The DREAMS structural project is focused on the development of compact and functional devices to transmit and receive millimeter wave signals, in the frequency range between 10 GHz and 300 GHz.

The project activities focus on four main research objectives:

Objective 1. Development of electromagnetic antennas and resonators based on innovative nanomaterials.
Objective 2. Development of high frequency receivers and mixers (millimeter waves, 10-300 GHz), based on graphene or CMOS technology.
Objective 3. Design and development of innovative radiant elements (SIW, active SiGe-CMOS, two-dimensional materials).
Objective 4. Study and implementation of unconventional solutions for the creation of arrays of radiant elements.

MINDS DREAM is part of Spoke 3 – Wireless Networks and Technologies

Project PI: Miriam Vitiello

O1. The activities relating to this objective are divided into two main themes. The first is focused on the large-area growth of innovative two-dimensional materials, with the aim of creating compact and optically tunable systems. In particular, transition metal ditellurides by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) were synthesized (CNR-IMM): MoTe2 and PtTe2. In parallel, the growth of 2D materials like tellurene or stanene multilayer is under development. Furthermore, planar antennas based on innovative two-dimensional materials were modeled (POLIMI) in order to optimize their geometric parameters to maximize the coupling between the incident radiation and the active medium. The second theme (UNISAP) concerns the development of two experimental far infrared spectroscopy apparatus for the characterization of the materials developed in the first activity. In particular, a continuous wave (CW) frequency domain spectroscopy setup was set up operating in the spectral region between 0.05 THz and 4 THz, based on photomixing of two tunable diode lasers. In parallel, a time domain spectroscopy apparatus, operating between 0.1 THz and 10 THz, based on photoconductive antennas, was developed.

O2. The project develops two different technological platforms in parallel: on the one hand devices based on CMOS technology, on the other devices made of graphene. In the first case, UNISAP has implemented a platform (TCAD) for the simulation of the rectification effect (self-mixing) inside field effect transistors excited by THz radiation. These preliminary simulations allowed us to establish the optimal geometric parameters for the creation of scalable room temperature photo-detectors that can potentially be integrated into large arrays (target 100x100 pixels). In the second case, the CNR-NANO unit has developed innovative photodetectors, operating in the spectral region between 2 THz and 3 THz, based on scalable graphene (grown on a large area using CVD), obtaining results that are already competitive compared to commercially available devices available in trade and demonstrating the feasibility of creating small arrays (3x4 pixels). Graphene-on-silicon and graphene-on-polimer (Salisbury mirror geometry) architectures are currently under development. In the continuation of the activities, the graphene detectors will also be characterized in the millimeter wave spectral range, i.e. at frequencies between 100 GHz and 700 GHz. Evaluation of the chip design of the receiver has been carried out by comparing ST microelectronics and Lfoundry technologies. The chip will include a 4 x4 array in which each element will include the antenna, the MOSFET based THz detector and a low noise amplifier, designed as developed in the DREAMS project based on combination of several CAD tools. Furthermore In the last three months the activity has been focused on designing a THz TX-RX Chain Test-Bed setting up a 648 GHz TX/RX wireless link based on commercially available devices. The system includes TX Stress-testing of OOK modulation & scrambling/line codes. An approach based on frequency multiplication is used to produce a sub-THz carrier by using Virginia Diodes  WM-380 Signal Generator Extension with a multiplying factor x54 Unit to be purchased combined with existing equipment at Sapienza laboratories.

O3. Dual-band antennas (3.7 GHz and 27 GHz) were simulated and created (UNICT), whose performance was studied both in single-element configuration and in array configuration. In particular, the design of the array focused on defining the optimal distances between the elements to allow the evaluation of the direction of arrival of the incident signal with maximum accuracy in terms of angle. UNICT started a study on parallel plate waveguide slot antennas (PPW-SAs) and substrate integrated slot antennas (SIW-SAs) developing an approach to synthesize a desired field at the antenna aperture through adjustments of slot's geometric parameters. In parallel, POLIBA studied the integration of antennas in the frequency range between 10 GHz and 60 GHz with metamaterials to improve the gain of the single radiating element. Furthermore, three alternative strategies for the fabrication of 27 GHz antennas are being studied: (i) fabricating microstrip conformal antennas on thin substrates, (ii) using sub-arrays on textile substrates, (iii) using inkjet printing with conductive ink.

O4. Different possible architectures for the creation of phased-arrays have been studied (POLIMI), in order to create systems for active phase control for use in beam-forming and beam-steering applications. The so-called Localized LO-Phase-Shifting (LOPS) architecture has been identified as the most promising in terms of phase resolution and formation of the emitted beam. A demonstrator composed of four LOPS operating in the E band (60 GHz – 90 GHz) and entirely based on CMOS technology was designed.
  • production of topological semimetals based on transition metal ditellurides;
  • structural optimization of transition metal ditellurides towards integration into transistor devices
  • engineering of the width of the channel of a MOSFTET operating in the mm wave to determine the device impedance to be matched with the impedance of the antenna whose received signal can be measured between the gate and the source of the MOSFET based detector.
  • 8x8 SIW small array antenna with feeding solution and partially filled substrate
  • development of mmWave THz photodetectors, based on scalable graphene-hBN heterostructures and on scalable graphene-based Salisbury mirrors.
1. Publications
  • Expected: at least 40 publications on 36 months
  • Accomplished: 7
  • Readiness: 25%
2. Joint Publications
  • Expected: 30% joint publications on 36 months
  • Accomplished: 0
  • Readiness: 120%
3. Talks/Communication events
  • Expected: 30 talks or event chairing/organizing within DREAMS activities on 36 months
  • Accomplished: 5
  • Readiness: >100%
4. Demo/PoC
  • Expected: 5 PoCs expected by the end of the project
  • Accomplished: 0
  • Readiness: 0% (work according to plan
5. Project Meetings
  • Expected: 15 meetings
  • Accomplished: 5 meeting
  • Readiness:100%
6. Patents/Innovations
  • Expected: 5
  • Accomplished: 0
  • Readiness: 100%
MS0.1 Internal communication tools (M03)
MS0.2 Definition of the scientific content of the cascade calls (M03)
  • Expected: 2
  • Accomplished: 2
  • Readiness: 100%

Collaboration proposals:

The DREAMS Project is open to collaborations on the following topics:
  • Optical modulators;
  • new sub-THz and THz transducers;
  • novel measurement set-ups for antenna arrays. 

For any proposal of collaboration within the project please contact the project PI.