Vladimir Milovanović

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The diverse application areas of emerging monolithic noncontact
radar sensors that are able to measure object’s distance and velocity is expected to grow in the near future to scales that are now nearly inconceivable. A classical concept of frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) radar, tailored to operate in the millimeter-wave (mm-wave) band, is well-suited to be implemented in the baseline CMOS or BiCMOS process technologies. High volume production could radically cut the cost and decrease the form factor
of such sensing devices thus enabling their omnipresence in virtually every field. This introductory paper explains the key concepts of mm-wave sensing starting from a chirp as an essential signal in linear FMCW radars. It further sketches the fundamental operating principles and block structure of contemporary fully integrated homodyne FMCW radars. Crucial radar parameters like the maximum unambiguously measurable distance and speed, as well as range
and velocity resolutions are specified and derived. The importance of both beat tones in the intermediate frequency (IF) signal and the phase in resolving small spatial perturbations and obtaining the 2-D range-Doppler plot is pointed out. Radar system-level trade-offs and chirp/frame design strategies are explained. Finally, the nonideal and second-order effects are commented and the examples of practical FMCW transmitter and receiver implementations are summarized.


FMCW, frequency-modulated continuous-wave, radar, mm-wave, linear chirp, range-Doppler, sensors, radar-on-a-chip (RoC), single-chip radar

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