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We are working on a blood glucose meter that will measure BG readings through radio waves with a frequency between 60-70 GHz. That range is necessary to allow penetration through the tissue and we think that it can do a really good estimation with an accuracy comparable with invasive methods.

The main problem is that we don't have a clue about how economically feasible is to buy transmitter and receiver that work in such high frequency or how difficult would be to (find someone to) build them.

Has anyone had experience in working to/building these circuits? How difficult would be to build an RF TX/RX that works in EHF?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you already have RF spectrums (well, bode plots) of tissue with varying glucose levels? \$\endgroup\$ – Jonathan S. Aug 13 '18 at 16:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Building your source & detector will be the key engineering challenges of your project. If your team doesn't include someone who already knows about it, you don't have the right team yet. \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Aug 13 '18 at 16:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've never designed past a few GHz, from what I understand, In the upper GHz range it can be difficult to design circuits as simple things like PCB parasitics and impedances are difficult to control. I also believe it's difficult to make measurements and the equipment is expensive than lower frequencies. Odds are you'll also need some sort of EM FEM software \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Aug 13 '18 at 17:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Shouldn't you figure out if this works using rental bench synthesizers and analyzers before worrying about productizing it? It's not just a question of the science, you also need to start defining what sort of source you need and what sort of signal analysis needs to be done to recover your measurement of biological interest. Lab gear can either directly simulate crude solutions, or at least let you develop a model of how a cruder setup would perform. You can't really figure out the economics until you have a performance requirement. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Aug 13 '18 at 17:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can't just pick a frequency you like and design a radio from there. You have to use an allocated band or investigate if it is at all possible to use the desired band for your purpose. 60GHz might be reserved for military use etc. You don't want your med tech equipment to go haywire just because a helicopter flew past the hospital. \$\endgroup\$ – Lundin Aug 14 '18 at 6:38
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I worked for a company where we made a on-chip radar working between 57 and 64 GHz so not quite the range you need. In low volumes (less than 1000 chips per year) you should think of prices in the order of $100 per chip. As with all chips the price can go down dramatically if you buy dramatically more chips (like 100000 a year or more).

There are other companies which also sell radar chips and/or transceivers at 60 - 70 GHz. Problem is, companies like Infineon and NXP who sell these refuse to talk to small customers like you as the volumes you want aren't worth their time.

So getting chips is one problem.

Another problem is that 60-70 GHz requires RF experience and engineers which have this experience are very rare and difficult to find. All of them have jobs already.

Your best bet would be that you're in or working with some University where they have a department working with RF in or close to the frequency range you need.

Building a 60-70 GHz transmitter/receiver is work for specialists. Even building one from of-the-shelf components requires experience and knowledge. People that have these come at a price. Also they need specialist equipment. If you have to ask how much this equipment costs then you cannot afford it (price of a car, that order of magnitude, you could rent equipment though, that's not cheap either).

I'm sorry if this makes your research difficult but that's just the way it is, even though 60 GHz is getting more popular nowadays it is still a niche area in electronics which makes it expensive to use.

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