In the global marketplace for microwave ideas, technical developments in a few key areas are of particular interest thanks to their potential to transform the status quo. Semiconductor technology is one such area where the higher power densities and wide bandwidth properties of GaN have been creating new opportunities for system integrators from wireless communications to aerospace applications and beyond.  Another such area is MIMO and its promise to greatly enhance over-the-air connectivity by enabling true 4G data rates. The adoption of either GaN or MIMO also presents a number of challenges for system integrators, including the accurate characterization of GaN-based power devices and the proper representation of the multi-path channel when testing mobile devices. Such information is necessary for designers to unlock the potential offered by these technologies. In addition to the measurement and simulation tools that will help designers implement and verify such technology, advances in circuit architectures, use of high-speed FPGAs for real-time signal processing, spectrum monitoring and re-use, carrier aggregation, cognitive radio and a host of other research areas will play a significant supporting role in expanding the capabilities of high-frequency based networks.

Many of our field’s most exciting technologies were well represented in the paper proposals submitted to the EDI CON technical committee as the deadline approached on August 31st for the first Call for Papers. While the technical committee is currently ranking the proposals for quality, impact, originality, and relevance, the conference organizers sorted the proposals according to subject matter, revealing a few interesting trends. While the bulk of papers came from Chinese engineers working for multi-national companies, individual authors from companies/academia inside and outside China were also among the contributors. Within the design track, papers could be grouped among several sub-categories including: power amplifier design (and most commonly GaN-based Doherty PAs), high-speed oscillators, patch antennas, high-speed interconnects, on- and off-chip (PCB-based) passive components and receivers. Apart from the high-speed, signal- and power-integrity papers, most papers covered areas often represented in Microwave Journal throughout the year.

The modeling track received proposals for a range of topics from new methodologies to practical techniques on subjects such as noise figure measurements for microwave and millimeter-wave active devices (frequency- and non-frequency – converting), simulating structures with EM-based software, GaN device modeling, improving VNA measurements for RF and high-speed applications, load-pull for ultra-low impedance devices, high-speed backplane analysis, calibration methodologies and compensation for probes and fixtures used in measurements. Achieving greater accuracy and verification of results were among the themes in a number of proposals. Papers submitted on time- and mixed-domain measurements, over-the-air testing and system-level performance testing, correlation and verification demonstrate the industry’s shift toward more complex, higher-level analysis tools.

The system track papers reflect a broad range of topics including wideband 802.11, spectral re-use and cognitive radio, receiver and RF front-end architectures, SATCOM, satellite navigation systems, localization technology, near-field and low power communication, multilane MIPI, high-speed display, MIMO and of course, LTE/LTE-A/TD-LTE.

With this first round of proposals received, the technical committee will complete their review of the submitted abstracts and recommend papers for the conference, authors will be notified and the schedule will begin to fill out.  In parallel, we will continue to develop workshops and panels with input from the event’s sponsors and commercial organizations interested in participating.