Plastic is fantastic: How a cheap material could become the next high data rate communication channel

Uptill now, increasing data rates in advanced communication standards have always been associated with cost augmentation. However, with the recent results in low-cost plastic waveguide, the paradigm could be changed. The concept is very similar to optical propagation except that the operating wavelength is in the millimeter-wave frequency range. Since multi-gigabit RF chips have been extensively investigated, this combination of sub-millimeter chips and plastic wires could enable low-cost and high-speed communication over small to medium distances and would combine the benefits of wireline, wireless and optical approaches. Nevertheless, to explore such a new technology, the millimeter wave testing should be optimized at the chip level. This is a fundamental condition to meet the goal of a new massive communication channel This presentation will focus on design tradeoffs and co-optimization between chip design, the plastic and the radiative element while having the self-test capability. Specific design techniques to extract mm-wave circuit key performance indicators will be addressed