Microwave Innovation Group (MiG)
The research foundations for MiG, in the field of fast EM CAD and optimization methods for satellite and wireless communication components, were laid over 30 years ago with the development of fast mode-matching CAD procedures for waveguide discontinuities and filters. Twenty seven years ago (1981) at the 11th European Microwave Conference (EuMC) in Amsterdam, Professor Fritz Arndt and his research group, based in Bremen, Germany, presented the rigorous EM CAD and optimization of low-insertion-loss fin-line filters for mm-wave-applications for the first time. These filters were designed for radar front-ends in the 75, 94 and 144 GHz range, and were fabricated using metal-etching techniques without any post assembly tuning. This highlights the significant role of presenting new advances in EM CAD methods to the microwave engineering community and utilizing the resulting feedback for progressing further research.
European research has evolved significantly over the years. Historically, Europe was a conglomeration of individual countries with its own industries and established centres of academic research, which worked independently from one another. This has dramatically changed recently with the expanded European Union putting financial support and emphasis into pooling resources. Many large European institutions identify areas of R&D and organize and fund specific pan-European collaborative projects. The advantage is the opportunity to forge creative partnerships. The danger, however, is that bureaucracy and the lack of clear vision can sometimes mean that not always the most advanced research groups and most promising projects are supported.
Events like EuMW have a role to play in promoting the latest research by featuring only the highest quality technical conference papers that are internationally state-of-the-art. Also, the European Microwave Exhibition, which includes companies from outside Europe, presents a platform for technical advances and thus helps to initiate new, advanced ideas and microwave products.
In particular, it is very encouraging to see – especially in the UK, Italy and France –many new and established microwave companies returning to the traditional ethos and concentrating on the design and fabrication of quality microwave components for new and challenging applications in telecommunication, defence, aerospace and satellite communication. Typical examples are microwave systems for broadband satellite internet applications fabricated by low-cost mass-production techniques, compact filters and diplexers without tuning screws, broadband antenna feeds, and direct EM-based designs of slot arrays. MiG’s fast, accurate EM CAD tool WASP-NET helps such companies to design such advanced components and enables them to compete with mass produced products from countries with low employment costs.
The issue of competition emanating from low cost mass production coming from countries with cheaper labour and overheads is a significant one. Europe’s strength, however, is still based on high-quality products founded on sound research and technological development. Traditionally, it has the skills, expertise and academic infrastructure for growth in existing markets and for winning new ones.
MiG’s advanced fast EM CAD tool WASP-NET can help meet these challenges. This hybrid MM/FE/MoM/FD CAD tool combines the efficiency and flexibility of four basic solvers in one tool. This ensures that accurate EM design and optimization of advanced microwave structures such as waveguide, combline, LTCC, MIC filters and diplexers, dielectric resonator filters, couplers, polarizers, OMTs, etc., and antennas including horns, horns with reflectors, dielectric loaded horns, slot arrays, antennas with radomes etc. can be performed with even shorter design cycles.
At EuMW 2008 MiG will be showing its innovations that expand the tool’s performance capabilities on Stand 1407. Particular advances include a significant breakthrough in EM design and optimization speed, extended synthesis wizards and a new user-friendly GUI.