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Meet Experts, Make Friends was the motto for the 16th European Microwave Week that found a new home at the Nürnberg Convention Centre, NCC Ost from Sunday 6th to Friday 11th October. A higher number of unique delegates, along with exhibitors and visitors were able to discover that the beautiful city combines the culture, entertainment and history of a large metropolis, while affording the charm and warmth of a much smaller city. Whether in the conference sessions, workshops and short courses, on the exhibition floor or socialising at the Welcome Reception there was the opportunity to foster relationships, both professional and personal.
Although it is the first time that EuMW has been held in Nuremburg, exactly 30 years ago, in the days when Germany was divided into East and West, the city was the venue for the 13th European Microwave Conference. In the three decades since, The Wall has come down, along with barriers to trade and been replaced by initiatives aimed at nurturing and encouraging technological innovation.
Since its inception European Microwave Week has played its part in marrying the needs and aspirations of academia and industry and in 2013 EuMW again played matchmaker by fostering cooperation and collaboration. In Nuremburg there was the opportunity to meet experts throughout the three conferences: The European Microwave Conference (EuMC), European Microwave Integrated Circuits Conference (EuMIC) and the European Radar Conference (EuRAD), on the show floor at the European Microwave Exhibition and beyond.
For instance, the opening and closing plenary sessions of each of the three conferences featured keynote speeches by world leaders in their fields and a welcome address by the President of the IEEE. In a separate session he was joined on a Presidents’ Panel by the presidents of EuMA, IEEE MTT-S, and VDE/ITG. And, acknowledging, the increasing significance and influence of the Asian market there was also a special all-invited session on the Asia-Pacific Microwave Conference.
Those that can probably benefit greatly from meeting experts and making friends are the students and young engineers who were the focus of a number of focused initiatives – namely: The European Microwave Doctoral School that featured world leading microwave scientists and engineers as distinguished lecturers, and the European Microwave Student School that was devoted to microwave measurement techniques. In addition, eligible students competed in the Student Challenge, which is a poster competition, alongside the Student Design Competition, which is a design and measurement competition.
The Women in Microwave Engineering focused on the challenges induced by the current trends towards the Internet of Things and cyber physical systems, while the one-and-a-half day Defence and Security Forum considered the differences and commonalities of defence and automotive radar.
Automotive technology was a common theme as an academic subject, workshop topic and practical illustration on the exhibition show floor as cars and trucks demonstrated that automotive technology is emerging from the lab and onto the road. Specifically, a 250 m strip of road adjacent to the exhibition hall where Mercedes-Benz dramatically demonstrated the application of automotive radar sensors.
Larger in gross space and the number of exhibiting companies than in 2012 the exhibition hall was a hub of activity and a focus for the poster sessions, coffee breaks and the Cyber Café. The European Microwave Week Microwave Application Seminars (MicroApps) held in the MicroApps Auditorium in the exhibition hall continued to develop, with some sessions being standing room only and Panel Sessions often being platforms for lively debate and interaction.
As well as meeting experts and making friends the exhibition is the place to come face to face with the latest technology, establish and reengage contacts and do business. It is also a platform for innovation that leading manufacturers often choose to launch new products and float future concepts. In NCC Ost, Hall 7A, there were over 280 exhibiting companies. Below is a selection of the new and innovative products on show.
A new company that we have not seen before was Aaronia of Germany. They had some very interesting products such as magnetic tracking antennas for low frequency (1 Hz to 1 MHz), high directivity applications. The interesting part is that they are made with cascadable gain elements that can be added by attaching additional tubes. They also make handheld spectrum analyzers, desktop and military grade spectrum analyzers and many other types of antennas.
Agilent Technologies Inc. introduced a pulse measurement option for its FieldFox handheld analyzers that is designed to further simplify radar field testing. With the new pulse-measurement option, the analyzers allow users to carry a single instrument into the field to verify and measure radar pulse characteristics, S-parameters, spectrum analysis and transmitter power. The FieldFox pulse measurement option efficiently characterizes radar signal quality by leveraging Agilent U202x peak-power sensors (available in 18 GHz and 40 GHz models). With a single push of a button, users can perform pulse characterization in the field and obtain all key performance indicators.
Among its large portfolio of products on display Agilent showcased the M9391A, a 1 MHz to 3 GHz or 6 GHz PXIe vector signal analyzer, with up to 160-MHz bandwidth designed to test the latest wireless standards. Used in combination with Agilent’s modular X-series applications, the M9391A delivers a consistent user interface, common measurement consistency, and backward-compatible APIs to accelerate test development and throughput. There have also been significant enhancements to the company’s midrange N9020A MXA X-Series signal analyzer. New options for 160 MHz analysis bandwidth and real-time spectrum analyzer (RTSA) capability address the challenges of measuring interference in the next generation of heterogeneous wireless networks.
