Following hard on the heels of the famous Oktoberfest, Munich also proved a more than convivial host to the RF, microwave and wireless communities as the ICM Congress Centre became home for European Microwave Week 2003 in October. Just like those who over indulged at the beer festival the microwave industry has also been suffering a hangover, induced by a depressed market. As an antidote European Microwave Week, in small measure, helped refocus efforts and celebrate the endeavour, adaptability and sustainability of our industry. The atmosphere was positive but practical and optimistic yet realistic.
Those attending and participating in the event witnessed a week of activity but the smooth running of those five days was a culmination of a year's sterling work by EuMW general chairman and EuMC chairman, Lorenz-Peter Schmidt, EuMC assistant chairman, Jürgen Richter and their associates at GAAS – chairman, Michael Schlechtweg – and ECWT – chairman, Jürgen Detlefsen. They were supported by countless people, including local organizers, the TPC-members, the members of the Review Boards, the organizers of the workshops, short courses and special sessions, and the members of the EuMA Board of Directors.
Horizon House Publications has been proud to play its part, having organized the European Microwave Exhibition for the first time, and contributed to the organization of the conferences. Thanks must also go to the many industrial companies and organisations that lent their financial support.
The three separate but complementary conferences — GAAS 2003, the European Gallium Arsenide and other Compound Semiconductors Application Symposium; the 33rd European Microwave Conference (EuMC 2003); and the European Conference on Wireless Technology (ECWT 2003) were supported and enhanced by a variety of dedicated workshops, short courses and tutorials, focusing on specific, up-to-the-minute topics in the field of microwave technologies.
Attracting a greater number of paper submissions than 2002, the conference received submissions from 25 countries. The result being more than 100 oral presentations in 21 sessions, with six of them being held jointly with the EuMC. Sessions on the 'hot topics' of GaN power electronics, high frequency IC packaging, MEMS and sub-millimetre wave applications were particularly popular.
There was fierce competition for the three best papers. The Elisra Electronic Systems Prize of €1500 was won by J. Polleux, F. Moutier, A. Billabert and C. Rumelhard from ESYCOM, France, and E. Sönmez and H. Schumacher from Ulm University, Germany. The UMS Prize of €1500 went to K. Hamed and A. Freundorfer from Queen's University, Kingston, Canada, and Y. Antar from Royal Military College, Kingston, Canada. Finally, the €1500 Alenia Spazio Prize was awarded to N. Watanabe, M. Uchida, H. Yokohama and G. Araki of NTT Advanced Technology Corp., Japan.
More than 630 papers — a substantial increase of about 50 percent — were submitted. From these more than 340 scientific as well as application-oriented contributions were selected, including 42 regular sessions and three poster sessions, along with eight workshops and several special sessions and tutorials, bringing together experts in emerging fields of microwave technology. In addition, eight sessions and one workshop were organized jointly with the GAAS 2003 and the ECWT 2003 conferences on overlapping topics.
The EuMA sponsored EuMC Microwave Prize went to I. Gresham and A. Jenkins of M/A-COM, US, while the Raytheon sponsored EuMA Radar Prize was awarded to P. Gulden and M. Vossiek from Siemens, Germany, M. Pichler from Linz Centre of Mechatronics, Austria, and A. Stelzer, University of Linz, Austria. As for the Mini-Circuits Young Engineers Awards, first prize went to A. Kryshtopin and K. Markov from EPCOS, Germany, with the second prize going to B. Schoenlinner from the University of Michigan, US.
The development and deployment of new wireless systems was reflected in the ECWT technical contributions. Here again there was an increase, this time of 30 percent, in the number of papers submitted. From these a total of 18 sessions were compiled to give a conference programme covering the most recent advances in wireless technology. In addition to invited papers and poster sessions, workshops on subjects as diverse as RF and baseband architectures for future multiband/multistandard base stations and terminals and smart antennas were held.
The ECWT Best Paper Prize was won by A. Zoubir, P. Chargé and Y. Wang from the University of Nantes, France, while the ECWT Young Engineers Prize went to O. Artigue, J. Enguent and C. Tetelin from Laboratoire Materiaux et Microelectronique de Provence, France.
Not just complementary but a valuable contribution to the atmosphere of the event was the social programme that enabled delegates and visitors to enjoy good company and the hospitality of Munich. Kicking off the formal program on Monday evening was the GAAS Dinner.
The following evening the Welcome Reception, sponsored by Agilent, Horizon House and EuMA, was a first, as it was designed to bring together the conference delegates and exhibitors in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere. Needless to say, the opportunity to network, exchange ideas and opinions, and socialise was enjoyed by many.
