IMS2017 returned to Honolulu, Hawaii after visiting 10 years ago. The conference was strong with a record number of paper submissions — no wonder, since accepted papers virtually assured the author a trip to beautiful Hawaii. Many brought family and either came early or stayed after IMS to explore the natural beauty and historic culture of the islands. Of course, IMS is part of the larger Microwave Week, which includes the Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit HawaiiSymposium (RFIC) and the Automatic Radio Frequency Techniques Group Conference (ARFTG) and new this year, the IEEE 5G Summit.

New this year was the Hackathon: 30-Minute Circuits that compresses the event time for teams, introducing an exciting race-like component. A micro-strip power divider was selected for the event but details were not given ahead of time so the participants could not study up on how to design to the specific specifications. So teams had to use core RF design and engineering skills without software to complete the design. Also new for 2017 was was the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition that is designed for eligible students and Young Professionals, who indicate upon submission of a paper their desire to enter the competition and papers are accepted for either oral or interactive forum presentation.

View our photo gallery of IMS2017

5G Summit

IMSA 5G Summit was a new addition to the IMS agenda, reflecting how the industry is being consumed by the development and buzz of 5G. The summit, co-organized by the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques and Communications societies, was held Monday and Tuesday afternoons. Each session comprised eight presentations and a panel session, a mix of ecosystem, system and component topics.

Henning Schulzrinne, a professor at Columbia University and technical advisor at the FCC (formerly CTO at the FCC), tried to separate the hype surrounding 5G from the reality. He said that consumers will not see the same step in performance from 4G to 5G that they saw with 3G to 4G, which may lead to disappointment and delay adoption. He noted that 5G will be tethered to prior cellular generations to ensure backward compatibility — including 2G, which is still mainstream in some regions of the world. Globally, each generation has at least a 20 year lifespan. Henning expressed concern that the carriers will not see an acceptable return on their capital investment for 5G: unlimited data plans are reducing average revenue per user (ARPU) while encouraging data consumption. Reducing the cost per transmitted bit is the key metric that carriers will need to manage to be successful. Increasingly, 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) seem to be used synonymously. However, Henning said that 5G is not needed for many IoT applications, adding that “the IoT” is one of the most misleading terms we have created and “the” IoT does not exist. There are many use cases and network technologies to support them. Ironically, 2G GSM remains viable both technically and economically as a transport for some IoT applications, which makes the adoption of 5G more complex.

Andreas Molisch, a professor at the University of Southern California, discussed the state of channel models for the millimeter wave bands proposed for 5G and fixed wireless access services. He discussed the characteristics of millimeter wave propagation — path loss, delay spread, angular spread, scattering, penetration through walls and windows, shadowing by bodies and other objects, Doppler shifts — and cautioned the audience that the industry needs a much better understanding of these effects and how to compensate for them.

Both presentations, as well as others, added notes of realism to the flag waving surrounding 5G and “the” IoT, particularly the use of the millimeter wave spectrum. The industry is facing significant engineering development before 5G proves to be as user friendly and reliable as consumers expect. The earlier days of “Can you hear me now?” are likely to be translated to the frustration of incomplete file transfers and forever buffering 4K videos.

IMS Exhibition

Since attendance dropped dramatically in 2007, exhibitor expectations this year were generally minimal. The IMS2017 exhibition included about 450 companies from around the world displaying products from test/measurement equipment to software to devices/components to cable/connectors to printed circuit board (PCB)/materials. The exhibition also included the MicroApps Theater and exhibitor workshops presented by IMS exhibitors, addressing state-of-the-art products, processes and applications of interest to the microwave community.

Microwave Journal led a panel discussion, “The Future of Semiconductor Test” as a featured keynote in the MicroApps on Wednesday. The panel of test/measurement and semiconductor experts covered topics such on-wafer millimeter wave testing, low power/low-cost approaches for IoT testing, RFFE module testing challenges, OTA testing, etc. and how they will play into the future of semiconductor testing.

Here is a short summary of the products and services being featured at IMS2017 for those companies that Microwave Journal was able to visit.

Ampleon launched the Gen9HV and Gen10 series of LDMOS RF power transistors. The Gen9HV power transistors are the first to use the company’s latest 50 V process, a node that has been optimized for cellular infrastructure applications to 1 GHz. Operating over a wide frequency range from 450 MHz to 960 MHz, the LDMOS transistors provide a flexible approach to handling multiple channels with a single amplifier. Capable of delivering up to 400 W from a compact 20 mm long package, the series is assembled in an air cavity package with an ultra-low Rth flange, named ACP3. The Gen10 series delivers efficiency of 52 percent and 18 dB of gain at 1.8 GHz in wireless infrastructure power amplifiers. Designed to meet the demands of the cellular industry for more power efficient base stations, the Gen10 family reduces power consumption, shrinks the size and weight of the power amplifier (PA) and lowers the operating temperature of infrastructure equipment.

ADIAnalog Devices can help with complete RF signal chains, easy-to-implement reference designs and deep engineering co-development expertise – across every vertical market with their breadth of product including RF and baseband solutions. They were displaying the following:

  • Communications – 5G and digital predistortion (DPD) signal chain solutions, and a complete 26 to 44 GHz solution that combines CMOS and SiGe for highly integrated radio products
  • Aerospace & Defense – phased array radar and L- and S-Band radar
  • Industrial – DemoRad, a low-cost, out of the box demonstration platform for 24 GHz radar sensors to prove concepts and act as a reference design
  • Healthcare – RF Vital Signs Monitoring using 24 GHz radar and software
  • Test & Measurement – In-Line Power Measurement
  • Transceivers – Analog Devices’ RadioVerse development platform and ecosystem that can reduce RF design complexity, SWaP and time to market
  • Technology Exhibits – GaN, silicon on insulator (SOI), SiGe, CMOS, wideband products and more.

ADI also made a major release with the AD9375 RF transceiver, the newest addition to ADI’s highly integrated wideband RF transceiver series that operates from 300 MHz to 6 GHz. The AD9375 is the first RF transceiver to incorporate the DPD algorithm on-chip – a design breakthrough that reduces DPD power consumption by 90 percent compared to competing solutions. The re-partitioning of the DPD system from the FPGA to the transceiver cuts the number of JESD204B serial data interface lanes in half, resulting in a dramatic power savings particularly as the number of antennas per base station increases from two to 128 in support of pre-5G massive MIMO radio-channel density requirements. Other benefits include a more compact radio circuit layout, which simplifies routing and system design, reduces base station size and allows designers to use a lower-cost, less complex FPGA. In small cells these benefits allow more frequency bands per cell for increased network capacity, while minimizing the impact to system power consumption and size.

AnritsuAnritsu Company was showing off its VectorStar® MS4647B 4-port differential system with new Universal Fixture Extraction (UFX) software for de-embedding user-customized test fixtures for accurate device under test (DUT) characterization. Also on display was the VectorStar ME7838A broadband system that can conduct sweeps from 70 kHz to 110 GHz in an on-wafer environment. On the same probe setup was the new 110 GHz Spectrum Master™ MS2760A ultraportable spectrum analyzer directly connected to an on-wafer probe. The combined on-wafer station will display 110 GHz S-parameter measurements and 110 GHz spectral analysis for thorough device characterization.

The MS2760A is the first handheld millimeter wave spectrum analyzer to provide continuous coverage from 9 kHz up to 110 GHz, positioning it for growing millimeter wave applications such as 5G, 802.11ad, satellite communications and automotive radar. It is USB-powered and controlled from a Windows-based PC, laptop or tablet, making it uniquely flexible for the lab, manufacturing floor or field. Its ultraportable size enables a direct connection to almost any DUT, eliminating the need for lossy, expensive cables or antennas. Another ultraportable solution, the new Power Master™ MA24507A frequency selectable millimeter wave power analyzer, was also on display. The ShockLine™ MS46522B E-Band vector network analyzer (VNA) highlight economical 60 to 90 GHz measurement capability in a production-ready, compact and easy-to-setup package. With integrated tethered measure modules, the MS46522B offers a unique solution for E-Band component testing.

