European Microwave Week attendees have said Arrivederci Roma after the event was staged in the Eternal City from 5 to 10 October. During the week all roads, train tracks, bus routes and flight paths led to the Fiera di Roma, which played host to the three conferences: the 44th European Microwave Conference (EuMC), the 9th European Microwave Integrated Circuits Conference (EuMIC) and the 11th European Radar Conference (EuRAD), together with the European Microwave Exhibition and affiliated workshops and short courses.
The motto for 2014 was Connecting the Future, which relates to the connection between the cultural heritage that is so rich in Rome and the future of modern technology. That motto was epitomised by the celebration of two significant landmarks in the history of technological innovation. To commemorate that exactly 150 years ago, James C. Maxwell presented his last fundamental theory on electromagnetism to the Royal Society, the keynote speech in the Opening Session of the week saw Professor O. Bucci elucidate on the evolution of Maxwell’s thoughts, which ultimately led to the development of his theory of the electromagnetic field.
Also, an EuMC Special Session honoured the 50th anniversary of the publication of the famous ‘Black Bible’ by Matthaei, Young and Jones, when the lead author, Prof. George Matthaei provided a Skype presentation giving an ‘inside’ insight into the historical aspects of the book, its contributors and its impact on the entire microwave industry.
The Roman Forum is a famous feature of the capital city and for one day EuMW put the spotlight on its own forum – the Defence, Security and Space Forum. Now an established feature of the week, the Forum featured executives from industry, academia, military and space agencies who each offered their own perspective on a challenging market sector.
The heritage theme continued with the Women in Engineering event, which considered exploiting microwaves for preservation and enhancement of cultural heritages and archaeological sites that fittingly ended with a guided tour of the archaeological site of Ostia Antica.
As well as embracing the historical, EuMW puts great emphasis on looking forward and why Connecting the Future is particularly relevant for the young. The week encouraged student participation and their active involvement through two student competitions open to Master's and Doctoral students – the Student Challenge and the Student Design Competition. And to provide the bridge to industry after education, the Industrial Career Platform offered the opportunity for companies to meet students and young engineers looking for a career in the microwave and RF sector.
To connect industry with academia, the Welcome Reception on Tuesday evening provided the opportunity for networking and interaction between delegates and industry in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere. On Wednesday evening, the Gala Dinner offered a special blend of art, history, music and Italian food in the historical Palazzo Brancaccio.
They say that Rome was not built in a day but many of the stands that inhabited the European Microwave Week Exhibition in Hall 9 were, filling the space to capacity with over 240 exhibiting companies taking up around 8,000 square meters of gross space. There were companies large and small, established and developing from Europe, North America and Asia. The exhibition is also a platform for innovation that leading manufacturers often choose to launch new products and float future concepts. Below is a selection of the new and innovative products on show.
Here is a summary of the companies we visited at the exhibition:
The 41st Institute of China Electronics Technology Group (CETC41) develops and supplies electronic measurement instruments and test systems for microwave, optoelectronic, RF communications, and general-purpose applications. For microwave and millimeter-wave, CETC41 offers a range of signal generators, spectrum and modulation analyzers, vector and scalar network analyzers, power meters and noise figure analyzers. CET41 also markets passive and active components, including attenuators, fixed loads, directional couplers, mechanical switches, power dividers and metrology grade coaxial adapters and calibration kits. Active components include low noise and power amplifier modules, with the portfolio spanning 10 MHz to 100 GHz.
Aeroflex, now officially part of Cobham, was exhibiting their range of test systems for aerospace, defense, mobile wireless and broadband applications. The company recently announced a frequency extension for the 7700 Integrated Microwave Test System, from 6 to 26 GHz. The 7700 is an automated test system that can emulate a vector signal generator, spectrum analyzer, vector network analyzer, oscilloscope, power meter, frequency counter, noise figure meter, and microwave transition analyzer. Aeroflex also enhanced the TM500 family of handset simulators with the capability to offload live data calls between LTE and Wi-Fi, two different networks. Cobham officially acquired Aeroflex on September 15, motivated to expand Cobham’s presence in growing, commercial markets.