On Wednesday evening, it was the hospitality and the history of the Kaisersaal of the Residenz München that was on the menu for the authors of papers and industrial representatives who were the guests of the Bavarian State Government.
Complementing the conferences and reflecting today's reality that development and innovation must have practical and, hopefully, commercial applications, the exhibition attracted exhibitors targeting the RF, microwave, gallium arsenide and wireless industries. The two exhibition halls featured companies not only from Europe, including Eastern Europe, but also significant players from the US, and the Middle and Far East. The new introduction of the German Pavilion drew the support of local industry and added local interest. Also, the various technical workshops, allied to the exhibition and run by exhibitors, were very popular as they offered hands-on demonstrations and the opportunity to talk technical with the experts.
On the show floor itself, exhibitors showcased their latest product innovations and developments. A sample of some of the new products and technologies and other exhibition news follows. Apologies to those companies that have not been mentioned due to space limitations.
Historically, Agilent Technologies is a prolific exhibitor of new test equipment and software and this year was no exception. Following its introduction at the 2003 IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium, the latest developments of the Baseband Studio were announced. Dedicated to reducing baseband design iterations by providing a digital, IF, RF or microwave signal stimulus that emulates real-world signal conditions, the Baseband Studio includes four products that enable three applications: fading, waveform streaming and digital outputs. These are: N5115A for fading, N5110A for waveform streaming, the N5101A PCI card enables the fading and waveform streaming software applications, and the N5102A digital signal interface module.
Also on show was an enhancement (Option AYZ) to the PSA Series of high performance spectrum analysers that increases their measurement frequency range from 50 GHz to as high as 325 GHz with the use of external mixers. Similarly, the newly introduced PSA-80BW wide-bandwidth signal analyser solution provides 80 MHz demodulation bandwidth and eight-second capture memory for multi-carrier power amplifier (MCPA), signal monitoring, radar and satellite measurement applications.
Another company with more than its fair share of new developments on show was Anritsu. The MS2711D Spectrum Master is a handheld spectrum analyser that delivers greatly improved sweep speed with a built-in pre-amplifier that increases the analyser's sensitivity and dynamic range. It covers a specified range of 100 kHz to 3 GHz and has an industry-best –135 dBm noise floor. Full span sweeps from 9 kHz to 3 GHz can be performed in < 1.1 seconds, while the sweep speed in zero span can be set from < 50 ms up to 20 seconds.
Also handheld are the S331D and S332D Site Master cable and antenna analysers that feature a number of improvements in performance and operation, which make it easier to conduct highly accurate return loss/SWR, cable loss and distance-to-fault (DTF) measurements on wireless networks. With a measurement range of 25 MHz to 4 GHz, they cover all cell site frequency ranges without the need for additional plug-ins or modules. Also introduced was the model 3656 W1 calibration kit for the ME7808A Broadband VNA, creating a complete coaxial measurement solution. The kit features interchangeable adapters for highly accurate measurements of 1.0 mm coaxial devices.
Taking advantage of having a major exhibition on its doorstep, Rohde & Schwarz showcased a number of new products. Arguably, the most significant is the SMU200A signal generator, which is of two-path design to provide two instruments in one. This design means that the instrument can be equipped with two separate RF signal sources and two separate I/Q baseband signal sources. Not only saving space but also making it possible to generate two signals in parallel when performing complex measurements.
Also on show was an addition to the family of spectrum analysers, the R&S FSU46. It features a frequency range up to 46 GHz, making it suitable for applications such as multichannel/multipoint distribution services (MMDS). The low cost R&S SM300 vector signal generator (9 kHz to 3 GHz) for radiocommunications testing covers all important frequency bands, e.g. for WLAN, Bluetooth and EMC measurements.
Another local company, CST, took the opportunity to preview its major new release, Version 5 of the CST MICROWAVE STUDIO. The 1300 functional changes, implemented since the release of Version 4, result in a noticeable cut in simulation time. Only a taster of its capabilities was outlined at the show. For more details, turn to page 116, where it is the subject of this month's cover story. The company also announced that CST MICROWAVE STUDIO, the leading 3D EM time domain code, will be extended by a frequency domain solver based on tetrahedral meshing.
Aplac Solutions has been particularly busy recently, signing an accessibility agreement with CST and a UK distributor agreement with Castle Microwave. European Microwave Week was also the final stop for the Aplac Roadshow. Both there and on the company's stand, Version 7.90 of the Aplac Circuit Simulation and Analysis Tool was demonstrated. There was also the opportunity to preview Version 7.91, which introduces a new interface for interoperability with Matlab and offers several new features and models for IC level and system design. New and enhanced technologies include a WLAN signal generator block and an IMT2 mixer model.
