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Industry News

IMS 2003 - Upbeat and Interesting in Philadelphia

August 1, 2003
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Philadelphia was a good and gracious host for Microwave Week as weather-weary visitors enjoyed somewhat milder spring-like weather for the 2003 IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium held June 8 to 13. The overall turnout was good with over 10,000 delegates, visitors and exhibitors attending the annual event. The city of Philadelphia was deemed "Microwave Metropolis" by IMS 2003 chairman Richard Snyder, and it put its best foot forward while showing the microwave industry a little bit of the country's founding history and heritage. With the Pennsylvania Convention Center located in the heart of the city within walking distance of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, one could share a sense of how this country began and how far we have come.


The week was the culmination of a lot of hard work by Dr. Snyder and his capable team of volunteers. Their efforts made this year's event an unqualified success. As in the past, the 2003 IEEE Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit (RFIC) Symposium, chaired by Natalino Camilleri, ran in parallel, and the 61st ARFTG Measurement Conference, chaired by Charles Wilker, was held on Friday, June 13. It all made for a busy and productive week.

The Technical Program

Once again a record number of papers were submitted before the start of the year and over 500 were selected for presentation in 63 IMS sessions over the course of the week. In addition, there were 34 technical workshops and 22 RFIC sessions. The IMS Technical Program chairs were Peter Herczfeld and Arye Rosen, the Interactive Forum chairs were Allen Katz and Zygmond Turski, and the Workshop chair was Olga Boric-Lubecke. Also, there were several Special and Focus Sessions, headed by Kavita Goverdhanam and Mahesh Kumar, and daily panel sessions chaired by Chi Wang and James Whelehan. A recurring highlight is always the MTT-S Student Paper Competition, where 24 finalists from the 276 submitted papers made presentations. In all, this year's technical program was both educational and comprehensive, and ultimately attended by 2,772 symposium delegates.

The Social Program

Kicking off the week's social program was the annual Microwave Journal /MTT-S reception at the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn's Landing on the Delaware River. The beautiful weather Monday evening made the reception that much more enjoyable since the guests were able to enjoy the various outside decks overlooking the river with the historic Battleship New Jersey moored just across the river from the museum. Inside were many interesting and educational displays of seacraft and seaport activities of old. A montage of photos from the reception and the exhibition appears on pages 92 and 93.

Other social events included the RFIC Symposium Reception hosted by the RFIC Steering Committee on Sunday at the Grand Hall and the Industry-hosted Cocktail Reception at the Marriott on Wednesday evening, followed by the IEEE MTT-S Awards Banquet. For those able to take a break from the technical sessions and the exhibition, there were a number of interesting local tours to points of interest in the Philadelphia area.

The Industry Exhibition

Most exhibitors and attendees would agree that the Pennsylvania Convention Center was an impressive and spacious facility for the commercial Exhibition, as well as the Symposium. For once, more space was available than necessary to display the industry's new products and technologies. The single hall provided easy access to every booth and was a comfortable venue for doing business. Hats off to the Philadelphia Convention Center staff for being terrific hosts and making the stay enjoyable.

As always there was too much to see and too little time to see it. In spite of the recent business slump, there appeared to be new products on display everywhere, and the mood was definitely upbeat. A sampling of some of the new products on display and other exhibition news follows. Apologies to the many companies that have not been mentioned due to space limitations.

Advanced Power Technology announced several new transistor products including the debut of its 110 W and 200 W peak LDMOS transistors developed for the avionics market, rugged RF MOSFETs operating from 300 VDC, its next generation S-band transistors with improvements in power gain and gain flatness, and rugged VHF power MOSFETS operating at 175 VDC with up to 300 W of CW output power.

Agilent Technologies always displays a host of new advances in both test and measurement, and from its software operations. This year the two segments are more closely united to provide even more sophisticated automated testing and analysis. The EEsof group was touting its ability to make power swept S-parameter measurements by what they term Connected Solutions, that is, using a new connection manager to fully automate power swept S-parameter measurements using ADS to control and drive a PNA. New PNA capabilities include pulsed-RF and antenna measurements with frequency coverage to 110 GHz. Also, a 6 GHz high impedance differential probe for spectrum and network analyzers was on display, and Baseband Studio, dedicated to reducing baseband design iterations by providing a digital, IF, RF or microwave signal stimulus that emulates real-world signal conditions, was introduced.

