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IEEE MTT-S IMS 2012 - GaN Goes Mainstream

IMS2012 Wrap Up

June 27, 2012
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IMS 2012

IMS2012 had even more emphasis on GaN than last year including several companies adding GaN products to their portfolio, most notably Freescale (which has a big proponent of LDMOS).  Now they and NXP offer both LDMOS and GaN solutions.  Almost all the major device manufacturers now offer GaN products and the few that do not plan to do so soon.  GaN is now being developed for switches and LNAs which might be big next year since these offerings are limited to date.

Another notable trend was better modeling and testing capabilities with many of them aimed at high power GaN devices.  Many of the modeling and test advances focus on advanced amplifier classes that are being utilized more these days to maximize efficiency, especially for GaN devices.  The testing advances are also focusing on MIMO and high throughput standards like LTE and 802.11ac.  In addition, tunable technologies finally seem to getting traction and being designed into some major applications.  Examples include Peregrine’s tunable capacitors and WiSpry’s tunable MEMS devices.  With some many frequency bands being crammed into the handset these days, filtering it a huge issue and many companies are addressing advanced, miniature filtering solutions in their modules such as TriQuint, RFMD, Skyworks and Avago.

Lastly, we noticed that several companies are now offering apps to help in the selection of their products.  While some test and measurement companies already have calculator apps such as Agilent, I saw some cable companies offering cable configurator apps such as Mega Phase and TRU plus Reactel has created a new Filter RFQ app.  Some of the device companies are also offering mobile friendly apps to find and select their products.

Montreal Convention CtrThe Montreal venue was well laid out with all the sessions right above the exhibition center.  The exhibition traffic was expected to be low and was for some, but others reported that it was pretty good quality so they were satisfied.  The official, unaudited numbers show the attendance was lower than last year at 7667 total attendees which includes 2635 technical attendees.  Almost half of the attendance was from the exhibitors which does not help the exhibition traffic very much (Microwave Journal’s parent company, Horizon House, stopped running the IMS exhibition in 2009).

The technical conference was very strong this year with a record number of papers submitted including a significant increase in international participation.    The number of exhibiting companies was 560.  Again, there was a stronger international participation than in the past.  Ke Wu, as General Chair, did a great job, and we did a nice video interview with him on site.  Our full video gallery from the show can be viewed here.

Microwave Journal had more than 125 people attend the GaN Market Opportunities special panel session sponsored by Strategy Analytics with many of the leading experts presenting their views on the subject followed by a question and answer session.  Microwave Journal also organized the special MicroApps session on Device Characterization and Modeling which was webcast live to an audience of more than 100 people (almost 400 registered for the event online).  As these special sessions prove to be popular, we will be doing more of them in the future as we look forward to our Defense and Security Forum at EuMW in Oct.  Microwave Journal covered the IMS2012 extensively in our Online Show Daily and published a complete photo gallery and video gallery.

Test and Measurement

An interesting and significant exhibitor was the 41st Institute of CETC – the only professional Electronic Measurement Instrument Institute in China, which researches and manufactures electronic measurement instruments and automatic testing systems in the microwave, mm-wave, optical and communications sectors. The company also provides measurement technology for the research and manufacture of electronic devices and systems.  We have seen them as a major exhibitor in several shows in China with a strong presence there.  Our international editor, Richard Mumford, did an interview which is available here.

Aeroflex added IEEE 802.11ac capability to its S-Series RF signal generator and analyzer product line. The S-Series was designed for use by engineers in wireless local area network (WLAN) research, design, and manufacturing, specifically targeting top-of-the- range performance at a mid-range price. The new 802.11ac capability is available for the SGD RF digital signal generators (Option 119) and the SVA vector signal analyzers (Option 110).

At 200 MHz, the S-Series offers the industry’s widest bandwidth; along with other standard features such as level and frequency settling times that are 5X faster than competitors at 100 μs; and very low phase noise performance (-135 dB/Hz at 1 GHz, 20 kHz offset). With a 4U height and half-rack width, the S-Series is a cost-effective combination of standard features and performance in a compact instrument.

The RF signal generator, SGD’s comprehensive WLAN signal generation suite is now updated for 802.11ac, supporting bandwidths of 20, 40, 80, 80+80 and 160 MHz and up to 8 spatial streams. Using an embedded version of Aeroflex’s IQCreator® waveform creation software, 802.11ac waveforms are quickly created and played from within the signal generator. Modulation schemes up to 256QAM are supported with excellent residual EVM (Error Vector Magnitude) to help customers pinpoint the exact nature of their signal degradation and identify the source of the problem. Testing 256QAM modulation demands lower EVM within the test system. To achieve the best possible EVM, Aeroflex created a new type of factory calibration to maintain its orthogonality (the 90 degree relationship between I and Q) as the baseband frequency increases. Aeroflex’s calibration mechanism creates an effective digital filter that pre-distorts the baseband signal before it is applied to the IQ modulator. This new method gives the SGD its 200 MHz of factory-calibrated signal bandwidth and enables testing of the very latest wireless devices.

The vector signal analyzer (SVA) offers high linearity, low noise, excellent level accuracy, and includes a built-in spectrum analyzer. The SVA’s comprehensive WLAN Measurement Suite with Aeroflex Adds WLAN 802.11ac Signal Generation and Analysis Capability to 802.11ac capability includes measurement tools enabling analysis of WLAN OFDM, DSSS, and DSSS-OFDM RF signal characteristics in accordance with IEEE 802.11a, b, g, n, and ac. In addition to support for 802.11ac, generic measurement capabilities are included as standard, and a range of optional modulation analysis suites extend measurement support to a wide variety of communications standards within the same application framework. Measurement capabilities include power, spectrum, and modulation analysis with results displayed in two user-configurable windows.

Agilent was perhaps the most visible and active exhibitor at IMS with their ongoing customer outreach program, “Connecting Expert to Expert”. Surrounded by their technology partners at “Agilent Avenue”, the company was demoing a wide variety of new test equipment and EDA solutions in their exhibition space at the center forefront of the show floor. A number of software releases led the list of new products with new versions of ADS 2012, EMPro 2012, GoldenGate for RFIC simulation (v 2012.07) and SystemVue 2012.06. New test and measurement equipment on display included a USB peak power sensor and the latest PNA-L network analyzer.

The new N523xA PNA-L vector network analyzers replace existing N5230C models and are available in five frequency models, starting at 300 kHz, with two or four ports available for the 13.5- and 20-GHz models, and two ports available for the 8.5-, 43.5- and 50-GHz products.

The models feature both increased measurement range (5 dBm more output power and 20 dB more dynamic range) and speed (the result of a new synthesizer with faster frequency switching). The improved user interface offers a 24 percent bigger display. Because the models are 100 percent compatible with the N5230C PNA-L, no changes to the user’s current test setup are required.

The new PNA-L models are a lower price alternative to the Agilent PNA and PNA-X network analyzers, are well suited for a range of applications, including S-parameters of passive components and simple active device measurements of amplifier and frequency converters. They can also be used in material measurements and for signal-integrity analysis.

Agilent’s new U2020 X-series is described as the world’s fastest USB power sensors. The product’s measurement speed (3500 readings per second or higher), along with its internal zero and calibration function,  enables users to maximize test efficiency and reduce the cost of test in areas such as high-volume component manufacturing, where every second and each measurement counts.

The U2020 X-series sensors also come with built-in trigger functions. The trigger-in function allows accurate triggering of small signals close to the signal noise floor. (This is especially important when analyzing complex signals with very low power outputs.) The trigger-out port allows users to perform data logging while the video-output feature gives users the flexibility to use the USB sensors with an oscilloscope as an alternative method to display pulse signals and measure pulse parameters.

The company was also showing of its PXI vector signal analyzer, which offers a unique combination of bandwidth, multichannel support, and gapless recording, with 250 MHz of analysis bandwidth, 26.5-GHz frequency coverage on two channels, and continuous streaming up to 100 MHz bandwidth. Both channels can be housed in an 18-slot, 4U PXIe chassis to provide excellent speed and scalability in a small form factor.

On the software side, the latest version of ADS offers features targeting power amplifier module design including side-by-side FEM EM simulation of different technologies to analyze chip to chip interaction and the impact of interconnects, wire bonds and flip chip solder bumps found in typical multi-chip RF modules; Model support for the new artificial neural network-based Agilent NeuroFET model; the beta release of the new ADS electro-thermal simulator to select customers and Enhancements to the ADS Load Pull DesignGuide and Amplifier DesignGuide.

Anapico highlighted their APPH signal source analyzers, which are self-contained instruments for different modes of noise, spectrum and transient analysis. The APPH6000 provides fast and accurate measurements of SSB phase noise, amplitude noise, or baseband noise. The APPH6000IS features a cross-correlator engine and internal low noise reference sources to enable fast and accurate ‘one-click’ measurements of a variety of sources. The instrument can be configured to meet user requirements: selectable internal or external reference source, phase detector models, and frequency offset ranges. It is a compact and powerful instrument available with LAN (VXI-11), USB or with GPIB (optional). Platform independent intuitive graphical user interface (GUI), API library, and a powerful SCPI command language set are available.

Anritsu focused attention on solutions for accurate, broadband Vector Network Analyzer (VNA) measurements with multiple demo stations highlighting their state-of-the-art equipment.  The company unveiled the world's only broadband VNA system capable of conducting single sweeps from 70 kHz to 140 GHz. The on-wafer device characterization was one in a series of demonstrations of test solutions for high-frequency designs, including E-band applications and a 4-port system for high-speed signal integrity measurements.

The VectorStar VNA demonstrations targeted a number of higher frequency bands gaining popularity, including 40-60 GHz for data transmission wireless backhaul between base stations, 60 GHz for Wireless LAN transmission in home and public locations, 77 GHz automotive collision avoidance systems, and 94 GHz for airport radar applications, materials measurement, and homeland security imaging systems.

