The low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, also known as drones) are expected to become a part of wireless communication networks and change the way people live in the near future. Thanks to high mobility, UAVs can serve diversified demands and perform various tasks intelligently and automatically. Functions like real-time video streaming and big data sharing can be realized by employing reliable high-data-rate wireless transmission for UAVs. Combined with multi-tier network management, UAV-based cellular cells can sufficiently address the need of network supply and user traffic demand by dynamically deploying base stations with different power levels and reconfigurable data capacity at desired radio access locations. For reaching these goals, high efficiency fifth-generation (5G) millimetre-wave (mm-wave) communication system is essential. The 5G is expected to provide ubiquitous connections with multi-Gbps data transmission to meet 1,000 times increased capacity and mm-wave transmission is one of the key technologies to achieve this performance.
In this project, we are aiming to develop novel mm-wave transmitter architectures using advanced semiconductor process and antenna techniques for the UAVs. This study overlaps with the 5G mm-wave techniques in a way. The research will focus on the power efficiency and antenna gain enhancement as well as the implementation of re-configurability based on the mobility feature of UAVs. A fast beam scanning architecture based on high gain lens antennas will be studied to improve the propagation performance and provide a simplified scanning scheme for the UAVs in mm-wave band. Meanwhile, a novel high efficiency reconfigurable mm-wave power amplifier (PA) structure using Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology will be proposed to enhance the system power efficiency. To realize the proposed beam scanning, low loss switches will be designed and integrated with the PA.