Agilent also announced the extension of the frequency range and enhanced scan speed of its standards-compliant MXE EMI receiver. When configured with 44 GHz frequency coverage, the MXE is a single instrument that meets the requirements for compliance testing according to standards such as MIL-STD-461 and FCC Part 15. The extended frequency range also applies to the MXE family’s powerful diagnostic capabilities, which can be used to identify the sources of unwanted emissions.
AMCAD was featuring the company’s STAN tool for stability analysis. This tool which works with both Agilent’s ADS and AWR’s Microwave Office is suitable for both linear and non-linear stability analysis, providing a notion of stability margin and oscillation mode knowledge. The tool is compatible with parametric and Monte-analysis. The company was also conducting live demos of high voltage pulse IV measurements (up to 1KV) combined with compact and behavioral tools (with stability analysis) and VNA based load pull and pulsed IV/ pulsed RF measurement systems along with partner Maury Microwave.
Anritsu showcased the newly released MS4640B series of VectorStar VNAs, together with the MS2830A spectrum and signal analyzers, a range of signal generators, and the handheld RF analyzers. Featuring a new IF digitizer system, the MS4640B series is claimed to offers the world's most advanced pulse measurement performance, complemented with the newly released PulseViewTM dedicated software suite. In addition, the DifferentialView™ software suite provides for analysis of components and devices in full differential measurement mode.
Designed for R&D and manufacturing environments, the VectorStar instruments feature a broad frequency range of 70 kHz to 70 GHz, fast measurement speed, superior dynamic range, and advanced time domain processing with up to 100,000 data points. It also offers users expandability, including frequency range upgrades to 140 GHz and higher, two-port-to-multiport upgrades, and linear-to-nonlinear measurement upgrades, so test systems can adapt to meet changing measurement requirements.
Also shown were the: MS2830A Signal Analyzers, which support high-level measurement speeds and high RF performance at low cost to help raise R&D efficiency and productivity; the Spectrum Master™ MS2720T portable spectrum analyzer range with advanced touch screen user interfaces, embedded mapping and interference-analysis features; and the PIM Master™ MW82119A Passive Inter Modulation (PIM) analyzer, said to be the world's first high power battery operated field PIM tester, featuring the Distance-to-PIM capability.
Anteverta Microwave was demonstrating their solutions for RF/microwave device characterization and high performance power amplifier design in their booth as well as in a presentation by CEO Mauro Marchetti, “Device Characterization for LTE Applications with Wideband Baseband, Fundamental and Harmonic Impedance Control”. The company offers test and analysis solutions for R&D organizations in need of speed, accuracy and multifunctional capabilities for nonlinear device characterization.
AR Europe (AR RF/Microwave Instrumentation) was on hand to demonstrate the company’s broad range of instrumentation, accessories and components for applications such as wireless, satellite, EMC, medical and scientific research and aerospace and defense. Products on display included their RF broadband power amplifiers with output power levels up to 200 watts and operating frequencies up to 6 GHz.
Arlon was featuring their multiclad halogen-free low loss laminate and prepreg system for high-speed and high frequency PCB applications. The new technology combines a low loss, high reliability thermoset resin system with the non-brominated flame retardant system to create a material that has high-performance, durability and is cost effective. The system covers applications from DC to 40 GHz.
AWR Corporation announced that NXP Semiconductor's UWB Doherty reference design is now AWR Microwave Office design environment ready. The updated release features NXP’s BLF884P and BLF884PS transistors for ultra-wideband Doherty power amplifiers operating from 470 to 806 MHz and a 70 W DVB-T UWB LDMOS reference design using NXP’s patent-pending architecture capable of operating over an ultra-wideband spectrum in the UHF broadcast spectrum. Similarly, an updated NXP LDMOS Large Signal Device model library is also now ready for use within AWR’s Microwave Office software. It includes RF power transistors designed specifically for the 2.45 GHz ISM frequency band, enabling RF energy to be used as a clean, highly efficient and controllable heat source.
AWR and AMPSA announced AWR Connected™ for AMPSA, a synthesis-through-simulation design flow specifically developed to improve design throughput and productivity for amplifier designers. AMPSA’s software provides synthesis solutions for impedance-matching networks and high dynamic range RF and microwave amplifiers that integrate directly with AWR’s Microwave Office® circuit design software. The control provided over the harmonic impedances in Version 10 of the IMW and ADW also facilitates the design of high-efficiency amplifiers.
BAE Systems announced the launch of Solid Copper thin film via technology. This new generation of interconnect technology for ceramic substrates represents a step change in capability for advanced, high density module design in the microwave band. The advantages of filled vias are claimed to be: lower electrical and RF resistance, higher thermal conductivity, higher percentage of real estate availability for component placement, they ease downstream substrate processing and enable a cost effective packaging approach The filled vias are hermetically tested to MIL-STD-883G Method 4 and have an operating temperature range of -40 ºC to +125 ºC.
