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Hypres Demonstrates Digital-RF? Distribution and Routing

Hypres : 17 November, 2008  (New Product)
Newly patented Digital-RF& switch matrix technology is crucial in the effort to develop multi-band, multi-channel reconfigurable radios for government and commercial applications
Hypres Inc., a leading developer of superconductor microelectronics technology and the Digital-RF™ product line, achieved a major milestone—and an industry first—by demonstrating RF distribution and routing functionality completely within the digital domain of the radio architecture on a recent U.S. Army Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) project. Accomplished through the company’s newly patented Digital-RF™ switch matrix technology, this new RF distribution and routing capability is essential to realize the full potential of high performance, reconfigurable multi-band and multi-channel radio systems such as the Software Defined Radio.

RF distribution and routing refers to the transport mechanism that moves the incoming RF signal from the antenna, through the analog front end components, to the appropriate digital baseband signal processing resources.

Because of performance limitations inherit in semiconductor-based radio architectures, conventional RF distribution and routing has always been in the analog domain. The Hypres Digital-RF™ switch matrix, based on the world’s fastest digital logic, allows RF distribution and routing in the digital domain directly between any of the radio’s analog front end components and digital processing resources.

“Analog-based RF switch matrices present significant deficiencies in terms of signal loss, isolation and crosstalk. In addition, they also suffer from a lack of scalability and reconfigurability,” said Deepnarayan Gupta, Ph.D., vice president, research and development, Hypres. “Our Digital-RF™ switch matrix technology solves these issues by moving the boundary between analog and digital domains to directly after the antenna, allowing the switch layer to be incorporated in the transceiver digital domain,” explained Dr. Gupta, co-inventor of the switch matrix and Hypres’ principal investigator for the U.S. Army SBIR project.

Co-inventor Alex Kirichenko, a renowned expert in superconductor digital circuits and a lead circuit designer at Hypres, was the principal designer of the switch matrix circuit, which has been successfully integrated with multiple analog-to-digital converters and digital processing circuitry on a single chip receiver.

The Digital-RF™ switch matrix allows natural partitioning between band-specific and band-independent components—allowing both the analog and digital components to operate at their highest performance levels. Whereas analog components such as power amplifiers, antennas filters, and analog/digital converters are optimized for specific frequency bands, digital signal processing components such as digital mixers, digital filters, and deserializers operate independently of the signal characteristics. In addition, this partitioning extends the software radio paradigm by allowing full software programmability of the RF distribution network.

“The team is to be congratulated for its creativity and dedication in developing and advancing the state-of-the-art in RF switches,” said Richard Hitt, CEO at Hypres. “Given the extremely high switching speeds needed for multi-band, multi-channel radio applications—in the tens of GHz—Digital-RF™ distribution and routing is only possible in high performance superconducting integrated circuits. With switching times measured in picoseconds, these chips are unmatched in the industry.”

Marketed under its Digital-RF™ product line, Hypres is developing a family of reprogrammable all-digital receivers, transmitters, and transceivers. In addition to Software Defined Radio applications, the Digital-RF™ product line will include versions for cognitive radio, mobile broadband, satellite and tactical communications, signals intelligence, electronic warfare, and RADAR.

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