Anritsu demonstrated two contrasting series of VNAs. The VectorStar VNA series is said to offer the world’s widest span, at 70 kHz to 145 GHz, and offers extreme high performance suitable for use in leading-edge research establishments, as well as in the development of microwave devices used in communications, aerospace, military, security and industrial equipment. The single-sweep measurement capability of VectorStar VNAs and a broadband millimeter-wave system were shown integrated with a probe station, highlighting its compact form factor and ease of use, together with a demonstration of high-performance pulse analysis at a resolution of as little as 2.5 ns. At the value end of the VNA market, the new ShockLine series of VNAs is designed for rack mounting on the production line. A joint demonstration with RWTH Aachen showed how ShockLine VNAs can be used to perform near-field antenna measurements and measurements of material properties. The company also displayed the MS2830A spectrum analyzer, the newly introduced S820E portable microwave antenna analyzer, the MS2720T handheld spectrum analyzer and S412E with TETRA measurement capability.
AR was showing off their 1 to 6 GHz 50 and 100 W power amplifier modules. When used with a sweep generator, they provide high instantaneous power levels over the 1 to 6 GHz range. They are Class AB designs with single 28 V bias with an operating temperature of -20 to +70 deg C. They have over voltage protection with a soft fail, rugged design.
Auriga Microwave featured their fourth generation pulsed IV RF test system (AU4850) and presented a paper on advances that enable the AU4850 to test higher voltage and current GaN and SiC transistors. This test system can measure both DC and pulsed IV curves, with the option to provide pulsed S-parameters and load pull. The AU4850 supports isothermal measurements, with pulse widths down to 70 ns and duty cycles as low as 0.001%. For high voltage and current devices, the system handles up to 220 V and 30 A for RF applications and 1200 V and 100 A for power electronics. The Measurement Enhancement Mode (MEM) feature combines Auriga’s advanced calibration algorithm with an external Keysight Technologies digital multimeter to place the DC measurement plane directly at the device under test.
Cascade Microtech was showing off their fully-integrated semi-automated on-wafer THz probing solution for accurate characterization up to 1.1 THz. With accurate sub-micron positioning accuracy, repeatable measurements can be made at these frequencies. Their EinCal XE calibration software enables automatic on-wafer calibration and validation, providing TRL calibration up to 1.1 THz.
The Planar 814/1 Vector Network Analyzer (VNA) from Copper Mountain Technologies has been integrated into Maury Microwave’s IVCAD measurement and modeling device characterization software. Engineers can now use Maury’s MT981-series and MT982-series automated mechanical impedance tuners with the CMT analyzer to complete a turnkey fundamental and harmonic load pull bench from low MHz to 8 GHz. Copper Mountain has expanded quickly into the test/measurement market with its low cost PC-driven VNAs which were seen on display in many booths.
Focus Microwaveprovides harmonic source and load pull, VAN based load pull, high speed active load pull, wideband noise parameter and modeling, custom on-wafer integration and on-site maintenance, support and training. They were showing how their test software could be set up with other instruments and used for various measurements as a flexible platform.
Ingun showcased enhanced versions of its HFS-864: RF-Probe for testing modules suitable for contacting female 7/16 interfaces. When mounted correctly, the probe can also be used for high power tests with several 100 W throughout the specified frequency range. Compared with conventional testing possibilities for this interface, the abrasion of the inner conductor can be kept quite low due to usage of a soft-touch cone tip and also due to the fact that the conductor is fully spring-loaded.
The basic version is capable of detecting or applying signals up to a maximum frequency of 2.5 GHz. At EuMW, the company announced an optimised version up to 7.7 GHz and a high power and low PIM version with an N-Norm connector. The company also previewed the HFS 821-MX62 USCAR automotive connector that will be available in early 2015.
True to its tradition Keysight Technologies used EuMW to launch and showcase a wide range of products. Subject of a grand unveiling on the show floor was a series of one-slot PXI vector network analyzers that cover 300 kHz up to 26.5 GHz. When space is at a premium, full two-port VNA capability with S-parameters can be added to an existing system that has just one open slot. To address applications such as high-volume device testing and highly complex on-wafer testing, a single chassis can be loaded with up to sixteen PXI VNA modules for use as either multiple two-port VNAs, a single 32-port VNA, or any combination in between.
Also announced was the new flagship of its X-Series: the N9040B UXA signal analyzer. The UXA is claimed to deliver industry-leading phase noise performance as well as 510 MHz analysis and real-time bandwidths. Combining these three capabilities with a large display and touch-driven interface, the UXA provides wide, deep views of elusive wideband signals – known or unknown. The maximum analysis bandwidth of 510 MHz can be used across the full frequency range with a spurious-free dynamic range (SFDR) of >75 dBc and when monitoring or capturing highly elusive signals, the optional 510 MHz real-time spectrum analysis capability provides 100 percent probability of intercept (POI) for durations as short as 3.84 µs.
