After a break of 15 years the RF/microwave community welcomed European Microwave Week back to London with open arms and open minds to make it the most successful ever. A record breaking total of 4904 attended Europe’s premier microwave event at ExCeL London October 3-7, 2016. The event boasted the highest ever number of unique delegates (1512), together with 3392 unique exhibition attendees and the highest number of exhibitors (327) covering around 7800 gross square metres of floor space. And it did not rain, so good news all around!

Illustrating the intellectual and geographical reach of the Week’s programme around 1,000 papers were submitted for review to the three conferences: the 46th European Microwave Conference (EuMC), the 11th European Microwave Integrated Circuits Conference (EuMIC) and the 13th European Radar Conference (EuRAD), from more than 50 countries. The technical programme included 92 technical sessions, 450 oral papers and 136 posters, four special sessions and three focused sessions. Complementary workshops and short courses, covered key themes including: 5G communications; GaN, CMOS and SiGe technologies and their applications in the mm-wave and THz bands; additive manufacturing; power amplifiers; developments in space based technologies; and automotive, multistatic and space based radar.

On the show floor the sixth European Microwave Week Microwave Application Seminars (MicroApps) successfully provided a bridge between industry and academia by offering engineers an insight into products and techniques that will help them in their everyday work. Illustrating its attraction the MicroApps auditorium was overflowing for the session outlining the latest in the development of Soli, the world’s tiniest radar which Infineon and Google ATAP are developing for gesture control of wearable technology.

The motto for EuMW 2016 was Microwaves Everywhere, which recognizes the way microwave technology is fully integrated into everyday lifestyles, continuously opening up new frontiers that will govern how individuals and objects communicate, sense and move. In the past Britons such as Newton, Faraday and Maxwell pioneered technological evolution, while today’s RF and microwave engineers and scientists have the opportunity to shape the development of the interactive, information age by meeting the challenges of 5G, the Internet of Things, satellite communications, defence/military systems and the development of autonomous cars, just to name a few. EuMW 2016 offered an insight into such technology and utilised it too with the introduction, for the first time, of the EuMW App, which was designed to be a digital companion leading up to, and during the Week.

Defense ForumLondon can definitely be classed as a complex urban environment, so could be used as a practical example during the 2016 Defence, Security and Space Forum, which this year focused on defence and security in Complex Urban Environments. EuMW 2016 also aimed to create the right environment for students and young engineers looking for a career in the microwave and RF sector to meet companies and network via the Career Platform, while the exhibition floor was home to both the Student Challenge and the Student Design Competition.

Also, the well established Women in Engineering featured a panel session focused on Inspiring Women in Engineering, where those aiming for the stars could be inspired by a visit to the Greenwich Royal Observatory at the end of the session.

Whether male or female, young or old the EuMW Welcome Reception, sponsored by Keysight Technologies on Tuesday 4th October provided the opportunity for all to network and interact.

As too did the European Microwave Exhibition, which featured companies large and small, established and emerging eager to reach the international audience, which EuMW attracts. All of the Microwave Journal editors were on site and visited many of the exhibiting companies on the show floor. Following is a summary of the new and featured products that were of particular interest:


AaroniaThose who visited Aaronia were witness to the world premier of the RTSA ULTRA View Software where they could view almost limitless data all emanating from a small SPECTRAN V5 hand held real time spectrum analyzer. Also premiered was the third generation of the company’s mobile Drone Detection System (DDS), which exploits RF radiation emitted by the UAV’s onboard systems and by the operator’s control unit. Real-time RF signal detection, combined with what the company terms ‘pattern triggering’, provides rapid warning of any UAV or UAV control unit that is operating within the area being monitored. Two types of 3D direction-finding antenna are offered by the Drone Detector – the IsoLOG 3D 80 and IsoLOG 3D 160. These have eight sectors with 16 antennas, and 16 sectors with 32 antennas respectively. Both cover the 680 MHz to 6 GHz range and extenders are available should VLF (9 kHz to 680 MHz) and 6-20 GHz coverage be required. All RTSA receivers cover frequencies from 9 kHz to 20 GHz, so include the frequencies commonly used for UAV control and video links – typically 433 MHz, 900-915 MHz, 1.3 GHz, 2.4 GHz, and 5.8 GHz.

ANSYS was talking about release 18 coming out in January and includes broadband adaptive meshing. This enables meshing at multiple frequencies so these can be solved at the same time giving a full picture of the device or component at all the frequencies of interest. They also are working on 3D component that gives the user full control over want properties to disclose to users of the model so keeps characteristics private and secure when handing models over to other parties. We look forward to this major release next year.

