Paris is renowned for its delicious food and fine wines but the city served up a mouth-watering array of technology and innovation as the Palais des Congrès played host to the 18th European Microwave Week that took place 6-11 September. Around 1,000 papers were submitted for review to the three conferences from more than 50 countries. The technical program included 86 technical sessions, 424 oral papers and 96 posters, five special sessions and seven focused sessions.
As the premier RF and microwave event in Europe, EuMW 2015 attracted about 1,400 conference delegates and 4,200 total unique attendees with the exhibition featuring 303 companies. On Tuesday the reception was be held in Espace Maillot, Level 2 of the Palais des Congrès sponsored by Keysight with a record number of diners approaching 1,000 people. In the opening remarks for the conference, EuMA president Wolfgang Heinrich discussed more conferences, more publication options, higher visibility and more collaboration in order to expand their presence and activities for the community.
EuMW consists of 3 conferences plus other special sessions and activities. The conferences included the 45th European Microwave Conference (EuMC), 10th European Microwave Integrated Circuits Conference (EuMIC) and 12th European Radar Conference (EuRAD) plus workshops and short courses and the Defence, Security and Space Forum. Microwave Journal organized the Industry Defence Panel sessions featuring new industry capabilities for UAVs in the areas of AESAs, highly integrated communications solutions, wideband signal generation/measurement and GaN technology.
This year’s Women in Microwave Engineering event focused on microwaves in the area of fashion (fashionable and wearable technology), arts and gastronomy and will ended with a guided tour of a fashion workshop. Several invited presentations on these topics strongly related to the city of Paris were given followed by a moderated discussion session.
If you did not want to feel old, then those of us with years of experience in the RF and microwave industry were well advised to steer clear of the EuMW Career Platform. Aimed specifically at young graduates, its aim was to foster the dynamic between young researchers, engineers and the microwaves job market and develop the industry, research and education triangle. A Career Platform Lounge featured recruitment booths where companies and organizations could discuss opportunities with potential job seekers – not quite speed dating for engineers but close!
All of the Microwave Journal editors were on site and visited many of the exhibiting companies on the show floor. Here is a summary of the new and featured products that were found in the exhibition:
We visited with the RF Energy Alliance, a group building defining standards for solid-state RF energy deployment. Solid-state RF energy’s clean, highly efficient and controllable heating and power source has the potential to transform multiple industries on consumer and industrial levels, including medical devices, auto, appliances and lighting. Their main initial target application is microwave ovens. Solid-state RF energy reduces system cost by minimizing design complexity, effectively inspiring application design and growing markets. Dr. Klaus Werner heads the RF Energy Alliance and we met with him at EuMW, along with their RF Energy Alliance members (Huber+Suhner, NXP Semiconductors, MACOM and Rogers Corporation). He said the goal for the power amplifier module is a solid state unit that is $12 and produces 300 W of power with about 75% efficiency. This is a tall order but with LDMOS and GaN going to larger diameter wafers and plastic packaging, it might be achievable soon. We hope to feature an article on this topic in our December issue.
Altair’s computer-aided engineering (CAE) simulation software platform for simulation-driven innovation is HyperWorks, which includes modeling, visualization, analysis and optimization technologies and solutions for structural, impact, electromagnetics, thermal, fluid, systems and manufacturing applications. The electromagnetics solver suite in HyperWorks is FEKO, a comprehensive electromagnetic analysis software used to solve a broad range of electromagnetic problems. It includes a set of hybridized solvers, giving the possibility to combine methods to solve complex and electrically large problems, with all solvers included in the same package. Microwave Journal just released a product feature article on Hyperworks’ new features in the Sept issue here.
ANSYS introduced Electronics Desktop in version 16.0 earlier this year that is a single environment with a highly integrated interface that provides a streamlined workflow between ANSYS EM field solvers, circuit/system simulators, ECAD links, and EMI/EMC compliance reporting. The integration aids physics-based, first-pass design success. This new platform delivers a single desktop for HFSS, HFSS 3D Layout, HFSS-IE (integral equation solver), Q3D Extractor (quasi-static), Planar EM, Circuit and System simulations. Users can insert HF/SI analysis into coexisting projects with drag-and-drop dynamic links between the EM and circuit simulations. This yields simple problem set-up and reliable performance.
ANSYS 16.0 introduced the ability to create 3D EM components and integrate them into larger assemblies and systems. These include multi-pin connectors, phased arrays and highly-integrated chip-package-board systems. This capability is especially useful for sharing detailed device models within an organization and between supplier and system integrators. Simulation-ready 3D components can be created and stored in library files, then easily added to larger system designs without needing to apply excitations, boundary conditions and material properties. This leverages the existing information to save engineers valuable set-up time and ensure accurate data entry. All the internal details are incorporated in the original design of the 3D components.
In collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD Computer Simulation Technology (CST) brought a taste of the future to EuMW by demonstrating how the emerging technology of immersive virtual reality can be used in the EM design workflow and integrated with its flagship electromagnetic simulation tool, CST STUDIO SUITE® 2015. Virtual reality is still thought of as a platform for games and entertainment, but also offers advantages for engineers who need to visualize complex behavior in their device. Using software developed in cooperation with Fraunhofer IGD, visitors tried on a pair of Oculus Rift goggles and fly through a CST STUDIO SUITE simulation of a PCB in an enclosure in order to quickly and intuitively identify couplings.