Anritsu introduced the W1 connector family, a coaxial interface system with excellent performance to 110 GHz showing -16 dB return loss and -1 dB insertion loss at the high end. They also showed a spectrum analyzer with 20 MHz resolution bandwidth for conducting highly accurate burst power measurements on wideband signals.

Ansoft Corp. announced a new version of HFSS. HFSS v9 integrates all of its capabilities within the HFSS Desktop, an environment for complete support of 3D EM-based design. In addition to having the look and feel of Microsoft Windows¨, the Desktop features a graphical project tree that offers a familiar style of access to the continuous HFSS design flow. The Desktop enables parametric design entry of all aspects of design and its powerful solid modeling capability saves significant engineering time.

Applied Wave Research (AWR) was demonstrating Analog Office 2003, a complete front-to-back analog and RFIC design system with an advanced and open architecture, and full support for key foundry operations. Integral to Analog Office software is an interconnect driven/RF-aware design methodology built around the Intelligent Netª technology that focuses on accurate RF interconnect modeling and analysis.

Not all news at the show centered around new product announcements. Crane Co., parent company of Crane Aerospace & Electronics, announced it had completed its acquisition of Signal Technology Corp., and was exhibiting through the Signal Technology and Interpoint booths. The various Signal Technology operations will integrate into the Crane Electronics Group.

Computer Simulation Technology (CST) was showcasing its CST Microwave Studio® service release 4.3, which includes a number of improvements in calculating farfields, and has enhanced post-processing capabilities including new automatic schemes enabling easy, versatile evaluation of parameter studies, field integration over arbitrary faces, and application of the AR filter to probe signals. It also has improved periodic boundary conditions in the frequency domain, and improved 2D and 3D import options.

Dow-Key Microwave was displaying the preliminary version of a SPDT MEMS 6 GHz switch that operates from a 3 V supply. The new switch features extremely low insertion loss, high linearity and high isolation in a compact chip-scale package. The switch is ideal for use in automated test equipment, instrumentation and various wireless products.

GGB Industries was showcasing its Model 35 Picoprobe® that features full DC capability, rise and fall times of 14 ps, and a nominal loading input impedance of 1 M shunted by 0.05 pf. The new probe achieves its wide bandwidth using one probe point, thereby greatly simplifying internal node testing without sacrificing performance.

Giga-tronics was demonstrating its 2400L series microwave synthesizer that combines high speed and performance with low phase noise. The new instrument is 20 percent faster than previous Giga-tronics microwave synthesizers and combines state-of-the-art phase noise with excellent phase stability, making it ideal for a test system's local oscillator or low jitter clock.

Hittite Microwave was displaying its development expertise by introducing 17 new products that included seven MMIC VCOs with integrated buffers that cover 2.25 to 6.72 GHz and are housed in a QFN plastic package that is ten times smaller than a typical hybrid VCO. Also included were five new control device products, including 2- and 3-bit positive-bias DC to 6 GHz attenuators, DC to 10 GHz SP8T and DC to 4 GHz SPDT switches and a DC to 4 GHz 5-bit digital attenuator. The company's new mixer products include two mixers that integrate 0 dBm LO drivers. New LNAs include a low cost, 3.4 to 3.8 GHz LNA with integrated bypass mode, offering a 2 dB noise figure and 16 dB gain.

Honeywell was touting its 860 to 928 MHz radio on a chip for medium range communications. This new RFIC operates on a single channel, up to a range of 2000 feet, at a data rate of 128 kb/s. The HRF-ROC093XC is a half-duplex transceiver with direct microprocessor connection for control and data transfer, thus eliminating the need for additional ICs.

Lamina Ceramics featured an expansion of its RF and microwave product offerings with the introduction of multi-layer ceramic integrated circuit amplifier packages that address the high frequency/smaller package requirements of today's applications. The use of low temperature co-fired ceramic on metal (LTCC-M) technology makes the package a superior design alternative for high power MMIC systems for high frequency use. The LTCC-M allows a number of integrated passives to be included in the MMIC package.

M/A-COM was displaying four new GaAs MMIC phase shifters and a double-pole-double-throw switch designed to improve transmit/receive module manufacturability and reliability in radar systems. The products are manufactured using the company's high yield MSAG¨ MESFET GaAs process.

