associated with the ambient blocker.

We didnt have CDR or an equalizer: this was a very simple test, both can help
improve the performance greatly.

Not a lot of transmit power available at mm-wave. Again only suitable for very
short distances (<10cm). However it does allow for high-bandwidth wireless link
with almost no hardware on the reflector side.

Not stuck at 110 GHz. This type of link could be implemented anywhere in the
mm-wave band (60 GHz or other. 110 GHz was chosen for availability of
equipment.

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After our mixed success with mm-wave reflectors, we decided to explore


microwave frequencies (2-6 GHz) to see what it would take to extend the
operating range.
We did our initial experiments at 4.0 GHz, again based on available
equipment.

Implemented a simple prototype and did several BER and eye-diagram


measurements to evaluate the feasibility.

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4 GHz Reflector Module (Flexible Substrate)

Gnd
Data in
CMOS Reflector Chip

Water bottle to sort-of model human body

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Transmitted Data

Received Data
TX

RX

Able to achieve operation over 2.5m of distance with data rate of up to 2.5 Mb/s while
consuming only 520uW of power on the reflector side of the link.
BER better than 10-9 in all cases with illumination power 26.0 dBm at 4 GHz. Note that
our reflector switch is not well matched to the 4 GHz band costing some performance.
This was really only a feasibility study.
Again SNR & Data Rate is limited by the Ambient blocker.

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Reflector Antenna

RX

Illuminator

Reflector
Latest system demonstration setup using
commercial WiFi antenna panels (5.83 GHz) for
the base-station, a reflector antenna made on a
rogers laminate, and a Hittite RF switch (SPDT) to
act as modulator. On the left the switch is shown
with open and 50 ohm terminations for ASK
operation.

Switch IC
Open

50 Ohm

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Excellent results at 3.0 meters with 18.9 dBm of illumination


power at 5.83 GHz with 10 Mb/s data-rate

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ASK Configuration
Term (no Reflect)

Short
(Reflect)

BPSK Configuration
Open
(Reflect 0)

Short
(Reflect 180)

By alternating the termination condition


between open and short we can induce a phase
shift for BPSK.

Eye Diagram Result

QPSK and higher order implementations are


also possible if the switch has more throws as
described earlier.

Data (10 Mb/s)

This demo was done with 18.9 dBm


illumination, 4.0 meters distance and 10 Mb/s
modulation.

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Data (5 Mb/s)

Able to transmit 6.2 meters with 5 Mb/s with 20.6 dBm of illumination power (still
within WiFi emission limitations)

Limitation becomes SNR as the reflector is simply not capturing enough of the
incident power.

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Illumination CW power hits all objects and surfaces in the indoor


environment and gets reflected back to the receiver without modulation.

This power is usually much larger than that of the modulated signal (as the
reflector module is a small portion of the 4 solid angle. The receiver is
totally desensitized (blocker effect) by the tone in the middle of the band.
Very High Effective Noise Figure Very Limited detection SNR

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Large metal surface

No Metal Surface

Clock
Reflector
Data

With Metal Surface

We introduce a large metal surface in background to


to reflect a large amount of the ambient blocker
back to base-station to intentionally desensitize
the receiver and consider effects of the blocker.

Clock
Data

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For mm-wave, very high gain antennas can be used so that all of the beam
lands on the reflector module (in radar they call this an extended target
because the target extends beyond the beam. By designing a beam array
with a tilted pattern we can direct the PCB reflection away from the
receiver.
This solution isnt suitable for lower gain microwave antennas

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Cancellation Circuitry

Lab Implementation for Experiment

We add a secondary path between illuminator and receiver which has adjustable phase
and amplitude. With correct coefficients we can cancel the ambient blocker tone through
basic superposition.
We dont need perfect cancellation of the blocker. Just enough to push the receiver out
of the compressed region. Cancellation factor is dominated by resolution of phase /
amplitude coefficients.

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Blocker Cancellation Off

Clock

Data (10 Mb/s)

Blocker Cancellation On
20.7 dB
Reduction
Clock

Data (10 Mb/s)

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Phase Shifter Circuitry

Variable Attenuator Circuitry

As the wearable device moves the blocker phase/amplitude will change so the
calibration needs to be performed at high speed.
Weve just taped-out a dedicated CMOS chip to perform the blocker cancelling
function at high speed (every 100us) so it can keep up with the changing environment.

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Built-in PRBS
QPSK
Port

ASK Port

Many of our microwave experiments are limited by the switching speed of the
commercial switch component.
We have just designed and fabricated our own switch chip with integrated PRBS and bit
checker as well as modulation ports for both ASK and QPSK at 2.4 and 5.83 GHz.

UCLA
JPL and UCLA have been developing reflective links for low power wearable and
possibly even mobile applications
Reflective links consume extremely low power on the reflector side however the basestation transmit power needs to be considerable.
Reflective links at mm-wave frequencies seem to work well only over a few
centimeters.
Microwave frequencies are also promising, we have shown up to 10Mb/s over 6 meters
of distance, still at power levels compatible to existing 802.11 emission limits
The ambient blocker is the critical issue of reflective links and fast calibration is needed
to mitigate its effects on the base-station receiver.

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