The demonstration also showcased Anritsu's latest technology, including a new 0.8 mm connector, as well as the excellent stability and RF performance of the VectorStar and mm-wave modules. During the demonstration, the VNA system scanned from 70 kHz to 140 GHz, highlighting the broadest range of frequency characterization data in a single system. The system can conduct a single sweep across multiple coax and waveguide bands, eliminating the need to use separate systems and associated data concatenation errors.

Another demo featured the recent collaboration between Anritsu Company and Virginia Diodes, Inc. (VDI) on a new level of millimeter-wave performance in the Anritsu VectorStar™ VNA series. Incorporating VNA frequency extension modules from VDI, the VectorStar product family now provides measurement analysis from 70 kHz to 750 GHz, the widest frequency coverage range available in a single VNA product line. VDI modules offer the highest dynamic range performance in the sub-millimeter range, and that capability can be coupled with the industry-best RF performance of the VectorStar VNA to provide the finest overall RF-to-microwave-to-millimeter-wave measurement performance with best-in-class dynamic range and widest frequency coverage.

Averna announced the availability of a field-ready multi-channel RF Recorder for RF applications covering 330 MHz to 2.5 GHz. The Averna RP-5300 RF Recorder is an advanced tool for both field testing and performance testing. With 50 MHz of recording bandwidth at 16-bits, it can record multiple GNSS signals in up to two bands (L1, L2, L5), such as GPS or GLONASS. Its compact size and integrated display make it ideal for field operation and its innovative engineering is designed to drive sophisticated applications.

DaisyRS provides wireless portable power meters including a remote power unit and a wireless interface unit.  It is a lightweight, digital device for any power meter application and a great choice for maintenance and laboratory applications.  It is available in 3 and 6 GHz versions equipped with a type N male connector and the 20 and 26.5 GHz versions with a SMA male connector.

Holzworth Instrumentation announced a full production release of the HA7000 Series phase noise analyzers which cover a DUT range of 5 MHz to 6.7 GHz. The HA7000 Series currently consists of fundamental designs that respond to the highest demands from the marketplace: truly low noise floors, fast measurement speeds, reliability, ease of use, and price. The HA7402A is a cross correlation engine (dual core) with automated calibration of the DUT and the 2 external (user supplied) LO sources. The HA7402A is capable of measuring noise floors of below -190 dBc/Hz at acquisition speeds of less than a few minutes. The HA7062A is also a cross correlation engine capable of measuring sub -190 dBc/Hz noise floors, but includes internal synthesized LOs to create a fully integrated and automated phase noise analyzer. For users who require the highest sensitivity, the HA7062A also allows for the use of external (user supplied) LOs in ‘LO bypass mode.’  See our video gallery for a demo.

MauryIn addition to showing off the company’s full line of harmonic load pull test solutions, Maury Microwave was featuring the release of the company’s new Test Essentials™ line of precision and lab adapters. The Test Essentials™ line expands Maury's portfolio of microwave/RF adapters by adding two new lines alongside its existing Calibration (Metrology) family: ColorConnect™ Precision Adapters and Test Essentials™ Lab Adapters.

ColorConnect™ Precision Adapters have been designed for lab and field use where quality, performance, ease-of-identification and ease-of-use are critical. New manufacturing techniques have given ColorConnect™ Precision Adapters improved VSWR specifications bridging the gap between calibration-grade metrology adapters and daily-use lab adapters. Following the proposed IEEE high-frequency connector/adapter color convention, ColorConnect™ Precision Adapters are the first commercially available products to offer clear indications of compatibility and intermatability. ColorConnect™ makes it a simple matter to avoid and eliminate damaged equipment, degraded equipment reliability, degraded performance and lengthy maintenance times due to improper mating (and attempted mating) of incompatible adapters. ColorConnect™ Precision Adapters are available in N Type, 3.5mm, 2.92mm, 2.4mm and 1.85mm in-series and between series.

National Instruments announced early access support for testing next-generation 802.11ac WLAN chipsets and devices. NI’s 802.11ac WLAN test solution provides flexibility in testing 802.11ac devices in addition to testing 802.11a/b/g/n devices. It works with a wide range of signal bandwidths including 20, 40, 80 and 80+80 160 MHz for both Tx and Rx for up to 4x4 MIMO configurations.  They also announced new connectivity between NI LabVIEW system design software and the AWR Visual System Simulator (VSS) software for RF and microwave system design. As the first major joint development between NI and AWR following NI’s recent acquisition of AWR, the new connectivity helps engineers to better use measurements in the design flow by executing LabVIEW code directly from the AWR design environment.

Noise eXtended Technologies (Noise XT) introduced the NXA Series of phase noise analyzers, which is claimed to simplify phase noise testing by incorporating a completely new one-box system design. The NXA Series is available in three models: NXA-6 (up to 6 GHz), NXA-26 (up to 26 GHz), and NXA-50 (up to 50 GHz). The phase noise analyzer measures absolute phase noise and residual phase noise. The NXA Series is designed with a two-channel phase and amplitude noise analyzer using cross-correlation to cancel its own internal noise. The resulting tests are similar to comparing the output of two separate systems, while displaying only the similarities and rejecting the differences. The residual noise measurement mode includes all the necessary functions to automatically measure noise on 2-port devices with an external phase shifter, either in RF or microwave frequencies. An additional feature is the ability to eliminate most FFT noise, allowing much better precision compared to the 7-8 dB trace thickness that is typical in competitive products.

After supplying OEM products to Agilent since 2005, OML is now an official participant in Agilent’s Solutions Partner Program. The benefit to engineers from this relationship is turnkey millimeter wave measurement solutions, which are possible when coupling OML frequency extension technology with these Agilent microwave instruments.  They also recently introduced a solution for millimeter wave down converter measurements that consists of harmonic mixer, external diplexer, microwave signal analyzer and microwave signal generator. In this solution, the harmonic mixer overcomes the inherent microwave limitation while preserving greater than 1 GHz of bandwidth.  Another recent announcement included the introduction of a direct connect configuration that supports millimeter wave S-parameter measurements using Agilent’s PNA and PNA-X series network analyzers.

Rohde & Schwarz demonstrated the R&S FSW-K6 pulse measurement option for the R&S FSW series of high-performance signal and spectrum analyzers, which is particularly suited to evaluating the performance of radar systems and all other applications that employ pulsed signals. When coupled with the MultiView capabilities of the R&S FSW series, multiple spectrum analyzer measurements can be run, viewed, and updated on a single screen, giving the user a complete overview of system performance. The R&S FSW comes in three models for the frequency ranges from 2 Hz to 8 GHz, 13.6 GHz and 26.5 GHz, and has an analysis bandwidth of 160 MHz, making it well suited for measuring very narrow pulses and present and future broadband systems such as emerging IEEE 802.11ac networks.

The R&S FSW-K6 option simplifies all elements of pulse characterization. All pertinent pulse parameters such as rise and fall time, droop, pulse width, duty cycle, settling time and pulse-to-pulse trending (changes in amplitude, frequency and phase from pulse to pulse) for example, can be easily measured and displayed. Other measurement features offered in the R&S FSW platform, such as spectrogram display showing pulse hopping sequences across the instrument bandwidth, can be activated in separate windows on the instrument’s 12.1-inch touch screen.

Among the many instruments on show the R&S ZNB Network Analyzer and R&S SMB100A Signal Generator were featured. The four-port R&S ZNB models cover the frequency ranges from 9 kHz to 4.5 GHz or 8.5 GHz. Two internal signal sources and a frequency-converting mode enable comprehensive measurements on mixers or amplifiers. Using mixed-mode S-parameter measurements, the R&S ZNB fully characterizes even balanced DUTs such as SAW filters used in mobile phones.

Rohde & Schwarz has enhanced its R&S SMB100A RF and microwave signal generator family by adding new frequency options: The analog mid-range signal generator can now handle everything from analog RF to microwave applications. The R&S SMB-B120/B120L and R&S SMB-B140/B140L options (L versions without step attenuator) enable the generator to cover the frequency range from 100 kHz to 20 GHz and 40 GHz, respectively.

Development, test and quality assurance departments need measuring equipment for measuring RF signals. For such applications Spinner delivers high-precision coaxial components such as connectors, within-type and inter-type adapters, coaxial loads and attenuators as well as calibration kits. For measurements in the design phase of a component, the company has developed an OSLT calibration kit. Very compact, it includes a combination of open and short circuit, load and through line. Also available is coaxial measurement equipment with good electrical and mechanical quality for use at frequencies between a few kilohertz and 67 GHz.

Teseq Inc introduced an integrated USB port on its complete range of CBA series, solid-state, class-A power amplifiers that offer frequency and power ratings specifically for EMC immunity test applications. The CBA series, with ranges from 10 KHz to 6 GHz and power levels from 12 W to 1,000 W, are robust and dependable. When fitted with the USB port, the amplifiers can be switched on remotely from standby to operation mode and be controlled by Teseq’s Compliance 5 test software to monitor status, local lockout, interlock and fault conditions.

The company also showed a high-performance digital EMC/EMI receiver module that extends the frequency range of the PMM 9010 receiver system from 6 GHz to 18 GHz. Suitable for commercial test labs and in-house manufacturers’ labs, the upgraded PMM system can now be used for a wider range of EMC testing. The iPMM 9180 offers high performance, convenience and cost savings by cutting turnaround times and eliminating the need for expensive coax cables and periodic calibration checks.

Vaunix was displaying their line of Lab Brick signal generators and digital attenuators.  Their signal generators cover 20 MHz to 6 GHz and 4 to 20 GHz and are compact USB-compatible units.  They have high output powers and excellent spectral purity.  The digital attenuators operate up to 6 GHz and also use a USB port for power and control.

