In an awards ceremony held at IMS 2011, NXP Semiconductors N.V. announced the grand prize winner of its first-ever High Performance RF (HPRF) Design Challenge. After an intense final round of judging, "A 2-kW Amplifier for a Portable 449 MHz Spaced Antenna Wind Profiler Radar" by Brad Lindseth was selected as the overall winner. The High Performance RF Design Challenge was created to encourage the RF power community worldwide to build, test and display innovative designs in new application areas using LDMOS technology, which has become increasingly powerful, rugged and cost-effective in recent years.
Brad Lindseth, a Ph.D. candidate in Electrical Engineering at the University of Colorado, works in the National Center for Atmospheric Research in the US. In his project, Lindseth used 1200-W BLF578 LDMOS transistors to build a radar transmitter, demonstrating how RF radiation can be used to profile wind speed, temperature and direction from ground level to 4 km in the atmosphere.
The second place winner was a project on "Microwave Heating in a Microfluidic Reactor," by a team consisting of Matthew Ayres, Robert Friedhoff, Michael Gray and Owain Jones, from Cardiff University, UK. The students designed a precision microwave heating system for microfluidic chips -- miniature chemical reactors for applications such as pharmaceutical synthesis and organic chemistry research.
The third place winner was "A Broadcasting System Doherty Power Amplifier with Analog Predistortion" by Lei Wang of Southeast University in Nanjing, and Jingxian Zhang of Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, China. They developed an efficient, 100-W broadcast amplifier.
Each of the regional winners for Europe, North America and Asia Pacific were invited to attend IMS 2011 to demonstrate their designs. The Grand Prize included a $3,000 Apple Store® voucher.
More than 400 entries were received in the initial "Conceptual Design" phase of the Design Challenge. During the second "Hardware Design" phase, each contestant developed and provided proof of concept of a prototype. In the third and final phase, the leading teams from EMEA, Asia Pacific and the Americas were given the opportunity to polish their designs in an NXP High Performance RF design lab, with transportation and accommodation costs covered by NXP. Design entries were rated and evaluated by registered community members, alongside a panel of jurors from NXP and universities, based on creativity, efficiency, usefulness, and realization.