Analog Devices Inc. (ADI) introduced a highly integrated, active antenna beamforming chip that allows designers to quickly replace bulky, mechanically-steered antenna platforms with a compact, solid-state solution for phased array radar and communications systems. The ADAR1000 simplifies design and significantly reduces the size, weight and power (SWaP) of phased array radar systems for defense, surveillance, air traffic control, communications and weather monitoring. For avionics designers, for example, the ADAR1000 enables flat-panel antenna arrays, which shrinks the profile of conventional radar systems and facilitates the design of smaller, lighter aircraft.

A "plug-and-play" subsystem, the ADAR1000 allows designers with little or no RF experience to extend the performance and operating lifetime of their radar systems. The IC is a scalable building block for fast implementation of active antenna phased arrays for next-generation radar and communications systems, without the need for extensive third-party design support.

The four-channel active antenna beamforming IC replaces 12 discrete components needed for antenna phase and gain adjustments and digital control. Supporting time-division duplexing (TDD) across both X- and Ku-Bands, the ADAR1000 includes an integrated T/R switch to select the common port as an input for transmit (Tx) or an output for receive (Rx). The four pairs of Tx and Rx channels have independently programmable gain and phase settings. The ADAR1000 can be configured to directly control all aspects of external T/R module pulsing with minimal extra circuitry. All settings can be loaded into built-in memory for fast access to gain and phase states and T/R module settings.

ADAR1000 signal flow
Phased array system using the ADAR1000.

ADAR1000 Active Antenna Beamforming Chip Product Features

  • 8 to 16 GHz frequency range
  • Half-duplex TDD for Tx and Rx
  • Single-pin Tx/Rx control
  • Versatile T/R modules control modes
  • 360 degree phase control with less than 2.8 degree phase resolution
  • Greater than 31 dB gain control with 0.5 dB resolution
  • On-chip memory for pre-stored beam positions
  • Auxiliary 8-bit A/D converter for power detectors and temperature sensor
  • Support for low-power modes
  • Four-wire SPI interface

John Cowles, general manager of Analog Devices’ RF and microwave business unit, said, “ADI is combining the industry’s broadest RF portfolio with extensive design and packaging expertise to help customers quickly implement phased array antennas. Our new phased array offering is smaller, lighter and as powerful as a typical phased array solution. It also increases potential uses for phased arrays, as it significantly reduces the profile of the antenna.”

According to ADI, the company's RF and microwave portfolio provides the broadest capabilities in the industry, coupled with deep system design expertise to support designs with complete signal-chain capability, including RF, microwave and millimeter wave. Customers can choose from a broad selection of discrete components and integrated solutions, including a comprehensive antenna-to-bits portfolio for applications from DC to beyond 100 GHz. ADI offers a wide array of technologies, including CMOS, SiGe, BiCMOS, SOI, GaAs and GaN, for markets including communications, test and measurement instrumentation, industrial and aerospace and defense.