Engineers from Wireless Telecom Group were seeing a lot of interest in the company’s JV9000, an adjustable Vcc noise generator from Noisecom (a wholly-owned subsidiary of WTG) which was introduced last November. This instrument is used to analyze power supply rejection ratios. Accurate PLL or clock circuits, A/D D/A converters and other linear analog circuits used for precision operations are reliant on precise threshold functions which can be significantly disrupted by Ground and VCC noise. Even high-speed digital circuits are not immune against this kind of noise and should be tested for Ground and VCC noise related effects on data jitter and data integrity. Switched power supplies are a key cause of ground and Vcc noise, but other sources, like digital output switching, can also have significantly influence the quality of GND and VCC. Noisecom’s JV9000 is a generator specifically designed to test components that need to be qualified for immunity to specific interference levels. The instrument has the capability to inject noise and deterministic jitter (DJ) signals into Vcc lines.

Software and Simulation

The ANSYS booth featured new integration capabilities in the latest versions of their high-performance electronic design software including ANSYS HFSS and ANSYS DesignerRF. The HFSS Solver-on-demand feature within ANSYS DesignerRF allows engineers to launch HFSS level simulations of 3D structures directly from within DesignerRF using that products layout and substrate stack-up information, thereby eliminating the need to use a 3D modeler to render structures or define excitations and port information. It is an ideal design flow for Electrical CAD (ECAD) import, drawing, and parameterization of electromagnetic designs. This interface is for those engineers who want the 3D rigor, accuracy and reliability of HFSS from a familiar 2D layout based design. HFSS has also been tightly integrated into Cadence design tools with the Solver on Demand technology, enabling users to set up ready-to-solve chip, package or PCB simulations directly from the Cadence® Allegro® Package Designer, Allegro PCB Designer, SiP Digital Layout or Virtuoso® Analog Design Environment.

ANSYS related news came from an Agilent press conference in which it was announced that the two companies had signed an agreement for ANSYS Designer RF to begin development for the support of Agilent’s X-parameter nonlinear models. More details were not made available.

AWR continued the theme of integrating full 3D EM capability within an RF circuit design environment by showing off the latest capabilities of the company’s 3D EM simulator, Analyst and its current state of integration within its flagship product, Microwave Office. Analyst is a full FEM-based solver that will allow MWO user to perform EM simulations on truly 3D structures such as bond wires and ball grid arrays. The MWO/Analyst interface looks exactly like AWR’s planar tool Axiem, except for the addition of a user defined boundary box (easily drawn in 2d and extruded into 3D) and port excitations. The concept of allowing RF circuit designers to re-use their physical circuit information to perform 3D EM analysis without having to revert to a separate, dedicated tool is being pursued by multiple vendors. AWR has also added a layout setup wizard for creating PCB based PDKs (works with the new Analyst tool), 3D antenna plots in Axiem for patch antenna designers and a new, more robust schematic importer for ADS designs from Agilent. Analyst is currently in beta testing is expected for release later this year.

CSTComputer Simulation Technology (CST) announced enhancements to the CST MICROWAVE STUDIO® (CST MWS) transient solver. The memory efficiency and the robustness of explicit time domain methods and the accuracy of the Perfect Boundary Approximation (PBA)® have established the transient solver at the forefront of electromagnetic field simulation. Recognizing the need to model ever more complex devices more realistically the upcoming 2013 release of CST MWS will now allow users to leave the 2 billion meshcell (more than 20 billion unknowns) limit behind them. By employing cluster computing, through a message passing interface (MPI) implementation, in combination with cutting edge Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) computing, CST MWS enables customers to tackle simulations of this size within a reasonable time frame.

CST also publicized its collaboration with Nuhertz Technologies (Nuhertz) to provide a solution which enables users of FilterSolutions™ software by Nuhertz to export their results directly into CST STUDIO SUITE®. Prior to exporting the filter design the user is able to manipulate the pole and zero crossings of the filter. The design, including parameterization, is then transferred to CST DESIGN STUDIO™ where a block schematic representation is automatically produced as the basis of an automatically created 3D model.

Using the new CST MICROWAVE STUDIO® Method of Moments based multilayer solver a fast and accurate 3D analysis of the filter can be performed. System assembly and modeling (SAM), introduced with CST STUDIO SUITE 2012, helps users to add other 3D elements, such as connectors and housings, to the filter design, and facilitates the management and overall optimization of the complete design.

IMST focused on three specific products. Version 6.0 of the EMPIRE XCcel 3D EM solver has been designed to cover nearly all today's design challenges for RF designers, such as antennas, passive circuits, packages, waveguides or EMC/EMI problems including thermal examination of the human body. The new thermal solver has also been optimized with respect to solution speed, thus giving reliable results within the minimum solution time.  The FRAC.-N Spur Simulator calculates fractional coupling and reference spurs of fractional-N PLLs. Both single and dual loop PLLs can be simulated, along with the calculation of phase noise, also in combination with spurs. Various Sigma-Delta structures can be used, such as a series construction or MASH. Calculation makes use of transistor level based charge pump linearity curves, which can be created by external simulation software. Finally, the SiGe fractional-N Synthesizer has been developed for space applications such as satellite frequency converters. It features an on-board VCO (8 - 12 GHz or 17 - 20 GHz) and works with a dual-loop concept (coarse and fine regulation loop). The chip delivers 0 dBm output power and can be programmed in µHz steps to provide very high frequency accuracy and stability.

Microwave Innovation Group (MIG) previewed Version 9.0 of its WASP-NET hybrid EN design and optimization tool. The new release stands out due to the WASP-NET typical optimum hybrid MM/FE/MoM/FD/FE-BI/PTD CAD speed of its six solvers combined with high EM CAD 3D flexibility, augmented by a new graphic 3D editor for parameterized user-defined structures. Losses are included as well as dielectric and ferrite materials with frequency dependent tensor permittivity/permeability. A new CAD import feature enables the convenient importation of available components and its breakdown into appropriate component parts that can be combined full-wave with the different element required.  A new fast integral equation solver performs high CAD efficiently for complex structures such as shaped dual reflector antennas, including feed-networks, antennas with struts and layered, lossy radomes and reflect arrays, along with radar cross-section or antenna placement investigations of large systems.

Remcom was highlighting new functionality in the company’s XFdtd v7 such as waveguide ports, plane wave excitation with active feeds and component specification (RLC vs. frequency) for passive component modeling. The products modeler has also been enhanced to support the stretching, twisting and bending structures which occur in the real-world, such as a missile in flight. In addition to manning the booth at IMS, the company participated in three MicroApps presentations on using XFdtd, addressing topics such as waveguide design, optimization of a 7T microstrip resonator and modeling conformal antenna arrays.

Sonnet Software was busy on multiple fronts with founder Dr. Jim Rautio presenting one of the MicroApps keynote addresses, in-booth training classes and demonstrations of the most recent version of its software, version 13.56. Also following the EDA integration trend among software vendors, the company announced the extensions of Sonnet Suites’ API (ebridge) to support integration with ADS from Agilent last March. IMS was among the first public viewings of this new release, which also touts streamlined custom flows with Cadence Virtuoso, faster EM analysis with improved algorithms and further parallelization of the products 64-bit solver and memory increases to the free Sonnet Lite product for students.   

Materials/Substrates/Packaging

Three product lines from Emerson & Cuming Microwave Products were showcased at the event: ECCOSORB®, ECCOSTOCK® and ECCOSHIELD®. These solutions offer a wide range of microwave materials for engineers working with VHF, UHF, microwave and millimeter wave frequencies in industries including telecommunications, wireless, medical, automotive, electronics and military.

KCBintroduced some of their most recent semiconductor packaging techniques. One such technique, recently employed for a military customer in the AESA radar market, was a custom hermetic device that included two chips, a driver, on-board DPS, a DVA capability, and a PA stage. KCB designed a multi-layer HTCC hermetic package featuring unique heat dissipation while allowing access to phase shifter and attenuator controls via TTL. Using an innovative weightless gold/tin eutectic die attach method, KCB was able to mount each die simultaneously while ensuring and maintaining void-free attachment. This allowed KCB to meet the high volume demands of the phased array application while maintaining the quality of the device via void-free attachment.

LakeShore provides a turnkey system for material characterization at THz frequencies.  An integrated THz experimental platform includes a variable frequency THz source, cryogenic temperature system and magnetic fields.  They also are a leading brand for cryogenic temperature sensors and controllers, high-sensitivity integrated magnetometer and Hall Effect measurement systems and a full line of cryogenic probe stations.

The main focus of the LPKF booth was the LPKF ProtoLaser U3, which enables users to create PCBs on-demand right in the electronics lab. This affordable UV laser system quickly processes a wide variety of material substrates and applications without the use of tools or chemicals. It also switches between projects with a little more than the click of a button. From cutting/depaneling any material from flex to fired ceramics, to drilling, skiving, decaping, and direct surface metal etching of the artwork, the ProtoLaser U3 is claimed to have the ability to process applications that were previously only possible with the help of large and expensive industrial systems.

Paricon is a hidden gem we found in the far right corner of the exhibition hall.  They manufacture a thin insulating polymer impregnated with conductive silver balls which initiate contact through the material when compressed between to contacts.  When used as a contactor material between components and a PCB board, devices can be tested and removed without doing any damage to them.  The material operates from DC to over 40 GHz with only 0.3 dB loss at 40 GHz, less than 30 milliohms of contact resistance and with contact pitches from 1.27 to 0.1 mm.

Rogers Corp highlighted two new additions to its proven lines of high performance circuit materials: the 2929 bondply system and low loss RO4835™ circuit laminate with enhanced oxidation resistance for excellent long term performance. The new 2929 bondply is an unreinforced hydrocarbon based thin film adhesive system intended for use in high performance, high reliability, multi-layer circuit constructions. Its low dielectric constant (2.9) and low loss tangent (<0.003) at microwave frequencies make it ideal for bonding multi-layer circuit boards based on high performance composite dielectric materials such as Rogers RT/duroid® 6000, RO4000®, and RO3000® series laminates.