CSTComputer Simulation Technology (CST) previewed the upcoming version of its electromagnetic simulation tool, CST STUDIO SUITE® 2017 that includes several new features which allow individual components to be combined and simulated effectively. Brand new is Filter Designer 3D (FD3D) – a design and synthesis tool for cross-coupled cavity filters. With FD3D, filter designers can design for arbitrary filter response with easy placement of transmission zeros and a wide range of coupling resonator topologies available to realize the corresponding filter response. FD3D can also extract the coupling matrix which helps to analyze and tune a device, and also includes diplexer filter synthesis. The asymptotic solver, CST’s ray-tracing (SBR) solver for the analysis of very large platforms, makes a significant advance with the introduction of antenna-to-antenna coupling. Antennas can be imported as nearfield or farfield sources and integrated on the platform, and the asymptotic solver can calculate the coupling parameters between them. Combined with the new nearfield monitor, users can now identify the coupling paths between antennas efficiently, and the new Interference Task can identify potential EMC issues caused by co-site interference.

IMST introduced new versions of the Empire XPU 3D EM modeling software and the Sentire DK-sR-1200e radar module. The new 7.50 release of Empire provides the ability to easily create and edit sophisticated models in 3D. The 3D design mode allows intuitive modeling and supports unlimited local coordinate systems and complements the 2D design mode with superior editing functionalities for planar multilayer designs. Many industry standard CAD formats and vendor projects are supported, including ODB++, ACIS, CATIA, IGES, STEP, and more

Mician demonstrated Version 8 of its µWave Wizard software that combines the flexibility of 2D/3D FEM with the speed and accuracy of traditional Mode Matching techniques. This version offers a ribbon based Graphical User Interface, which comprises a user friendly environment. The new GUI features the separate identification of variables which correspond to the circuit that is currently selected. The OpenGL based 3D viewer provides the visualization of circuit geometries, mesh files and field patterns and enables the graphic to be exported to common CAD formats, like STL, DXF, VRML and STEP. With Version 8 real time 3D visualization of all library elements is introduced. Furthermore, when both the element editor and the 3D viewer are opened at the same time, a change of a geometric parameter in the element editor will be visible in the viewer immediately.

Featuring extremely high EM optimization speed combined with complete 3D flexibility the WASP-NET EM CAD and optimization tool from Microwave Innovation Group (MIG) offers a hybrid combination of eight EM solvers. New features include a powerful multi-solver domain-composition method (MSDDM) that enables the fast design of large arrays such as helix arrays, Vivaldi arrays, large slot-arrays etc. Also, layered structures such as microstrip arrays as well as slot-arrays with dielectric layers can efficiently be taken into account. Significantly too, WASP-NET’s new characteristic (CM) engine optimizes antenna location, antenna shape and feed positions of platform mounted antennas. Also included are powerful new wizards for the convenient set-up and fast design of shaped body-of-revolution (BOR) and offset dual-reflector antennas (together with feeds) of substrate integrated waveguide (SIW) filters and reflect arrays.

NI/AWR featured several recent examples of how industry challenges were overcome using their software platform. One example includes Sensata Technologies, formerly Texas Instruments Sensors and Controls, leveraged the RF technology within NI AWR Design Environment to design a sophisticated and reliable tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that meets escalating safety demands for the global automobile market. Infineon also used NI AWR software for its precise device modeling needs for LNA development. Precise linear models enable faster verification of system-level performance for the application circuits supporting different bands of 4G LTE-A, currently numbering more than 44 LTE bands worldwide. By using the scripting capabilities built into NI AWR Design Environment, the time for designing and documenting new application circuits has been reduced from days to hours at Infineon.

Test and Measurement

AMCAD displayed their AM3201 pulsed IV system, which is used to bias transistors for characterization while maintaining constant temperature at the device. One common application is device load-pull testing; appropriately, an AMCAD system was integrated with a Maury Microwave load-pull system at Maury’s booth. The AM3201 provides better measurement performance than earlier models, allowing measurements over the full IV plane of the device being characterized, including gate currents in the sub-microamp range. The system also supports measurement of GaN trapping effects.

AnritsuAnritsu showcased its Shockline technology, demonstrating the varied and wide spectrum of applications that the family of instruments can address. The latest introduction is the MA24507A Power Master™ frequency selectable millimeter wave power analyzer, which is claimed to be the first frequency selectable RF power sensor. By utilizing the patented Shockline nonlinear transmission line (NLTL) technology, Power Master combines wide power measurement range, fast measurement speeds and the ability for the user to define the frequency of the signal to measure – all with the convenience of a USB-powered instrument. With measurement capability to 70 GHz, the MA24507A opens up new test capabilities for growing mmWave applications, like 802.11ad, WirelessHD™ and 5G wireless backhaul.