Cascade Microtech announced on October 2nd that it had acquired Munich based ATT Advanced Temperature Test Systems GmbH, a leading manufacturer of advanced thermal systems used in testing semiconductor wafers over expanded temperatures. The acquisition plays well with the company’s on-wafer probe systems that allow engineers to capture the true electrical performance of devices, now over a broad range of temperatures. This is critical for testing devices under real-world conditions encountered in a host of applications from the harsh environments of wireless infrastructure to satellite communications. On display at EuMW were several examples of the company’s capabilities at sub-THz frequencies, including a 220 GHz probe station with Agilent-based VNA utilizing millimeter-wave extensions from OML.
Dover Ceramic & Microwave Products (CMP) includes names such as Dielectric Labs, Dow Key, K&L, Pole Zero, Voltronics, Novacap and Syfer. Dielectric Labs offers a variety of multi-layer ceramic filters, heat sinks and capacitors while Voltronics was offering their ceramic chip trimmer capacitors.
Coilcraft was featuring their company’s broad catalog of surface mount passive components targeting RF, power, filter and data applications. Components of note pointed out by the attending staff included the company’s wideband and high bias chokes, 0402HL high L inductors with inductance values up to 820 nH at 25 MHz, 0403 high Q inductors (18 nH at 500 MHz) and 0603 high power (up to 390 nh at 100 MHz) inductors.
Computer Simulation Technology (CST) will be previewed the latest version of its flagship electromagnetic simulation tool, CST STUDIO SUITE® 2014, which builds on the company's extensive range of electromagnetic simulation tools with new features to help Engineers to capture system effects as well as to optimize individual components in a streamlined workflow. It includes several new features to make it easier to import, manipulate and export models from CAD and EDA software.
System Assembly and Modelling (SAM) is CST's most powerful tool for integrated design, allowing multiple full-wave 3D and circuit simulations to be combined, together with analysis and optimization, into a straightforward series of tasks to be carried out automatically. CST STUDIO SUITE 2014 builds on the capabilities of SAM, with simplified multiphysics workflows, more PCB functionality, and support for nearfield sources in the frequency-domain and integral equation solvers.
Alongside these system-level enhancements are a range of performance and usability improvements to existing solvers to optimize calculations and increase support for high-performance computing techniques such as GPU and MPI computing. The transient and frequency-domain solvers in CST MICROWAVE STUDIO® (CST MWS) also support new meshing techniques for both tetrahedral and hexahedral meshes, which can greatly reduce mesh-cell count on complex geometries such as imported CAD files. This speed up in simulation can make it easier to simulate electrically very large structures without drastic simplification.
Copper Mountain was impressing EuMW visitors with their compact Network Analyzers and reflectometer product lines, including their R140 vector reflectometer, planar 808/1 “full-size” VNAs and 5048 compact VNA. The highly portable R140 (attached to a demo antenna) can operate in any environment without the use of a test cable and is fully programmable using COM/DCOM automation. With a frequency range up to 14 GHz, it’s an alternative to other field instruments that users wouldn’t think of leaving behind in a remote site. The new 808/1 VNA offers a high performance 4 port network analyzer with a frequency range up to 8.0 GHz. The compactness and innovative engineering behind Copper Mountain products should have engineers in the market for a cost and size friendly VNA to take a serious look at their offerings.
EM Software & Systems previewed the release of FEKO Suite 6.3. Support for curvilinear meshes in connection with Higher Order Basis Functions (HOBF) has been added for MoM and MLFMM. The curvilinear meshing allows larger elements without sacrificing model accuracy, which can result in significant reductions in run-time and memory requirements for some structures. Also, Antenna designers will no longer have to be concerned about the angle increments that are used to sample far field radiation patterns or RCS plots as FEKO can automatically compute a continuous representation of the data. The plotting of continuous far field data can then be sampled with any resolution in POSTFEKO.
Characteristic modes are now tracked by correlating modes between individual frequencies of a sweep. The mode tracking is based on ordering the modes correctly at each frequency relative to their rankings at the reference frequency (typically the first frequency point). This algorithm makes working with Characteristic Mode Analysis (CMA) even more intuitive. CMA has also been extended to support dielectric and magnetic materials with MoM with the surface equivalence principle and apertures with the planar Green's function. Numerous extensions have been made to the cable modelling interface including selection and snapping to cables in the 3D view, definition of cable paths at a constant distance from model faces, improved searching with the Find cable tool and rectangle selection in the schematic view.
Gore featured RF and microwave cable test assemblies that ensure precise, repeatable measurements for the life of your test equipment. The long-lasting, reliable performance of these durable assemblies delivers low loss, reduces total cost of test, and improves system reliability. These cables have excellent phase and amplitude stability with flexure, wide operating temperature range, and crush and torque resistance. They did a survey which showed that 55% of test cables do not last even one year so reliable cables are critical to keeping costs down. They were also showing off their box right angle connectors that operate up to 40 GHz. They use a swept contact for a low loss transition even though the form factor looks like a right angle.