AnritsuANSYS displayed its industry leading design flow for antenna synthesis, antenna placement and radio frequency interference diagnosis. They demonstrated how the ANSYS 3D layout with 3D encrypted components can revolutionize design and business processes by enabling designers to share data with IP protection and assemble large 3D models to predict system time and frequency domain performance. They also demonstrated how to combine HFSS with thermal and mechanical analysis to create a true multiphysics platform to design mission critical electronics systems. One demo showed how ANSYS HFSS streamlines synthesis, setup and analysis of antenna designs. This synthesis feature enables every engineer, including those without antenna expertise, to create and optimize antenna designs and integration. A second demo showed how as communication systems push the limits of component size, weight and performance, engineers must adopt new technologies and smarter workflows. Whether the component is a structure used in an RFIC/MMIC, module, surface mount device for PCB design or a complete system, sharing high-fidelity model information that accounts for the electromagnetic (EM) field interactions (i.e. coupling) between integrated component and system platform allows design teams to quickly and safely adopt new technologies. They also had many in-booth presentations including one from NXP titled "RF Power Amplifier Design Using Nested Multi-Technology" which was the short version of a Friday Workshop. This presentation as well as Zol Cendes (Ansoft founder) presentation highlighted their coupled and integrated multiphysics approach. ANSYS provides a coupled multiphysics approach not just linear multiphysics solutions and have integrated their ANSYS Thermal Tool, Icepak into the ANSYS AEDT graphical user interface (GUI).

ARAR was displaying nine new solid-state pulse amplifiers that have been added to their comprehensive product line with output powers up to 6000 W over the 1 to 4 GHz frequency range. In addition, AR also has developed four new CW solid-state microwave amplifiers: 60S1G6 & 500S1G6 (60 & 500 respectively over the 0.7 to 6 GHz frequency range) for wireless, EW, and EMC applications, and completely redesigned versions of our 20S6G18A, and 40S6G18B amplifiers (20 & 40 W from 6 to 18 GHz) for EW and EMC requirements. There are other updated RF amplifiers such as the 100A250B, 100A400A and 50W1000D which utilize a common design approach with size, weight and low cost as driving factors with the benefit of improved reliability. They feature their new ATT700M12G antenna that provides frequency coverage from 700 MHz to 12 GHz, a wide beam width, and excellent power handling capabilities which are a match for their .7 to 6 GHz amplifiers.

As in previous years, products from AR Modular were also on display. To complement the family of commercial rack mountable amplifiers and modules, AR Modular offers a robust line of military amplifier systems and accessories, that include booster amplifiers and embedded modules for tactical military radios covering the HF, VHF, UHF and SHF bands. Rounding out the field is the addition of Sunar rf motion, AR’s newest division, and their high quality EMC antennas, turntables, reverberation chamber tuners, antenna positioners, system controller, and distributed antenna systems (DAS).

Cinch Johnson was featuring their SMP ganged and board-to-board RF connector solutions. Their MSP product family is launching a standard offering of a 4-port board-to-board solution which can also be configured as a cable assembly to a ganged connector offering. The 4-port version can be optimized and customized to meet customers needs for number of ports, board spacing, connector separation spacing and cable type/lengths, etc.

Computer Simulation Technology (CST), part of SIMULIA, a Dassault Systèmes brand, announced the release of CST STUDIO SUITE® Student Edition 2017. This free version of the electromagnetic simulation tool is developed as part of the CST® educational program to support learning, teaching and research at academic institutions. It contains the versatile high frequency time domain and frequency domain solvers as well as the static and thermal solvers. It is supported by a set of online examples showing how classic textbook problems can be solved with simulation. The software can be incorporated into the coursework for a class, and the online examples mean that it can also be used by individual students for independent extracurricular learning at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

CST was previewing the latest version of their 3D electromagnetic simulation software, CST STUDIO SUITE®. The software suite includes our 3D EM simulation tools as well as a number of related products dedicated to more specific design areas, like PCBs (CST PCB STUDIO® and CST BOARDCHECK ™), cable harnesses (CST CABLE STUDIO®) and EM/circuit co-simulation (CST EMC STUDIO®). Filter Designer 3D (FD3D) can automatically synthesize cross-coupled and diplexer filter designs to meet the specifications, including transmission zeroes, Q-factor and equiripple. The complex and sensitive nature of these filters makes them challenging to design and tune with traditional methods. Coupling matrix extraction with FD3D offers an efficient way to fine-tune 3D filter structures. The Interference Task provides a straightforward approach for investigating potential EMI issues using coupling data from simulations. The Interference Task shows at a glance which combinations of RF systems can potentially lead to co-site interference problems, allowing mitigation approaches to be tested on a virtual prototype. The ray-tracing Asymptotic Solver in CST STUDIO SUITE can now directly calculate the coupling between antennas. The Asymptotic Solver can simulate extremely large platforms such as aircraft, ships and buildings very efficiently, making it well-suited to many kinds of antenna placement scenarios. This can be combined with the Interference Task for detailed co-site analysis of vehicles, vessels and aircraft. Stop by our booth to explore these and the many other exciting features of CST STUDIO SUITE®.

CSTCopper Mountain and Diamond Engineering teamed up to demonstrate an automated antenna measurement system. A typical system includes using a VNA and stationary calibrated horn with the DAMS system (positioner, controller and software). This is a low-cost way to measure any type of antenna. We are adding a new 1-Port USB VNA (Reflectometer) to our lineup of products, the R180. The entire line gives the user lab grade performance in a handheld device. Copper Mountain recently added a 1-Port VNA operating from 1 MHz to 18 GHz. The new R180 1-port VNA (Cable and Antenna Analyzer) is the first 18 GHz 1-port VNA that can connect directly to DUT, improving measurement accuracy by eliminating practical limitation of RF cables. They also featured their ever expanding Cobalt Series of VNAs with new products that include 2- and 4-port analyzers, and add options for Direct Receiver Access and Frequency Extension. Cobalt Series VNAs come in two frequency ranges:100 kHz to 9 GHz and 100 kHz to 20 GHz.

Celebrating 11 years since the company was formed, Custom MMIC now offers over 100 standard products and many custom designs in their library. President Paul Blount says the company has built their reputation and business by “pushing the envelope,” taking on challenges that other companies do not address ― the pulse recovery performance of low noise amplifiers (LNA), for example. An area of growing interest today is the phase noise contributed by amplifiers and multipliers, which can degrade the performance of an expensive oven controlled crystal oscillator (OCXO). In the MicroApps session at IMS, Blount presented a paper on low phase noise amplifiers for LO systems, addressing this topic.

Custom MMIC released two mixers and a distributed PA at IMS. The mixers can be used as image reject mixers or single sideband modulators and were designed for ultra-high linearity and ultra-wide IF bandwidths: DC to 12 and 5 to 20 GHz, with attendant RF frequency ranges from 26 to 45 GHz and 30 to 46 GHz, respectively. These passive double balanced mixers have conversion loss as low as 6.5 dB. The distributed PA covers DC to 20 GHz and provides output power at 1 dB compression of greater than 28 dBm, output IP3 of 38 dBm and 11 dB gain at 10 GHz.

dBmdBm introduced the Advanced Channel Emulator (ACE) which is the follow on platform to dBm’s well received satellite link emulator (SLE) product line and will run all existing dynamic data files developed for the SLE, allowing a simple cost effective upgrade path as communication systems become more bandwidth intensive and sophisticated. The ACE is a powerful hardware/DSP based test platform to allow a variety of impairments to be inserted in real-time, enabling testing of a range of wireless receivers, UHF/VHF Radios, satellite payloads and satellite fixed & mobile ground and airborne transceivers in a controlled laboratory environment. The ACE is signal agnostic and is offered with instantaneous bandwidths from 72 to 600 MHz. Optional DSP based functions will allow users to insert RF impairments for RF link emulation. Mobile digital receiver multipath testing, payload emulation and hardware emulation modeling.

Diamond Microwave announced the streamlining of its range of compact microwave GaN-based pulsed solid-state power amplifiers (SSPA) onto two common platforms, along with the introduction of new X-Band 400 and 900 W “smart” PA models. The flagship DM-X400-02 is a smart X-Band SSPA that offers power levels in excess of 400 W over a 1600 MHz bandwidth, and approaching 500 W over 750 MHz with pulse widths up to 100 µs and duty cycles up to 15 %. Built on the same platform as this amplifier are the new 200 W model (DM-X200-01) and the DM-X1k0-01 GaN PA, which comprises two DM-X400-02 models combined externally with a low loss combiner to provide in excess of 900 W across a 5 percent bandwidth.

Dover Corporation, Microwave Products Group is a comprised of four business units in five manufacturing locations. Complementary to the company’s four core design and manufacturing centers at BSC Filters, Dow-Key Microwave, K&L Microwave, and Pole/Zero Corporation, MPG maintains a Dominican Republic facility for high volume, commercial throughput.

BSC designs and manufactures RF and microwave filters and related products in their new and expanded York, U.K. facility. Right first time manufacture, fast lead times and technically challenging solutions are underpinned by our world leading design tools, lean manufacturing philosophy and highly skilled teams.

