EUROPE-A three-year European project dubbed DOTFIVE is focusing on the RTD activities necessary to move the silicon-germanium (SiGe) heterojunction-bipolar-transistor (HBT) into the frequency range of 0.5 THz (500 GHz) at room temperature. Using those HBTs, it should be possible to evaluate the achievable performance of millimeter-wave integrated circuits (ICs). The transistors developed within DOTFIVE will be used for designing circuits that enable power-efficient millimeter-wave applications, such as anti-collision automotive radar or wireless-local-area-network (WLAN) communications systems. In addition, DOTFIVE technology will be a key enabler for silicon-based millimeter-wave circuits with applications in the security, medical, and scientific areas.

The transistors' high operating speed can open new application areas at very high frequencies or be traded off for lower power dissipation. The project aims at the fabrication of individual devices and ICs with higher operating speed, thereby allowing new applications in the lower terahertz portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Concerning DOTFIVE's progress, the final targeted operating frequency of 160 GHz on key functional circuit blocks has been achieved a year ahead of schedule. Such performance is sufficient for some active imaging applications. Yet further gain/noise-figure improvements will help to increase the detection range.