From Russia, ELVA-1 not only took the opportunity to display its products but also demonstrated them in operation. This included the City1 40.5 to 43.5 GHz DVB-S broadcasting system that offers a low cost solution for DVB transmission in the mm-wave range and provides a data rate of up to 3240 Mbps. Also shown in operation was the FMCW 94/10 mm-wave distance sensor, which operates at 94 GHz and is based on frequency modulated continuous wave radar principles.
Even further afield, and outlining European Microwave Week's international importance, was the fact that several US companies used it to showcase new products in Europe. Honeywell took advantage of the opportunity to showcase two main products with the promotion of the HRF-400 family of attenuators and the HRF-SW1040 RF matrix switch. For telecommunication applications, the Silicon On Insulator (SOI) CMOS- based attenuators are among the few digital attenuators designed for serial and parallel architectures to satisfy a wide variety of applications such as cellular base stations and optical gateway control components.
Based on the company's patented SOI CMOS technology, the RF matrix switch is designed for wireless infrastructure applications requiring multiple signal outputs. It offers a high level of digital functions and flexibility in a 20-pin LPCC package.
Texas-based Mimix Broadband took the opportunity to introduce the XB1005, 35 to 45 GHz GaAs pHEMT MMIC buffer amplifier with the feature of adjusting bias for low noise or high power performance. Designed for wireless communications applications the device can be operated with all three stages biased in parallel or with independent bias for input and output stages, as required to optimise performance.
Not all of the news was product oriented, though, as the company also publicized that it has secured $6.7 M in an initial close of its second round of institutional funding. This round of funding was led by 3i and First Capital Group of San Antonio, TX, with the majority of existing shareholders also participating. Proceeds will be used to expand Mimix's product portfolio.
Also from the US, and said to be the only solid-state amplifiers for laboratory and EMC testing with a bandwidth of 4.0 to 10.6 GHz, the Model 5S4G11 and Model 1S4G11 from Amplifier Research are the first in a new family of broadband solid-state products. The Model 5S4G11 is a self-contained, air-cooled broadband amplifier that delivers a minimum of 5 W of RF power when used with a sweep generator, while the Model 1S4G11 has similar features, providing a minimum of 1 W of RF power when used with a sweep generator. Higher power versions are set to follow.
Simulation and CAD technology are ever changing. This was highlighted by the launch of Microwave Innovation Group's Version 5.5 of its WASP-NET CAD tool combining MM/FE/MoM/FD. New features include: an improvement in speed of around 60 to 80 per cent; new, efficient 3D elements such as a coax transition, compensated magic tee, transformer coupled combline feed and turnstile junction; around 40 new elements (e.g. twist, cross-coupler, efficient step with radii, mitered bend with finite radii) and new GUI features.
Continuing the testing theme, 7 Layers showcased Interlab, for the automated testing of communications. The capability of this system, which was set-up to ease the qualification and certification test processes, has been extended to cover research and development procedures. It is aimed at developers and manufacturers of wireless communication products and services keen to optimize their in-house test capabilities and receive reliable test results quickly. The company is working with leading test equipment manufacturers and has adapted its test equipment to the system for automated remote control.
Finally, European Microwave Week's aim was to set standards, but it was Cascade Microtech that introduced a new series of four-port calibration standards for use up to 50 GHz. These standards are used to calibrate commercially available mixed mode network analysers such as the E5071B Agilent ENA Series network analyser to 8.5 GHz or the N1957A Agilent Physical Layer Test System to 50 GHz. The initial introduction in this dedicated family of calibration standards is for GSGSG probe configurations with pitch between 100 and 250 m.
No event can be successful without the support and encouragement of commercial sponsors. So, thanks go to Platinum co-sponsors Agilent. Thanks also to Ansoft, Honeywell and WIN Semiconductors for the delegate bags, TRU Corp. for the badge cords and MiCian for the plastic bags. CST, Infineon, Mimix and Temex sponsored the coffee breaks. Also, as can be expected in this age of Internet access and e-mails, the CST sponsored Cyber Café on the exhibition floor proved to be a significant draw.
Next Stop: Amsterdam
From 11 to 15 October 2004 the 7th European Microwave Week returns to the RAI Centre in Amsterdam, where it all began back in 1998. Then, although we might not have appreciated it, the market was healthy and stable. There has been a lot of water under the canal bridges since then and only time will tell if the buds of recovery are starting to shoot. What is certain, though, is that for next year's event every effort is being made to provide a focus for endeavour and a European showcase for the industry. See you there.