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Sci Rep. 2016 Jul 21;6:30063. doi: 10.1038/srep30063.

On-chip sub-terahertz surface plasmon polariton transmission lines with mode converter in CMOS.

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School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 639798 Singapore.
Key Laboratory of RF Circuits and Systems, Ministry of Education, and Zhejiang Provincial Laboratory of Integrated Circuit Design, Hangzhou Dianzi University, Hangzhou, 310018, China.


An on-chip low-loss and high conversion efficiency plasmonic waveguide converter is demonstrated at sub-THz in CMOS. By introducing a subwavelength periodic corrugated structure onto the transmission line (T-line) implemented by a top-layer metal, surface plasmon polaritons (SPP) are established to propagate signals with strongly localized surface-wave. To match both impedance and momentum of other on-chip components with TEM-wave propagation, a mode converter structure featured by a smooth bridge between the Ground coplanar waveguide (GCPW) with 50 Ω impedance and SPP T-line is proposed. To further reduce area, the converter is ultimately simplified to a gradual increment of groove with smooth gradient. The proposed SPP T-lines with the converter is designed and fabricated in the standard 65 nm CMOS process. Both near-field simulation and measurement results show excellent conversion efficiency from quasi-TEM to SPP modes in a broadband frequency range. The converter achieves wideband impedance matching (<-9 dB) with excellent transmission efficiency (averagely -1.9 dB) from 110 GHz-325 GHz. The demonstrated compact and wideband SPP T-lines with mode converter have shown great potentials to replace existing waveguides as future on-chip THz interconnects. To the best of the author's knowledge, this is the first time to demonstrate the (sub)-THz surface mode conversion on-chip in CMOS technology.

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