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NORDITE - SARFA – RF MEMS for automotive radar (77 GHz)

This project focuses on the utilization of RF MEMS technology for automotive radar sensors at 76-81 GHz. This project is a collaboration within the NORDITE ICT Programme, with three Scandinavian universities and ten industrial supporters.



Current automotive radar sensors mainly operate in the 24 GHz band which is temporarily allocated by the EC until 2014, when it has to be replaced by 76-81 GHz sensors. The 77 GHz band offers better performance, smaller size and potentially lower costs, but high-performance and low-cost key-components, especially for 77 GHz beam steering units, are still missing. RF MEMS (radio-frequency micro-electromechanical systems) technology, fabricated by semiconductor manufacturing facilities and logistics, allows for highly integrated, high-volume and potentially low-cost components with RF performance superior to semiconductor-switch based technology or ferroelectric phase-shifters, e.g. The benefits of RF MEMS are especially evident at frequencies in the MM-band. It is envisioned that RF MEMS is a potential enabling technology for increasing the performance and reducing the costs of beam steering units for future automotive radar.

The presented project focuses on the utilization of RF MEMS technology for 77 GHz radar front-ends. During the first project phase (2006-2007), the project work is concentrated on:

  • MEMS tunable surfaces for beam-steering and reconfigurable phase shifters (component level, WP 1)
  • novel, transmission-line based MEMS phase-shifters and their integration with antenna elements (component and sub-system level, WP 2)
  • investigation of system implications of RF MEMS technology to radar sensors, and investigation of the suitability of the proposed MEMS beam-steering units for other applications, including industrial radar, security applications and future high-capacity sub-millimeter wave communication links (system level, WP 3)

Project partners

  • KTH - Royal Institute of Technology, School of Electrical Engineering (EE), Microsystem Technology Lab (MST), Stockholm, with competence in RF MEMS device technology,
  • TKK - Helsinki University of Technology, Radio Lab/SMARAD, Helsinki, with competence in RF and millimeter wave devices, and
  • NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Dept. of Electronics and Telecommunication, Trondheim, with competence in radar sensor and system technology

Furthermore, the project is supported and guided by the Scandinavian industrial partners Autoliv (Sweden), Elektrobit Microwave (Finland), Ericsson AS (Norway), MicroComp Nordic (Sweden), SensoNor/Infineon (Norway), Silex Microsystems (Sweden), Volvo Technology (Sweden), VTI Technologies (Finland), Triad AS (Norway), and by the non-industrial supporter FOI, the Swedish Defense Research Agency. SensoNor, Silex, and Elektrobit Microwave are also represented in the Steering Group of SARFA.

Project webpages

Link for further information

Project sponsors

  • VINNOVA (Sweden)
  • TEKES (Finland)
  • RCN (Norway)

Project members

Joachim Oberhammer – contact person

Nutapong Somjit

Mikael Sternet

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Belongs to: Micro and Nanosystems
Last changed: Dec 12, 2018