Hittite was highlighting many products such as their 2 W power amplifier covering 15 to 20 GHz with 25% PAE, GaAs MMIC SP4T reflective switches operating from 23 to 30 GHz and optical modulator driver solutions - 28 Gbps EML and 32 Gbps MZ drivers. They are continuing to promote many of their 17 new products introduced at IMS such as wideband PLL with integrated VCOs, wideband transceivers, signal generators and wideband direct quadrature modulator with power detectors.
Holzworth was showing off their new synthesizer module that go up to 20 GHz with 150 ns switching speeds, phase memory of 64 frequencies and 10 GHz phase noise of -120 dBc/Hz. These modules are design to meet high reliability replacement for analog synthesizers with a calculated MTBF of great than 150k hours. They are ideal for high speed radar systems due to the low phase noise and fast switching speeds. They were also featuring a new synthesizer module that operates from 10 MHz to 20 GHz that is 100% phase coherent channel to channel with agile switching speed of 6 us (5% BW). These units use 100 MHz internal precision PCXO and have a calculated MTBF of 200k hours using 15 W of power.
Ladybug was highlighting their line of USB RF/microwave power sensors offering fast settled measurement time and simple computer/ATE interface capabilities. The three sensors – true RMS Average , Peak and Pulse Power and Time Domain Pulse Profiling sensors – all feature the company’s patented No-Zero/No- Cal technology which eliminates zero/calibration paths and the need to disconnect prior to making measurements. The sensors, which can be combined with standard lab equipment into a scalar network analyzer, offer measurement uncertainty of 1.95% (+/- 0.086 dB) accuracy up to 26.5 GHz.
Infineon Technologies has started the production of its BGTx0 chipsets for wireless backhaul communication systems. The transceiver family provides a complete RF front-end for wireless communication in 57-64 GHz, 71-76 GHz, or 81-86 GHz millimetre-wave bands. Paired with a baseband/modem, the system solution requires less space, offers improved reliability and lower cost for the critical wireless backhaul links needed in mobile base stations that support LTE/4G networks.
The BGTx0 family simplifies system design and production logistics by replacing more than 10 discrete devices by a single device. Due to their low power consumption the single-chip high-integration transceivers also help to reduce operating costs in high data rate millimetre-wave infrastructures
The company also introduced the latest generation of its pico Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) modules for smartphones. The BGM1143N9 is a combination of a low insertion loss pre-filter and the company’s LNA in a TSNP-9 package. With a footprint of 1.5 mm by 1.1 mm the BGM1143N9 is claimed to be the smallest GNSS module available. It is also said to feature the lowest noise figure available (1.45 dB), which increases the GNSS system’s sensitivity and improves time-to-first-fix (TTFF) and time-to-subsequent-fix (TTSF). It features very high linearity and supports all navigation standards including GPS, GLONASS and Galileo as well as China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS).
The compact manual Linear-Lever Test Fixture MA 60 was developed by Ingun as a space-saving desktop fixture for testing and programming small-sized PC Boards. The robust design with its generous and all-over accessibility, even when closed or in the contacted state, allows contacting of up to 150 test points with up to 2.0 N spring force per probe. The Replacement Kits, which are equipped with a snapping Pressure Frame plate, are available as standard or ESD versions and offer a maximum usable area of 100 by 80 mm, and can be inserted without the use of any tools within seconds and without post adjustment. The Drive Unit can be removed quickly and can be also used for alternative contacting applications.
Also highlighted were RF Replacement Kits for the MA 21xx manual test fixtures, which are used to contact highly sensitive RF-boards precisely and reliably and to measure the RF signals in a fail-safe way. The copper housings which encase the Replacement Kit are manufactured with a high level of precision. These provide outstanding screening attenuation and not only ensure RF compatible screening of the highly-sensitive RF-Boards against signal interference from the outside, but also ensure protection of the operating personnel against excessive RF-fields emitted from the inside.
Isola was featuring their I-Tera MT low loss laminate material with high performance that is very stable over a broad frequency and temperature range for high-speed and high frequency applications. It operates up to 20 GHz and offers a Dk of 3.0 and a low dissipation factor of .0035 making it a cost effective alternative to PTFE. Astra also offers similar advantages with a dissipation factor of .0017 and also stable from -55 degrees to +125 degrees C.
The highlight for Link Microtek was the new AMCORJD broadband dual-channel coaxial rotary joint that employs special contacting technology to give it long life in commercial and military satellite communications applications. It is suitable for use in small-footprint stabilised VSAT antennas, which are commonly installed on board maritime vessels, in vehicles and in ground-based systems to allow access to broadband communication services. Fabricated in aluminium with an Iridite finish, the rotary joint incorporates a 51 mm-diameter bulkhead flange as standard and can also be supplied with an integral slip-ring assembly if required.
The rotary joint provides one DC to 18 GHz transmit channel featuring a maximum VSWR of 1.8:1 and a power handling capability of 200 W CW across the full frequency band, together with a second DC to 4 GHz channel for receive signals. Maximum insertion loss is 1.5 dB for channel one and 0.2 dB for channel two, and isolation between the channels is specified as 50 dB. With a body diameter of 32 mm and an overall length of just 38mm excluding the SMA female connectors, the AMCORJD is particularly well suited to systems where space is at a premium.