For the near future the company unveiled its Characteristic Mode Analysis tool for CST STUDIO SUITE® 2016. CMA is a technique developed to provide physical insight into the behavior of a conducting surface. It calculates a set of orthogonal current-modes which are supported on a conducting surface – for example, the current modes of a metal plate. The CMA tool, which is built into the integral equation solver module of CST STUDIO SUITE, automates the process of calculating these modes, and calculates the modal significance (a measure of which modes are dominant at a particular frequency), farfield radiation pattern and surface current distribution associated with each mode, with automatic mode-tracking.This offers users significant insight into their device. For example, when developing a multi-band printed antenna, the CMA tool can be used to calculate the current modes on the antenna at the desired resonant frequency, and then optimize the geometry to increase the coupling to the desired mode.
Keysight EEsof EDA showcased RF and microwave circuit design solutions with live demos. These included Keysight’s Advanced Design System's (ADS) new enhancements like Silicon RFIC interoperability on a Linux machine, slated for the next release. Other features highlighted include the ability to simulate the entire MMIC flow with the MMIC toolbar, integrated Electro-Thermal solver that’s tightly integrated with ADS layout environment and circuit simulators, innovative multi-technology capabilities, and a 3D EM modeling and simulation environment, Keysight EMPro, that is integrated with the ADS design flow.
On the NPI podium, Keysight EEsof EDA connected a PC with Keysight software, including EMPro and SystemVue, to a big touch screen. Software solutions focused on new applications for Silicon MMIC, including 5G and automotive radar, and applications in signal/power integrity, power electronics, and emerging GaN technology.
Mician previewed Version 8.0 of the µWave WizardTM design tool, which uses the well-known fast and accurate Mode-Matching technique that is particularly suitable for simulation and optimization of passive microwave systems and components, including antennas. The mode matching method (MM) and their derivatives (i.e. the fast hybrid MM/boundary contour and the MM/2D-finite-element method) simultaneously offers fast processing speed and high accuracy. Version 8.0 will feature a new integrated 3D-modeller providing: a versatile 3D editor for parameterized geometrical models of 3D and planar structures; a constructive solid geometry technique by basic 3D objects and Boolean operations or 2D-cross sectional profiles and extrusion; and a multimodal S-matrix connection between the µWave Wizard library and 3D modeler elements. To find out more about Version 8.0 of the µWave Wizard look out for the Product Feature in the November issue of Microwave Journal.
High speed is the emphasis of the Microwave Innovation Group’s (MiG) WASP-NET hybrid EM CAD and optimization tool, which features significant developments. As well as its fast optimization speed it offer complete 3D flexibility and generality. Recent advances include a powerful user-friendly graphical 3D editor. A specific feature of the 3D modeler is that 3D Cad data of components, component parts or antennas that are already available (e.g. from different 3D tools) can be imported via standard data formats (e.g. STEP, IGES, BREP, SAT, etc.) and then parameterized.
A new advanced fast integral equation (IE) solver technique based on hybrid shooting-and-bouncing-ray (SBR) – physical theory of diffraction (PTD) – method-of-moment (MoM) technique completes WASP-NET’s hybrid mode-matching multi-solver EM CAD tool. In this way large antenna structures (e.g. multiple large reflectors and mirrors) including complete feed-networks can be rigorously calculated. Another key new feature includes an extremely efficient design and optimization of antennas (e.g. shaped reflectors) immediately, together with their feed networks. Fast MoM algorithms, such as the multi-level-fast-multipole-method (MLFMM) and the adaptive integral method (AIM) achieve the efficient calculation of radar-cross-section (RCS) of large objects and the design and optimization of reflect-arrays.
NI/AWR announced that AWR Connected™ for Antenna Magus now supports the 64-bit V12 release of NI AWR Design Environment™. This interface between the respective firms' software products expedites antenna design from synthesis within Antenna Magus to full circuit/ electromagnetic (EM) simulation with Microwave Office circuit design software and AXIEM 3D planar EM simulation. Antenna Magus provides a database of many different highly-characterized antenna models that can be exported to NI AWR software for EM analysis, integration, tuning and optimization. A select listing of antenna classes presently supported include microstrip patch antennas, microstrip patch arrays, and spiral antennas, as well as log-periodic and Yagi arrays and many more. They also presented the new features available in V12 and supported EuMW by sponsoring the mobile app which had some nice features for attendees to schedule their sessions and keep up to date on activities.
Test & Measurement
For Aaronia the spotlight was on the Spectran range of real-time spectrum analyzers in all its form factors. The handheld EMF spectrum analyzers range from the Spectran NF-1010E EMF meter to the Spectran 5030 S, which is suitable for Pre-Compliance and EMC/EMI tests up to 30 MHz and features a wide range of additional options to optimize the analyzer functionality. Of the USB spectrum analyzers the flagship is the Spectran HF-60100 V4 X, a 9.4 GHz RF USB unit for the ‘pro’ that includes real-time USB analyzer-software for MAC-OS, Linux and Windows.
In the 19 inch remote spectrum analyzer sector the Spectran RF View is claimed to be the first EMI/RF camera system offering real-time graphical visualization of RF emissions such as antenna radiations and EMC measurements in unlimited resolution and scaling and providing a 3D illustration of signal strength. For field use the company offers military standard rugged outdoor spectrum analyzers. The Spectran HF-XFR PRO has a frequency range of 9 kHz to 9.4 GHz, while the Spectran NF-XFR PRO has a frequency range of 1 Hz to 20 MHz (opt. 30 MHz). Both are ultra- robust spectrum analyzers for use under extreme conditions.
