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Published on 23 March 2023

Millimeter-wave radio signals, high-data through plastic media

  What is H-link?

  • H-Link is the first system that guides radio waves both in the air and through a flexible plastic tube. This low-cost hybrid technology allows the transmitter to perform 360° rotations, avoiding cable kinking. Initially designed for robotics, H-Link ensures broadband in confined areas (eg. glove boxes).
  • H-Link can transfer information over distances up to ten meters at a speed of 15 Gbits/s. With an average data transmission speed of 6 Gbits/s over a little more than two meters, the system can transfer a 4K video, eliminating the data compression/decompression. 


H-link has been designed for robotics, enabling high data rate communication to perform:

  • Remote chemistry in confined volume
  • Remote biology in glove box: viruses and bacteria
  • Remote micro-nano technology development
  • Remote nuclear material manipulation, etc. 

H-link can also be used for e-health, such as remote medical visits/check-up, and surgical intervention (dentistry). 

  What's new?

H-link offers significant advantages over copper and fiber optic cable: 

  • It uses a tenth of the energy required to transmit a signal
  • It is less sensitive to vibration and electromagnetic waves
  • Because the system uses millimeter waves rather than nanometer waves (optical fiber), it does not need to be heat spliced or welded—it can be connected by hand with a piece of tape.
  • Plastic is much lighter in weight than copper

H-Link's emitter transform digital SDI in mmW modulated signal. The signal is radiated through either a plastic wave guide or an antenna free space link to the receiver which delivers digital SDI. In terms of technical performance, H-Link offers: 

  • Full duplex, multi channels
  • No additional conversion (vs. optics), no equalization ( vs. copper)
  • No micron-level alignment (vs. optic), no electrical contact (vs. copper)
  • Low loss versus copper and wireless
  • High energy efficiency (around 1pJ/bit/m)
  • Freedom of movement including tilt, angle and misalignment
  • Help ensure flexibility by transferring signal through specific materials 

  What's next?

  • CEA-Leti is currently working towards the development of customer ad-hoc solution using STMicrolectronics' 60ghz transceiver and Radiall's antena horn interface.
  • The team is improving the interface and developing a multi-channels transceiver within the 100-150 GHz band. They also try to enhance the plastic coupling structures. 


  • « A 12Gbs 64QAM and OFDM compatible Millimeter-Wave Communication Link Using Plastic Waveguide Design"  F.Voineau, C.Dehos, B.Martineau, M.Sié, M.Perchicot, H.Nguyen, A.Ghiotto and E.Kerhervé; 2018 IEEE Radio and Wireless Symposium (RWS) Anaheim CA 2018, pp250-252 

  • Patents : 3 STMicrolectronics ; 4 CEA-Leti; 1 IMS

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