Dow-Key is an established leader in the design and manufacture of products that route RF signals. Dow-Key offers coaxial and waveguide switches, low passive intermodulation (PIM) (−160 dBc) products, integrated matrix switching solutions and custom RF systems. Standard and custom designs are available from DC to 70 GHz with RF power handling capability to 5 kW, including items operating to 5 million switching cycles.

For over 45 years, K&L has proudly offered a wide range of RF and microwave filters for bandpass, lowpass, highpass, notch and tunable requirements, including ceramic, lumped element, cavity and waveguide solutions. We are one of the largest and best-known suppliers of these products, with the technical experience and manufacturing capability to match.

Pole/Zero is a premier provider of solutions for communication problems arising from RF interference. Catalog products include embedded agile tunable filters, as well as complex integrated co-site equipment (ICE) designed to operate in conjunction with transceivers in more challenging co-site situations. The user gains the benefit of deploying systems at full performance, notably communication range and improved receive sensitivity.

Eastern OptX announced the Model 1200 low loss ground-to-antenna tower top system that dramatically reduces the transmission loss associated with RF cable links used in antenna tower connections (up to 40 GHz). Loss improvement per 100 meters at 10 GHz is reduced from 30 dB to 0.03 dB. The main problem presented by loss in the cable connection is the reduction of the signal to noise (SNA) ratio. Eventually the signal drops so far that the receiver can no longer detect it. The Model 1200 reduces signal loss and SNA degradation plus comes as a complete turnkey solution. The system includes cables, antennas, a tower top unit (delay line), a tower base unit (delay line), plus system control. The system has USB and Ethernet control with DC and AC power options. Custom options are available.

Element Six, a De Beers Group company, announced a synthetic diamond grown by chemical vapor deposition (CVD). Diafilm™ ETC700 is electrically and thermally conductive, with a thermal conductivity of 700 W/mK. According to the company, ETC700 is three times more effective spreading heat than ceramic and is well-suited for heat spreaders in high power density, high frequency devices such as GaN. With ETC700, the Element Six portfolio expands to six material grades with various cost, electrical and thermal values, from 700 to 2,000 W/mK. The material is available in various sizes, thicknesses and metallizations. For use as a heat spreader for GaN transistors and MMICs, the synthetic diamond material can be metallized with TiPtAu and eutectically attached to the GaN with AuSn or another solder. Element Six performs CVD manufacturing of synthetic diamond material in the U.K. and U.S.

Empower RF Systems has developed an “intelligent” PA for radiated immunity testing. The amplifier integrates some of the functions that were typically housed in separate packages and connected to the PA with cables and eliminates the others with embedded firmware and software. The resulting system simplifies radiated immunity testing and reduces the possible points of failure. Empower RF was also demonstrating the ability to remotely control their high power amplifiers (HPA), with an HPA at their facility in Los Angeles controlled from the Empower RF booth in Honolulu.

EMScanEMScan was featuring RFxpert which is the only real-time, compact benchtop antenna measurement equipment that enables designers to get antenna pattern measurement in under a second and without an anechoic chamber. Avoid setup and other delays associated with far-field measurements in an anechoic chamber by using this near field method. You can execute real-time analysis of your design, test multiple design iterations and optimize complex designs on your lab-bench in seconds at each stage of the design process. There is also EMxpert for high resolution EMC and EMI testing.

Exxelia previewed several new microwave and RF components dedicated to a variety of industries including medical, transportation and defense. The new NHB series is a complete range of MLCC based on NPO dielectric material, providing a very high self-resonant frequency and limiting the parasite parallel resonant frequencies. Invar-36 is an iron-nickel alloy (64% Fe/36% Ni) sought after for its very low coefficient of thermal expansion. With 1.1 ppm. K–1 between 0°C and 100°C, Invar-36 is about 17 times more stable than brass, which is the most traditional and common alloy tuning elements are made of. Also, with the support of European Space Agency (ESA) and CNES Exxelia has developed a new high-end dielectric material, E7000 series, designed for high-end filters where high Q-factor is required. E7000 is Ba-Mg-Ta materials based that provides the high performance required for space use in the frequency range 5 to 32 GHz, and guarantees up to Qxf > 250,000 at 10 GHZ.

Filtronic Broadband Limited announced that its integrated E-Band transceiver modules support N x 10 Gbps applications. Working in collaboration with Escape Communications, using that company’s ESM-20008 and ESM-5008 high capacity modems, Filtronic demonstrated that its E-Band transceiver modules achieve 10 Gbps in a 2 GHz channel. The company’s pre-calibrated Orpheus and Morpheus E-Band modules offer high levels of integration with on-board diplexers and simple drop-in interfaces to modems and antennas.

Orpheus is the company’s third generation E-Band transceiver, while Morpheus is the fourth generation product, which introduces an innovative architecture suited to rapid customization. Both modules support multi-channel radio architectures that enable N x 10 Gbps solutions, appropriate for 5G applications.

Focus Microwave was featuring several test setups including their impedance tuners that use two basic technologies. For frequencies from 100 MHz to 110 GHz, they use the slide screw technique (models multi-harmonic MPT, wideband (fundamental) CCMT, harmonic rejection PHT), in which a reflective probe (slug) is inserted into the slot of a low loss slotted transmission line (slabline or waveguide). And for frequencies from below 10 to 170 MHz , they use a lumped element technology (models LFT), whereby variable capacitors are connected with optimized lengths of coaxial cable. All Focus tuners use extremely efficient calibration and tuning algorithms and control electronics based on LAN control (iTuner). This is a merger tuner technology with state-of-the-art control electronics to create the latest tuner generation. The on-board microprocessor and tuning firmware form a self-contained and fully calibrated test instrument.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES featured their production 45RFSOI process, which runs in the East Fishkill, New York fab. 45RFSOI is based on a 45 nm, partially-depleted SOI process used for servers that has been characterized and enhanced for millimeter wave performance, including thick copper and dielectric back-end-of-line (BEOL) features. With an ft of 305 GHz and fmax of 380 GHz, the process has the capability to support millimeter wave front ends and beamforming. By stacking the active devices, the voltage handling and power capability of the process can be increased for PA designs. The BEOL, high resistivity substrate, device stacking and low Ron enable T/R switches to be fabricated. Beyond the 45RFSOI process, GLOBALFOUNDRIES is doing prototype designs with the 22FDX process, which is a 22 nm fully-depleted SOI technology that balances performance, power consumption and cost. 22FDX will support future RF connectivity and IoT applications.

GoreGore introduced the new GORE® PHASEFLEX® Microwave/RF Test Assemblies, Type 0N for High Density Test/Interconnection – a lightweight assembly that ensures consistent, repeatable measurements with stable electrical performance up to 50 GHz. High density and modular test instruments for wireless devices and aerospace systems have become increasingly complex, with a larger number of ports that can accept up to 32 test assemblies or more. They are also subjected to constant flexing during calibration and testing DUTs that can compromise phase and amplitude stability, resulting in inaccurate measurements. As such, test assemblies need to be smaller, lighter weight and more flexible for easy routing in less space when connecting them to VNAs. At the same time, they need to deliver highly accurate measurements for faster throughput, less calibration and downtime and reduced overall costs. To address these demanding requirements, Gore has introduced GORE® PHASEFLEX® Microwave/RF Test Assemblies, Type 0N – the smallest, lightest, most internally ruggedized assembly on the market today for modular, multi-port and multi-site test applications.

Guerrilla RF was making the rounds at the event and introduced the GRF4142 bypass amplifier. This amplifier is targeted at small cells, cellular boosters and other broadband, high performance applications offering broadband frequency coverage with a minimal number of external components. It can be operated over a range of Vdd from 1.8 to 5.0 volts and Iddq can be controlled independently from Vdd, thus allowing the device efficiency to optimized for a given application requirement. The device can easily cover fractional bandwidths > 20 percent, with a single set of external components. Gain Mode performance of 1900 MHz, with gain: 16.0 dB, OP1dB: 19.0 dBm, OIP3: 34 dBm, Noise Figure: 0.95 dB at 5.0 volts and 50 mA. Bypass Mode performance of 1900 MHz, with gain: -1.5 dB, OP1dB: 20 dBm, OIP3: 40 dBm at 5.0 volts and << 1.0 mA. They also released another broadband, low noise linear driver. The GRF4014 can be operated over a range of Vdd from 3.0 to 8.0 volts, and Iddq can be controlled independently from Vdd thus allowing the device efficiency to optimized for a given application requirement. The device can cover 1700 to 3800 MHz with a single set of external components with gain: 17.0 dB, OP1dB: 24.8 dBm, Noise Figure: 0.8 dB at 2500 MHz at 5.0 volts and 65 mA. Biased at 8.0 volts and 100 mA, the device OP1dB is > 28 dBm with noise figure (NF) and gain essentially unchanged from their 5.0 volt values.