Anritsu Corporation showcased the very latest in VNA technology, new technology for millimeter-wave spectrum analysis and displayed up-coming and new additions to the ShockLine and VectorStar product families. The VectorStar VNA series offers extreme high performance suitable for use in leading-edge research establishments including 5G device research, as well as in the development of microwave devices used in communications, aerospace and defense, and industrial equipment. The VectorStar ME7838 Series is a Broadband VNA with the widest available single frequency sweep from 70 kHz to 110, 125, and 145 GHz, which when configured with waveguide mmWave modules will operate up to 1.1 THz.
The ShockLine family of affordable VNAs delivers an unprecedented level of value and performance, including best-in-class dynamic range and maximum output power. The new MS46500B series lowers cost-of-test and speeds time to market in numerous testing applications up to 8.5 GHz, including designing and manufacturing mobile network equipment, mobile devices, automotive cables, high-speed data interconnects and system integration components.
Also, the MS2830A family of spectrum analyzers offers a range of high performance spectrum and vector signal analyzers, with a unique capability for internal vector signal generator. With innovative techniques for world leading level accuracy measurement, high performance dynamic range, and advanced user interface features, it is the preferred choice in many industries due to its price/performance combination.
AR was showing off their 350 W, .7 to 6 GHz solid state amplifier that is the only single band unit currently available. It is a Class A design, self-contained, air-cooled, broadband amplifier designed for applications where instantaneous bandwidth, high gain and linearity are required. The unit is designed for bench-top use, but can be removed from the cabinet for immediate equipment rack mounting. When used with a sweep generator, it will provide a minimum of 350 watts of RF power. Included is a front panel gain control which permits the operator to conveniently set the desired output level. The 350S1G6 is protected from RF input overdrive by an RF input leveling circuit which controls the RF input level to the RF amplifier first stage when the RF input level is increased above 0 dBm. The RF amplifier stages are protected from over-temperature by removing the DC voltage to them if an over-temperature condition occurs due to cooling blockage or fan failure.
ART-Fi launched the ART-MAN Duobody Universal SAR measurement system, the first single-unit, 100 percent vector system to measure SAR for worldwide requirements, meeting all the regulations for tissue simulation.
There was a need to produce a cost-effective SAR measurement solution for test labs and wireless manufacturers that were testing body SAR to both FCC and IEC requirements, so we made the ART-MAN Duobody unit that has two head side mannequins and two flat phantoms, making it a universal system for both head and body SAR testing to global regulatory requirements. The tissue simulating liquid for the head phantoms follow identical standards for IEC and FCC SAR measurements, while the body tissue-simulating material has two different sets of characteristics to comply with. It is reported to be the only system that can do simultaneous multi-frequency assessment and MIMO type antennas according to the latest standards.
Copper Mountain was showing off their top-of-the-line C1220 analyzer boasting a frequency range of 100 kHz to 20 GHz, with a typical dynamic range of 145 dB, and designed for operation with any Windows PC or laptop. It handles advanced test applications providing a cost effective solution for S-parameter measurement. To achieve this high performance at an affordable cost, the design and production of Cobalt VNAs incorporates several innovative manufacturing and test approaches. This technology includes new test grade coaxial connector technology for internal interconnect and tighter tolerances that contribute to Cobalt’s metrological accuracy. Advanced electromagnetic modeling optimizes the 20 GHz Cobalt’s ultra-wideband directional coupler design, and new production methods for precision airstrip lines give the directional couplers extraordinary stability, both over temperature and very long time intervals.
Cobalt VNAs also feature hybrid dual-core DSP+FPGA signal processing engines, and new frequency synthesizer technologies. These advances propel Cobalt’s measurement speed to among the most advanced instruments in the industry at a cost effective price.
Electro Rent andFocus Microwaves recently announced that Electro Rent is the exclusive North American representative and world partner for Focus Microwaves tuners, software, fixtures and accessories. Focus Microwaves’ automated, multi-harmonic and manual tuners, test fixtures, calibration kits and more are available for purchase or rental from Electro Rent. Focus recently acquired Mesuro and the assets of Auriga so have greatly expanded their capabilities and product portfolio. Electro Rent Europe, a subsidiary of Electro Rent, appointed two industry experts to key positions within its new UK office. The appointments follow the recent opening of Electro Rent Europe’s UK office, which will provide customers with localized stock and support.
Holzworth was showing their HSX Series was initially released as a 10 MHz to 6 GHz CW source with later models operating to 12 and 20 GHz. This series of broadband frequency sources exhibit industry leading phase noise and spectral purity performance coupled with a highly accurate dynamic range of +18 to -110 dBm. The 1U high form factor will be available in 1, 2, 3 or 4 channel models; all providing the ultimate in frequency accuracy, channel-to-channel stability and phase coherent channels.