They also introduced the new RO4835 ™ high frequency laminate, specially formulated with improved oxidation resistance. RO4835 laminates were developed for applications needing a special level of electrical stability over time and temperature, while maintaining the cost advantages of a thermoset, FR-4 processable material. Just as with RO4350B material RO4835 laminates offer a dielectric constant of 3.48 at 10 GHz and low loss tangent of 0.0037 at 10 GHz, and a low z-axis coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) for excellent plated-through-hole (PTH) reliability under a variety of processing and operating conditions. These improved oxidation resistance circuit materials exhibit x- and y-axis expansion coefficients similar to that of copper, for excellent dimensional stability. RO4835 laminates are RoHS-compliant, do not require special preparation, and can be processed using standard methods.

SemiGen Inc showcased their new RF Supply Center, an online source for bonding supplies, materials, and tools. The center offers immediate shipment of low volumes of popular epoxies, adhesive films, bonding tools, gold wire and other supplies used in die attach, substrate attach, chip bonding, assembly, screen printing, and surface mounting of microwave modules and components.

StratEdge Corp introduced a new family of high power laminate packages. The LL family of leaded laminate copper-moly-copper (CMC) base packages dissipates heat from high power compound semiconductor devices, such as GaN, GaAs, and SiC. These packages handle applications through 6 GHz for use in RF radios for communications, radar, and high power millimeter-wave signals. The series includes two laminate power packages, both with a ratio of 1:3:1 CMC, which provides a good thermal match for alumina-based materials and a GaN chip. StratEdge offers both flange and flangeless styles to accommodate manufacturing processes to either bolt down or solder the package.

Transline Technology specializes in working side-by-side with visionary engineers in the RF, Microwave, Aerospace, Defense, and Satellite industries (among others) to create solutions for ever-advancing concepts and designs. They venture to take on demanding and challenging technologies, like "fusion bonding" (or "direct bonding"), as well as continuing to expertly employ the most well-established PCB manufacturing practices.  They really specialize in custom PCB manufacturing.

UltraSource Inc announced the new CopperVia™, based on the existing patented UltraVia™ process. UltraSource’s new CopperVia process fills vias with pure copper material to provide a low cost, highly conductive, extremely reliable electrical and thermal path in ceramic thin film substrates. Like its sister technology, UltraVia, the CopperVia virtually eliminates epoxy or solder bleed-through while maximizing thermal and electrical conductivity and reliability.

Semiconductors/Components/Assemblies

ADIADI had a broad range of product demonstrations including the ADF4159 which is reported to be the industry’s highest performance 13 GHz PLL synthesizer. The ADF4159 PLL synthesizer achieves a phase detector operating frequency of 110 MHz and simultaneously consumes less than 100 mW of power, which is 5 times less than competitive solutions. In addition, the ADF4159 contains a 25-bit fixed modulus as well as on-chip functionality to generate highly linear ramp profiles.  Next there was the AD9914 and AD9915 DDS ICs that are reported to be the industry’s fastest 12-bit, direct digital synthesizers for frequency-agile wireless applications. The AD9914 achieves a speed of 3.5 GSPS, while the AD9915 runs to 2.5 GSPS. Both device cores support advanced digital programmable technology capable of synthesizing frequency-agile, analog output sinusoidal waveforms at up to 1.4 GHz.

There was also the AD9128, dual 16-bit, 1.25 GSPS, high-performance digital-to-analog converter features a JESD204A-compatible high-speed serial input. This 4-lane, 3.125 Gbps, interface greatly simplifies and improves the data connection between the DAC and the FPGA. The AD9128 supports multicarrier generation up to the Nyquist frequency and delivers single-carrier W-CDMA ACLR = 83 dBc @ 122.88 MHz IF, FDAC = 983.04 MSPS.  Lastly, the new Software Defined Radio FMC board, the FMCOMMS1-EBZ, provides an analog front-end, which can be quickly configured to operate with a variety of compute-intensive FPGA-based applications. When used in conjunction with the Xilinx Zynq® Software-Defined Radio Kit, the FMCOMMS1-EBZ board from Analog Devices enables a variety of wireless communications functions at the physical layer from baseband to RF.

Anatech Electronics featured its bandpass filters that are available from 10 kHz to 20 GHz with 2 to 15 sections with bandwidths ranging from 0.5 to 100 percent. The most commonly used topology types include Chebyshev, Butterworth, and elliptic, other special topologies are also used depending on the requirements. The company’s designs are optimized to reduce package size as much as possible, while keeping the insertion loss to a minimum, and meet the electrical requirements with a reasonable margin.

API Technologies had its company’s product experts and engineers on hand to discuss how their latest technologies are helping solve the problems affecting the RF/microwave industry today. API Technologies family of products include RF components, microwave filters, microelectronics, amplifiers and amplifier subsystems, and frequency sources from brands including Spectrum Microwave, CMT, National Hybrid, C-MAC Aerospace, and Cobham MAL. With the acquisition of Spectrum one year ago, and the subsequent acquisitions of CMT and C-MAC, API has positioned itself as the leader in high-reliability products for cutting-edge technologies in industries such as defense, space, and wireless.

API provides RF and Microwave filters, diplexers, multiplexers, switched filter banks, and filter/amplifier products for a wide range of military, space flight, and wireless applications. Utilizing advanced thermal imaging and modeling, API produces rugged, high power diplexers and multiplexers with increased power handling performance for harsh environments. API offers Wireless Service Providers solutions for their next generation network needs with AWS Combiners and Crossband Couplers and LTE 700 MHz Spectrum filters and multiplexers. Space Qualified Flight Hardware includes high order multiplexers with broadband matching for Space Communication Payloads. The company also offers ultra broadband power amplifiers for counter improvised explosive device (IED) and IED detection (IEDD) systems which are critical to force protection.

The company also integrates several discreet RF/microwave components to deliver integrated microwave assemblies (IMAs) for electronic warfare (EW) systems. With a heritage in filter-based, frequency conversion, and instantaneous frequency measurement receivers, API’s state-of-the-art IMAs are small and lightweight subsystems specifically designed for next generation system needs. IMAs are designed to customer specifications starting at DC-40 GHz.

AR RF/Microwave Instrumentation featured model 15HM1G6-44, a compact, wideband, hybrid power amplifier module that covers 1 to 6 GHz. When used with a sweep generator, the model 15HM1G6-44 provides a minimum of 15 W of RF power instantaneously from 1 to 6 GHz. This model operates from a single DC voltage and provides 48 dB of typical gain with excellent gain flatness, noise figure and low intermodulation distortion. AR also offers Class A solid-state 15 and 50 W benchtop units covering an instantaneous bandwidth from 1 to 6 GHz.

Avago Technologies announced the availability of multiple new wireless products targeted at macrocell and small cell base stations and portable GPS systems.  Power amplifiers in the MGA-43x28 series provide final stage gain for Picocell and Enterprise Femtocell systems, offering 34 to 40 dB of gain and power-added efficiency ranging from a high of 15 to 13.8 percent. The power amplifiers are implemented as a three-stage design and display performance of excellent linearity of 50 dBc adjacent-channel leakage ratio (ACLR) at 27.3 dBm output power when biased with a 5-V supply.

The MGA-16x16 series of balanced ultra-low-noise amplifiers include integrated active biasing and a shutdown functionality. They are good solutions for cellular infrastructure applications such as base station transceiver cards, remote radio heads, tower-mounted amplifiers and base station combiners. The balanced LNAs deliver superior return-loss characteristics (S11, 18 dB minimum), thus improving signal quality. Offering a noise figure as low as 0.25 dB at 900 MHz, the first three members in the family, the MGA-16116, 16216, and 16316 are targeted for the 450 to 1450 MHz, the 1440 to 2350 MHz, and the 1950 to 2700 MHz frequency bands, respectively.

Also released was a filter-LNA module designed to simplify portable navigation systems and embedded GPS/GNSS systems in tablets and cell phones. The AGPS-F001 pairs a patented Avago FBAR filter with a low-noise GaAs E-pHEMT amplifier in a single package, and continues Avago leadership of integrated LNA/filter solutions for GPS applications. The combination gives exceptional rejection across the Cell/DCS/PCS/WLAN bands, ranging from 43 to 53 dBc depending on the frequency band of the signal, and linearity is 10 dBm higher in OOB IIP3 versus competing solutions.

Centellax displayed the UAOL30VM and UA0L65VM amplifiers that are general purpose broadband amplifiers designed for microwave communications, test equipment and military systems. Its small size and exceptional performance make it a versatile gain block that can improve power and gain in a single hermetically sealed package potentially replacing 2 or 3 narrower band amplifiers.

Coilcraft featured inductors as RF chokes that solve RF isolation issues. These inductors can be used for RF isolation in a range of circuits from relatively narrowband applications likeortable devices up to broadband networks for data distribution.

Crane Aerospace Electronics was featuring a space qualified image reject mixer in a small surface mount package.  Frequency input (RF and LO) is 1745 to 1785 MHz with an output (IF) of 2 to 42 MHz.  LO input power ranges from 13 to 17 dBm and RF input from -10 to 0 dBm.  Sideband image rejection is 25 dB.  They were also showing off the VPX interface up/down converter along with many other components they offer.

CreeCree joined a long list of vendors featuring GaN devices. Cree was certainly among the lead newsmakers announcing their qualification and production release of two new GaN processes:  G40V4, a 0.25µm process with operating drain voltage up to 40V, and G50V3, a 0.4µm process with operating drain voltage up to 50V. The increased operating voltage and RF power density of these new processes enable smaller die and more compact, higher efficiency amplifiers than possible with conventional technologies.  Both technologies are compatible with Cree’s proven GaN MMIC technology on 100mm-diameter SiC wafers with a full complement of passive circuit elements and non-linear models. 

