A Bidirectional Terahertz Pico-Radio in CMOS for Wireless Sensor Networks and Internet of Things

We present the design and implementation of a CMOS bidirectional low-power 320GHz pico-radio with 0.57mm2 chip area. It demonstrates the feasibility of using low-power THz electronics to form a short-range high-quality wireless link with high data-rate, while naturally enabling radio ultra-miniaturization for future massively deployed invisible sensor networks and Internet-of-Things (IoT). A bidirectional transmitter/receiver (TX/RX) circuit-sharing architecture configures the radio as a harmonic oscillator in the TX mode or as a super-harmonic super-regenerative receiver (SRR) in the RX mode. With the TDD operation, an on-chip two-feed slot antenna is shared by the TX/RX to eliminate any duplexer for further radio size reduction. The THz pico-radio achieves power-performance scalable operation that can be optimally set according to the actual link distance and required data rate. It supports 4.4Mb/s OOK communication over 50cm at 49.3mW peak DC power and 1Mb/s OOK communication over 17cm at 18.7mW peak DC power with BER<10^-7. It also supports 4-bit 16-ary ASK communication over 17cm at 57.2mW peak DC power with BER<10^-5.