Keysight Technologiesannounced the industry’s first 50 GHz handheld combination analyzer, with the addition of six millimeter-wave models to its FieldFox family. Weighing 7.1 lbs the FieldFox can replace three or four single-function instruments – benchtop or handheld – that are typically used for maintenance and troubleshooting of systems that operate at or above Ka-Band frequencies. Three combination-analyzer models cover 32, 44 or 50 GHz and provide spectrum analysis, vector network analysis and cable and antenna testing in a rugged, portable unit. The three spectrum analyzer models cover the same frequency range. The FieldFox family is optimized for field testing. The fully sealed enclosure – no fans or vents – is compliant with US MIL-PRF-28800F Class 2 standards and is also type tested to meet MIL-STD-810G requirements for operation in explosive environments (Method 511.5, Procedure 1). FieldFox analyzers are also type tested to meet IEC/EN 60529 IP53 requirements for protection from dust and water.
Also new is the M9485A VNA PXIe multiport vector network analyzer, which is designed for high-volume wireless component manufacturing of front-end modules, switches and filters used in mobile phones and base stations. During volume manufacturing, test speed is critical and space is often limited. With its true multiport capability up to 24 ports, all receivers synchronize with a common source to measure all S-parameters at once. When measuring multiport devices, this configuration drastically reduces the sweep time. These capabilities speed test by improving both productivity and throughput, while also minimizing space. Frequency coverage of 1 MHz to 9 GHz is suitable for future component designs.
Demonstrating its 5G capability Keysight Technologies has introduced the 5G channel sounding Reference Solution, which is designed for accelerating advanced research of millimeter-wave 5G channel models and includes ultra-broadband and MIMO ─key requirements to measure the millimeter wave channel and validate new air interface standards.
Maury Microwave recently released their LLC-series of bidirectional airline couplers represents a breakthrough in high-power coupler technology. The differentiating features of the LLC-series bidirectional coupler include high power handling, high directivity, low insertion loss and broadband performance. These characteristics make the LLC coupler ideal for amplifier power monitoring, base station integration and test and measurement applications. Last month they released an application note on NVNA methodologies, written in collaboration with NMDG and featured in the August 2015 issue of the Microwave Journal. The article "Comparing Nonlinear Vector Network Analyzer Methodologies" covers the background of linear and nonlinear measurements of transistor technology, and an investigation into the capabilities of the MT4463 Large Signal Network Analyzer (LSNA) and the MT2000 Mixed-Signal Active Load Pull system and is available here.
MPI Corporation is partnering with the T&M equipment manufacturer Rohde & Schwarz to provide customers with turnkey solutions for measurements on semiconductor components in the RF and millimeter-wave ranges. MPI recently announced what it claims to be the industry‘s first probe system specifically designed for high-precision measurements in the millimeter-wave and submillimeter-wave (THz) ranges based on a seamless integration of Rohde & Schwarz millimeter-wave converters. The MPI TITAN™ RF probes are claimed to provide excellent, real-time visibility of the probe tip contacts for highly accurate positioning of the probes.
With regards to the MPI/ Rohde & Schwarz alliance MPI’s intuitive QAlibria™ calibration software with multi-touch functionality supports the R&S®ZVA and R&S®ZNB VNAs. These offer a wide output power range for the characterization of active components in the linear and non-linear regions. Featuring highly stable sources, the R&S®ZVA in conjunction with Rohde & Schwarz frequency converters is ideally suited for on-wafer component characterization in the millimeter-wave range.
NI featured new solutions for spectrum monitoring and electronic warfare applications in addition to NI's RF and microwave offerings. They had many demos running including a real-time spectrum analysis demonstration featuring NI's new Controller for FlexRIO that combines wideband RF transceiver adaptor modules (200 MHz BW) to produce a rugged and deployable radio platform. The real-time spectrum analysis is done on NI’s signal analyzer with 765 MHz bandwidth along with LabVIEW control of the FPGA. Another demo featured a radar signal generation and analysis in VSS and LabVIEW with a wide bandwidth 26.5 GHz PXI real-time spectrum analyzer.
Also demonstrated was NI's new PXI-based Wireless Test System for manufacturing test of WLAN access points, cellular handsets, infotainment systems and other multi-standard and IoT devices which will be featured in Microwave Journal’s upcoming Nov 5G IoT supplement. The latest features of NI AWR Design Environment Version 12, LabVIEW, and NI-RFmx, our RF measurement API was also shown in the booth (see above NI/AWR features in the Software section). And finally, there was 5G demonstration highlighting LabVIEW Communications System Design Suite (with LTE application framework) for fast proto-typing. It demonstrates how the LTE signal can easily be modified to test new modulation schemes such as GFDM.
Pickering was featuring their high performance switching modules that feature low insertion loss and very high isolation. Their PXI Microwave Switch Modules vary from simple multiplexer and switch configurations to integrated matrices and large multiplexers. Most products are characterized for 50 Ω operation; however, some 75 Ω versions are supplied either as standard or custom products. Remote versions occupy a single PXI slot with the microwave switches mounted separately from the host chassis, connection to the module is via a supplied control cable. They have single, double, triple, SP4T and SP6T configurations with frequency coverage up to 65 GHz. Their microwave switch modules use high quality RF connectors that are supported by our 3-Year standard warranty cables and connector accessories. New models have LED lighting indicators which seems unique to date.
Rohde & Schwarz presented the ultrasensitive R&S FSWP phase noise analyzer and VCO tester for the first time in Europe. The high-end instrument covers a frequency range up to 50 GHz and offers a top dynamic range. The extremely low phase noise of its local oscillator coupled with cross-correlation makes it possible to easily measure signal sources that in the past required complex test setups. Its fully digital signal processing enables it to perform complex measurements at the push of a button and features intuitive touchscreen operation. Thanks to its additional voltage sources, the R&S FSWP is also suitable for measuring VCOs ‒ in research and development and, thanks to its high measurement speed, also in production.
