Feature Topics

5G and Millimeter-wave-based RF Systems

The millimeter-wave (mm-wave) band offers enormous bandwidth that is unparalleled compared to the spectrum available for most wireless communication and radar senor systems today. Consequently, mm-wave frequencies are currently being exploited for the development of emerging broadband, high-speed and high-resolution RF systems. For example, the 5th generation of the wireless mobile technology (5G) is expected to operate in the mm-wave band, so as to overcome the limitations of 4G. Unlike 4G, 5G networks and systems will be optimized for both human-centric communication (HCC) and machine-type communication (MTC). Therefore, 5G has the potential to be the key enabler of emerging bandwidth-, speed-, and latency-critical HCC and MTC applications such as remote medical diagnosis and surgery, vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication for autonomous driving, wireless transmission of uncompressed ultra HD videos, augmented and virtual reality, tactile internet and a multitude of IoT applications which lead to smart health, smart energy, smart transportation, smart industry (Industrie 4.0) and smart city.

However, the development of 5G and other mm-wave-based RF systems is a daunting task because of mm-wave propagation issues such as severe path loss, multipath fading and shadowing. To overcome these challenges, compellingly new signal processing algorithms (e.g., for massive MIMO), network architectures and protocols, transceiver ICs, mm-wave antenna systems and RF system-integration approaches are required. RF system-integration is the process of developing hardware RF systems by integrating ICs, antennas, passives and other system components in system-integration platforms and system-boards.

At Fraunhofer IZM, we focus on innovative RF design of miniaturized mm-wave smart antenna systems and on RF- and photonic-system-integration using a combination of our holistic RF design approach (M3-approach – methodologies, models and measures), our unique thermo-mechanical design and reliability capabilities as well as our advanced assembly, packaging and system-integration technologies which combine wafer-level and substrate integration approaches. In cooperation with our partners from academia and industry, we develop novel mm-wave based RF components, modules and systems for emerging wireless communication, photonic communication and radar sensor applications. 

We offer the following services

RF Modeling, Design & Test

  • RF measurement-based characterization of dielectric materials up to 0.22 THz
  • RF modeling, design and test of miniaturized mm-wave antennas and antenna systems
  • Development of noise suppression structures for mixed-signal system-integration
  • RF design of passives, interconnects, substrate-integration platforms and system-boards
  • RF system-integration, considering signal/power integrity and intra-system EMC issues
  • Design and integration of high-performance wireless sensor nodes and systems

Photonics Modeling, Design & Test

  • Photonic measurement-based characterization in the wavelength range 600nm-1600nm
  • Photonic modeling, design and test of photonic integrated circuits and sub-systems
  • Development of photonic interconnects for high bandwidth system-integration
  • Photonic system-integration, considering latency, power consumption and scalability
  • Design and integration of high-performance photonic systems

Thermo-mechanical Modeling & Design, Environmental & Reliability Assessment

  • Thermal and thermo-mechanical design of mm-wave-based RF systems
  • System level thermal management and reliability assessment
  • Modelling of energy consumption from device to network level
  • Critical materials evaluation and  resource efficiency optimization

Advanced Assembly, Packaging & System-Integration

Advanced assembly, packaging and system-integration of miniaturized mm-wave based RF systems using highly sophisticated wafer- and board-level technologies such as

  • Fan-in and fan-out wafer-/panel-level packaging
  • 3D stacking/chip integration
  • Silicon- and PCB-embedding
  • Silicon and glass interposers
  • Photonic Board integration

Please join us to explore the solutions to 5G and next generation mm-wave-based RF system challenges. We look forward to having you as our cooperation partner.


Activities in 6G



Fraunhofer launches lighthouse project to develop technologies for 6G

At the beginning of 2021, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft launched 6G SENTINEL, a lighthouse project to develop key technologies for the future 6G mobile communications standard.



6G is coming to make good on the promises of 5G

A new era of mobile communication is about to begin: Transmitting a whole terabit of data, one thousand gigabits, per second.



6G Research and Innovation Cluster

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has selected four hubs across Germany to conduct research on the upcoming mobile communications generation 6G. The goal is to jointly develop innovations for the telecommunications technologies of the future.