The new processes are currently available for development and full-rate production. With these processes, the company offers numerous foundry service options for the development of custom circuits, including full and dedicated mask sets. The G40V4 process has been qualified at both 28V and 40V operation with RF power densities up to 6W/mm of FET periphery with operation up to 18GHz. The G50V3 process has been qualified for 50V operation and RF power densities up to 8W/mm with operation through 6 GHz. Both of these processes are derivatives of Cree’s previously released G28V3 28V, 0.4µm process that has been in production since 2006 and exhibits one of the lowest field failure rates of any microwave technology in the industry (Failure in Time rate of 9 device failures per billion hours of operation).

Crystek Crystals Corporation launched the CVSS-945 – a True SineWave Voltage Controlled Crystal Oscillator (VCXO) providing -172.9 dBc/Hz noise floor at 1 MHz offset and +/-20 ppm min. APR pullability (50 to 125 MHz).  Another new product is the CVCO55CXT-6900-6900 which operates at 6900 MHz with a tuning voltage range of 0.5 to 4.5 Vdc. This coaxial VCO features a typical phase noise of -100 dBc/Hz @ 10 KHz offset and has good linearity.  The new RF Pocket Reference Oscillator is reported to be the industry’s first frequency control product to integrate a complete True SineWave SAW (surface acoustic wave) oscillator in a rugged SMA housing. Connecting the RFPRO Series’ female SMA side to +3.3 Vdc will output a clean -135 dBc/Hz phase noise signal at 10 Khz offset.  They also launched the CCHD-575, a new Ultra-Low Phase Noise CMOS Oscillator providing a -168 dBc/Hz noise floor.  The CCHD-575 generates frequencies between 50 and 130 MHz.

Custom MMIC introduced three new devices from its growing MMIC IP/design library. CMD162 is a GaAs MMIC low-noise amplifier (LNA) chip for applications from 26 to 34 GHz. Optimized for 30 GHz satellite communications, the CMD162 boasts a typical noise figure of 1.7 dB with a small-signal gain of 22 dB and an output 1 dB compression point of 7 dB. Two other LNAs include the CMD157 (die) and CMD157P3 (packaged) GaAs MMICs for applications from 6 to 18 GHz. These broadband devices each feature a low noise figure of 1.5 dB, deliver greater than 25 dB of flat gain, and have a corresponding output 1 dB compression point of 10 dBm.

DLI has been very busy on the technology development front, which is resulting in a broadening of their capabilities and product lines. The company was showing its new Milli-cap offering broader bandwidth and less loss variation (10 WVDS) with no resonance below 60 GHz. This ideal capacitor is available in 0402 and 0201 case sizes. New broadband DC blocks and RF power DC blocks are available with capacitance values up to 10,000 pf for operation between 1 MHz and 4 GHz and 200 Watts RF.

New material and process enhancements include polyimide solder dams, patterned AuSn (Gold-tin) and Pt (platinum) features, and their integration. With the new polyimide process, DLI is enabling high performance discrete passives such as a quadrature power divider and Lange coupler with excellent VSWR and miniature footprint thanks to their use of high K ceramics. The same technology is being utilized in other passive designs, such as a 105 GHz 4 pole CF cavity filter and a 40 to 43 GHz filter for point-to-point radio. DLI is also developing heat-sink, stand-off and laser sub-mount technology for the fiber optics industry that may have future applications for the RF industry as well.

Dow-Key Microwave featured its MS-series of multiple switches. The MS-series populated with individual RF switches allows the user to control multiple coaxial switches easily through software and gives the user the flexibility to add as many switches as needed (limited to the size of the enclosure) on the rear panel starting with a 19” 1RU chassis up to 4RU (and larger enclosures for custom designs). For 2RU and larger enclosures, the switches can also be installed inside the chassis.

The MTA2000 series is a new range of Microwave Power Modules from e2v that combines a mini-helix travelling wave tube with a solid-state amplifier, an optimized high density power supply and control circuitry. The lightweight, compact rugged packages have been designed for ground, airborne and ship-borne applications. Variants within the range are suitable for use in Electronic Counter Measures, electronic warfare, radar and communications systems, and are ITAR free.

Integration of the power supply, TWT and solid-state drive unit at source enables the device to be optimized for performance life and reliability. This offers the system designer a highly efficient RF amplifier solution, negating risks associated with interconnection and installation of TWTs and power supply components. In addition to the standard range e2v offers bespoke solutions to meet customer specific requirements such as high temperature, high altitude and airborne vibration and shock.

Empower RF released the first models of its “Size Matters” high power PA product family. Packaged in a 5U, air cooled chassis and delivering over 1 kW of output power in the frequency ranges of 20 to 500 MHz, 500 to 1000 MHz, and 20 to 1000 MHz, these first units offer great size/power advantages. Embedded controls and user access that are standard with Empower RF next generation designs ensure that there is no mystery about system performance, end use conditions, or operational status.

EM Research offers a broad line of miniature frequency synthesizers and was highlighting the CLX Series operating from 200 to 4500 MHz with up to 14 dBm or output power.  Phase noise is  less than 110 dBc.Hz at 10 KHz offset and less than -135 dBc/Hz at 100 KHz offset both at 1000 MHz.  Harmonics are less the -25 dBc and spurs less than -60 dBc operating with 3.3 and 5 VDC.  They are packaged in a .75 x .75 x .25 inch unit.

Freescale Semiconductor had one of the biggest announcements leading up to IMS2012 introducing its first GaN devices.  The company’s RF power GaN products will initially target the cellular infrastructure market, with potential future applications including avionics, radar, ISM and software-defined radio. Freescale’s first GaN product, the AFG25HW355S device, is the latest addition to the current Freescale

RF power offerings including 12, 28 and 50 V silicon LDMOS products, 5 V GaAs HBT, 5 and 12 V GaAs pHEMT solutions, and high-frequency SiGe technology featuring operation up to 100 GHz and beyond.  The AFG25HW355S is a 350W, 2:1 asymmetric device with operating from 2.3 to 2.7 GHz, with 56 dBm peak power, 50 % efficiency and 16 dB gain.

An interesting item at the show was that Freescale and Midea demonstrated the world’s first solid state RF microwave oven at the show using LDMOS devices operating at the 2450 MHz ISM band.  They also introduced two highly versatile devices engineered to deliver new levels of linearity and ruggedness for RF power products manufactured using LDMOS process technology operating from 1 MHz to 2 GHz.  The new devices are the 25 W MRFE6VS25N and the 100 W MRFE6VP100H capable of delivering full CW rated power over the entire operating frequency range.  Finally, they introduced new Airfast™ transistors engineered to boost the efficiency, peak power and signal bandwidth of next generation base stations. With the new offerings, Freescale’s flagship Airfast RF power product line now includes at least one solution for each cellular band and supports both small and large cell base station deployments.  These products range from 900 MHz to 2.2 GHz with various powers and configurations.

Hittite Microwave Corp featured 24 new products at the show. The demonstrations included signal generators designed to support the market for communication and sensor equipment operating at millimeterwave frequencies. With output frequencies up to 70 GHz, these signal generators exhibit low -77 dBc/Hz phase noise, better than -46 dBc spurious output, and up to +2 dBm of output power. Also their wideband PLL with integrated VCO, The HMC830LP6GE is a low noise, wideband, fractional-N phase-locked-loop (PLL) with integrated VCO that is a good choice for designers looking for a single, superior performance, multi-purpose, multi-application device that can cover a wide frequency range. The HMC830LP6GE is capable of generating continuous frequencies from 25 to 8400 MHz and features a synthesizer Figure of Merit of -230 and -227 dBc/Hz in integer and fractional modes, respectively. Double sideband RMS jitter is less than 180 fs and the noise floor is -170 dBc/Hz in fundamental mode at 2 GHz.

Hittite’s high performance 3 GHz Direct Conversion Receiver, EKIT01-HMC6383, combines new wideband components and techniques to achieve excellent system level performance: 700 to 3000 MHz RF Input, Programmable IF Bandwidth of 7 to 100 MHz and programmable accuracy of +/- 2.5%. The HMC9000 is a high speed, multi-GHz Quantizer ADC which provides up to 12-bit resolution to 500 MSPS. The HMC9000 provides excellent performance for microwave frequencies, including the industry’s best ultra high frequency wideband performance utilizing Hittite’s track & hold amplifiers and ADCs.   The HMC990LP4E is a high linearity, dual channel downconverting mixer optimized for multi-standard diversity receiver applications that require low power consumption. The HMC990LP4E features new wideband limiting LO amplifiers to achieve an unprecedented RF bandwidth of 700 MHz to 3500 MHz.

The HMC990LP4E integrates LO and IF amplifiers with enable functions, LO and RF baluns and high linearity passive mixer cores with the industry’s most compact RoHS complaint 4 x 4 mm2 leadless QFN package. The balanced passive mixer combined with high-linearity IF amplifier architecture provides excellent LO-to-RF, LO-to-IF, and RF-to-IF isolations. The HMC990LP4E provides a low noise figure of 9 dB, and high IIP3 of +25.6 dBm allowing the device to be used in demanding wideband applications.

Infineon Technologies AG launched two new products; the first is the BFx840xESD SiGe:C HBT device series for low noise amplifier applications. The new series is particularly well-suited for design of consumer wireless products operating in the 5 to 6 GHz range, including current and next generation WiFi® access points and modules. The new transistors allow engineers to boost the overall performance of WiFi systems to achieve both wider coverage areas and the very high throughput defined in the upcoming IEEE 802.11ac standard. Additional applications for the new devices include WiMAX and UWB wireless and satellite communications.