MACOM announced the newest entry in its portfolio of GaN in Plastic packaged power products. Optimized for L-Band commercial air traffic control, military radar, and long range perimeter monitoring applications at 1.2 to 1.4 GHz, the 2-stage, fully matched GaN in Plastic power module scales to peak pulse power levels of 100 W in a 14 x 24 mm package size – delivering twice the power of comparably sized competing products. MACOM’s new high gain GaN in Plastic power modules are the first and only GaN-based modules to support surface mount technology (SMT) assembly, providing significant cost and process advantages compared to ceramic-packaged flange-mount components. Under pulsed conditions, these modules deliver output power greater than 90 W, with 30 dB typical associated power gain and 58% typical power added efficiency. They also announced a new GaN unmatched wideband transistor in SOT-89 package that is suited to 50 V operation in driver and power applications. It operates over from DC to 4 GHz.
MACOM also announced the industry’s first integrated core chip for the 8 to 11 GHz frequency range. Containing 6-bits of phase control, 6-bits of attenuation control and 26 dB of gain, the Core Chip is an easy to use serial/parallel interface in a surface mount QFN package. Ideal for commercial radar applications, this integrated MMIC enables radar systems in early detection and warning for severe impending weather. It is a highly integrated solution setting new standards for size, weight, and performance (SWaP) enabling the next generation of radar system design. Building on a legacy of successful product design across the entire frequency range, the X-Band Core Chip integrates a CMOS logic driver with a GaAs Transmit/Receive MMIC within a single QFN package. The surface mount 7x7mm plastic package offers a cost-effective, easy to implement solution.
MAGUS Ltd and CST are developing new tools for linear antenna arrays including feed networks, to launch with the newest version of Magus' flagship product Antenna Magus. The tool allows a feed network to be synthesized either as part of a patch array design (the N-by-1 microstrip patch array with corporate feed), or in isolation to be used with arbitrary antenna elements. The feed network uses practical microstrip lines, and the network topology is automatically adjusted according to the number of elements. The feed network models can be exported into the 3D EM simulation tool CST MICROWAVE STUDIO® and their behaviour simulated and optimized as necessary using the full-wave solvers available in CST MWS. With this new feature, the two companies hope to allow feed effects to be considered earlier in the design flow, and streamline the antenna simulation workflow.
EuMW is an opportunity to discover some new companies and novel technologies/products to serve the microwave design community. Microsanj is a Santa Clara based company that offers advanced thermal imaging analysis systems and services for companies working with high power devices in need of defect detection and failure analysis. The unique Nanotherm series analyzer offers sub-micron spatial resolution, excellent temperature resolution , transient thermal analysis in the picoseconds range and thru-the-substrate imaging for flip-chip thermal analysis using near IR illumination.
Microwave Innovation Group (MiG) presented a number of useful additions and extensions to its fast WASP-NET hybrid EM CAD tool. An advanced fast integral equation (IE) solver completes WASP-NET’s seven solver hybrid mode-matching (MM)/finite-element (FE)/method-of-moment (MoM)/finite difference (FD)/finite element-boundary-integral (FE-BI)/physical theory of diffraction (PTD)/physical optics (PO) EM CAD engine to perform high CAD efficiency for complex and large antenna structures. Examples are shaped dual reflector antennas with feed-networks, large antenna arrays, e.g. slot-arrays with complete layered feed-networks, where all mutual couplings are rigorously taken into account, Vivaldi and patch arrays, reflectors with struts and layered, lossy radomes, reflect-arrays, and radar cross-section (RCS) investigations at large structures.
An extended 3D editor for user-defined structures enables users to combine full 3D flexibility with WASP-NET’s high calculation speed. Geometry dimensions are parameterized for fast optimizations; lossy materials as well as dielectric and ferrite materials with frequency dependent tensor permittivity/permeability can be included; available 3D CAD data of components or component parts can be imported via standard formats and parameterized to be combined full-wave with desired further elements or user defined 3D structures, for fast, direct EM overall optimization.
New synthesis wizards streamline the design flow for user-friendly designs of filters and slot-arrays. A new integrated M-matrix designer automatically carries out basic filter design synthesis steps starting from given specifications, and proposes appropriate filter topologies. The fast hybrid multi-solver 3D EM CAD engine of WASP-NET enables designers to apply immediately and efficiently rigorous fast EM optimization. In this way, filters and arrays can be efficiently optimized with full accuracy directly on the EM level.
Molex was showing off their cable assemblies with a range of connectors using their Temp-Flex low loss and low loss with outer jacket diameters of .056”, .101” and .158”. The cable comes with silver plated conductors, FEP dielectric, double shields and FEP jackets.
