Site: Philips Research Laboratories
Prof. Holstaan 4
5656 AA Eindhoven
Date Visited: 28 April 1999
WTEC Attendees: J. Winters (report author), M. Iskander, N. Moayeri, R. Rao, W. Stark, L. Young
Hosts: Dr. C.P.M.J. (Stan) Baggen, Research Fellow,
Digital Signal Processing
Dr. H.A. (Rick) Harwig, Director, Electronic Systems
Dr. Peter Baltus, Research Scientist, Integrated Transceivers
Dr. Marcel J.M. Pelgrom, Department Head, Mixed Signal Circuits and Systems
Dr. Paul Kaufholz, Research Scientist, User-System Interaction Technology
Prof. Dr. J.W. (Hans) Hofstraat, Department Head, Polymers & Organic Chemistry
Dr. Jean-Paul M.G. Linnartz, Senior Scientist, Broadband Communications &Video Systems
Dr. Carel-Jan L. van Driel, Department Head, Digital Signal Processing Group
Dr. C.R. de Graaf, Senior System Architect, Compact Personal Communicator
Royal Philips Electronics is one of the world's biggest electronics companies and Europe's largest, with sales of $33.9 billion in 1998. Founded in 1891 in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, it is a global leader in color television sets, lighting, electric razors, color picture tubes for televisions and monitors, and one-chip TV products. Its 233,700 employees, in more than 60 countries, are active in the areas of lighting, consumer electronics, domestic appliances, components, semiconductors, medical systems, business electronics, and IT services. The WTEC panel visited Philips Research Laboratories in Eindhoven. Philips Research was started in 1914, and currently has 3,000 employees worldwide, with 1,700 employees in the headquarters in Eindhoven. The major research areas are materials (29%), electronics (15%), and software, systems and devices with a budget of $600 million for research out of an R&D budget of $2.2 billion. Over 60,000 patents have been issued to Philips Research, which is the backbone for corporate technology strategy.
Rick Harwig, Director of Electronic Systems, gave an overview of the work at Philips Research Laboratories, describing the various projects and achievements that have been made. He noted that there are currently 150-200 people involved in wireless, and the number is expanding at a slow rate, due to the lack of qualified candidates.
The panel heard six technical talks on research projects at Philips Research Laboratories. Peter Baltus, Research Scientist, discussed RF front ends for wireless communications. He first noted the trend to higher data rates and frequencies, with outdoors up to 5 GHz and indoors greater than 10 GHz for higher bandwidths. He saw the main issues for RF electronics as lower cost, low weight and volume, and long talk/standby time.
Noting that the RF front end consumes more than 50% of the total power in a handset and currently uses more than 20 external components, he stated that the main challenges are the integration of the transmitter, integration of the antenna interface, multiband/multimode operation, and A/D technology. This includes eliminating external impedance matching circuits and duplexer components, along with advanced antenna diversity. Since Philips is primarily involved in handsets (e.g., in DECT), the main emphasis of the discussion was on techniques for handsets. Baltus described the Philips scanning dual-antenna handset, noting the need for better radio channel characterization. He then stated that one method for power reduction was the elimination of the substrate to get around parasitics' problems and discussed Philips Silicon-on-Anything technology and how this technology could be used to integrate high Q resonators. Marcel Pelgrom, Department Head, Mixed Signal Circuits and Systems, discussed A/D conversion and power management for future digital systems. He noted the tradeoff of resolution versus bandwidth in A/D converters, which results in large power at high resolution and bandwidth. The challenge is to achieve high-speed/resolution A/Ds so that multichannel transceivers can be integrated for lower cost. The trend in higher resolution/bandwidth A/D converters was seen to be continuing for another 6 to 10 years, with 3 orders of magnitude improvement still left. This should result in practical A/D converters for WCDMA in 4-5 years. In power management, the trend in increasing energy per weight and size was seen through the evolution of batteries from NiCd to Li-ion to Li-poly to future unknown materials.
Interestingly, one of the best research areas for power management was seen to be in better power management software, including improved protocols. It was stated, however, as in the previous talk, that RF power will dominate over software power, and additional digital signal processing (DSP) will not compensate for poor A/Ds. Thus, he felt that long-term research should emphasize RF and packaging research over DSP/software improvement, although software improvement can have some effect on RF design.
Paul Kaufholz, Research Scientist, User-System Interaction Technology, discussed voice control in the living room. He noted that with more wireless devices in the future, there would be a growing need for better user interfaces to these devices, in particular, voice control. The key challenges were seen to be acoustic speech recognition and echo cancellation.
Hans Hofstraat, Department Head, Polymers & Organic Chemistry, discussed polymers: new options for electronics. With polymers, the main advantage is very low cost. Currently, polymers are used for LEDs today, and he demonstrated such a device. In 2-3 years they should be used in electronics, and in 5-10 years in batteries. This has the potential to reduce costs to the point that disposable wireless phones may be feasible. However, substantial research is still needed, with particular emphasis on multidisciplinary research, which is a challenge.
Jean-Paul Linnartz, Senior Scientist, Broadband Communications & Video Systems, discussed wireless system issues. In particular, he felt that as higher data rates stretched the limits of bandwidth, wireless data systems would evolve to a frequency reuse of 1 (frequency reuse in every cell). With this reuse in combination with dynamic channel assignment, research was needed into channel assignment with data packets, i.e., dynamic packet assignment. He also stated that there should not be one system to handle both short messages and high data rate services such as HDTV, but a combination of systems. Furthermore, for higher data rate systems the trend may be away from spread spectrum type of systems.
C.R. de Graaf, Senior System Architect, Compact Personal Communicator, discussed ultrawide bandwidth systems and briefly described the possibility of placing the transceiver on a chip. After the presentations by Philips, Ramesh Rao presented the results of our national workshop to a seminar group of about 50 Philips employees. There were discussions with the group covering the above areas, including discussions on ultrawide bandwidth systems.
Philips Research Brochure, "Science emanates not just from the mind, but also from the heart." Mosaic of Philips Research, Number 5, 1998.
Baltus, Peter. "RF front ends for wireless communications." viewgraphs.
Kaufholz, Paul. "Voice control in the living room." viewgraphs.
Hofstraat, Hans. "Polymers: new options for electronics." viewgraphs.