By Rupert Pengelly, Jane’s International Defence Review – Feb 2008 idr.janes.com
… One of the novelties of the Italian SDR will be the incorporation of an all-digital receiver (ADR) developed by Hypres, Inc., a US company specialising in superconducting microelectronics (SME) technology. According to Hypres, the ADR will provide high-performance, multichannel wideband reception, based on a superconducting niobium microelectronic chip that is about one million times more sensitive to RF signals than conventional semiconductor devices. The chip enables the ADR to perform direct conversion of analogue RF signals to digital at virtually any frequency and bandwidth. Thus the wideband Hypres ADR can be focused on a very narrow band and return the same performance as a dedicated narrowband receiver. A company representative told Jane’s, “we are devising an RF front-end system that is programmable, with the SCA in mind.” Digital superconducting is not yet a cheap technology, but since the ADR eliminates the multistage analogue down-conversion processing equipment currently required, and lends itself to integration within the antenna, it potentially cuts both cost and distortion while increasing design flexibility.