A Novel Unit Cell for Active Switches in the Millimeter-Wave Frequency Range

  • Daniel MüllerEmail author
  • Gunnar Scherer
  • Ulrich J. Lewark
  • Hermann Massler
  • Sandrine Wagner
  • Axel Tessmann
  • Arnulf Leuther
  • Thomas Zwick
  • Ingmar Kallfass


This paper presents a novel transistor unit cell which is intended to realize compact active switches in the high millimeter-wave frequency range. The unit cell consists of the combination of shunt and common gate transistor within a four-finger transistor cell, achieving gain in the amplifying state as well as good isolation in the isolating state. Gate width-dependent characteristics of the unit cell as well as the design of actual switch implementations are discussed in detail. To verify the concept, two switches, a single pole double throw (SPDT) switch and single pole quadruple throw (SP4T) switch, intended for the WR3 frequency range (220–325 GHz) were manufactured and characterized. The measured gain at 250 GHz is 4.6 and 2.2 dB for the SPDT and SP4T switch, respectively. An isolation of more than 24 dB for the SPDT switch and 12.8 dB for the SP4T switch was achieved.


Active switch Single pole double throw (SPDT) Multiple throw Monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) InGaAs mHEMT 



We express our gratitude to our colleagues in the IAF technology department for their excellent contributions during epitaxial growth and wafer processing.


This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) in the framework of the MilliPhase project (Grant KA3062/10-1).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Radio Frequency Engineering and Electronics (IHE)Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)KarlsruheGermany
  2. 2.Fraunhofer Institute of Applied Solid State Physics (IAF)FreiburgGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Robust Power Semiconductor Systems (ILH)University of StuttgartStuttgartGermany

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