ART-FI demonstrated multiple versions of its ART-MAN specific absorption rate (SAR) measurement system, touting its ability to measure amplitude and phase of the electric field as well as not having to change the liquid in the phantoms, which feature 285 embedded RF vector probes and are filled with broadband IEC compliant material in order to simulate human tissue. With the ART-MAN system, it is possible to perform 200 tests in a day. With the optional robot, it is possible to achieve 2000-3000 tests per day. The DUT can be running from 0.69 to 6 GHz using any signal modulation. Target applications include LTE and MIMO antennas.

Cascade Microtech showcased its EPS 200MMW manual probing station for mmW, THz, and load-pull applications. This product features a motorized positioner for increased accuracy and faster calibration, and this version of the product includes a redesigned probe with a new shape that enables it to get below the mixer module. The accompanying software controls the power network analyzers, scopes, positioners, and wafer load robot loaders. It is a universal software that works with other major test equipment manufacturers and modules. The EPS 200MMW version on display in the booth is for terahertz set ups, but other configurations are available, such as the Summit 12000, a semi-automated probe stations with a direct dock interface..

CMTCopper Mountain featured in the booth a patented one-port Reflectometer Series R60, two-port two-path Compact Series S5065, and CobaltFx, a new approach to mmWave frequency extension up to 110 GHz created in collaboration with Farran Technology, Ltd. The R60 has a frequency range of 1.0 MHz to 6.0 GHz in a compact form factor that allows it to connect directly to a device under test, eliminating instability introduced by test cables. The S5065 has a frequency range of 9 kHz to 6.5 GHz with a measurement time per point of 70 microseconds. Applications of the S5065 include RF component design and testing, on-wafer probing, field testing, insertion loss measurement, distance to fault measurements, antenna matching, quality control, material measurements, and many others. The CobaltFx supports three dedicated waveguide bands: 50 to75 GHz, 60 to 90 GHz, 75 to 110 GHz as the first frequency extension solution built on a 9 GHz VNA. This  is approximately half the cost of existing frequency extension solutions in the same frequency range.

The DK-sR-1200e development kit for 24 GHz FMCW radar from IMST is a plug & play radar solution as a demonstration and development platform. It features a single chip-IC (Infineon) for the radar functionality and comes with one single radar module, with a second additional module also available. The radar module has one transmit and two receive antennas/channels. Thus, it is suitable for distance, angle and speed measurements in FMCW, or in Doppler-mode. The kit comes with a Graphical User Interface, including basic radar functionality as well as target recognition and tracking capabilities.

KeysightKeysight Technologies showcased a breakthrough in spectrum and signal analysis at millimeter-wave frequencies with the N9041B UXA X-Series signal analyzer that provides frequency coverage to 110 GHz with a maximum analysis bandwidth of up to 5 GHz using an external oscilloscope (1 GHz BW internal). Its attributes include advanced front-end circuitry that achieves low loss and efficient mixing, providing a displayed average noise level (DANL) as low as –150 dBm/Hz when characterizing wideband modulated signals in the millimeter wave band. Current applications of the series includes development of 5G wireless communications, millimeter wave backhaul, satellite communications, automotive radar, military radar and electronic warfare systems. Emerging applications encompass development of devices and systems capable of performing high-resolution materials measurements for manufacturing, pharmaceutical and medical. Among a plethora of products and demonstrations Keysight also highlighted the FieldFox handheld analyzer, which was first instrument to deliver benchtop accuracy up to 50 GHz in a portable, rugged package. The latest version offering Real-time Spectrum Analysis (RTSA) was featured.

Keysight also announced that it collaborated with Virginia Diodes to create a 1.5 THz measurement solution for Chalmers University of Technology. Already up and running in Chalmers' national laboratory for terahertz characterization, this solution provides network and spectrum analysis capabilities for research on new materials, devices, and circuits for applications at micro-, millimeter- and sub-millimeter-wave frequencies. The system is built around the Keysight PNA-X microwave network analyzer, which covers 10 MHz to 67 GHz and reaches 1.5 THz with external extension modules from VDI.

