Our Seventh Inning Stretch
Well here we are again. Another calendar year drawing to an end, winter and the holiday season are just around the corner and the Journal staff is busy putting the wraps on 2013 and preparing for next year. With much of our editorial already lined up for the first quarter, the industry has once again proved that RF/microwave technology and applications continue to evolve rapidly. The 2014 outlook looks good for component manufacturers addressing advanced radar and communication systems.
While most RF/microwave components are found in communication or aerospace/defense systems, the rise in wireless monitoring for industrial applications, M2M, the Internet of Things (IoT) and the sheer size of the medical industry, industrial, scientific and medical applications for microwave technology could very well represent a third economic leg for the industry to perch itself. And so in December we like to shine our editorial light on new applications that require high-frequency electronics and may represent future markets in the U.S. and abroad.
In past years, we have looked at the use of microwaves in medical applications from microwave emblation, MRI and wireless monitoring to industrial applications such as telematics, smart grid control and monitoring via wireless sensor networks. This year, Dr. Abdullah Eroglua of Purdue University will discuss how RF technology is being applied in semiconductor wafer processing. The RF delivery system including RF generators and matching networks in the plasma chamber used in wafer processing will be detailed while subcomponents of the RF generators including RF power amplifiers, combiners, couplers, and filters are presented. Covering medical applications, we are also publishing a technical feature that discusses how researchers at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Canada are using simulation to develop a system in which a tumor can be both imaged and treated simultaneously.
At the recent AOC symposium in Washington, top military brass and defense analysts talked about the need for new technologies that would leverage advances in cognitive radar and software defined radio to address an increasingly congested spectrum. Contractors and the military both envision the need for next generation EW systems to meet the challenge of more technically sophisticated electronic threats such as small-sized enemy UAVs whose tracking and counter-measures are complicated by ground clutter and a crowded commercial communication spectrum. With money being tight, military spenders and manufacturers are looking for more industry-wide collaboration. This is the time for companies and engineers to be up to speed on industry trends. Dr. Guerci, author of our 2011 January cover feature on Cognitive Radar and featured speaker at the IDGA conference, will be examining the technical challenges in our January Radar and Antenna issue. Dr. Geurci’s 2011 feature was extremely popular among readers and we expect the same interest (and shelf life) with this most recent cover feature on Next Generation Smart Antennas. In addition, look for Radar component technologies such as a technical feature on diamond heat sinking for GaN transistors from TriQuint, programmable attenuators from Aeroflex, a hybrid rotary joint from Spinner and several antenna design features.
A considerable amount of RF/microwave engineering focuses on off-chip design. From surface mount components, package and PCBs to multi-chip and hybrid modules, considerable engineering effort is focused on getting the most performance out of the design and materials on which the RFIC/MMIC sits. This is especially true at millimeter-wave frequencies where parasitic losses can have a substantial impact on the overall device performance. In February, Liam Devlin of Plextek looks at some of the advances in packaging technology for multi-chip modules at millimeter-wave frequencies and the advanced interconnect technology that should help inspire designers at all frequencies seeking to pack more functionality and devices within a densely populated package or PCB substrate.
As we look at the New Year, I’d like to share this humor piece by BJ Novak which appeared in the New Yorker.
The Man Who Invented the Calendar
By B.J. Novak
January 1st—Ha! That feels fun to write. I’m excited. I’ve been thinking about doing this for so long—I went through my notes and it turns out I came up with this idea all the way back on Day After Day After Very Cloudy Day.
January 2nd—I’m still so excited about this calendar thing. It just makes so much sense. A thousand days a year, divided into twenty-five months, forty days a month. Why didn’t anyone think of this before?
January 3rd—Getting so many compliments on the calendar. One guy came up to me and said he’s going to organize his whole life around it—literally, someone said that!
January 4th—Best day ever (or at least so far) in recorded history. I talked to Alice at the bonfire for a long time. She seemed to be into me, but I didn’t want to be presumptuous. Finally, I asked if she wanted to come back to my place and hang out. She said, “I don’t know. . . . I guess I’ll have to check my calendar,” and then winked (!!!).
January 30th—People really hate January and want it to be over. I tried to explain that it’s just a label and that ending it wouldn’t make any difference, but no one got it. So finally I told everyone that this would be the last day of January, and from now on months would be thirty days instead of forty. But there wasn’t enough time to get the word out. So, to be safe, I’ll give this month thirty-one days and the rest will have thirty. Not a big deal. Everyone is excited to see Febuary.
February 1st—Another small f---up: I put an extra “r” in all the copies of the calendar I handed out, even though I already told everyone the next month coming was called Febuary. But Alice came up with the best solution! She said, “Just tell everyone it’s spelled ‘February’ but pronounced ‘Feb-u-ary.’ That way, they’ll feel stupid!” Alice is the best.