The other introduction is the PTVA family of high power transistors for pulsed applications in commercial avionics, radar systems and other types of industrial amplifiers. Based on a new 50 V LDMOS process technology, the new devices offer high power density, for compact and efficient system design, and industry leading specifications for ruggedness. The first products in the family include two sets of paired driver and output transistors in 400 W and 500 W output power class for L-Band and UHF-Band radar systems, and a 1000 W device for applications in the 965-1215 MHz commercial avionics frequency. Each of the devices is capable of withstanding a minimum of 10:1 VSWR load mismatch.

Ingun exhibited its wide range of probes. Featured was the HFS-835: RF probe with integrated attenuator, which is especially suitable for assembly in test fixtures with space restrictions or to prevent shearing forces to the probe that can occur when an externally connected attenuator is directly connected to the input interface of a conventional RF probe. It is available with nominal attenuation values of: 3, 6, 10 and 20 dB. It is designed for use up to 3 GHz at an impedance of 50 Ω and its flange design allows easy integration with a fixture or mounting.

Integra Technologieswas also making a strong showing in Montreal with high voltage GaN devices by offering high performance pre-matched high-voltage (up to 50V) devices for L, S, and C-bands as well as broadband unmatched GaN for pulsed and CW operations.

K&L Microwave offered its low PIM, high power filter solutions for monitoring broadband emissions. These filter solutions offer a patent pending solution that enables monitoring of PIM up to 13 GHz, with high power capabilities. The solutions feature near end monitoring where carriers are rejected -90 dB by the notch filter and travel through the bandpass filter, into the PIM termination. The solutions also offer far end monitoring where carriers are rejected -90 dB by the highpass filter (patent pending), whereas IM products permitted through are monitored by the spectrum analyzer. Test set capable to withstand 100 W CW and 1 KW peak.

Engineers looking for guidance on how best to employ lasers to aid in cutting, drilling and ablating materials found help from the Laser Services team. One such technique being adopted around the microwave industry is using laser ablation to create solder dams on circuits. Whereas traditional damming methods of printing and firing glass or other dielectric masks can be costly in terms of processing time, labor, and scrap material, “laser trenches” around a solder pad can be made simply and they are inherently more repeatable.

M/A-COM Technology Solutions was showcasing a broad portfolio of new products for wireless backhaul, CATV, optical communications, and aerospace and defense applications.  They included a 42 GHz SmartSet chipset for point-to-point wireless backhaul with a 1 W power amplifier with 22 dB gain and 38 dBm OIP3, 350 W GaN Smart Pallet designed for S-band air traffic control radar with over 60 percent drain efficiency, a highly linear Edge QAM VGA designed for CATV head-end modules which exceeds DOCSIS DRFI specifications with 7 dB typical performance margin. Also on hand was a new S-Band switch limiter with 125 W Tx input power handling capability and low insertion loss ideal for radar receiver protection and an optical modulator drivers for 100G DP-QPSK line cards and transponders with data rates of up to 32 Gbps, output amplitude of up to 8 Vpp, and low power consumption.

MECA Electronics featured a 3x3 hybrid coupler, model 705D-1.950. This model operates in a frequency range from 1.7 to 2.2 GHz and features a coupling variation of 3 dB 6 0.3 dB, typical isolation of 22 dB, maximum VSWR of 1.15:1, average power of 500 W, peak power of 10K W and phase of 3.

Microsemi has purchased several companies of the recent years and is working toward a standardized portfolio of products.  They were featuring new low phase noise amplifiers, high dynamic range amplifiers, GaN and other high power amplifiers.  Their GaN amplifiers cover bands of frequencies from 0.5 to 10.7 GHz, gain up to 45 dB, Psat up to 20 W with 28 and 32 operating voltages.

Narda has been the pioneer in the design and manufacture of Defense Technology Solutions for more than 30 years. Its products operate in the 500 MHz to 50 GHz frequency range and include a wide variety of components and sub-assemblies.  Narda's first IMAs manufactured 30 years ago were the Classic MICs designed for EW receivers. In the last few years, Narda has rapidly advanced the state-of-the-art in these products by replacing classical MICs with new approaches using multilayered PC boards, MMIC's and SMT packages. Employing the latest in IMA technology, Narda recently introduced the Series 80000 Satcom Tranceivers for X-, Ku- and Ka-Band military satellite terminals. This new technology features a dramatic reduction of SWaT.

Networks International Corp. (NIC) successfully built a high performance LC diplexer for use in receiver-transmitter systems operating in the GSM, ISM, DCS and PCS frequency bands. This diplexer offers low insertion loss and high isolation and is capable of handling CW power up to 50 W. Custom designs and different package configurations are available upon request. Features include: hermetically sealed package; low insertion loss and high isolation; and ruggedized package suitable for ground, airborne and ship-mount applications.

Norden Millimeter has designed a 18 to 40 dual down converter for the ELINT and EW markets with an integrated .5 to 18 GHz bypass path for combining both into a single .5 to 18 GHz IF output.  Norden uses a variety of technologies to miniaturize multiple functions into a single small housing running off a single power supply to minimize SWaP.

NXP Semiconductors demonstrated its full portfolio of first-generation GaN products and discussed its vision and roadmap related to GaN. Currently the company offers engineering samples of its first-generation GaN products, including the CLF1G0035-50 and CLF1G0035-100 amplifiers for 50 W and 100 W broadband applications. NXP demonstrated live application examples, including a multi-stage GaN line-up covering a 200 – 2700 MHz frequency band. Using the new CLF1G0060-10 driver, as well as the CLF1G0035-50 amplifier for the output stage, the GaN line-up featured 50 V GaN technology and best-in-class linearity. Due to the higher impedance levels of the 50V GaN process, broadband amplifiers can be designed on a single transistor. The company will be ramping up for volume production and offering engineering samples of additional GaN amplifiers in Q3 and Q4.

NXP introduced the BGU706x series of multi-stage base station LNAs with variable gain featuring what is claimed to be the industry’s lowest noise figure of 0.9 dB for a receive chain in silicon. The architecture of the LNA is based on the integration of a very low-noise LNA with a bypass function followed by an analog-controlled variable gain amplifier (VGA). These BGU706x low-noise amplifiers deliver high linearity, while saving up to 80 percent in component count.  Also unveiled was the ‘tiny’ BGU8006 low-noise amplifier, designed for very small portable devices. Available in a Wafer-Level Chip-Scale Package (WLCSP), these GPS LNAs have a footprint of just 0.65 x 0.44 x 0.2 mm and require only two external components. Also featuring an extremely low noise figure of 0.60 dB, the LNAs offer good reception for weak GPS signals by dynamically suppressing strong cellular and WLAN transmit signals.

Three new products were announced by OMMIC. The CGY2200UH is a new normally off Single Positive Supply LNA Reference Design (Application Board) at 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz and 2.6 GHz. This reference design is particularly targeted at new applications such as the 4G mobile LTE standard and WiMAX base stations. It exhibits 19 dB of gain, a low noise figure of 0.5 dB and high Output IP3 of 33 dBm on the three bands. A 4 V supply is required and the total current consumption is 44 mA. The ED02AH process is the technology used to fabricate the MMIC. It has a long space heritage and is on ESA's European Preferred Parts List.

The CGY2701UH Ka-band integrated Core Chip for T/R functions is claimed to be the first with an integrated SIPO, and is suitable for all Ka-band radar applications – civil, space and military. Covering the 34-36 GHz frequency band, the MMIC contains a 5-bit attenuator, 5-bit phase shifter and 2 T/R switches. An on-chip CMOS/TTL compatible Serial to Parallel converter means that only three bonding pads are required to control the digital phase shifter and attenuator. Total power consumption is less than 300 mW, 3.3 V Vdd and the Core Chip exhibits 5 dB gain and 8 dB noise figure in Rx mode and 10 dBm P1dBout in Tx mode. RMS phase error is better than 5º.

The CGY2190UH/C2 is a four stage ultra-Low Noise Amplifier operating in the 70– 110 GHz band with an adjustable gain from 23 dB to 30 dB and a noise figure of 2.8 dB at 90 GHz. The MMIC is said to be an exceptionally low power consumption device, running from a 1 V supply with 30 mA of current. This MMIC has been designed for use in active and passive millimeter-wave imaging systems operating in the 80 to 100 GHz range. It is also very well suited to Short Haul High Capacity Links in the 71-77 and 81-87 GHz bands.

Pascall Electronics Ltd performed live demonstrations of ultra low noise sources. These included VHF crystal oscillators which offer a guaranteed -182 dBc\Hz noise floor for a 100 MHz unit and the new XMN/XMNP sources which incorporate multiplication to provide low noise sources at higher frequencies. The XMN combines a Pascall OCXOF with a frequency multiplier and bandpass filter to give an output with ≤80 dBc sub-harmonics and exceptionally low noise floor. In addition to the multiplied frequency, an output is provided at the oscillator’s frequency. The XMNP adds a phase-locked loop to enable the module to be locked to an external source.

Because of their very low phase noise floor, the XMN/XMNP series can also offer an alternative to SAW oscillators in many applications, giving an improvement in close-in phase noise. A further advantage is the availability of crystals at custom frequencies, which reduces development costs and lead times.

Peregrine Semiconductor Corp introduced a SP3T PE42430 RF switch, developed on Peregrine’s patented UltraCMOS® technology, the PE42430 switch combines low insertion loss with high linearity, high isolation, and small package size, making it well suited for WLAN and Bluetooth® applications in the 2.4 GHz band, as well as general broadband switching applications. Peregrine’s HaRP™ technology enhancements enable excellent IIP3 linearity of 66 dBm in the PE42430 device—the Company’s first SP3T RF switch. This switch features low insertion loss of 0.45 dB @ 1GHz and 0.55 dB @ 2.5 GHz, and high isolation of 40 dB @ 1 GHz and 30 dB @ 2.5 GHz. Additionally, it provides excellent ESD tolerance of 4500V HBM and 250V MM on all ports, and is available in a miniature, 8-lead 1.5 mm x 1.5 mm DFN package.  The other interesting development is their tunable capacitor devices that enable antenna tuning and various other impedance matching applications.