Maury Microwave was demonstrating its MT4463A Large-signal Network Analyzer that allows researchers to view an accurate representation of the actual voltage and current waveforms at the device terminals. The test set measures magnitude and phase of incident and reflected waves at the fundamental, harmonic and modulation frequencies. The measurements are fully calibrated and traceable. The network analyzer is the first commercial product to be based on Agilent's large-signal network analyzer technology as licensed to Maury.

Mimix Broadband was highlighting a 16 to 30 GHz GaAs MMIC three-stage buffer amplifier that can be operated with all three stages biased in parallel, or with independent bias for the input and output stages. Also featured was a 35 to 43 GHz GaAs PHEMT MMIC, four-stage power amplifier that functions as an excellent saturated output stage. It features 26 dB of gain with a 24 dBm typical P1dB compression point.

Raytheon RF Components introduced a 3 V, 1850 to 1910 MHz power amplifier module for CDMA and PCS applications. The two-stage module is an InGaP HBT device and operates from a single positive supply. The company was also showcasing a 824 to 849 MHz power amplifier module and 27 and 28 dBm linear power amplifier modules for 1920 to 1980 MHz WCDMA operation.

RF Micro Devices displayed a third-generation Powerstar™ power amplifier module with Lead Frame Module™ packaging. The new RF3146 PA module features integrated power control and is designed for GSM operation. The patent-pending LFM™ packaging technology eliminates surface-mount devices and their associated placement costs by integrating the functionality of passive components into both the substrate and the GaAs die. The RF3146 measures less than 50 mm2 and is, on average, less than half the area currently required.

Rogers Corp. was displaying its complete line of advanced high performance and flexible circuit materials, and the first of the R/flex® 3000 family of liquid crystalline polymer (LCP) circuit materials. R/flex laminates are designed to meet the current requirements of low/stable dielectric constant and dielectric loss, extremely low moisture absorption, high chemical resistance, matched in-plane CTE and excellent dimensional stability.

Skyworks unveiled a fully integrated 802.11 b/g wireless LAN front-end module that combines power amplifier, switch and filter functionality in a single 8 ´ 10 mm integrated package. The SKY65201 module significantly reduces the number of components required for building WLAN router, access point, PC card and PCI adapter access points.

Sonnet Software was demonstrating Sonnet Suites 9.0 for high frequency 3D planar EM analysis. This release incorporates Sonnet® conformal meshing, which allows the efficient meshing of arbitrary curving transmission line structures. Circuits which were previously impossible to analyze using EM tools can now be analyzed in minutes, with high accuracy.

StratEdge was displaying a new discrete semiconductor package product family that features low cost hermetic surface-mount packages for high reliability applications. The packages are available with lead profiles meeting JEDEC standards and are assembled using a glass-to-metal seal process that results in a rugged and reliable package at a low cost.

Taconic was featuring a new low loss bond ply material added to its TacPreg product line for multi-player circuit board applications. This patented material has the ability to laminate and cure in standard printed circuit board cycles and obtain peel strengths that meet or exceed industry standards. TacPreg has a dissipation factor less than 0.004 at 10 GHz, yielding exceptionally low loss signal integrity for high speed digital and microwave circuitry.

In addition, there were many more products that have not been mentioned. In all, 520 companies exhibited their new products in what turned out to be a vigorous and uplifting show. Could this be the turnaround we all are looking for that begins the gradual return of growth in our industry? It's beginning to look that way.

Mention should be made of the industry sponsors of the various activities around the Symposium and Exhibition. The Gold sponsors were Aeroflex for the self-registration, CST for the Wireless Cyber CafŽ, M/A-COM for the badge lanyards, and RF Micro Devices for the delegate bags and note pads. Silver sponsors were Amplitech, Ansoft and Mimix Broadband for the exhibit hall coffee break service during the three-day Exhibition.

Next Stop: the Lone Star State

One of the indicators of growing business activity is the interest shown in next year's IMS Symposium and Exhibition, to be held in June 2004 at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Texas. The 2004 conference committee is already well into the planning for next year's event and the list of exhibitors already indicates another impressive show of new products and technologies is in the offing. Dig out your cowboy hat and western boots for a good old-fashion Texas barbeque. See you there.

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