National Instruments was showing a demo of how Hittite Microwave reduced RF IC test cost and improved test speed using the NI PXI Vector Signal Transceiver and Instrument Driver FPGA Extensions. Engineers at Hittite used instrument driver FPGA extensions to take advantage of the existing RF and baseband I/Q analysis and generation capabilities of the software-designed NI PXIe-5645R vector signal transceiver while modifying the user-programmable FPGA to implement custom signal processing and digital device under test (DUT) control.
NI also announced several additions to its NI LabVIEW reconfigurable I/O (RIO) architecture, increasing user flexibility and power to meet modern automated test system challenges and reduce the total cost of test. The most significant platform updates were new instrument driver FPGA extensions, a feature of the NI RF signal analyzer and RF signal generator instrument drivers that combine the flexibility of the open FPGA with the compatibility engineers expect from an industry-standard instrument driver.
NI talked about their joint development on load pull solutions from Anteverta Microwave, Focus Microwaves, Maury Microwave and Mesuro. These load pull solution vendors are combining their expertise with NI PXI hardware and LabVIEW system design software to overcome the increasingly difficult source and load pull characterization requirements placed on microwave power amplifiers for aerospace and defense and wireless infrastructure applications.
NI also discussed how they are collaborating with several top researchers focused on RF and wireless communications research—specifically 5G wireless communications. The proliferation of smart devices has led to a wireless spectrum shortage, which means researchers are seeking new ways to alleviate the bandwidth crunch and increase network data capacity. Market analysts predict that spectrum demand in the U.S. will outstrip capacity by 2017. Look for coverage of this topic in upcoming issues of Microwave Journal.
NXP Semiconductors showcased its latest RF power solutions for base station applications. The company offers complete RF power transistor line-ups, operating from 400 MHz right up to 3.8 GHz for base stations, covering all cellular technologies (GSM/EDGE, CDMA, TD-SCDMA, W-CDMA/UMTS, LTE and WiMAX). The line-ups use LDMOS for enhanced RF performance plus unparalleled linearity and power gain. LDMOS also offers high levels of system efficiency, requiring less energy to power the network infrastructure, so network operators can deliver next-generation cellular services and connectivity to consumers for less operational expenditure. The NXP portfolio includes line-ups in the 1 GHz, 2 GHz, 2.2 GHz, 2.7 GHz, and 3.8 GHz ranges.
Also featured was the company’s Solid State RF Energy power transistors range dedicated to the 2.45 GHz ISM band. NXP developed this dedicated ISM portfolio while working with lead customers on RF-powered solutions for home appliances for cooking, heating and drying; medical devices for precision medical procedures; and automotive engines. At EuMW visitors were treated to a Solid State Cooking demonstration.
Optenni Ltd is collaborating with CST to provide engineers with design tools for MIMO antenna optimization. Matching circuits are a useful tool for improving the efficiency of antennas. The best MIMO matching circuit is not simply the one that provides the best impedance match, but which balances this against losses in the circuit and parasitic coupling between the MIMO antennas. The latest release of Optenni Lab provides a straightforward design flow for multiport antenna design. The engineer need only enter the operation frequency ranges of the antennas and the desired number of matching components on each of the matching circuits. Optenni Lab then proposes multiple optimized matching circuit combinations suitable for the system at hand.
Park Electrochemical was showing off their N9000 PTFE laminate system for low loss, high frequency applications. It has a Dk of 2.08 through 4.50 - reported to be the first reinforced PTFE laminate with a Dk less than 2.17 for low loss antenna designs. Also shown were NL9000 for components, antennas, power amplifiers and subassemblies and meteorwave 1000/2000 for high-speed/low loss applications.
Phase Matrix was featuring their QuickSyn® microwave synthesizers that deliver instrument-grade performance, increased functionality, and efficient power consumption at a reduced size and low cost. The synthesizers employ a patented phase-refining technology that provides a unique combination of fast-switching speed and low phase-noise characteristics. They cover the frequency ranges of 0.5 to 10 GHz and 0.5 to 20 GHz (extendable down to 0.1 GHz and 0.2 GHz). QuickSyn® synthesizers utilize a fundamental VCO to achieve the desired output frequency. In contrast to frequency multiplication schemes, this approach eliminates possible spectrum contamination from subharmonic products. The use of the advanced direct digital synthesis approach, enables a very fine frequency resolution of 0.001 Hz. The VCO noise is suppressed by utilizing an ultra low noise reference oscillator in conjunction with a low-noise locking mechanism. Microphonic effects are also greatly reduced due to the use of a low-mass VCO and very wide PLL filter bandwidth.
Pickering Interfaces displayed a comprehensive new range of cost effective PXI microwave switch solutions comprising 21 new modules. The 40-784A family supports one, two or three Radiall microwave switches in just two slots of a 3U PXI chassis, with available configurations of 4-way (SP4T) and 6-way (SP6T) multiplexers and a choice of DC to 6 GHz, 18 GHz, 26.5 GHz or 40 GHz operating frequency ranges.
