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New Terahertz Transceiver Transmits or Receives Digital Data at 80 Gigabits per Second

A collaboration between Hiroshima University, Panasonic Corporation, and National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) has resulted in the development of a novel terahertz (THz) transceiver that has the potential to receive or transmit digital data at 80 gigabits per second (Gbit/s).

Medical AI and doctors at earth stations could remotely conduct a zero-gravity operation aboard a space plane connected via terahertz wireless links. (Image credit: Hiroshima University, NICT, Panasonic, and

Implementation of the transceiver was done by utilizing silicon CMOS integrated circuit technology, which is likely to have a significant benefit with regards to large-scale production. The team will present the details of the technology at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) 2019 to be conducted in San Francisco, California from February 17th to 21st.

The THz band is the latest and vast frequency resource anticipated to be applied in upcoming ultrahigh-speed wireless communications. Published in October 2017, the EEE Standard 802.15.3d defines the application of the lower THz frequency range from 252 to 325 GHz (the “300-GHz band”) as high-speed wireless communication channels.  Utilizing the channel 66 defined by the Standard, a single-chip transceiver developed by the research team attains a communication speed of 80 Gbit/s. In the past several years, the researchers have developed a receiver chip capable of 32 Gbit/s and a 300-GHz-band transmitter chip capable of 105 Gbit/s. The team has now incorporated a receiver and a transmitter into one transceiver chip.

We presented a CMOS transmitter that could do 105 Gbit/s in 2017, but the performance of receivers we developed, or anybody else did for that matter, were way behind for a reason. We can use a technique called ‘power combining’ in transmitters for performance boosting, but the same technique cannot be applied to receivers. An ultrafast transmitter is useless unless an equally fast receiver is available. We have finally managed to bring the CMOS receiver performance close to 100 Gbit/s.

Minoru Fujishima, Professor, Graduate School of Advanced Sciences of Matter, Hiroshima University

People talk a lot about technological singularity these days. The main point of interest seems to be whether artificial superintelligence will appear. But a more meaningful question to ask myself as an engineer is how we can keep the ever-accelerating technological advancement going. That’s a prerequisite. Advances in not only computational power but also in communication speed and capacity within and between computers are vitally important. You wouldn’t want to have a zero-grav operation on board a space plane without real-time connection with earth stations staffed by medical super-AI and doctors. After all, singularity is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s not something some genius out there will make happen all of a sudden. It will be a distant outcome of what we develop today and tomorrow,” stated Professor Fujishima.

Of course, there still is a long way to go, but I hope we are steadily paving the way to such a day. And don’t you worry you might use up your ten-gigabyte monthly quota within hours, because your monthly quota then will be in terabytes.

Minoru Fujishima, Professor, Graduate School of Advanced Sciences of Matter, Hiroshima University

The study was supported by the R&D on Wireless Transceiver Systems with CMOS Technology in 300-GHz Band, as part of an R&D program on Key Technology in Terahertz Frequency Bands of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan.

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