PMI was featuring their USB style control components and LNAs to 40 GHz.  The LNAs operate from 50 MHz to 40 GHz, SPDT absorptive switches from 500 MHz to 40 GHz and variable attenuators from 100 MHz to 40 GHz.  Other models and options are available.

Pole/Zero introduced the new MICRO-POLE® and MINI-POLE® Extended Range Filter (ERF) Series of tunable filters that were developed to address frequency agile applications needing a single device solution with 30 to 512 MHz tunability, especially for Software Defined Radio (SDR) applications. The new devices provide significant improvements in footprint and volume requirements. Both devices allow the user to control the devices via a Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) or parallel interface.

Reactel featured a line of small form factor filters that are suitable for densely populated boards, portable systems or any application where size is at a premium. These tiny units are available in discrete component, ceramic, cavity or combline designs. With profiles as low as 1/8" these robust units pack all of the performance of their larger counterparts into a much smaller package. They are available across a frequency range of 100 MHz to 20 GHz with bandwidths of 5 to 100 percent and are available in 4 to 12 sections. They also have created a new Filter RFQ app which was very nice.

Res-Net Microwave introduced its new high power and high frequency CVD Diamond resistive components. Features include: high power, low capacitance, total thin film, excellent pulsed power handling. The components are solderable, wire-bondable and RoHS compliant. Also on display were hi-reliability CVD Diamond resistive components. These components offer hi-rel screening based on MIL-PRF-55342 and test plan includes groups A, B and C. Customized test plans are available upon request.

RFMDRFMD announced the release of four high-performance front end modules (FEMs) for next generation WiFi applications. The RFMD® RFFM8200/ RFFM8202 (2.5GHz), RFFM8500/ RFFM8502 (5GHz) are highly integrated FEM solutions covering multiple WiFi standards and frequency bands, particularly IEEE802.11n and the emerging 802.11ac specification. RFMD's FEMs achieve industry-leading linear power and dynamic error vector magnitude (EVM) performance in support of the newest reference designs from the world's leading WiFi chipset providers. The FEMs integrate the power amplifier, LNA, and switch functionality into a single plastic QFN package. Designed for both "chip on board" and "system-in-package" (SiP) implementations, both product families deliver best-in-class linear output power while operating over a wide range of operating voltages. The highly integrated FEMs significantly reduce external component count outside the core WiFi chipset.

The company also announced the release of the RFHA1025, a highly-efficient 280-watt pulsed gallium nitride (GaN) RF matched power transistor. The RFHA1025 delivers superior performance versus competing silicon power technologies. The RFHA1025 complements the recently released 380-watt RF3928B, the highest output power S-Band device in RFMD's matched power transistor family. RFMD is expanding its portfolio of GaN-based power amplifier transistor products across bands, increasing its leadership position in the radar market.

The RFHA1025 operates over a broad frequency range (0.96-1.2GHz) and delivers 280-watt pulsed power, high gain > 14dB, and high peak efficiency of > 55%. Additionally, the RFHA1025 incorporates internal matching to simplify and shrink designers' circuits. Packaged in a hermetic, flanged ceramic package, the RFHA1025 leverages RFMD's advanced heat sink and power dissipation technologies, delivering excellent thermal stability and conductivity. RFMD's RF393x unmatched power transistors (UPT) can be used as drivers to the RFHA1025.

RFMD has three new power amplifiers for high-frequency point-to-point radio applications. RFMD's RFPA1002, RFPA1003, and RFPA1702 deliver > 1W RF output power in the 10GHz to 20GHz frequency bands and expand the Company's portfolio of radio chipsets targeting cellular backhaul and other markets. Each of the high-frequency gallium arsenide (GaAs) PAs is packaged in a 6x6 mm QFN.

Also announced was RFMD’s release of the RFVA0016 — a highly integrated one-quarter watt (1/4W) analog-controlled variable gain amplifier (VGA). The broadband RFVA0016 VGA features external matching to allow operation in all RF bands between 400 to 2700MHz with a single module. The RFVA0016 delivers 24dBm output compression power with 25dB gain and a temperature compensated 30dB gain range. Consuming only 185mA, the 1/4W VGA delivers an exceptional linear POUT/DC power ratio and is ideal for wireless infrastructure and general purpose RF applications. This RFVA0016 VGA features a unique linear attenuation slope that can be reversed to a positive or a negative slope via a mode logic pin. The attenuation is controlled by a single 0-volt to 3.3-volt positive supply. The RFVA0016 is packaged in a small 5mm x 5mm, 32-pin laminate multi-chip module (MCM) and is QFN footprint-compatible.

Richardson RFPD hosted a full slate of 15-minute presentations and Q&A sessions, featuring the leading innovators and suppliers of RF, Wireless and Energy technologies. The diverse lineup of presentations covers everything from the trends in high efficiency devices and next generation electronic warfare, to hot topics like femtocells and picocells.  Here is a list of the lineup and schedule.

Scintera announced the availability of the SC1894 third generation system-on-chip (SoC) adaptive RF Power Amplifier Linearizer (RFPAL). Based on broadly adopted and field-proven technology, the SC1894 extends the capability and performance of Scintera’s power amplifier (PA) linearization solutions to further simplify and facilitate the design of RF transmitters found in, for example, small cells, repeaters, microwave P2P and terrestrial broadcast systems.

Skyworks Solutions unveiled two new series of high performance and low power LNAs for multiple industrial, scientific, medical (ISM) bands and next generation cellular infrastructure applications.  They also introduced a line of high power RF switches – up to 100 Watts – supporting diverse market applications including TD-LTE infrastructure base stations, repeaters and low frequency military/microwave UHF and UVF radios.  And just after the show announced a breakthrough front-end system that integrates all RF and analog content between the transceiver and antenna for simplified design within demanding next generation mobile platforms.  Leveraging Skyworks’ silicon integration expertise, advanced manufacturing technologies and proprietary techniques, SkyOne™ is the world’s first semiconductor device to condense multiband power amplifiers and high throw switches along with all associated filtering, duplexing and control functionality into a single, ultra-compact package-- all in less than half the area of the industry’s most advanced approach.

Sumitomo displayed SMT solutions from 6 GHz to 80 GHz for radio link applications. The E-Band chip set utilizes WLCSP (Wafer Level Chip Scale Package) technology. This technology achieves excellent frequency performance and easy, reproducible mounting by incorporating flip-chip, 3-D MMIC technology in products spanning from C-band up through E-band. The devices are designed for L/S/X-Band Radar applications. Sumitomo Electric was also featuring a 2.9-3.3 GHz 600 W discrete S-band transistor.  For broadband radar, Sumitomo offers a 2.9 – 3.5 GHz 300 W transistor. Sumitomo Electric was demonstrating their 600 W S-band and the 100 W X-band transistor operation with a couple of nice demos that can be seen in our video gallery.

TransTech, a subsidiary of Skyworks Solutions, introduced a new line of ceramic-based LTE filters and diplexers. These solutions optimize any LTE pico cell model and can be designed in various footprints. They decrease overall X, Y & Z dimensions and can be an easy drop in solution for LTE filtering. Current designs can be provided as an SMT or connected component. Because TransTech makes their own ceramics, prototypes are available quickly.

Toshiba Corp announced the expansion of its GaAs FET lineup with the addition of two new devices optimized for power efficiency.  The new C-Band GaAs FETs for microwave digital radios support point-to-point and point-to-multipoint terrestrial communications, and BUCs support satellite communications.  The TIM5359-16EL and the TIM5964-16EL operate in the 5.3 to 5.9 GHz range and the 5.9 to 6.4 GHz range, respectively.  The TIM5359-16EL and TIM5964-16EL have an output power at one-dB gain compression point of 16 W, or 42.5 dBm (typ.), linear gain at 1 dB gain compression point of 11.5 dB (typ.) and power added efficiency of 38 percent.  They also announced a Ka-Band high power GaN MMIC featuring one of the highest power and efficiency performances in its class.  It operates from 29 to 31 GHz with 15 W output power and 20% efficiency.  And for X-Band they introduced a hybrid IC, the TGM9398-25, operating from 9.3 to 9.8 GHz, with output power of 25 W, linear gain of 25 dB (typ.) and power added efficiency of 35 percent.

TriQuint showcased some newly-released GaN products including the TGA2572-FL, TGA2579-FL and TGA2593-GSG (to be available August 1st). The TGA2572-FL is a packaged 20 Watt Ku Band GaN Power Amplifier fabricated on TriQuint's production-released, 0.25um GaN on SiC process. Operating from 14 to 16 GHz, the TGA2572-FL typically provides 43 dBm of saturated output power, 30% power-added efficiency and 23 dB of small signal gain.

TriQuint’s new GaN packaged transistor, T1G6003028-FS offers 3dB more gain than competing devices, which allows designers to cut the number of stages in their amplifier designs by half. This 30 W (P3dB) discrete GaN on SiC HEMT device operates from DC to 6 GHz. The device is constructed with TriQuint’s proven 0.25 um process, which features advanced field plate techniques to optimize power and efficiency at high drain bias operating conditions. This optimization can potentially lower system costs in terms of fewer amplifier line-ups and lower thermal management costs.

TriQuint also released VSAT and PtP / mmWave innovations that integrate functions for smaller build of materials(e.g. the new TGA2527-cuts power consumption 20%, reducing power management circuitry). The TGA4539-SM, a Ka band 1 Watt power amplifier that operates from 28 to 30 GHz is designed using TriQuint's power pHEMT production process and targets point-to-point radio, point-to-multipoint and VSAT communications. The TGA4539-SM typically provides 30.5 dBm of saturated output power with small signal gain of 20 dB and is available in a low-cost, surface mount 20 lead 5 x 5 mm QFN package.