The new N5193A UXG agile signal generator is an off-the-shelf instrument that enables highly realistic and scalable threat simulations for aerospace/defense applications. To produce realistic multi-threat scenarios, the UXG can switch frequency, amplitude and phase settings in as little as 250 ns, and it provides built-in phase repeatability. When simulating advanced radar signals, the UXG can generate pulses as narrow as 5 ns with 1ns rise/fall times and an 80 dB on/off ratio. The company also announced the U2040 X-Series wide dynamic range power sensors, consisting of four USB models for wireless and radar applications and a dedicated LAN model for satellite testing.
Following its acquisition of Allstron Corporation, well known in the high frequency market for RF probes and calibration substrates up to 110 GHz, MPI Corporation is actively promoting its capabilities in this sector. The company is developing technology driven, competitive products. An example is the MPI ASP RF Probes for device modeling and IC design applications.
ASP probes are claimed to realize a unique combination of micro-coaxial cable based probe technology and MEMS fabricated probe tip. A perfectly matched characteristic impedance of the coplanar probe tips and optimized signal transmission across the entire probe down to the pads of the device under test results in excellent probe electrical characteristic. At the same time, the design of the probe tip provides minimal probe forward skate on any types of pad metallization material. ASP probes are available as 40 GHz (2.92 mm connector), 50 GHz (2.4 mm connector), 67 GHz (1.85 mm connector) and 110 GHz (1 mm connector) models, with GSG as well as GS/SG tip configurations.
National Instruments (NI) exhibited their design and measurement hardware and software solutions, blurring the line between design and test. NI CEO and soft-spoken evangelist James Truchard, known as Dr. T, spoke of how the increased capability of test systems has enabled algorithm engineering to be accomplished on a common platform, allowing designers to shorten time to market. The integration of AWR’s Microwave Office and LabVIEW with NI’s microwave signal generator and vector signal analyzer (VSA) reflect Dr. T’s vision. The PXIe-5668R VSA covers up to 26.5 GHz with 765 MHz bandwidth above 3.6 GHz. In addition to bandwidth, the unit achieves industry-leading dynamic range and the fast measurement speed required for high-volume manufacturing. The VSA meets the needs of wireless communications, RADAR, RFIC characterization and spectrum monitoring.
Maury Microwave can now outfit most labs with all of their needs from cables and calibration standards to load pull, on-wafer characterization and pulsed IV RF testing solutions to torque wrenches, gages and adapters. Their mixed-signal active load pull system allows wideband modulated impedance control for full characterization in a fraction of the time taken by traditional setups. They provide a complete analysis system for pulsed IV measurement to model extraction to load pull validation and finally, X-parameter export of the finished model.
Pickeringhas a wide range of RF and microwave switch modules that can be used to increase the flexibility of test and measurement systems with signal bandwidths up to 65 GHz. They are available in PXI and LXI switch module configurations that include high density multiplexers, matrices and attenuators.
Pico Technology launched the PicoScope 9341 sampling oscilloscope that offers 20 GHz bandwidth on four channels for engineers who need to characterize performance of multi-lane gigabit transmission systems, and check for channel-to-channel interference and compatibility. It can perform eye-diagram analysis such as eye-width, eye-height, rise and fall-time, jitter and extinction-ratio testing. In addition, pattern lock triggering, derived from bit rate, pattern length, and trigger divide ratio, can build up an eye pattern from a specified group of bits in a sequence which helps to isolate data dependent errors and sources of cross-channel crosstalk.
The scopes quickly measure more than 30 fundamental parameters used to characterize non-return-to-zero (NRZ) signals and return-to-zero (RZ) signals and up to ten parameters can be measured simultaneously. Mask testing can be used to give a visual indication of deviations from a standard waveform. There is a library of built-in masks and custom masks can be automatically generated and modified using the graphical editor. The display can be grey-scaled or color-graded to aid in analyzing noise and jitter in eye diagrams. There is also a statistical display showing a failure count for both the original mask and the margin.
