Joint 3D Sensing and Communication at mm-Wave

mm-Wave communication systems are seeing ever-increasing adoption with the high available bandwidths at mm-wave enabling massive data rate boosts. Underlying practical mm-wave communication systems are electronically steerable phased arrays that produce highly directional beams. These features, namely narrow directional beams, wide bandwidths and electronic steering are also key to high-quality 3D imaging systems. In this talk, we explore this synergy by describing a 3D imaging system that performs the imaging only using 5G mm-wave communication waveforms and thus truly coexists with the communication system. It accurately estimates the time of flight of reflections from OFDM packets transmitted by a mm-wave phased array. We show that an important metric that defines the frame rate for 3D imaging and also for beam tracking in communication systems is the beam switching latency and the number of unique beams that are supported by a phased array. We present a digital on-chip beam calculator and phased array digital control protocol that enables fast beam switching (200ns) among >30000 unique beams. We envision these kind of circuit / architecture ideas along with the system / protocol / algorithm innovations will lead to even better joint sensing-communication applications for mm-wave systems.