MPI Corporation recently introducing a new fully automatic wafer probe system. The TS2500-RF addresses multiple production test market requirements which include RF communication devices and discrete passive components. The system is based on the industry leading and highly reliable automatic LED probe systems from MPI’s Photonic Automation Division with 1000’s of installations worldwide. Available for both ambient and/or hot temperature operation modes, the TS2500-RF can reach maximum speeds of 10 Dies/second (depends on configuration) which makes it an ideal choice for production electrical tests on discrete RF devices. The unique design of MPI wafer chucks and wafer lift pins can safely handle wafers with thickness down to 50 micrometers and thus enable testing of challenging thin III-Vs compound wafers. Advanced alignment features such as off-axis and chuck mounted upper-looking cameras make the TS2500-RF an ideal platform for testing within complex RF measurement configurations.

NINational Instruments announced a technology demonstration of a new Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) Test Solution. The ADAS Test Solution is designed for short- and long-range radar in the 76–81 GHz range and is based on NI’s mmWave front end technology and the recently released PXIe-5840 second-generation Vector Signal Transceiver (VST). The ADAS Test Solution combines NI’s second-generation VST with banded, frequency-specific upconverters and downconverters designed to test the 76–81 GHz radar band with 1 GHz of real-time bandwidth. The system can function as an mmWave vector signal generator and vector signal analyzer because of this design. Engineers can program the VST’s FPGA with LabVIEW to use the ADAS Test Solution for radar target emulation. NI was also showing off the new RF capabilities for higher power transmit and receive, and FPGA-based real-time envelope tracking and digital predistortion for the Semiconductor Test System (STS). The high-power RF ports help manufacturers of RF front-end modules meet the expanded test requirements of RFICs and other smart devices while simultaneously helping to reduce cost. The new RF ports for the STS can transmit at +38 dBm and receive at +40 dBm at the RF blind mates, which is an industry-leading capability not available in any other commercial solution. In addition, the STS can now perform 26 GHz S-parameter measurements, FPGA-based envelope tracking and FPGA-based digital predistortion, with fully-featured software. NI also had several other demos featuring their recently introduced second-generation VST and mmWave solutions for 5G massive MIMO prototyping.

Millimeter wave equipment and component supplier OML was one of several companies in the Radar Systems Technology (RST) booth. RST is an international sales representative and distributor. OML was featuring a harmonic mixer with integrated doubler and WR-12 waveguide components to support increasing market activity at E-Band (60 to 90 GHz).

Pico Technology showcased the PicoConnect passive probes that allow cost-effective fingertip browsing of broadband signals or data streams out to 9 GHz or 18 Gb/s. These include the now ubiquitous USB 2 & 3, HDMI 1 & 2, Ethernet, PCIe, SATA and LVDS standards. With less than 0.4 pF tip capacitance and ground-referred loading of 220 Ω to 910 Ω, the probes allow broadband oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer users to browse circuitry, backplanes, interconnect and systems, typically without interrupting their function. The company offers probe division ratios of ÷5, ÷10 and ÷20 in twelve probe models. Each is provided in two probe impedances to suit either low-voltage, highest-speed, typically digital applications or higher-voltage analog and pulse applications and in every case, there is a DC or AC coupled option.

RandSRohde & Schwarz presented what is claimed to be the first Over-the-Air power measurement solution for 5G and wireless gigabit (IEEE 802.11ad and IEEE 802.11ay) components. The new R&S NRPM OTA power measurement solution allows users in development and production to calibrate the transmit antenna’s output power and test its beamforming function using a simple test setup. The instrument operates in the 27.5 GHz to 75 GHz frequency range, and additionally a compact 19" RF shielded box (R&S TS7124) allows shielded RF measurements. Also on display was the company's extensive portfolio for radar test applications. For characterizing active modules such as transmit/receive modules a test solution consisting of the R&S ZVA network analyzer up to 67 GHz and the R&S ZVAX TRM extension unit was shown. For developers and manufacturers of radar systems an innovative solution for radar echo simulation based on the R&S SMW200A vector signal generator was presented. For users in the satellite communications sector, Rohde & Schwarz presented its new R&S NRP(N) generation of power sensors. Users in the automotive sector could focus on the R&S FSW85 signal and spectrum analyzer that analyzes FMCW chirp signals up to 2 GHz bandwidth and covers the 24 GHz and 79 GHz frequency bands allocated to automotive radars with a single device and without any additional, external frequency converters.