Also showcased was the new R&S FSW85 high-end signal and spectrum analyzer which is claimed to be the only instrument on the market to cover the frequency range from 2 Hz to 85 GHz in a single sweep. This makes it possible for users to test baseband and RF with a single analyzer. Since no external harmonic mixers are required, the spectrum analyzer makes the test setup much simpler. An internal preselection suppresses the image frequency and other spurious emissions that commonly occur during harmonic mixing. The R&S FSW85 can also be optionally equipped with an internal analysis bandwidth of 500 MHz, giving developers of radar components a variety of analysis options ‒ particularly for automotive and aerospace and defense applications.
For pulse modulation and noise figure measurements up to 60 GHz the company demonstrated the combination of the R&S ZVA high end vector network analyzer (VNA) with the R&S ZVAX-TRM extension unit, which offers users the capability to measure the noise figures of amplifiers, converters and transmit/receive (T/R) modules for radar and satellite applications. The new R&S ZVAXxxB31 and R&S ZVAXxxB32 options for the R&S ZVAX TRM even make it possible to carry out this measurement on amplifiers with low gain of only 10 dB and low noise figures down to the 1 dB range. Rohde & Schwarz has also expanded the test setup's pulsed signal measurement capabilities to the 60 GHz range by adding the R&S ZVAX67B712 and R&S ZVAX67B73 pulse modulator options.
Semiconductors, Devices & Components
A year after the acquisition of Hittite, the Analog Devices and Hittite teams and product portfolios are pretty well integrated. Where ADI and Hittite products overlapped, the best product was retained. Hittite’s products are now carried by ADI’s distribution channel, as distribution generates about half of ADI’s business. Previously released Hittite products or products that were being developed when the acquisition closed retain the Hittite part number; new “Hittite” products are adopting the ADI part number designation. Mike Mullins, business development manager for RF products, said that Hittite filled the gaps in ADI’s portfolio and the combined company is “clearly the leader in RF/microwave from DC to 110 GHz.”
Two new product announcements were tied to EuMW: the first, a 24 to 35 GHz driver amplifier providing 24 dBm output power at 1 dB compression and 22 dB gain. The PHEMT MMIC was designed for point-to-point radio and Ka-Band satellite ground terminals. ADI also announced a 3.2 GHz clock jitter attenuator, designed for the JESD204B serial interface that connects high speed data converters and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA) in base stations.
In their booth, ADI was demonstrating a 60 GHz wireless link using SiGe transceivers designed by Hittite. Initially developed for WiGig, the transceivers are now being marketed for short point-to-point links. The demo showed BER performance using a 256 QAM signal in a 100 MHz channel. In a real world application, the transceiver will support a 1 km link using an antenna with >30 dBi gain.
The RF/microwave team is now developing transceivers for E-Band (70/80 GHz) links and products for 77 GHz automotive radar.
Also at EuMW, ADI participated in the industry panel session at the Defence, Security & Space Forum on September 9. Duncan Bosworth, director of marketing and applications for aerospace and defense, presented The Analog vs. Digital Conundrum; Mixed Signal Solutions and Challenges for Unmanned Systems.
Diamond Microwave announced a ten-fold increase in its power output capability with the addition of a 1 kW X-Band model to the company’s range of GaN-based pulsed solid-state power amplifiers (SSPA). The DM‑X1K0‑01 is an ultra-compact SSPA operating over a 1200 MHz bandwidth centered at 9.5 GHz. The ultra-compact design measures 244 x 134 x 50 mm3 excluding heatsink and connectors, making it suitable for use as an alternative to a travelling wave tube amplifier (TWTA) in various radar applications.
Exodus Advanced Communications was featuring their AMP1029 50 W, 2.2 to 6 GHz solid state GaN amplifier. It is a Class AB linear GaN design with instantaneous wide bandwidth and suitable for all modulations standards. It has a small form factor and is light weight with built-in protection circuits. Power gain is 47 dB min and power flatness is 3.0 dB p-p Max. It is built for ruggedness and high reliability.
As expected, Freescale displayed their extensive portfolio of RF power transistors. A bit out of the ordinary, a growing number of the products are for applications other than wireless infrastructure, and GaN has invaded the LDMOS family.
For example, Freescale was showing a new 1100 W, 50 V LDMOS transistor for pulsed applications between 960 and 1215 MHz, such as Mode S transponders. At the rated output power, the device has 51 percent drain efficiency and 17.3 dB gain (typical). To provide more value to customers, the company is developing dual-stage amplifiers with sensors integrated in the package.
Three GaN-based amplifiers for wireless infrastructure were displayed: a three-way asymmetric Doherty with 40 W average output power, covering 1.8 to 2.2 GHz; a three-way asymmetric Doherty with 60 W average output, covering 2.5 to 2.7 GHz; and a symmetric Doherty providing 50 W average across 3.4 to 3.6 GHz. Contrasting GaN with LDMOS, Freescale sees GaN’s advantage addressing broad bandwidths and higher frequencies. For S-Band radar, Freescale is developing a GaN power amplifier that will provide 700 W pulsed across 2.7 to 3.5 GHz.
