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Chirp Transform Spectrometer (ChirpIC)

Development of chirp generator and pre-processor ICs for a real-time spectrometer for satellite application


The ChirpIC project deals with the development of components for a real-time Chirp Transform Spectrometer (CTS) using SAW (Surface Acoustic Wave): a chirp generator and a pre-processor. The chirp generator has to produce a chirp signal with a starting frequency of 5.4 GHz and a chirp rate of -100 MHz/µs from stored data. The duration of the generated chirp signal is 20 µs which results in an end frequency of 3.4 GHz. This signal will be mixed with an incoming signal and passed through the SAW filter. A 2.1-1.1 GHz signal from the output of the SAW filter, representing the complex Fourier transformation of the input signal is processed in the pre-processor where the spectral power value is calculated and stored in the memory. The spectrometer will be used for a space application in a sub-millimeter wave instrument (SWI) on board of Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer orbiter. Both components have to operate in the temperature range from -55 to 125 °C and under a harsh radiation environment (300 kRad total ionizing dose). The proof of concept is planned for the first phase of the project. The second phase is addressed to the radiation hardened design.

IHP's Contribution

IHP is occupied with the development of a chirp generator including SRAM, control logic, multiplexing circuits and 20 GS/s digital-to-analog converter (DAC). The chip will be manufactured in IHP's 0.13µm SiGe BiCMOS technology SG13S. All components for the pre-processor chip except of analog-to-digital converter (ADC) will be designed by IHP in a commercial 65 nm technology. The top-level design of the pre-processor will be done at IHP. 


This research is funded by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (Göttingen, Germany)

Project Partners

Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (Göttingen, Germany)

Institute of Optical and Electrical Communication, University of Stuttgart 

The building and the infrastructure of the IHP were funded by the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union, funds of the Federal Government and also funds of the Federal State of Brandenburg.