174 Mhz to 6 GHz fully reconfigurable software-defined radio

This would be a nice chip for gnuradio.

Scaldio: Technical specs
Frequenty range: 174MHz-6GHz
Channel Bandwidth: 1MHz-40MHz
Vcc: 1,2V
Active area: 7,7mm²
Power requirements: 60-120mA
Process technology: 130nm CMOS
transmit and receive


IMEC realized a cost-efficient fully reconfigurable software-defined
radio transceiver IC
The 130nm CMOS IC covers all standards from 174MHz to 6GHz.

12-02-2007 - ISSCC 2007, San Francisco, US – IMEC’s wideband
software-defined radio (SDR) transceiver, named SCALDIO, is widely
programmable to
operate with all current and future cellular, WLAN, WPAN, broadcast and
positioning standards in the frequency range between the 174MHz and
6GHz. The unique architecture of the multi-mode SDR transceiver has a
power consumption and CMOS chip area comparable to current
state-of-the-art single mode radios thereby fitting the performance,
power and cost requirements for integration into next-generation mass
volume mobile devices.

Today, state-of-the-art multi-mode terminals have a limited flexibility
of two or three standard modes and suffer from increased power
consumption and bill-of-material cost due to lack of reuse of building
blocks. IMEC realized world’s first functional silicon of a true SDR
transceiver IC which can be widely programmed to operate with all
present and future standards in the frequency range between the 174MHz
6GHz. The SDR front-end is highly integrated to save cost and area. The
reconfigurable radio front-end IC in 130nm technology uses only 1.2V
supply voltage and has an active area of 7.7mm2. Depending on its
configuration the SDR front-end has a power consumption ranging from 60
120mA which is comparable to a single-mode radio.

At today’s International Solid State Circuit Conference, IMEC has
presented the technical details of its first SCALDIO prototype chip
dual band operation in receive and wideband in transmit mode. Since the
paper submission to ISSCC, IMEC has developed and measured a second
generation prototype now covering full 174MHz to 6GHz wideband operation
both in receive and transmit mode, and also including an ultra-flexible
transmit section. Hereby, SCALDIO is applicable for products supporting
multiple wireless standards such as broadcasting (DAB/DVB), cellular,
WLAN etc. and has unique features for upcoming cost-efficient, flexible
and feature-rich multi-mode terminals.

The SDR transceiver front-end includes a fully reconfigurable
direct-conversion receiver, transmitter and two synthesizers. The
direct-conversion scheme is used to allow reconfiguration from 174MHz to
6GHz. The performance of each block can be digitally adjusted over a
wide range of specifications through a novel type of analog
network-on-chip. Using these different configuration “knobs”, the
overall front-end
performance (RF carrier frequency, channel bandwidth, noise figure,
linearity, filter characteristic, etc.) and power can be tuned to the
specific requirements of the different standards to be covered.
Moreover, there is an equally important perspective of energy
Using the same reconfiguration knobs, the front-end can significantly
reduce its power consumption by exploiting real-time power/performance
trade-off opportunities when allowed by the conditions of the
environment, e.g. by reducing the filtering level when the interferer
level is
lower than the worst case defined by the standard. New mixed-signal
control, calibration and compensation techniques are used to relax the
specifications in the analog domain and hence to lower cost and lower
risk of analog circuit design.

IMEC has fully measured and verified the SCALDIO radio. Several patents
have been filed for circuit-level breakthroughs. The technology is now
ready for transfer to the industry for use in upcoming mobile solutions.