To improve performance and reliability and lower the cost of their power transistors, Freescale has extended their plastic packaging capability to reduce thermal resistance by up to 30 percent. They demonstrated the improvement with side-by-side IR measurements of two 1200 W LDMOS power transistors, one assembled in plastic and soldered to the PCB, the second the a ceramic flange package clamped to the board and containing same transistor die.
K&L Microwave featured a tunable, non-reflective bandreject filter unit covering 700 to 1000 MHz. Rejection is 40 dB (10 MHz BW) and 3 dB (20 MHz BW) with 50 W CW power handling. Input and output return loss are 14 dB. This device is placed after the DUT to protect the Spectrum Analyzer from high-power fundamentals and provide harmonic measurements. The non-reflective functionality prevents energy from bouncing back to the DUT and raising the noise floor level. Broadband matching improves dynamic range and reduces measurement uncertainty.
Infineon Technologiesits continued collaboration with Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP) to develop a sensing solution. Potential applications include wearables, internet of things and automotive applications. The sensor provides Google ATAP and its developer community with a compact and low power implementation suitable for integration and use in both mobile and fixed devices. It is based on Infineon’s advanced 60 GHz transceiver technology, which integrates RF transceiver, antenna and control electronics in a single package.
The stand featured a number of key products including a one-chip packaged RF Solution for E-band Radio. The E-band chipsets consist of a transceiver for 71–76GHz (BGT70) and a transceiver for 81–86GHz (BGT80), housed in a plastic eWLB (6 x 6mm²) package. A solution using wireless backhaul in the E-band will enable the 10 GHz frequency to support higher data rates. This enables data rates > 1Gbit/s for video and data services, sufficient for LTE.
Also featured were the BGT61 highly integrated, low power radar/communication IC and the Sense2Go development kit. The BGT61 is a flexible frontend device that can be used either in radar or communication systems in the57-64 GHz band. With Infineon’s advanced SiGe technology it is possibleto integrate all high frequency building blocks in a single chip. The Sense2Go development kit consists of the BGT24MTR11 transceiver MMIC and a XMC4200 32-bit ARM®CortexTM-M4 for signal processing and communication via USB.
Among its vast array of products Ingun featured the HFS-856 and HFS-837 probe series. The former is a modular passive 50 Ω probe which retains the same mechanical body geometry for each variant but has a head section that can be easily modified by the engineers to cover a huge variety of miniature RF connectors. Currently the series is available to mate with small print connectors such as U.FL and switch connectors (e.g. MM8030, MM8430), as well as with other popular miniature connectors such as MMCX. A smaller brother to the HFS-856 probes is the HFS-837 series, which has an even smaller form factor and has a SMPM interface to connect very thin, lightweight and space saving cable assemblies. Depending on the configuration on the mating side of the probe, HFS-837 series probes can be used up to 18 GHz with the same stringent specifications regarding return and insertion loss.
On the eve of EuMW, NXP announced that when its high performance RF business (HPRF) is sold, its name will become Ampleon. The business is being acquired by the Chinese firm JAC Capital, as a precondition to NXP's acquisition of Freescale. The HPRF team is planning for an early October 2015 close, assuming U.S. government approval.
On the show floor the company continued its emphasis on the development of RF energy and the availability of plug-and-play evaluation tools for RF energy, which will enable customers to explore the possibilities of solid-state RF energy, develop their applications and shorten time to market. Key features of the RF evaluation tool and RF amplifier reference design include: All control and measurement functions on one screen, no need for low-level programming, all possible algorithms can be set and executed; a Labview code can be used as an example code for final programming, and for easier programming, a laptop can be connected
Also featured was the CLA1G0912L(S)-700, which is a 700 W GaN amplifier for avionics. Features include a bandwidth of 960-1215 MHz, an efficiency of 70% (P1dB), gain of 20 to 21 dB and a VSWR of 10:1.
At the International Microwave Symposium held in May, MACOM introduced their fourth generation GaN on Si process. This latest generation achieves power, efficiency and gain parity with their GaN on SiC technology. At EuMW, MACOM announced two 100 and 200 W, plastic packaged power transistors that are built with the process.
The 100 W transistor covers DC to 2.7 GHz and was developed to support CW, pulsed and linear applications such as defense communications, avionics, VHF/UHF/L/S-Band radar, land mobile radio and other wireless infrastructure systems. Operating CW, the 50 V device provides 100 W output with 70 percent drain efficiency and 18.3 dB gain. The 200 W, 50 V device also covers DC to 2.7 GHz, with 60 percent drain efficiency and 16 dB gain.
According to Mike Ziehl, VP of marketing for the company’s RF and microwave products, MACOM has shipped more than one million GaN on Si devices, which is a sign of the credibility of the technology. The company is qualifying a high volume foundry partner that will manufacture their GaN on Si products on 8-inch wafers, which will enable GaN to take market share from LDMOS. Comparing the two technologies, Ziehl says processing GaN on Si will be slightly more expensive than an LDMOS wafer – the difference being the cost of the GaN on Si epi. However GaN has a four times the power density of LDMOS, an advantage that will yield much smaller and less expensive transistors.
GaN was Qorvo’s theme at EuMW, which they emphasized with two new product announcements. The first comprised three plastic-packed GaN on SiC transistors covering 8 to 12 GHz, with saturated output powers of 5, 20 and 25 Wand drain efficiencies of 50, 45 and 45 percent, respectively. The transistors, which will be available during the fourth quarter, were designed to reduce the size and cost for marine and airborne radar systems, while assuring high reliability.