GVD Corporation has developed a polymer coating for circuit boards and MMICs that protects the components from moisture and debris and, according to the company, is an alternative to hermetic packaging. Applied with a room temperature vapor deposition process, the low dielectric coating is conformal, uniform and only a micron thick, which minimizes the effect on RF performance. MMICs with the coating have been evaluated at Ku-, Ka- and W-Band to verify that performance is not degraded. The coating is thermally stable, so it can be used with semiconductor devices that run hot, such as GaN. Replacing a hermetic package with a polymer coating will significantly reduce component size, weight and cost, so the capability should be particularly attractive to defense and space programs.

Holzworth was displaying their HSX Series that was recently released. Phase noise performance, as well as spurious, harmonic and sub-harmonic rejection, were the primary focus points during the development cycle of these RF synthesizers. The HSX Series integrates high performance 10 MHz to 6 GHz, 12 GHz and/or 20 GHz CW sources inside a 1U enclosure, optimizing rack space. This series of broadband frequency sources exhibit industry leading phase noise and spectral purity performance coupled with a highly accurate dynamic range of +20 to −110 dBm. The 1U high form factor is available in 1, 2, 3 or 4 channel (independently tunable) models; each providing the ultimate in frequency accuracy, channel-to channel stability and phase coherency.

HUBER+SUHNER was showcasing the company’s new line of high-end test assemblies: SUCOFLEX 500. The SUCOFLEX 500 V series guarantee the highest level of satisfaction for test and measurement applications. It offers the best-in-class phase and amplitude stability with flexure, movement, temperature (<50 ppm) and tensile stress. SUCOFLEX 500 V guarantees accurate measurements with longer calibration intervals. HUBER+SUHNER has recently extended its assemblies portfolio with the SUCOFLEX 500S series offering low insertion loss, outstanding return loss and excellent phase stability, making it the recommended assembly for high performance, high quality applications. Alongside these products was the Microbend L that provides the best loss performance in a small form factor cable solution. Performance combines superior flexibility with the unique bend-to-end feature. HUBER+SUHNER’s phase invariant over temperature (CT) cable, offering less than 300 ppm phase change over the complete temperature range (-50 to +125 °C), is now also available in hand-formable and semi-rigid assembly styles, completing the existing Minibend CT series.

Additionally, the new NEX10 connector interface (featured in the Microwave Journal Cable and Connector supplement in March), a miniature low PIM coaxial connector for small cells applications, was on display including its wide portfolio of multicoax solutions. From MXP and MXPM, the high performing push-on solutions for test and measurement, to customized SMPM ganged solutions and the VITA-67, all offered with our bend-to-the-end cable for a user friendly experience.

IMST presented their capabilities in the field of circuit design in addition to their extensive offering of services and products for communication technology. The new 3D EM solver EMPIRE XPU 7.53 was on display that covers nearly design challenges for RF designers, like antennas, passive circuits, packages, waveguides and EMC/EMI problems. EMPIRE XPU enables accurate full 3D EM design of larger and more complex structures compared to conventional EM simulation tools. IMST presented these capabilities in an innovative way using Vive® virtual reality glasses and software developed by IMST so attendees had the opportunity to walk through various 3D designs and even have a look from above the design.

With the U.S. government blocking their acquisition of Wolfspeed, Infineon is accelerating the development of its own GaN products. At IMS, the company featured several new GaN power transistors for avionics, radar and cellular. For avionics applications in the 1030 to 1090 MHz band, Infineon introduced a GaN transistor with 1,400 W saturated output power, 72 percent efficiency and 17 dB power gain (pulsed operation with a 10 percent duty cycle). For radar applications in the 2.7 to 3.1 GHz band, the company released a GaN device with 180 W saturated output power, 65 percent efficiency and 16 dB power gain (pulsed operation with a 10 percent duty cycle). For the cellular market, Infineon has developed a family of three asymmetric Doherty amplifiers for band 42 (3.4 to 3.6 GHz). Operating at 48 V, the devices provide 20, 30 and 40 W average output power, respectively; the 20 and 30 W devices achieve 47 percent efficiency, which drops slightly to 45 percent for the 40 W device. The firm also exhibited a GaN driver amplifier with a dual 30 W output. Even with the emphasis on new GaN products, Infineon has not abandoned LDMOS for cellular, believing it is competitive for the bands at 1.8 GHz and below.

In addition to power, Infineon exhibited transceivers for the 24 GHz ISM band and motion sensing applications at 60 GHz. The 60 GHz transceiver has 2 to 3 cm resolution and precision tracking at 10 kfps, which makes it useful for gesture control interfaces in small and wearable electronics systems. These transceivers are fabricated with Infineon’s SiGe BiCMOS process, which has an ft of 400 GHz.

Integra Technologies introduced a 1000 W GaN/SiC pallet, IGNP1214M1KW-GPS, for L-Band radar applications like tracking low-Earth orbit satellites and debris. The pallet operates over the instantaneous bandwidth of 1.2 – 1.4 GHz. Under 300 microseconds, 10 percent pulse conditions, it supplies a minimum of 1000 W of peak output power with typically 13 dB gain and 60 percent efficiency from a 50 V supply voltage. They also introduced an 80 W 5.2-5.9 GHz and 130 W 3.8-4.2 GHz GaN/SiC Transistor for C-Band radar plus a 120 W 2.7-3.1 GHz GaN/SiC Transistor for S-Band radar.

KeysightKeysight Technologies introduced the industry’s first scalable PXIe microwave signal generator with frequency coverage up to 44 GHz and modulation bandwidth up to 1 GHz for generating complex waveforms used in emerging 5G and aerospace and defense DVT applications. When combined with the baseband performance, the M9383A PXIe signal generator delivers 1 percent error vector magnitude (EVM), a critical measure of 5G modulated signal performance, for 800 MHz wide pre-5G waveforms. Engineers can now create Keysight validated Verizon pre-5G standard (5GTF) compliant waveforms and 5G candidate waveforms, such as 8 x 100 MHz OFDM component carriers (CC), for the PXIe signal generator using Keysight’s Signal Studio or SystemVue software. The software also allows engineers to create custom waveforms for emerging wireless, 5G new radio (NR) and aerospace and defense applications.

In late May, Keysight announced a broadband millimeter wave network analyzer solution that delivers unparalleled system-level accuracy up to 120 GHz. The new Keysight N5290/91A solutions produce metrology-grade results that enable leading-edge developers to confidently characterize their millimeter wave designs. The new solution enhances device characterization and modeling by delivering exceptional stability and accuracy for on-wafer and connectorized measurements. Magnitude stability is less than 0.015 dB and phase accuracy is less than 0.15 degrees over a 24-hour period. Leveraging Keysight's proven expertise in metrology, the solution's calibration capabilities are based on an improved-accuracy database that supports a 1.0 mm calibration kit (85059B) and a 1.0 mm verification kit (85059V).

Keysight also announced a collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies to enable the realization of 5G technologies. Keysight’s new 5G network emulation solutions portfolio, supported by Keysight’s new UXM 5G wireless test platform, enables Qualcomm Technologies to validate the chipset technology and the higher-layer protocols needed for 5G. Keysight’s scalable solutions support sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave, which will provide Qualcomm Technologies insights into the performance of their ICs and overcome potential challenges that may surface in 5G trials. Just prior to the event, Keysight and the University of California San Diego announced the world's fastest bidirectional phased array link in the 28 GHz 5G band. The demonstration included a 64-element array that achieved a data rate of 12 Gbps at 0 degrees and more than 8 Gbps over all scan angles up to ±50 degrees in azimuth and +/-25 degrees in elevation at a link distance of 300 meters. The array produced data rates of up to 18 Gbps at shorter distances. The bit-error-rate was less than 10-7 at maximum scan angles. The results did not rely on any calibration on the 64-element phased array, thereby greatly reducing implementation costs.