February 14th—Alice stuff weird. Tonight we were having a nice dinner at the same place we always go, but she was unusually quiet. Finally, I asked if anything was wrong, and she said, “Do you know what day it is today?” I said, “Yes, of course I do, I invented the calendar. It’s February 14th. Why?” She smiled a really tight smile, said, “Yes. Yes, it is,” and then walked out. What’s that about?
February 15th—So cold.
February 28th—I hate this month. I can’t take one more day of it. This month will just have to be shorter than the rest, and if people don’t like it they can go f--- themselves.
March 9th—There’s this new type of berry that looks so good, but somebody told me it’s poison. Oh, well.
April 1st—A lot of shenanigans today, like pranks (which are lies for no reason). People say it has something to do with the calendar, which I wasn’t crazy about. But I guess it’s good when your invention takes on a life you never expected. That’s what the inventor of the scarf told me—it was originally supposed to be a weapon.
April 30th—I think thirty-one days was a mistake. You can’t divide thirty-one by anything, so you can’t make something half a month or half a week or whatever (because seven’s the same way). There should be a word for numbers like that.
May 2nd—Ahh, now maybe I think months should be thirty-one days after all. (Why am I so obsessed with this?)
May 20th—Ran into Alice and I played it cool. She congratulated me on the calendar stuff and asked if I ever thought of putting pictures on it—she said she could maybe pose for it. I said that it sounded kind of cheesy but I’d think about it. She asked when I could hang out and I told her I was busy until August. “What’s August?” she said. “Oh, it’s a month I’ve been kicking around—you’re going to love it,” I said. I could not have played it better!
June 29th—Met this really cool girl Jane at a stoning.
October 9th—Can’t believe I haven’t written in so long! Summer was amazing. Harvest was amazing. Things are still going strong with Jane. This year has been awesome, and it’s only October! There’s still November, December, Latrember, Faunus, Rogibus, Neptember, Stonk. . . .
November 5th—Stuff with Jane is getting a little tense. She keeps wanting to push the relationship forward. She says that we’ve been together “forever.” I said it’s actually been less than five months. She just stared at me. Then I told her this idea I had: we’d choose a date in the future to make things official, and then, every year, that day on the calendar would be like our own personal holiday—for just the two of us! Good idea, right? “You’d never remember it,” she said.
November 6th—Things with Jane are better. I think we’re going to work this out. I love her, and that’s all that matters.
November 11th—They sacrificed Jane today. Really happy for the Sun God.
November 18th—Turns out those berries aren’t poison. So now I’m the guy who discovered that.
November 23rd—Alice came by and said she felt bad about the Jane stuff and that I should hang out with her and her friends. Then it turned out her friends included this new guy she’s seeing, who—get this—invented the diary. Anyway, to be the mature one, I said, “Oh, that’s great, I use that almost every day.” Guess what he says. “Oh, really? I invented that for girls.” What a dick! Then he said, “What else have you done?,” and I said that I’d been distracted about Jane being sacrificed but that I’m planning on doing something new soon, maybe involving clocks. He said, “Well, you know what tomorrow is?” I said, “Yes, November 24th.” He said, “No. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life.” And everyone said, “Aww,” and I was, like, Are you kidding me? Do you know how long it took me to get people to stop talking like that?
December 23rd—It seems like Alice and Diary Guy are really close. Really happy for them. Hard to see other people so happy this week, for some reason. Going to focus on work!
December 25th—Why do I feel so lonely today?
December 26th—Why am I so fat?
December 30th—I told everyone I’m ending the year early. I know it was impulsive, but I had to do it. I was ready for everyone to make fun of me, but it turned out they were way cooler about it than I expected: “That’s great.” “About time.” “Just what I need.” It was the most praise I got since I invented the calendar in the first place.
This year got away from me somehow. Looking back, I realize how many months slipped by that I can’t even remember. The one nice thing is seeing how even though I used to be so worked up about Alice, now I really don’t care anymore. And the Jane thing ended the right way, I think—better than some long-drawn-out breakup.
So this year wasn’t everything I hoped it would be, and I didn’t get all the months in that I wanted. But, when the New Year starts, I’m going to wake up every day at dawn and get to work. See, I’d love to put a number on “dawn”—that’s why I think this clock thing can be really big. I have so many ideas. For example: I want to double the length of a second so people won’t always have to say, “Can you give me two seconds?” They can just say, “One second.” I have a lot of ideas like that.
December 31st—So many parties going on tonight. On a Tuesday? Not complaining, just saying.
January 1st—Woke up at sun-past-mountain with a headache. So much for the “dawn” thing. But I still feel good. ♦