The main focus for Rosenberger was its test and measurement products including its range of Compact Calibration Kits for MSOT (4-in-1) and MSO (3-in-1) calibration. The former combines an open, short, load and thru element for complete MSOT calibration of vector network analyzers with of two or more ports. The MSO calibration kit combines an open, short and load for complete MSO calibration of single port vector network analyzers. All compact calibration kits come in a hard shell case with general coefficients on a standard definition card. Also featured was the RPC-1.00 Connectors with 50 Ω impedance and 1.00 mm outer conductor that can be used for applications up to 110 GHz. The new revised standard portfolio covers cable assemblies, in series and inter-series adaptors and pcb connectors. Gauge kits are also available.

Signal Microwave/Giga-Probes is a smaller company that was new to us that makes 40 GHz VNA calibration verification boards. These boards can be used to verify VNA calibrations, measurement drift, calibrate a VNA to measure both time (impedence) and frequency domain S-parameters and as a teaching tool for VNA users. The board has 100 ohm differential, 50 ohm single ended and 50-25-50 ohm Beatty line traces.

Speag showcased its SAR cSAR3D system (Speag_CSAR3D.jpg) for SAR evaluation of wireless devices. This system features a dynamic range of <0.01 to 100W/kg over a range of 300 to 6000MHz. Measurement acquisition time is specified at <1 second, and the system enables automatic connection and control through base station simulators. Of particular interest was a demonstration that showed how engineers at Speag adapted the probe technology that they developed for the cSAR3D system and used it to develop an EMC probe. While traditional EMC probes cause interference, the Speag probe can provide a much clearer reading.

Semiconductor and Components

AmpleonAmpleon announced the availability of a complete line-up of RF power transistors (BLS9GXX) and pallets (BPS9GXX) based on the latest Gen 9 LDMOS process technology. Available power levels include 50 W drivers up to 400 W. Aimed at a broad range of S-Band radar for pulsed RF applications, the enhanced power density attributes of Gen 9 meet the specific needs of the aerospace and defense industry for size, weight, power, plus cost and reliability or SWaP – CR. This process technology has excellent ruggedness characteristics, capable of operating up to a VSWR 10:1, coupled with a high efficiency. Also announced at EuMW was the BLF189XR, the latest member of the rugged family of ‘XR’ LDMOS power transistors designed specifically for use in high power amplifiers operating in the 10 to 500 MHz range. Suiting use in a wide variety of broadcast and industrial applications, and capable of operating with a VSWR up to 65:1, the device is rated to deliver 1,700 W CW or 1,900 W pulsed.

Analog Devices was promoting their full line of RF products, including the RadioVerse transceivers that were unveiled at this year’s International Microwave Symposium and the more recently introduced standard modules for broadband applications. The four modules comprise a 0.01 to 20 GHz power amplifier with +25 dBm output power at 1 dB compression, a 2 to 18 GHz limiting amplifier with +13 dBm saturated output, a 0.1 to 40 GHz GaAs pHEMT SPST switch with 7 dB insertion loss and 50 dB isolation and a 0.1 to 40 GHz digital step attenuator with 31 dB range and 5-bit resolution.

Arralis launched new W-Band devices. The TU-W1330305 is a 4-stage MMIC power amplifier that covers frequencies from 92 to 96 GHz, which provides up to 20 dB of flat, stable gain, and a power output of more than 18 dBm from a 4 V supply voltage and remarkably low current at just 210 mA. Second, the TU-W1340310 is an I/Q MMIC diode mixer with integrated quadrature coupler for single sideband upconverter operation, which is fabricated using GaAs Shottky diode technology and is designed for output frequencies in the range from 92 to 96 GHz using either fixed IF and varying LO (86 GHz to 90 GHz) or fixed LO and varying IF (2 GHz to 6 GHz) signals, The circuit employs a double rat race configuration to effectively cancel image signals without filtering and offers superior signal to noise performance. The TU-W1401601 is a GaAs PHEMT diode based SPST switch and variable attenuator with a single input and output. The chip is manufactured on a 50 µm substrate with 100 µm gate length.

Custom MMIC was part of the display with Aspen Electronics featuring high performance MMIC products covering frequencies from DC-50 GHz including Amplifiers, Switches, Mixers and more. Leveraging a non-reflective design, the SP3T CMD234C4 provides high isolation of 40 dB at 10 GHz and very low insertion loss of 2 dB. The SP5T CMD235C4, similar to the SP3T design, features a low power integrated 3:8 TTL decoder for enhanced digital control. The CMD235C4 provides low insertion loss of 2.5 dB and a high isolation of 40 dB at 10 GHz. They also featured an ultra wideband DC to 22 GHz GaAs MMIC amplifier CMD240 with a noise figure down to 2.2 dB and a gain of 15 dB. With slightly less current draw and a gain of 13.5 dB from 2 to 22 GHz, their CMD241 has a noise figure of 2.3 dB. In applications with very small size and high linearity requirements, the CMD243 wideband balanced driver amplifier offers 15.5 dB of gain and operates from 26 to 35 GHz. The company has really expanded their standard products with more than 100 now and counting.