The company was also highlighting their LNA products including the TQP3M9036 and TQP3M9037 surface-mount, integrated GaAs pHEMT devices that deliver assembly convenience while meeting the stringent linearity and noise figure requirements of 3G / 4G base station designs. TQP3M9036 covers 400-1500 MHz with a noise figure of 0.45dB, 19dB of gain at 900 MHz, and high linearity (+35 dBm OIP3). The TQP3M9037 operates from 1.5-2.7 GHz with a noise figure of 0.4dB and 20dB of gain at 1900 MHz, and an OIP3 of +36dBm. The company claims its new BTS LNAs offer the lowest noise figure of any packaged, integrated solution (as low as 0.4dB).

Texas Instruments featured a newly introduced RF development kit that supports RF prototyping of systems based on Altera's 28-nm Arria V FPGAs. The modular Arria V FPGA RF Development Kit includes all the hardware and software needed for RF transmit, receive and digital pre-distortion feedback, reducing the amount of time needed to design and verify RF systems, such as wireless base stations, remote radio heads, and military radio and intelligence equipment, from months to weeks. For more information, visit www.ti.com/arria-v-devkit-pr.

The Arria V FPGA RF Development Kit provides RF developers with access to the latest generation of 28-nm FPGAs from Altera, along with the newest analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), digital-to-analog converters (DACs) and clocks from TI. The kit provides 2.5 times more transmit and digital pre-distortion feedback bandwidth than similar solutions and is the industry's first complete main/diversity receive development platform supporting up to 75 MHz of bandwidth.

The RF Development Kit offers up to 500 MHz of transmit and feedback bandwidth, enabling 100 MHz of transmit bandwidth with fifth order pre-distortion correction and up to 75 MHz of main/diversity receive bandwidth with 14-bit resolution and 31.5 dB of gain range for demanding multi-carrier 3G and 4G standards. The low phase-noise-fractional phase-locked loop (PLL) / voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) provides a local oscillator for transmit, receive and feedback mixers and modulators.

United Monolithic Semiconductors (UMS) highlighted the availability of its first 40 W GaN Power Transistor. The CHK040A-SOA is an unmatched Packaged Gallium Nitride High Electron Mobility Transistor. It offers general purpose and broadband solutions for a variety of RF power applications. It is offered in a low parasitic, low thermal resistance package, and requires an external matching circuitry. The CHK040A-SOA is well suited for multi-purpose applications such as radar and telecommunication. It is developed on the UMS 0.5 µm gate length GaN HEMT process, and is available as a ceramic metal flange power package compliant with the RoHS and REACh directives. It features a wideband capability of up to 3.5 GHz, high power (> 45 W) and pulsed and CW operating modes

Vectron was featuring a couple of their new oscillators. The TX-801 TCXO provides fully compliant Stratum 3 levels of stability in a 5 x2.3 mm package.  It is ideal for timing over IP applications such as 1588 PTP and Synchronous Ethernet. The 10MHz OX-204 is an ultra low noise OCXO achieving phase noise performance of -135dBc/Hz @ 10Hz offset and -175dBc/Hz @ 100 KHz offset. The OX-204 has ADEV at 5.0e-12 @ 1sec tau and low long term stability of 100ppb/year. The temperature stability is ±20ppb over the temperature range of -40° to +85°C and packaged in a 25 x25 mm enclosure.

Voltronics displayed its ultra high voltage PTFE trimmer capacitors. The “NT” series of PTFE trimmers are designed for applications requiring greater capacitance and voltage ratings than the popular smaller trimmers but without the large size and expense of vacuum capacitors. The “NT” line offers high voltage; non-rotating piston, long life & no tuning noise; extremely stable under shock and vibration; and screw head does not move in and out.

Wenzel was featuring their new Citrine Series crystal oscillators that were developed specifically to provide a broad product offering for the most demanding applications requiring low phase noise performance in both static and dynamic conditions. The Citrine oscillators can be configured at any fixed frequency between 1 and 650 MHz with phase noise levels below -190 dBc/Hz which are the lowest we have seen.

An interesting company we passed was Wibicom which offers autonomous smart systems solutions using green energy.  They specialize in solar and light energy harvesting for wireless applications using its photovoltaic WibiSolTM antenna, leading to highly embedded platforms.

WiSpry manufactures tunable MEMS solutions for applications such as antenna tuning, tunable filters, impedance matching, PA tuning, etc.  The process uses a .18 micron CMOS process with integrated MEMS devices for a high level of integration and true single chip solutions with capacitance ratios up to 15:1.  They have been designed into several high volume products.

Cables/Connectors

The focus for Frontlynk Technologies Inc was the 1.0 mm connector series, which is designed for semi-rigid and low-loss flexible cable and adaptors for custom applications. They series is designed for 50 Ω and the connectors are said to exhibit excellent performance up to 110 GHz. The connector’s outer conductor ID is 1.0 mm; the interface is air dielectric and the contact is supported by a short dielectric bead. The connectors can operate in a temperature range from -55°C to 125°C and other features include low insertion loss, low reflection loss, and good VSWR performance.

GigaLane showcased its low loss cables and cable assemblies. The durable, high performance GL cables – GL100, GL140(s), GL200(s) and GL340 – are designed for the military, test and industrial markets. They exhibit low loss and good VSWR, are applicable up to 26.5 GHz (GL200, 22s) and 40 GHz (GL140s) and are flexible and durable over time with use. They are available as 2.92 mm, SMA and N connectors, have a high mating cycle and the connectors are stainless steel.

Gore's VNA Microwave Test Assemblies provide excellent performance for precision test applications with frequencies through 67 GHz where the cable is subject to constant and/or highly repetitive movement. Applications include vector network analyzers and similar precision test equipment. GORE® VNA Microwave Test Assemblies feature extremely precise phase and amplitude stability when flexed and provide the highest accuracy and the greatest time interval between recalibrations.

MegaPhase announced the release of a new line of high-frequency probe station test cables, the MegaPhase PS Series. The PS Series test cables are specifically designed for dynamic probe station measurements and offer low loss, phase stable performance through 70 GHz. The PS Series cable can be mechanically formed to ensure proper connector to connector spacing and that interfering surfaces associated with a given probe can be avoided while ensuring the station head has complete freedom of movement. MegaPhase offers a variety of industry standard high performance connectors including; 1.85 mm, 2.4 mm, 2.92mm, 3.5 mm and SMA for compatibility with current probe station configurations. They also featured their cable app which was being demoed at the show.

Molex was featuring their Temp-Flex line of cables including their solid core design with 70% velocity of propagation, low loss, phase stability using a high purity fluoropolymer dielectric.  Also, the dual monofilament air gapped design with ultra low loss, 85% velocity of propagation and phase stability.  The dual monofilament wire creates a unique air gap dielectric space for high performance.

Precision Connector Inc introduced a new line of precision connectors designed for 0.047 semi-rigid cable. Both 1.85 mm and 2.92 mm male and female connectors are available and have been designed for low VSWR and insertion loss. The 1.85 mm series performs to 65 GHz and the 2.92 mm series performs to 46.5 GHz. Both designs incorporate fully captivated center contacts with rear sockets that accept a pointed cable center conductor, eliminating the need for center contact soldering.

Rosenberger showed an extensive range of products including the RTK-FLEX range of high performance flexible microwave cables up to 70 GHz. The cables are constructed using a low or ultra low density PTFE dielectric and are claimed to offer loss characteristics, phase stability and flexibility advantages over standard flexible cables without sacrificing mechanical integrity. The company’s WSMPTM Series Miniature Connectors are suited to high-density applications and frequencies up to 100 GHz. Available in multiport versions the WSMPTM push-on interconnect system is designed to meet a range of standard and custom configurations in space, military and commercial application.

At the other end of the scale Rosenberger featured Multiport Mini-Coax Connectors and Cable Assemblies for semiconductor test applications and PCB Connectors – solutions for board to board connection. Solder versions and surface-mount PCB connectors are available. The spectrum includes straight and right angle connectors in innovative coaxial series such as SMP, Longwipe-SMP, P-SMP, Mini-SMP, FMC, Micro-RF or multiport connectors as well as standard series SMA, QMA, SMB, Mini-Coax or MCX.

SGMC Microwave is a manufacturer of precision coaxial connectors including cable connectors, receptacles and adapters.  They were displaying an extensive line of 2.4mm, 2.92mm, 3.5mm and SMA precision Right Angle In-Series and Between-Series adapters suited for most all applications. 

Spinner showcased its comprehensive range of products including connectors, rotary joints, and Passive Intermodulation (PIM) devices. The company’s coaxial connectors exhibit: low VSWR up to the cut-off frequency of the connector system, low passive intermodulation under static and dynamic conditions, tightness meeting the highest demands, even under extreme conditions, compatibility with cables from various manufacturers and secure and easy installation. The company’s range of rotary joints includes contacting transmission by slip ring. Such contacting systems can transmit signals from DC up to 120 MHz. Coaxial contacting rotary joints, which allow signal transmission in the frequency range from DC up to 50 GHz and contact-free rotary joints that are available as coaxial and waveguide units were also shown.

Times Microwave was displaying their PhaseTrack-PFlex series of cables that are phase stable for demanding applications with minimal change over temperature.  They had a nice demo setup showing the typical Teflon knee of other traditional cables that is not present in their designs.  This abrupt shift in phase for Teflon based cables occurs near room temperature.  Velocity of propagation is 83% and is available in diameters of .13 and .16 in.  They also offer an interesting SiO2 cable assembly for ultimate phase tracking performance under extreme environments.

TRU was featuring their new Cable Configurator where you can build the right cable assembly for your specific requirements.  I tried it on my iPhone and it worked very well (it was easy and fast).  You can specify primary application, frequency, length and connector types.  You have the option to choose electrical, mechanical and environmental specs or your choice or use standard TRU specs.

See you next year in Seattle!

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