Reconfigurable front-end components for smart radio applications

Currently, most electronic circuits are targeted for a specific application and their functionality is fixed. There is a great demand for smart electronics, where the system response can change in different conditions. To develop such a system, in addition to sensor integration for situation awareness, it is essential to develop adaptable hardware. Examples of this are available mobile handsets, which can select specific frequency bands. With advances in telecommunications, more and more services rely on high data rate spectrum access, but the radio spectrum has become overly crowded. Using reconfigurable or so called smart radios, one can mitigate the problems associated with the limited spectrum availability by tuning to the frequency band that is least heavily used at any given time. This talk covers a number of technologies developed for smart radio applications including new switch structures using a phase-change material, germanium telluride. Such switches are as small as their semiconductor counterparts and can be integrated on silicon for increased versatility but offer significantly lower loss and higher isolation at the off state. The talk also describes how reconfigurable radios can result in reduce entry costs in wireless phones.