Leti Technology Research Institute, based in France, focuses on research into electronics and information technology, including advanced RF projects that are tied to telecommunications and the IoT. Leti’s mission is to demonstrate advanced technology and then transfer it to industry, whether an existing company or a start-up. At IMS, Leti was showing the results of several projects tha are available for commercialization. For radio links operating at millimeter wave frequencies, Leti has developed a transmit array that uses PIN diodes to shift the transmission phase and steer the beam. A 60 GHz version has 35 dBi gain. For short range wireless, high data rate transmission, Leti developed a 65 nm CMOS IC, including antenna, that transmits at 60 GHz. The first generation design achieves 2.5 Gbps data rates across a 7 cm gap (approximately 2.8 inches). At the other end of the spectrum, the Foxy is a low-cost and low power transceiver for use with the SigFox IoT network. Fabricated with 65 nm CMOS, the transceiver handles GFSK and DBPSK modulation and data rates between 100 bps to 20 kbps. Battery lifetime is estimated to be between five and 10 years, depending on how often the transceiver is on and the resulting data rate.

LPKF demonstrated last year that the LPKF ProtoLaser R that uses an ultrashort-pulse laser can provide precise and gentle processing of RF materials. “CuFlon” is the name of the high performance base material offered by US company Polyflon for use in challenging RF applications. The dielectric material is a pure PTFE; the coating is produced in a separate process with precise coating thickness control. These substrates have been structured exclusively using etching processes. The high precision achievable by laser structuring without chemical etching processes has been demonstrated in an extensive series of tests performed by application engineers at LPKF Laser & Electronics AG. The LPKF ProtoLaser R laboratory laser system was used in the tests. The extremely short laser pulse evaporates a small amount of material so quickly that no heat is transferred to the surrounding material. Thus, thin or temperature-sensitive layers can be processed with high precision without any damage to the surrounding material. The laser spot size is a mere 15 µm and powerful system software is included.

MacomFor RF energy applications such as cooking, lighting and automotive ignition, MACOM released a “toolkit” designed to help non-RF designers quickly evaluate MACOM’s GaN on Si amplifiers and develop system prototypes. The initial beta version of the toolkit, which covers 915 MHz to 2.45 GHz, is available to qualified customers now; MACOM plans to refine the toolkit and offer it more widely in the fall.

The company was also featuring its catalog of MMIC and diode products, including two new releases: a 0.5 W PA for E-Band radios and a DC to 50 GHz distributed amplifier. The E-Band PA packages a previously released four-stage MMIC that covers the full 71 to 86 GHz frequency range with a single amplifier. The packaged version provides a WR-12 output for easy interface to an antenna or other component and includes a bias controller with voltage regulator, negative voltage generator for gate bias and a voltage sequencer. The distributed amplifier MMIC provides 20 dBm output power, 15 dB gain, 3 dB NF and is matched to 50 Ω, with input and output return loss better than 10 dB. The MMIC is assembled in a 5  mm x 5 mm QFN.

MACOM also featured its GaN on Si technology for base station PAs; however, booth staff had no update on the qualification of the two leading customers programs, at 900 and 1800 MHz. During the company’s earnings call on April 25, CEO John Croteau said the company was on schedule to complete the qualification of these programs in “the June timeframe.”

Marki Microwave was featuring their T3 MMIC mixers with very high dynamic range. The Two Tone Terminator mixer has had the highest dynamic range across the broadest bandwidth since being introduced in 2006. Since 2013 Marki Microwave has offered small form factor chip style double balanced mixers such as the Microlithic® and MMIC lines of mixers that cover from 1 GHz to 67 GHz. now the have introduced the new MT3 line of small form factor, high linearity mixers. These integrated mixers offer the high linearity (IP3, P1dB, spurious suppression) and low conversion loss of the T3, but with the size and production scaling benefits of a MMIC.

Mathworks has added several new tools for communications systems such as LTE, 5G and WLAN. Modeling beamforming algorithms in the context of an entire system including RF, antenna and signal processing components can address phased array design challenges. MATLAB® and Simulink® provide a full set of modeling and simulation tools and algorithms needed to design, test and integrate beamformers and to perform full system-level analysis. MathWorks has recently added a 5G library and can help make the optimal decisions for tradeoffs between digital and analog beamforming. They have also added Antenna Toolbox™ that uses the method of moments to compute port properties such as impedance, surface properties such as current and charge distribution, and field properties such as the far-field radiation pattern. Antenna Toolbox provides impedance analysis that can be used to design matching networks with RF Toolbox™. It also provides radiation patterns for simulating beamforming algorithms together with Phased Array System Toolbox™.

Maury’s AMCAD third generation pulsed IV system was featured. The key highlights over the second-generation include:

  • Simultaneous high voltages and currents up to 30 A at 250 V
  • Short pulses down to 200 ns to eliminate self-heating
  • Long pulses up to 40 s to study trapping effects
  • 18 bit A/D for highest resolution and accuracy
  • Improved current measurements as extremely low currents
  • Built-in protection circuits (hardware and software, factory and user defined)
  • SCPI commands for direct programming
  • Ethernet and USB control
  • Mix-and-match pulsers for 2-32 synchronized channels

Maury also showed their MT2000 again, this year with an emphasis on 5G signals. They demonstrated a mixed-signal active harmonic load pull under modulated load conditions at 5.5 GHz with harmonic tuning at 11 GHz. This allows realistic impedances to be presented at the fundamental and harmonic frequencies across the entire bandwidth of the signal, measuring accurate ACPR and EVM. The same system can cover frequencies up to 40 GHz, making it well-suited for the 3-6 GHz bands, as well as the 28-30 and 38-40 GHz 5G bands, as well as classic telecom and aerospace frequencies.

Mician previewed the latest release – version 8.1 – of its µWave Wizard hybrid EM software tool, which combines the flexibility of fast and powerful numerical methods with an appealing and ergonomic GUI that enables flexibility and openness including computer-aided design (CAD) export formats interfacing with most mechanical design tools.

Micro Lambda Wireless was displaying their model MLVS-0520 synthesizers for test equipment, local oscillators and frequency converters. The are VCO-based and provide .001 Hz frequency resolution over the 50 MHz to 21 GHz frequency range. Output power level of 15 dBm is provided throughout the full frequency range with switching speed of 50 msec maximum. Harmonics are typically −12 dBc and spurs −60 dBc. It is housed in a 4 x 3.6 x .9” package.

Microsemi announced a new family of wideband plastic packaged and chip MMIC devices. The new products add to a growing portfolio of high performance wideband MMICs and include four plastic packaged LNAs; a wideband PA chip, MMA053AA; and two plastic packaged switches, MMS006PP3 and MMS008PP3. The new packaged amplifiers include two new distributed LNAs that outperform others over a wider frequency from DC to 27 GHz with higher gain of 17 dB and OIP3 of 35 dBm. They are packaged in a small 5 mm plastic QFN package ideal for size constrained applications. Two additional wideband LNAs provide exceptionally low NF from 0.5 to 18 GHz with typical NF below 2 dB and no more than 2.5 dB at the band edge. The new wideband GaAs switches have improved insertion loss and isolation over a wider frequency range from DC to 20 GHz when compared to competitive parts. These are housed in 3 mm plastic QFN packages which are ideal for high performance requirements in constrained size applications. The devices require minimal off-chip logic to control simplifying system-level integration. A wideband PA chip was also released which maintains flat gain of 17 dB and high OIP3 of 35 dBm from DC to 8 GHz, exceeding the performance of competitive parts. Offering superior pricing, customers can leverage all these devices’ leading performance capabilities to meet demanding system and module lineup requirements with minimal DC power consumption.

NINational Instruments was demonstrating its latest innovations for smarter microwave design and test. Wireless test demonstrations will feature NI’s latest advancements in test technology for 802.11ax, LTE Advance Pro and 5G. Demonstrations include a technology demonstration for 5G RFICs based on the second-generation Vector Signal Transceiver in conjunction specialized software for generation and analysis of Verizon 5G and NR waveforms. Additional wireless test demonstrations include a 73 GHz channel sounder, 802.11ax test system, and wideband DPD test system.They recently developed a PXI baseband unit that is separate from the VST in order to increase the bandwidth. The PXIe-5820 module is the industry’s first baseband VST with 1 GHz of complex I/Q bandwidth and is designed to address the most challenging RF front-end module and transceiver test applications, such as envelope tracking, DPD and 5G test.

In addition, NI accelerates product development with RF/microwave circuit and system design using the latest release of NI AWR Design Environment, version 13 (V13). V13 offers new technology for design automation, circuit and system simulation and design assistance. Enhancements to the design environment UI include new capabilities to automate PCB, MMIC and module design flows, design synthesis, addressing file format standards for import/export support, and third-party links. V13 also features speed and functionality improvements to simulation engines, including harmonic balance, system-level and planar and arbitrary 3D EM solver improvements.