All versions are said to offer excellent RF and repeatability characteristics, and the 6 GHz/18 GHz/26.5 GHz configurations feature extended life with a guaranteed 10 million operations per position and typical life of 25 million operations. The single and dual switch models are fitted with channel selection LEDs to simplify system operation and debug. The minimal 2-slot PXI occupancy allows test system designers to provide high density solutions for complex microwave switching applications. The modules can be used in any PXI or PXIe Hybrid chassis and are additionally supported by Pickering Interfaces’ LXI modular chassis for applications requiring Ethernet-based control.
Hot on the heels of the 20 GHz bandwidth and TDR/TDT models, Pico Technology showcased the PicoScope® 9321 Sampling Oscilloscope that integrates a 9.5 GHz optical fibre-to-electrical converter with a high-performance, two-channel, 20 GHz PC Sampling Oscilloscope. This extends the company’s comprehensive serial data and eye diagram visualization to fibre optic data systems with bit rates up to 11 Gb/s and includes clock recovery. All the PicoScope 9300 models are full-featured sampling oscilloscopes with 20 GHz electrical bandwidth, so can be used for pre-compliance tests, fault-finding and margin testing on electrical serial data signals such as 10 Gb Ethernet, SONET/SDH STM64 and FEC1071, 10x Fibre Channel, InfiniBand and PCI Express.
The small footprint of the scopes allows them to be positioned right next to the device or port under test, on the bench or in the field, without additional cables and losses. Specification highlights include: 17.5 ps input rise time, dual 16-bit, 60 dB dynamic range ADCs, 5 ps/div dual timebase, 14 GHz trigger bandwidth, built-in clock recovery up to 11.3 Gb/s, and time interval resolution of 64 fs. Typical input noise is 1.5 mV RMS at full bandwidth; with trigger jitter of 1.8 ps RMS and recovered clock jitter of only 1 ps RMS. The PicoSample™ software has been comprehensively updated for the new oscilloscopes. The range of controls has been extended, with intuitive graphics, click-and-drag operations and measurement labels to simplify and speed up operation.
RFHIC continues to grow as a major player in the field of GaN RF power amplifiers. The company’s senior management was on hand to meet customers and prospective customers looking for high power broadband solid state amplifier solutions for a range of RF/microwave applications. They were also showing off the recently released cost effective 330 W PA designed specifically to replace BJT technology for radar applications operating in the 2.7 to 2.9 GHz range. The company was also featuring GaN transistors for LTE, Doherty GaN pallet amplifiers for LTE, GaN hybrid amplifiers for small cell and P2P applications, GaN for radar solutions from to 8 GHz and GaAs E-pHEMT MMICs and LNAs for a variety of applications.
Rogers was featuring many laminates and prepregs including their 2929 Bondply which is an unreinforced, thermoset based thin film (available in 1.5, 2, and 3 mil) adhesive system intended for use in high performance, high reliability multi-layer constructions. The proprietary cross-linking resin system makes this thin film adhesive system compatible with sequential bond processing while controlled flow characteristics offer blind via fill capability. It has a low dielectric constant of 2.9 and loss tangent .003.
Rohde & Schwarz used EuMW to feature a number of new products including the R&S FSW67 signal and spectrum analyzer that is claimed to be the only instrument on the market to cover the frequency range from 2 Hz to 67 GHz in a single sweep. Thanks to its unique analysis bandwidth of up to 320 MHz, the R&S FSW67 also measures wideband, hopping and chirp signals. Users can now easily perform spectrum measurements and modulation measurements in the 60 GHz band. The R&S FSW67 offers outstanding RF characteristics. Its integrated preamplifier up to 67 GHz makes it very sensitive even in this high frequency range. The smallest of spurious will be detected, and noise figures of components will be measured with high precision. Featuring a phase noise of -111 dBc (Hz) at 10 kHz offset from the carrier at 67 GHz, the analyzer offers a high dynamic range even for measurements close to the carrier.
Rohde & Schwarz has also enhanced its new R&S SMW200A high-end vector signal generator by adding the R&S SMW K540 option for envelope tracking. This option enables quick and easy testing of envelope tracking power amplifiers for smartphones, base stations and tactical radios. It meets the test requirements of chipset manufacturers by offering a solution that generates fully synchronous RF and envelope waveforms in a single instrument. The signal generator calculates the envelope waveform from the baseband signals in real time, so that all communications standards supported by the R&S SMW200A as well as custom waveforms can be used.
Other highlights included: the new R&S FSW K160R option, which upgrades the R&S FSW high-end signal and spectrum analyzer to a real time spectrum analyzer and gives users a single instrument that can be used for traditional spectrum analysis with excellent RF characteristics as well as spectrum analysis without any time gaps and a bandwidth of up to 160 MHz in real time mode; and the company’s new midrange vector network analyzers – the R&S ZNB20 with two or four test ports for the frequency range from 100 kHz to 20 GHz and the R&S ZNB40 with two test ports for the range from 10 MHz to 40 GHz.
