A Ku-Band CMOS FMCW Radar Transceiver for Snowpack Remote Sensing

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This paper presents a Ku-band (14–16 GHz) CMOS frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) radar transceiver developed to measure dry-snow depth for water management purposes and to aid in retrieval of snow water equivalent. An on-chip direct digital frequency synthesizer and digital-to-analog converter digitally generates a chirping waveform which then drives a ring oscillator-based Ku-Band phase-locked loop to provide the final Ku-band FMCW signal. Employing a ring oscillator as opposed to a tuned inductor-based oscillator (LC-VCO) allows the radar to achieve wide chirp bandwidth resulting in a higher axial resolution (7.5 cm), which is needed to accurately quantify the snowpack profile. The demonstrated radar chip is fabricated in a 65-nm CMOS process. The chip consumes 252.4 mW of power under 1.1-V supply, making its payload requirements suitable for observations from a small unmanned aerial vehicle.


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