Dbwave showcased its wide portfolio of high frequency products that include active and passive components, assemblies and system modules. The company recently introduced the DBPD0200006700A high frequency ultra-wideband Power Divider that operates from DC to 67 GHz aimed at military, aerospace, test and measurement, radar and telecommunications applications. The whole body of the DBPD0200006700A is fully gold plated to offer good electrical conductive performance and anti-oxidative properties.

MPGK&L Microwave has developed a filtering system that can tune a bandpass filter anywhere in the 700 MHz to 6000 MHz range with continuously adjustable bandwidth. Because today’s 4G wireless communication systems with carrier aggregation are predominantly using LTE signals modulated over several bandwidths, typically 5 MHz, 10 MHz, 15 MHz, 20 MHz and 40 MHz, signals generally span from 700 MHz to 6000 MHz. Filtering is often required to reduce harmonics and improve dynamic range when testing LTE products. To replace the large number of fixed filters usually required, K&L The system has software interfaces for automated testing corresponding to the two hardware interfaces (Ethernet and GPIB), as well as a convenient web-based user interface for devices such as smartphone, tablet and traditional computer.

Knowles Capacitors featured a selection of new products including a new range of high temperature Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors in 0402, 0603 and 0805 sizes with ultra-Low ESR and High Q characteristics available from the Syfer and Novacap brands. In addition DLI branded 175°C MLC devices in UL and AH High Q Porcelain dielectrics were shown, along with the company’s EAR99 filters, power dividers and couplers together with the introduction of 5G specific surface mount device options. DLI single layer ceramic Milli-Caps and Opti-Caps were a further highlight. Milli-Caps match typical 50 Ω line widths with very low series inductance and ultra-high series resonance. They are low loss, High Q parts available in 0201, 0402 and 0602 footprints. Opti-Cap Ultra Broadband DC blocking capacitors exhibit low loss frequency stability over temperature with very low series inductance.  They provide resonance free DC blocking to >40 GHz and are available in 0201, 0402 and 0602 footprints for SMT by solder or epoxy bonding.

Infineon showcased the BGT24LTR11 Silicon Germanium radar MMIC for signal generation and reception, operating in the 24.0 to 24.25 GHz ISM band. A built-in voltage source delivers a VCO tuning voltage which is proportional to absolute temperature (PTAT). When connected to the VCO tuning pin it compensates for the inherent frequency drift of the VCO over temperature, thus stabilizing the VCO within the ISM band eliminating the need for a PLL/microcontroller. An integrated 1:16 frequency divider also allows for external phase lock loop VCO frequency stabilization. The device is manufactured in a 0.18 μm SiGe:C technology offering a cutoff frequency of 200 GHz. It is packaged in a 16-pin leadless RoHS compliant TSNP package. Also featured was the 24 GHz sensor development kit utilizing the Infineon XMC4200 32-bit ARM® Cortex®-M4 MCU series, which allows the user to implement and test several sensing applications at the 24 GHz ISM band. The kit consists of the BGT24MTR11 transceiver MMIC and a XMC4200 32-bit ARM® Cortex®-M4 for signal processing and communication via USB.

MACOM Technology Solutions announced the international debut of 27 new high-performance MMIC products at the event as they aggressively attack the multi-market space. These new products comprise an extensive portfolio of DC to 100 GHz MMICs for Test and Measurement, SATCOM, Aerospace and Defense, Wired Broadband and Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) applications. Here are the released high-performance MMIC families:

  • Two wideband amplifiers – Fully matched and current adjustable amplifier solutions for Multi-Market applications
  • Family of LNAs – Providing high performance and versatility enabling accelerated time-to-market for customers
  • Family of amplifiers designed specifically for DOCSIS 3.1 CATV infrastructure applications requiring high gain, superior linearity and low noise figure
  • High power MMIC amplifiers – Covering DC-22 GHz for Test and Measurement, Electronic Warfare and Radar Applications
  • High linearity family of power amplifiers for SATCOM Applications – Features the highly integrated L-Band device supporting longer battery life in SATCOM applications
  • Octave-Band family of voltage controlled oscillators – Well suited for Test and Measurement, Aerospace and Defense and Communications Systems

MacomIn addition, MACOM is now partnering with X-Microwave to make their RF components available for use with X-Microwave’s online simulation and prototyping platform. Pre-configured with high-performance MACOM MMICs, these drop-in and cascadable components called “X-MWblocks” enable designers to quickly and easily architect modular, end-to-end RF systems.