Qorvo’s second product announcement featured a 3 W saturated, 30 percent power-added efficiency, 25 dB gain power amplifier for Ka-Band satellite ground terminals. Covering 28 to 31 GHz, the MMIC amplifier is fabricated with Qorvo’s 0.15 µm GaN on SiC process. It was designed for both traditional saturated applications and newer, higher data rate systems that require linear PA operation. The MMIC PA will be available for sampling by the end of the quarter.
For customers who are just getting familiar with GaN technology and evaluating products, Qorvo prepared a one-page application note, Top 10 Tips for GaN Success. Roger Hall, who manages Qorvo’s defense and aerospace products, said the tips are distilled from the company’s long history with GaN and helping customers understand and successfully use GaN products.
In addition to exhibiting, Qorvo participated in Microwave Journal’s industry panel session at the EuMW Defence, Security & Space Forum on September 9. Roger Hall presented How Improvement in GaN Technology and Device Packaging Leads to Smaller, Higher Performance RF systems for UAVs.
Skyworks (Trans-Tech) featured a new micro-miniature filter technology for bandpass, notch filters from VHF to SHF. The new family of ultra-small bandpass notch filters that are available in Surface Mount Technology (SMT) designs. Trans-Tech has the capability to design and manufacture filters from UHF up to 6.5 GHz with overall size reduction up to 50 percent. They offer rapid response times on all filter design requirements. These designs offer new options for lighter weight, reduced size sub-miniature ceramic filters for customer requirements. The Trans-Tech ceramic filter solutions allow design flexibility beyond traditional ceramic styles.
United Monolithic Semiconductorsannounced that its new GaAs high power pHEMT technology is available in foundry mode. The PPH15X process is optimized for wideband high power amplification up to 45 GHz. It features a power capability at high frequency up to 800 mW/mm@3 dB compression with a PAE of 46% and a very high linearity with an IMR3 of 56 dBc@ 10 dB backoff. It includes two metal interconnect layers, precision TaN resistors, high value TiWSi resistors, MIM capacitors (high density and over-via), air bridges and backside via holes.
WIN Semiconductors has capitalized on TriQuint’s exit as an open foundry, capturing share in both the high volume mobile and high performance infrastructure markets. Earlier this year, WIN announced a capacity expansion, adding a third fab in Taiwan.
At EuMW, the company showcased its fully released, 0.15 µm, enhancement- mode PHEMT process (PE15-00), developed to be a “platform solution” for customers. The E-mode PHEMT devices have an fT of 115 GHz and are biased with a single supply, up to 4 V. Low-K dielectric crossovers, rather than air bridges, provide interconnection, enabling more compact MMICs and improved reliability. Designs can utilize three levels of metal, E/D logic cells, monolithic PN diodes for ESD protection, hot vias, eutectic AuSn back metallization and flip-chip assembly. The process is designed to be resistant to humidity, and designs generally pass biased HAST – a strenuous test.
WIN has a 0.25 µm GaN process that has been available to designers for about 18 months. By the end of the year, they plan to release a 0.45 µm, 50 V process for wireless infrastructure and, within six to nine months, a 0.15 µm process for Ka-Band applications.
For mobile and Wi-Fi, WIN offers a high performance BiHEMT process that combines InGaP/GaAs HBTs with 0.5 µm E/D PHEMTs. The device technologies enable power and low noise amplifiers and switches to be integrated to create a single chip front-end.
Packaging & PCBs
Isola was showing how thermoset materials offer cost and reliability advantages for mmWave applications like automotive radar. Thermoset materials can offer better themo-mechanical properties that PTFE at elevated operating temperature like those found in automotive applications. Thermoset materials also offer lower processing costs as they can be easily drilled and processed like FR4. Isola cites a recent Freescale 77 GHz radar design that utlizies Astra MT boards due to robust electrical and thermo-mechanical performance. Astra MT features a dielectric constant (Dk) that is stable between -55° and +125° C at up to and beyond 77 GHz. In addition, Astra MT offers a lower dissipation factor (Df) of 0.0017, making it a cost-effective alternative to PTFE and other commercial microwave laminate materials. See their video demo in our video coverage from EuMW and technical details in our February cover story.
Rogers featured high-performance PCB materials, including RO3003™ laminates. RO3003 laminates have tightly controlled dielectric constant (3.04+/-0.04 at 10 GHz) and very stable dielectric constant performance over temperature (-3 ppm/°C from -50° to 150°C). The RO3003 PTFE-ceramic composite resin system enables very low dielectric loss (0.0010 at 10 GHz), and laminates can be purchased with rolled copper to further enhance PCB insertion loss performance. Due to its excellent electrical properties, RO3003 laminates are often chosen for millimeter wave applications such as 77-79 GHz automotive radar sensors and 60GHz point to point backhaul applications.
The Arlon business is well established as a top supplier of high-frequency circuit materials and engineered silicone materials and is an excellent strategic fit with Rogers Corporation’s PCB materials and high-performance elastomers. The acquisition adds to the materials diversification and expertise at Rogers and benefits customers with a significantly expanded choice in high-performance materials.