Noise XT introduced the PNG-A (Phase Noise Generator), which is claimed to be the first signal source to deliver a signal with mathematically computed phase noise in real-time. Low in cost and weighing just 2 lbs the instrument allows engineers and cal labs to calibrate without wasting time building large equipment setups. With the PNG-A, users can verify phase noise analyzers, jitter analyzers and spectrum analyzers, all in a few minutes. The user can design the exact phase noise shape, according to the instrument to be tested or can simply load one of the company’s pre-loaded generic profiles. Noise XT’s intellectual property is embedded in a complex FPGA. It has been engineered according to complex mathematical calculations; internal architecture allows continuous verification of the generated signal. The virtualization of the signal generation allows great flexibility as the PNG-A can generate a programmable phase or amplitude profile.

NXPNXP is providing purpose-built PA solutions to support the size, power and frequency bands needed for 5G NR. From 2015 to 2016, NXP more than doubled its offering of GaN RF transistors. By continuing to increase its GaN offerings in 2017, NXP will not only be able to better serve the cellular infrastructure markets, but also offer full GaN lineups in a variety of power ranges for industrial and defense markets. RF silicon LDMOS products continue to be the most widely deployed in cellular base stations. The latest generation offers significant performance improvements in efficiency, gain, thermal performance and signal bandwidth. These enhancements are intended to support the requirements of next-generation macro base stations and smart mobility solutions for 5G. In addition to macro cells, network densification using small cells is considered necessary by wireless operators to improve coverage, capacity and speeds on their next-generation networks. They have released a 5 W small cell solution for 1400 to 2300 MHz with 46.5 percent efficiency and a 5 W 3400-3800 device with 32 percent efficiency. With a comprehensive lineup of high power symmetric and asymmetric ICs from 700 to 3800 MHz frequency, NXP has products to fit deployments from 3G to 4G to 5G.

NXP recently developed 65 V LDMOS for high power applications and released a 1800 W, 1 to 470 MHz device aimed at industrial applications and a 750 W 1030 to 1090 MHz device aimed at aerospace and defense applications. They also have continued to develop radar modules and transceivers for 77 GHz automotive radar applications. NXP is also working with industry partners including Analog Devices Inc. and NanoSemi Inc. to provide complete linearized solutions and was showing off their products in these booths.

OML introduced its new mini-source module series that is specifically designed as a portable solution for millimeter wave signal generator. Utilizing the handheld spectrum analyzer tracking generator as an LO source and the built-in DC supply/USB 5V; the mini-source module provides a truly portable field signal generator in a one box solution.  This product is currently available in waveguide bands WR-42 (26-40GHz), WR-15 (50-75 GHz) WR-12 (60-90 GHz), and extended WR-12 (56-96 GHz). OML’s millimeter wave frequency extension products can help you with your testing in the emerging application areas such as WiGig, 5G, collision avoidance radar systems, E-Band backhaul and military & defense.

OMMIC, spun out from Philips in 2007, is dedicated to ICs based on III-V compound semiconductors and is now focusing on GaN on silicon (Si). OMMIC’s chairman, Marc Rocchi, is bullish about GaN, predicting it will overtake GaAs in three to five years because of its better performance. OMMIC has chosen Si rather than SiC as the substrate for their GaN process because of the perceived cost advantages of Si 一 the same path MACOM is pursuing. OMMIC’s process is based on a 100 nm gate, which achieves an ft of 105 GHz and fmax of 190 GHz. Biased at 12 V, the devices achieve 3.3 W/mm power density and 1.8 dB NF at 40 GHz.

Eyeing the use of the millimeter wave bands for 5G, OMMIC is developing a front-end MMIC for 28 GHz phased arrays. The IC integrates a PA, LNA and switch. The PA delivers 37.5 dBm output power with 35 percent power-added efficiency and 22 dB small-signal gain. The LNA has 2 dB NF and 20 dB gain, and the switch has 1.2 dB insertion loss and 23 dB isolation. OMMIC is using GaAs for the core chips that provide the amplitude and phase control for the array. Rocchi says that arrays based purely on CMOS will not deliver the required EIRP.

Pasternack featured new waveguide products including waveguide direct read attenuators, waveguide directional couplers, waveguide bends and transitions. Additionally they will be showing some of our new active products including USB-controlled phase-locked loop (PLL) Synthesizer, high power GaN amps, active frequency multipliers, analog phase shifters and our 2.4 GHz Radar Demonstration Kit which is an innovative tool that can be used to study and learn about the principles of microwave radar object detection, motion detection and determine the range of objects.

In addition to their new products that were on display, they offered a demo of Pasternack’s Cable Creator ™ that allows customers to quickly design and order over 250,000 possible cable assembly configurations. This easy to use tool provides instant pricing, detailed datasheets and online ordering with same day shipping on any cable assembly built from its inventory of 1,300 connectors and 120 cable types. Be sure to stop by to meet our RF experts, view our new products and learn more about Pasternack’s 40,000+ RF, Microwave and Millimeter Wave products.

Peregrine Semiconductor, a Murata company, announced a high power receiver protection switch that handles a 43 dBm single event power surge and covers 700 MHz to 6 GHz. The PE42823 is a single pole double throw (SPDT) switch designed for the massive MIMO architectures of next-generation base stations. Robert Wagner, Peregrine’s new director of product marketing, briefed customers and members of the press on recent product releases, management and organizational changes and the acquisition of Arctic Sand.

Pico Technology showcased the low-cost PicoVNA 106 – a USB-controlled, professional and laboratory grade 300 kHz to 6 GHz VNA. The instrument boasts a full-function, minimal-error, ‘Quad RX’ four-receiver architecture that supports both 8 and 12 term calibration and enables convenient calibration methods such as ‘enhanced isolation correction’ and use of the “unknown thru.” The PicoVNA 106 offers a dynamic range of up to 118 dB at 10 Hz and only 0.005 dB RMS trace noise at its maximum operating bandwidth of 140 kHz. It can also gather all four S-parameters in just 190 µs per frequency point; in other words, a 500 point 2-port S2P Touchstone file, compatible with test, math, view and electronic design automation (EDA) simulation tools, in less than a tenth of a second.

QorvoQorvo made several product announcements that coincided with IMS. The most interesting was a GaN front-end module (FEM) designed for a 39 GHz phased array, one of the two principal millimeter wave bands being explored for 5G and pre-5G services. The QPF4005 FEM covers 37 to 40.5 GHz and contains two channels, with each channel comprising a multi-function GaN MMIC containing a three-stage PA, three-stage LNA and a SPDT T/R switch, fabricated with Qorvo’s 0.15-µm GaN on SiC process. The PA provides 23 dBm average output power. The FEM is assembled in a 4.5 mm x 6 mm AC-EHSL package.

In another significant announcement, Qorvo said it is sampling a high power bulk acoustic wave (BAW) filter developed for massive MIMO base stations. Operating from 2575 to 2635 MHz (the TDD sub-band of band 41 held by China Mobile), the QPQ1300 filter handles 5 W average input power, with peaks to 40 W, which Qorvo says is the highest power BAW filter available. At 5  mm x 5 mm x 1 mm, the filter is 90 percent smaller than ceramic filters, the closest competing filter technology.

Addressing other infrastructure markets, Qorvo released three GaN on SiC transistors for public safety and tactical radios. With an operating voltage of 50 V, the three devices cover 30 to 1200 MHz, with saturated output powers from 7 to 25 W and corresponding efficiencies from 60 to 73 percent.

R&D Interconnect Solutions has developed a unique conductive elastomer pin, Invisipin, the first solderable individual conductive elastomer pin. It is pick and place/solder reflow compatible, configurable and individually replaceable. It features typical performance (.8 mm pitch, 25 deg C) is contact resistance of less than 25 mOhms with deviation over compliance range less than 15 mOhms. RF Loss at 20 GHz is less than .1 dB (coax, 1 pin), less than .36 dB (coax, 2 pins + substrate) and less than .45 dB at 50 GHz (coax, 1 pin). It can handle 2 A continuous current and has half loop inductance of 81 pH. A very interesting product to see how it does in the market.

RADX LibertyGT® 1211B is a modular, COTS, multi-function, programmable, benchtop automated test system that supports a wide range of real-time RF and microwave stimulus, test and measurement (T&M) applications. It features a modular Software Defined Synthetic Instrument (SDSI®) architecture, intuitive touch screen interface and industry leading programmability. RADX has added 8 TB RAID capabilities to enable the streaming of full bandwidth to RAID drive with 765 MHz of bandwidth. The real-time VSG now has up to 128 channels.