Mini-Circuits showed off their full portfolio of products and featured a new line of test solutions. Combining hardware and software into a turn-key solution speeds development time, as customers only have to focus on product development — not test systems. These solutions are based on a building block approach, which allows many custom configurations to be delivered within two weeks. Systems can be configured as combinations of amplifiers, signal generators and signal routing and distribution. Applications include 3G and 4G base stations, satellite communications and RF burn-in systems. They also featured their absorptive/reflectionless filters from DC to 21 GHz. They prevent unwanted reflections in the stopband and are well suited for pairing with mixers, multipliers, signal sources and more.

NXP announced their third-generation of Airfast power transistors by introducing four new LDMOS devices for macro base stations. The transistors use NXP’s LDMOS process technology, are assembled in plastic packages with copper bases and incorporate two devices in an asymmetric Doherty configuration. These design decisions yield broader bandwidth (up to 90 MHz video bandwidth), higher efficiency (up to four points, with greater than 50 percent lineup efficiency), better thermal performance (20 percent improvement) and smaller size (up to 30 percent). The four new designs cover the cellular bands from 1805 to 1880, 2110 to 2200 and 2496 to 2690 MHz. NXP also briefed Microwave Journal on the company’s strategy to release new products and grow market share for radar and military communications applications in the bands from 100 MHz to 2.5 GHz. One notable product is the 1K50N, a 1.5 kW, 1.8 to 500 MHz LDMOS power transistor in a plastic package. The device, which had previously been released in an air cavity ceramic package, has 30 percent lower thermal resistance in the copper base plastic version. NXP has also been active in developing low cost power transistors for solid-state cooking and is now a member of the RF Energy Alliance.

Qorvo introduced six GaN power transistor die products fabricated with their QGaN15 0.15 micron, +28 V GaN process. Device performance extends to 25 GHz, with individual die providing output power ranging from 2 to 14 W, power-added efficiency from 49 to 60 percent, small-signal gain from 14 to 18 dB and noise figure from 1.2 to 1.5 dB. Qorvo also announced internally matched, L- and S-Band power amplifiers fabricated with their 50 V GaN process. The L-Band device delivers 500 W saturated output power over 1.2 to 1.4 GHz, with 62 percent power-added efficiency and 17 dB large-signal gain. The S-Band device covers 3.1 to 3.5 GHz and delivers 450 W saturated at 57 percent power-added efficiency and 13 dB large-signal gain.

Sumitomo Electric Device Innovations continues to expand their portfolio of GaN power transistors for commercial and defense markets. Recent releases include a 25 W PA for Ku-Band satellite ground stations and a 300 W device covering 9.2 to 10.1 GHz. Four of these X-Band devices can be combined to generate more than 1 kW. To drive these final stages, Sumitomo offers a two-stage amplifier that delivers 30 W across 8.5 to 10.1 GHz. The company is also a significant player in supplying GaN devices for satellite applications. Two such products at L-Band are a 10 W driver matched to 50 Ω, covering 1 to 1.7 GHz, and a 200 W device achieving 70 percent power-added efficiency.

Teledyne Microwave Solutions was featuring their 350 to 1 kW X-Band SSPAs for high performance in the 8-11 GHz radar market. They are available with 1 GHz bandwidth anywhere in the band, they have 350, 550 and 1000 W peak output power levels. Extended bandwidth is availalble with de-rated output. They can be combined for even higher powers. Designed in a compact, environmentally sealed housing, the SSPAs can reliably handle any airborne or ground-based application. Options include a DC-DC converter, allowing the amplifier to be run from any DC voltage input. An optional harmonic filter improves the harmonic performance to -80 dBc. Remote monitoring and control is also available.

UMS focused on a state of the art fully integrated 24 GHz transceiver solution for industrial sensor and car radar applications. The CHC2442-QPG provides a fully integrated front-end and offers a high level of flexibility. It includes signal generation Tx and dual reception Rx in a single component. This solution offers leading edge performance due to a low phase noise VCO, a high transmit power level, dual Rx with very low noise figures combined with a high level of isolation between Tx and Rx channels. It also includes power and temperature monitors and a programmable pre-scaler. The CHC2442-QPG is available in a surface mount QFN plastic package and is qualified to AEC-Q100. UMS also featured its telecom power amplifiers with up to 4 W capability. They are highly linear and compatible with the latest digital pre-distortion, offer a return loss of ˃15 dB, built-in power detector and ESD protection.