Schott is expanding its range of services and product portfolio, and the latest development from the Electronic Packaging division is an HTCC feedthrough for 4 x 25Gbit/s Quad Small Form Factor Pluggable (QSFP) transceivers. This higher density, yet more powerful multilayer ceramic is designed for use in QSFP transceivers that transmit 100Gbit short distance communications. The miniaturized hermetic HTCC feedthroughs are claimed to ensure an extremely high density interconnect solution for this HF interface that delivers excellent HF performance. Key areas of application include fibre optic networks for data communications and enterprise data centres, as well as defence and aerospace.
Sonnet Software was featuring the company’s high-frequency electromagnetic analysis software for model extraction and planar circuit and antenna design. Geometry support includes common and advanced RF/microwave structures such as spiral inductors, filters, microstrips, stripline, co-planar waveguide and both PCB and integrated circuits incorporating large numbers of layers of stratified dielectric materials. Company experts were on hand to support potential and existing customers with questions about EM simulation and EDA design flows between the company’s software and other software design environments such as AWR’s Microwave Office, Cadence Virtuoso and Agilent ADS.
Space Forrest (Poland) was featuring a very interesting solution to cavity filter tuning with an automated screw tuning robot utilizing their proprietary software based on an artificial intelligence algorithm designed to replace manual microwave filter screw tuning. The machine is able to tune complex precision filters and diplexers, minimizing costs and risks from human errors.
Spinner presented its latest product highlights in RF technology products for microwave measurement and rotary joint applications. The robust articulated lines for frequencies ranging up to 26.5 GHz leverage extremely phase-stable and amplitude-stable microwave measurement lines. The latest developments in waveguide and coax rotary joints for SatCom, radar and industrial applications, covering common frequency bands up to 95 GHz, were also presented together with multi-channel fibre optical rotary joints. Besides pure microwave and optical joints, a non-contacting GBit – Ethernet solution for data transmission in rotating applications was featured.
Steatite Q-par Antennas launched a new 2 to 24 GHz Dual Linear Sinuous Antenna. The low squint ultra wide bandwidth antenna is suitable for use in the EW and SIGINT market providing intercept opportunities for a wide range of arbitrarily polarised hostile signals. The QMS00042 antenna simultaneously handles signals of any two orthogonal polarisations, is compact in size, lightweight and rugged in construction and manufactured from aluminium and engineering plastics. It is suitable for land, sea and air applications including ELINT, ESM and radar warning receiver (RWR) systems.
TriQuint new GaN products, processes and service solutions at the show included Small Cell PAs optical drivers and Spatium™, TriQuint’s TWTA replacement technology. TriQuint announced two new high-power GaN packaged transistors including 200 and 285 W devices. Both offer excellent gain, which enables smaller RF amplifiers and reduced part-counts in many applications; both devices are widely exportable. The first covers DC-2 GHz while the other covers DC-3.3 GHz
TriQuint also introduced the first in a new family of ‘small cell’ integrated power amplifiers that also serve active antenna base stations. The new amplifier reduces board space while delivering high efficiency as a key component in 3G/4G mobile networks including LTE. It meets Band 1 requirements while reducing PCB areas 50%.
TriQuint recently added four new SMT optical network modulator drivers to its industry-leading portfolio. These products expand the company’s line-up with devices that include miniaturized and integrated modules. TriQuint high performance optical components reduce overall system costs, simplify RF design and shrink board space for today’s 100 Gb/s optical fiber networks and future 200/400G systems.
TriQuint acquired CAP Wireless and its Spatium™ RF power combining technology that replaces traveling wave tube amplifiers (TWTAs) in communications and defense systems. Spatium technology adds to the efficiency, bandwidth and ruggedness of TriQuint’s product portfolio in high power RF applications where Spatium delivers superior broadband RF power efficiency through the use of patented coaxial, low loss spatial combining techniques.
Wainwright Instruments introduced UHF/microwave band reject filters that can be tuned by computer with intuitively usable software or directly by simple LAN Telnet protocol. The passband up to 2.5 or 5.0 GHz resp. makes these filters suitable for measuring harmonics in laboratory applications and automated test stations in production lines. The carrier frequency of a signal source is suppressed and the harmonics are allowed to pass. With dimensions of 305 mm by 60 mm by 180 mm plus connectors the filters have a maximum RF power rating of 50 W and an operating temperature of 10° to 45° C.
WIN Semiconductor rarely had an empty booth as the company technologists were on hand to talk about the advanced offerings of the world’s largest pure-play compound semiconductor foundry. The company had several recent developments to share with EuMW attendees including their recent support for electro-thermal analysis in Agilent’s ADS and their automated web-based Design Rule Checking. Senior VP of Business Development, David Danzillio also found time to join Microwave Editor, David Vye and other leading GaN/GaAs foundry representatives on an AWR/EDI CON sponsored keynote MicroApps panel on Wednesday.
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