ReactelReactel was featuring their discrete component filters that satisfy a variety of filter requirements. These versatile units cover the broad frequency range of 2 kHz to 5 GHz, and are available in either tubular or rectangular packages, connectorized or surface mount and standard or high power versions. All standard discrete component filters utilize a low ripple Chebyshev design which offers the best compromise of low loss, low VSWR and high selectivity. Each filter situation is unique, and the data provided on the following pages offers only a small glimpse of our capabilities. They can also provide these units with Bessel, Butterworth, Elliptic, Gaussian or Linear Phase responses. They noted that there is certainly a trend toward surface mount, low profile filters such as their 9AM-1315-X1710M that is only .12” high with a center frequency of 1315 MHz and insertion loss of less than 1.5 dB and minimum passband of 460 to 2170 MHz.

Res-Net Microwave was featuring their CVD diamond resistors that offer excellent power handling and high frequency performance. The superior thermal properties of CVD diamond (high conductivity and low thermal expansion) make these resistors ideal for pulsed power applications. They cover DC to 18, 20 or 30 GHz ranges with power of 20 to 150 W and capcitance of .2 to .8 pF.

RF Lambda was featuring many of their new products such as their 140 W 6-18 GHz EMC bench-top SSPA; 160, 32 and 16 channel 0.5-43.5 GHz RF switch and filter bank matrices; and USB controlled broadband ultra low phase noise signal generator operating from 0.039-22 GHz. The USB controlled signal generator, RSGLP0120GA, is an easy to use high frequency signal generator controlled through a standard USB port. Using advanced VCO and DDS based technology along with a temperature compensated crystal reference, it offers ultra-low phase noise (-135 to -150 dBc/Hz at 10 MHz offset) and high frequency resolution. The unit can also be locked to an external 10 MHz reference source.

RogersRogers Corporation was highlighting their RO4700™ series antenna grade laminates that are a reliable, low-cost alternative to the conventional PTFE-based laminates. RO4725JXR™, RO4730JXR™ and RO4730G3(TM) laminates have the mechanical and electrical properties that antenna designers need. The laminates have a dielectric constant (Dk) of 2.55 and 3.0 and a loss tangent (Df) of 0.0022 measured at 2.5 GHz. These values allow antenna designers to realize substantial gain values while minimizing signal loss. Materials are available with a demonstrated low PIM performance, with values better than −160 dBc (43dBm 1,900 MHz signal). RO4700 series antenna grade laminates are compatible with conventional epoxy and high temperature lead-free solder processing. These laminates do not require the special treatment needed on traditional PTFE-based laminates for plated through hole preparation. Lamination can be achieved using RO4400™ bondply series at 175°C. The resin systems of RO4700JXR series materials are designed to provide the properties sought after by antenna designers. The glass transition temperature exceeds 280°C (536°F), leading to a low Z-axis coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), excellent plated through hole reliability, and lead-free solder processability.

R&SThe main focus for Rohde & Schwarz was the public launch of the powerful R&S SMA100B analog signal generator, with a frequency range up to 20 GHz, which is featured as the Most Valuable Product (MVP) in the June 2017 issue of Microwave Journal. It provides pure signals with low phase noise at all offset frequencies (1 GHz, -152 dBc/Hz, 20 kHz offset). A 6 GHz instrument generates up to 38 dBm RF output power, and a 20 GHz instrument generates up to 32 dBm in the microwave frequency range. Harmonics are extremely low across the entire frequency range; above 6 GHz they are even significantly lower than 70 dBc at 18 dBm output power. Nonharmonics are below 110 dBc at an output signal of 1 GHz. In addition to delivering extremely pure analog RF signals, the R&S SMA100B is said to be the world's only analog signal generator that can simultaneously provide a second, independently configurable, extremely pure and synchronized clock signal up to a frequency of 6 GHz.

The ultra-high output power option enables the R&S SMA100B to provide up to 38 dBm of output power, eliminating the need for external amplifiers in automated test environments, while integrated, wear-free electronic step attenuators are standard in the 20 GHz instruments. Other applications include: as a clock source when characterizing digital-to-analog converters (DAC), to test advanced radar receivers and the evaluation of a base station's true interference suppression performance.

Other key products featured on the booth included two handhelds – the R&S Cable Rider ZPH cable and antenna analyzer and the R&S Scope Rider. With a measurement speed of 0.3 ms per data point, and featuring what is claimed to be the fastest boot and warm-up time on the market, the analyzer allows users to start taking fast measurements just over a minute after switching on. The R&S Scope Rider now combines the functionality of eight instruments and new features include a spectrum analyzer. Since the fully insulated, handheld instrument meets measurement category CAT IV requirements, it can be used to perform measurements at the source of low-voltage installations up to 600 V.

Rosenberger has developed a modular connector system which improves existing solutions and fulfills the increasing requirements of T&M industries: to cover the whole frequency range from DC to 50 GHz only one part of PCB contact has to be processed. No soldering is required and prepositioning is enforced by dowel pins. The clamping mechanism accommodates a wide range of board thicknesses while providing a continuous ground connection between contact area and circuit board. They also have developed high performance solderless PCB mount connectors designed to provide low return loss values for frequencies up to 110 GHz — for single-layer or multi-layer printed circuit boards where the microwave layer is on the top. Rosenberger also developed the series WSMP® connector based on the SMP series. They are designed in very small dimensions and very high frequencies up to 100 GHz. WSMP connectors are about 45 % smaller than SMP connectors, and feature a high packing density, have a push-on coupling mechanism and need a minimum board-to-board distance of 3.05 mm.

SAGE Millimeter showcased a number of projects and developments. Featured among its new products is the E-Band Frequency Extender for 5G and E-Band Communications. This newest addition to their test instrumentation line is a x6 frequency extender that uses an input frequency range of 10 to 15 GHz at +5 dBm along with harmonic generation and filtering to produce a 60 to 90 GHz RF signal at +3 dBm. Equipped inside with SAGE components, the benchtop unit is designed to extend the capabilities of low frequency synthesizers while preserving their existing functionality and features. The extender’s adjustable legs and hardy enclosure make it a versatile addition to any lab environment. Typical applications include test instrumentation, network analyzer systems and lab test setups. This product is also available up to 170 GHz.

Another featured product was the model SBP-7531142515-1010-E1 power amplifier with a typical small signal gain of 25 dB and a nominal output power of +15 dBm across the frequency range of 75 to 110 GHz. The DC power requirement for the amplifier is +15 VDC/190 mA. The mechanical configuration offers an in line structure with WR-10 waveguides and UG-387/U-M flanges. Other port configurations, such as with 1 mm connectors or a right angle structure with WR-10 waveguides, are also available under different model numbers.

Spectrum Elektrotechnik GmbH is a leading manufacturer of RF and microwave components in the frequency range DC to 65 GHz. Their products are published in eight individual catalogs showing detailed information and specifications. They include adapters, DC to 65 GHz, 50 Ω; connectors, DC to 65 GHz, 50 Ω; cable assemblies, DC to 65 GHz, 50 Ω; ANA test cables; Test accessories, DC to 65 GHz, 50 Ω; components, 50 Ω; quick connections, DC to 40 GHz, 50 Ω; components, 75 Ω; and machines/tools. They were featuring several new connectors and adaptors.

Signal Hound had a hot new addition with the SM200A – a high performance spectrum analyzer and monitoring receiver. Tuning from 100 kHz to 20 GHz, the analyzer has 160 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth, 110 dB of dynamic range, 1 THz/sec sweep speed at 30 kHz RBW (using Nuttall windowing), and phase noise performance that is low enough to contribute less than 0.1 percent error to EVM measurements. Signal processing is distributed between a powerful Altera FPGA and an external PC having an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor. The Signal Hound SM200A can be readily interfaced, using its local API, to an automated monitoring system or to automated test equipment. The API provides customers the access needed to insert their own DSP algorithms into a calibrated stream of I/Q data. This is a low-cost alternative to some of the much more expensive spectrum analyzers.

Skyworks Solutions expanded its portfolio of small cell solutions with the addition of new, high efficiency PAs targeting License Assisted Access (LAA) and LTE unlicensed (LTE-U) spectrum for LTE-Advanced base stations. Skyworks' devices offer four times higher efficiency than competing products available in the market today and enable small cells to easily meet Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) standards. When combined with the pin-to-pin compatible SKY6629x small cell product family, Skyworks is able to support all 3GPP bands. Analog Devices, Inc. is leveraging this PA family for its AD9375 small cell radio reference design with integrated DPD, offering customers a single platform with the highest efficiency and linearity available in the industry. The SKY66288-11 is a compact 5 x 5 mm high efficiency, four watt peak PA with high gain designed for the unlicensed spectrum of LTE-advanced small cell base stations. The amplifier delivers more than four times higher efficiency when compared to other products available in the market today.