WIN Semiconductor was talking about their highly integrated 0.15 micron E-Mode pHEMT technology for low noise, power and high bandwidth applications. It combines a versatile 115 GHz ft E-Mode transistor with optional .5 micron E/D devices for on-chip logic implementation. They also have a .25 micron depletion mode GaN HEMT technology for X-Band and Ku-Band applications. This process uses 100 mm GaN on SiC substrates and has 28 V operation. Discretes or full MMICs on 4 mil substrates with backside vias are available.

Wolfspeed added to their radar portfolio of products in GaN-on-SiC RF Technology with the CGHV14800F, reportedly the industry's highest output power GaN RF transistor for L-Band radar applications. It features 50V, L-Band GaN HEMT technology, output power of 900 W from 1.2 - 1.4 GHz plus high efficiency, high gain and wide bandwidth capabilities. We checked in on their acquisition status with Infineon and reported that it is proceeding on schedule and might be completed by year end.

Materials, PCBs and Packaging

LPKF featured the ProtoLaser U4, which uses a new UV laser source that is stabilized across a large performance range, can now safely process additional material groups and thin layers. A new performance measuring field determines the actual laser performance in the focal position and displays it. The ProtoLaser U4 also uses a newly designed vision system optimized for laser micro material processing. The camera and image recognition process probe any fiducials or geometric structures on the substrate to be processed. A higher resolution and faster detection algorithms accelerate the manufacturing process.

RogersRogers Corp. was showing off their RO4730G3 UL 94 V-0 antenna-grade laminates are engineered for high-performance next-generation wireless communications antennas. These affordable, low-loss materials have been developed to meet the performance requirements of antenna designs for current 4G and emerging 5G wireless systems. They are flame-retardant per UL 94 V-0 and are an extension of Rogers RO4000® circuit materials, a top circuit-material choice for wireless base station antennas. RO4730G3 laminates feature a low dielectric constant (Dk) of 3.0 and Dk tolerance of ±0.05 through the thickness (z axis) at 10 GHz for tight control of impedance when designing antennas and antenna arrays plus 30% lighter than PTFE laminates.

SCHOTT displayed its portfolio of customized hermetic microelectronic housings (MCM) to protect sensitive electronics in a variety of different materials. The diversity of materials that the company uses for custom housings allows for a wide variety of products. Glass-titanium compounds are especially well suited for aviation, aerospace, oil and gas and medical technology, if non-magnetic yet lightweight housings are needed. Packages with Glass-to-Aluminum Sealing (GTAS®) technology are also used when there is a need for lightweight material. Alternatively, the nickel-copper alloy Monel, is suitable for chemically aggressive environments.

Cables & Connectors

Focusing on the development of phase stability versus temperature HUBER+SUHNER highlighted the SUCOFLEX® 526V that is claimed to be the only microwave cable that features maximum 50 ppm phase variation versus temperature between +15 and +30°C. It also has no ‘PTFE phase knee’ at +19°C as on conventional VNA test cable assemblies. Additional features include measurement stability, rugged cable construction and gentle VNA interface treatment. The Minibend CTR family of cable assemblies combines the flexibility of HUBER+SUHNER Astrolab’s bend-to the-end connector termination technology with phase versus temperature performance to create a stable, reliable, MIL-DTL-17 qualified interconnect solution. Also, Microbend L is an enhanced, low loss version of the standard Microbend coaxial cable assembly with increased phase stability and power handling capacity which is designed for use in low profile, internal, point-to-point interconnections between RF modules within communications systems.

Intelliconnect (Europe) Ltd introduced a range of cost effective, field replaceable SMA and 2.9 mm connectors providing solderless attachment to 0.141" (RG402) semi rigid cables and 2.9 mm connectors for 0.085" (RG405) and 0.141" cables. The company’s newly developed clamping technology provides similar I/L and VSWR results to standard soldered connectors. No special tooling is required and cable retention force is similar to soldered versions. The connectors have been designed for applications where reliability, durability, robustness and high frequency performance are important such as civil and military telecommunications, civil and military aeronautics, military equipment, space and measurement systems.

Times Microwave was featuring their SilverLine™ Test Cables that are cost effective, durable, 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. SilverLine™ test cables are ideal for use in production, field and laboratory test environments. They are also economical enough to be used as interconnects in test systems.