Schott has developed a special coating through which the industry’s salt spray requirements for hybrid housings can be exceeded. The coating protects glass-to-metal seals against corrosion – even after 24 hour salt spray tests. Hermetically sealed hybrid packages that include glass-to-metal technology are used to encapsulate multi-chip modules in a wide variety of component manufacturing, such as sensors and components for measurement and in control electronics and microprocessors as well as in aerospace applications. To achieve such a high level of corrosion protection, Schott uses corrosion-resistant materials. The packages are permanently protected because even if parts of the glass envelope break, only coated areas will be exposed.
Taconic was featuring their fastRiseTM27 prepreg that is designed to eliminate skew in differential transmission lines and eliminate dielectric constant fluctuations caused by fiberglass in filter and coupler applications. This low temperature thermosetting prepreg is based on ceramic, thermoset and PTFE and is ideal for use with Taconic's standard low loss laminates like TSM-DS3. For applications that require low loss at high frequencies, fastRiseTM27 prepreg offers design engineers the properties needed for superior performance. The low 0.0017 Df at 40 GHz enables the production of mmWave multilayer PWBs. In addition, the low 215º C lamination temperature enables sequential laminations to be performed at lower temperatures than those normally used for FEP and PFA in military constructions.
Three new cable assemblies were unveiled by Huber+Suhner, with the launch of new products from its SUCOFLEX range designed for the space, defense and test and measurement markets. The SUCOFLEX 329 and SUCOFLEX 340 are two ultra-lightweight, high radiation resistant microwave cable assemblies which combine the lowest loss and highest performance characteristics required to meet the stringent needs of space flight and aerospace systems. The third new product, on show was the SUCOFLEX 240 loss revolution for dynamic applications, developed and optimized for rates up to 40 GHz. It has been specifically designed for high performance applications wherever characteristics such as best insertion loss, high phase stability versus temperature and excellent return loss are important.
Rosenberger showcased the RPC-N Compact Calibration Kits for the complete calibration of network analyzer ports. The MSO 3-in-1 mechanical calibration kits combine an open, short and load in a compact unit for complete MSO calibration of single port vector network analyzers, while the MSOT: 4-in-1 mechanical calibration kits combine an open, short, load and thru element in a compact unit for complete MSOT calibration of two or more port vector network analyzers. Also featured were the company’s DIN EN 9100, ESCC and MIL-PRF 39012 qualified products for aerospace applications, its high performance solderless PCB mount connectors that are designed to provide low return loss values for frequencies up to 110 GHz for single layer and multi-layer PCBs where the microwave layer is on the top, and the modular connector system that covers the complete DC to 50 GHz frequency range.
Santron was showing off their SRX™ low PIM cable assemblies and adapters. These cable assemblies are phase and attenuation stable, provide excellent shielding, support UL/NEC Plenum-class CMP, are corrosion resistant, are low in weight, and are highly flexible. They feature intermodulation performance as low as -168 dBc with an eSeries 7/16 connector terminated on flexible-141 cable. Typical performance across the lineup of assemblies terminated with SMA style and Type N style connectors is -158 dBc. SRX cable assemblies come in variety of in-cabinet, jumper, and long-haul styles, and in many cases are plenum-rated for fire retardation which is commonly required of in-building wireless or distributed antenna systems (DAS). They recently added high performance 4.1/9.5 mini-DIN cable assemblies and adapters to their growing line of low-PIM SRX products. The mini-DINs feature RF performance through 16 GHz and yield low PIM of -160 dBc with VSWR < 1.10:1 up to 7 GHz. Mini-DIN adapters are available as within-series (mini-DIN to mini-DIN) as well as between-series adapters to Type N, SMA and 7/16 DIN interfaces.
Southwest Microwave was showed off their SuperMini Board-to-Board DC to 67 GHz connectors. These RF / millimeter wave blind-mate connectors optimize interconnect performance for board-to-board stacking applications. SuperMini Board-to-Board solutions maximize electrical performance of the transmission path between connector and circuit while accommodating axial misalignment of .010” and radial misalignment of +/- 5° via Southwest Microwave’s bullet and PCB receptacle designs. Available bullets enable board-to-board spacing as close as 3 mm, assuring transmission line dependability for tightly stacked PCBs. Low mating insertion force allows for an increased density of interconnections per board. Unique bullet design enables extended mating and de-mating cycles.
Spectrum Elektrotechnik had its vast ray of products on show. A highlight was the DC to 65 GHz TQ-19 RF Multipin Connector Series and associated SpectrumFlex cables. The multipin connector specifications include: Interface mating dimensions (Shell Size 25) and 0uter dimensions: per MIL-DTL-38999, Series III. Cable type 677 operates at DC to 18 GHz and meets the highest quality standards that are needed for applications in harsh environments. Connectors are available in 2.4, 2.92 and 3.5 mm, SMP and SMPM. Procurement for completely terminated assemblies is fully tested and test documentation for VSWR and Insertion Loss will be supplied with the cable assembly. Cable type 677 has a solid PTFE dielectric featuring ultra-high strength, multilayer outer braid and operates at DC to 65 GHz. It offers high compression resistance and durability, eliminating cable breakage associated with repeated bending and handling and increased phase stability versus temperature and bending.
Times Microwave was showing off their SilverLine™ Test Cables that are cost effective, durable and high-performance cable assemblies designed for use in a broad range of test and interconnect applications. Fabricated from rugged, solid PTFE dielectric cable with stainless steel connectors and a proven strain relief system, these cables provide long life and excellent stability in applications where they are repeatedly flexed and mated/unmated. They are designed for use in production, field and laboratory test environments. They are also economical enough to be used as interconnects in test systems.