Smiths Interconnect was featuring a recently released Ku-Band High Power Transceiver (HPT). The HPT is a complete airborne SatCom solution, integrating a GaN SSPA, upconverters, down-converters, and digital control technology to offer a highly modular yet easily maintained system complete with advanced interoperability features and multiple built-in-test functions. Leveraging the higher maximum channel temperature limit of GaN devices, along with built-in SSPA protection against high VSWR loads, the 25 W HPT system offers extremely high standard reliability and stability for commercial airborne systems. For applications that require additional commercial air transport use assurance, an optional vibration insensitive OCXO installed on a vibration isolation platform is available. The HPT can transmit from 13.75 to 14.5 GHz from an IF frequency of 950 to 1700 MHz with a gain variation of less than 1.0 dB over any 36 MHz band and provides the frequency block down conversion from 10.7 to 11.7 GHz to the low band IF of 950-1950 MHz or from 11.7 to 12.75 GHz to the high band IF of 1100-2150 MHz. The Receive bands are selectable with commands over the Ethernet bus.

SV Microwave was featuring their MINI-D RF Connection System that has the following features:

  • SMPS bullets (female-female adapters) used as connector savers for long product life
  • Bullets easily removed with standard SMPS removal tool
  • Proven SMPS interface
  • Solder-On PCB Edge Mount and Surface Mount connector options available
  • High Frequency RF performance to 67 GHz (1.85 mm)
  • Easy mating/de-mating with thumbscrews

TeledyneTeledyne Microwave Solutions was featuring some of its expanded RF/microwave capabilities including its larger footprints in the SATCOM and space sectors from its various business units. The five business units of TMS (Teledyne Cougar, Teledyne MEC, Teledyne Labtech, Teledyne Defence & Space and Teledyne Paradise Datacom) are collaborating to widen the TMS portfolio in areas like electronic warfare, space payloads, missile, radar, communications, satellite communications and more.

Last year, the Teledyne Defence business unit changed its corporate name to Teledyne Defence & Space, reflecting its increasing presence in the space market with channelizers/converters, filters, diplexers and more for space payloads. Working with the flagship business unit for SATCOM solutions, Teledyne Paradise Datacom, other TMS business units are aggressively developing complementary technologies for a wider range of SATCOM applications.

As a “single source” provider for the MW/RF industry’s most complex and demanding requirements, the TMS portfolio includes:

  • High power TWTs, amplifiers, SSPAs and TWTAs
  • BAW and YIG devices; SATCOM modems, SSPAs, BUCs, LNAs/LNBs and bandwidth management; receivers; synthesizers; transceivers, converters, switched multiplexers and multi-function assemblies; and integrated assemblies and subsystems; attenuators; detectors; frequency doublers; isolators & circulators; linearizers; mixers; phase shifters; power dividers; switches; and VCOs
  • Circuit board & packaging, including MMIC packaging; microwave PCBs such as multi-layer, metal cored, large format and antenna, pre- and post-bonded metalback, flex and flex-rigid PCB and much more.

Texas Instruments introduced the LMX2594, a is a high performance, wideband PLL with integrated VCOs that can generate any frequency from 10 MHz to 15 GHz without using an internal doubler eliminating the need for sub-harmonic filters. The high performance PLL with figure of merit of –236 dBc/Hz and high phase detector frequency can attain very low in-band noise and integrated jitter. The high speed N-divider has no pre-divider significantly reducing the amplitude and number of spurs. There is also a programmable input multiplier to mitigate integer boundary spurs. TI also introduced the ADC12D1600QML, a low power, high performance CMOS analog-to-digital converter that digitizes signals at a 12-bit resolution at sampling rates up to 3.2 GSPS in an interleaved mode. It can also be used as a dual channel analog-to-digital converter (ADC) for sampling rates up to 1.6 GSPS. For sampling rates below 800 MHz, there is a Low Sampling Power Saving Mode (LSPSM) that reduces power consumption to less than 1.4 W per channel (typical). The ADC can support conversion rates as low as 200 MSPS.

Times Microwave was featuring their Low PIM TFT™Coaxial Cables that are flexible, low PIM, plenum rated jumper cable assemblies. They have the following features:

  •  -160 dBc PIM for optimal system performance
  • UL listed, type CMP (plenum) UL file #E-170516
  • Flat Braid outer conductor construction for optimal flexibility
  • Durable FEP outer jacket is suitable For both indoor and outdoor use
  • They are available in any connector configuration and length.

UMS is Europe’s principal foundry, offering GaAs and GaN processes and, more recently, QFN packaging for MMICs developed through the foundry. Processes include six flavors of pHEMT, an InGaP HBT process for VCOs, and a 0.25 µm GaN process that achieves 4.5 W/mm power density. GaN processes with 0.15 and 0.1 µm gate length are being developed to extend the frequency range to 35 and 50 GHz, respectively.

UMS, jointly owned by Airbus and Thales, targets four markets: defense, space, telecommunications and automotive. The company is a critical MMIC supplier for European defense programs. Many UMS products and processes have been qualified by the ESA, which gives UMS the heritage and capability to support space missions. In addition to custom products for defense and space programs, UMS offers catalog products, primarily for telecommunications (i.e., point-to-point) and automotive applications. At IMS, UMS presented a paper on a 20 W, GaN Doherty PA covering 5.5 to 5.6 GHz. With market interest in using the millimeter wave spectrum for 5G, UMS is working at 28 GHz to prove circuit and system concepts. UMS is also leveraging its position in the automotive market by offering a family of MMICs for 24 GHz sensor applications, including a switch, LNAs, oscillators, down-converters and a fully integrated transceiver.

John Richardson, president of X-Microwave, was demonstrating X-Microwave’s building block approach to microwave circuit and system development in the Analog Devices’ (ADI) booth. ADI is one of X-Microwave’s partners, recently releasing 250 of their products in the X-MWblock format. Assembling X-MWblock circuit functions from ADI or another of X-Microwave’s partners on a standard grid, designers can quickly prototype a multi-function circuit or subsystem, swapping blocks to optimize performance. Once configured, the components can be packaged in a machined housing for low rate production or, if the volumes are higher, X-Microwave can integrate the functions and customize the packaging. With a growing catalog of components from various manufacturers, X-Microwave arguably offers designers the fastest and lowest risk development path.

The market is strong for WIN Semiconductors, the world’s largest pure-play compound semiconductor foundry. Two of their three fabs are running at capacity and the third, a 6-inch line that opened last June and runs high volume HBT, has ramped to 80 percent of its capacity. Approximately 80 percent of WIN’s business is from mobile and Wi-Fi products, the remainder from infrastructure, and both segments are growing more than 20 percent annually. Russ Wagner, VP of business development, says they have close to three dozen 5G engagements, spanning both sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave projects. WIN’s focus is on extending the performance of its myriad processes — HBT, pHEMT, E/D pHEMT, GaN, diodes and passives — and on achieving higher levels of integration to address the increasing complexity of wireless and high speed systems.

WTGWireless Telecom Group’s Boonton RTP5000 series power meter provides the highest video bandwidth (195 MHz) and fastest rise times 93 ns) plus deliver real-time power processing of 100,000 measurements per second so there no gaps in signal acquisition and zero measurement latency. Combining this performance with automatic pulse measurements, CCDF and crest factor statistical analysis, multi-channel capabilities and documentation tools, RTP5000 peak power sensors are the ideal instrument for fast, accurate and reliable RF power measurements. One example is the memory buffer for complex signal measurement capture that was demonstrated in the booth. Mbuff can be used in various stages of product development. It can determine product performance from engineering, conducted regulatory compliance and production testing. It decreases test time by capturing varying pulse trains of radar signals such as IFF or complex OFDM modulated WLAN communication signals.

Wolfspeed released two GaN on SiC MMICs for S-Band radar (2.7 to 3.5 GHz), the company’s first S-Band MMICs operating at 50 V. The CMPA2735015S is rated for 15 W output power, yet provides 21 W pulsed (500 μs pulse width and 10 percent duty cycle) and 34 dB small-signal gain. The companion CMPA2735030S, rated for 30 W, provides 41 W pulsed (500 μs pulse width and 10 percent duty cycle) and 34 dB small-signal gain. Both MMICs have two stages and are reactively matched to 50 Ω. They are packaged in a 5  mm x 5 mm surface mount QFN.

Until next year’s IMS in Philadelphia...