The new R&S ZVAX-TRM from Rohde & Schwarz debuted at EuMW. It is an extension unit for high end network analyzers and can be combined with an R&S ZVA to yield a powerful, compact and highly customizable system. The R&S ZVAX-TRM conditions the signals from the network analyzer as required for a given task and either returns them to the analyzer or outputs them via its integrated high-power test ports. Featuring integrated high-power test ports as standard, the R&S ZVAX-TRM base unit allows bidirectional high-power measurements up to +43 dBm. Diverse hardware options are available to tailor the unit to user requirements. Optional output amplifiers can be inserted into the measurement paths to compensate for internal losses.
The company presented an extremely compact solution with up to four RF outputs for generating phase-coherent signals up to 20 GHz, suitable for aerospace and defense applications. The basis of the system is the R&S SMW200A. Equipped with the R&S SMW-B90 phase coherence option, it can phase lock modulated or unmodulated signals. The high-end vector signal generator has two RF outputs. Two other RF outputs up to 20 GHz can be economically added using two R&S SGS100A signal generators and two R&S SGU100A upconverters.
Rohde & Schwarz also announced that it is selling the ARTS turnkey radar target simulator from ITS and miro-sys. When combined with the R&S FSW high-end signal and spectrum analyzer and its analysis option for FM CW chirp signals, the ARTS constitutes an innovative test solution for the development and production of automotive radar sensors. In combination with the R&S FSW-K60C option for analyzing FM CW signals, the R&S FSW high-end signal and spectrum analyzer automatically performs real-time characterization of the chirp signals typical of automotive radar. The ARTS automotive radar target simulator supplements this test solution by adding realistic target simulation.
Altair recently purchased EMSS and was featuring their FEKO Suite 7.0. Altair will add FEKO to the HyperWorks suite of engineering software. They were discussing Radome analysis where FEKO offers various solvers that can be used for the analysis of radomes. This topic forms part of the 2014 FEKO webinars series where you can learn more about their product.
ANSYS and NI/AWR previously announced that they have integrated ANSYS® HFSS™ into AWR’s Microwave Office® high frequency circuit design software. This integration unites the industry standard for full-wave electromagnetic (EM) field simulation and NI AWR Design Environment™/Microwave Office to quickly and accurately simulate microwave circuits. At EuMW they were demonstrating this integration. With this design flow, Microwave Office users can readily access HFSS for analysis of EM fields and coupling of 3D structures like passive components, bumps, bond wires, and pins which are essential to successfully designing and realizing microwave circuits like monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs), densely-populated RF circuit boards and multifunction modules.
AuroraSAT was showing off their FEST3D (Full-Wave Electromagnetic Simulation Tool) software tool capable of analyzing complex passive microwave components based on waveguide technology (such as multiplexers, couplers, filters…) in very short computational times with high accuracy. This is achieved by the use of advanced algorithms based on full-wave electromagnetic analysis methods. The suite offers all the capabilities needed for the design of passive components such as optimization and tolerance analysis modules. FEST3D advanced synthesis tools allow designing bandpass, dual-mode and lowpass filters from user specifications and integrates high power analysis into the design process.
Computer Simulation Technology (CST) previewed the upcoming version of its flagship electromagnetic simulation tool, CST STUDIO SUITE® 2015. In the latest version, the links between the different simulation domains have been tightened and new tools have been added.. To help antenna engineers get the most out of simulation, the company has recently added Filter Designer 2D, and is introducing the new Phased Array Wizard. These new tools complement the antenna synthesis capability of Antenna Magus and speed up the whole EM design process.
The solvers themselves are now also more powerful and more flexible. The frequency domain solver has had several performance improvements to boost its power and versatility, making it much easier to simulate extremely large and complex multiport models. The introduction of nearfield sources to the frequency domain solver and the asymptotic solver mean that these solvers can now be linked more easily to simulations using other solver types.
The EMPIRE XPU IMST is a 3D EM solver for modeling antennas, microwave circuits, EM chip design and more. Due to its on-the-fly compilation, it is claimed to be highly efficient and extremely fast on plain conventional hardware using optimized algorithms. Features include a powerful and highly intuitive 3D graphical user interface, a complete new 3D modeling kernel enabling fast import, modeling and meshing of large and complex objects, a near field source and a circuit simulator.
With the new µWave Wizard version 7.11 from Mician, users can now define variables for maximum field strengths, resonant frequencies and unloaded Q factors, including support of equations. This allows optimization, tuning and yield analysis on these parameters and derived quantities. Adaptive frequency sweep for maximum field strengths is also supported. The stability of the 3D-FEM mesher has also been greatly improved, which allows efficient long-term optimization of highly complex structures and critical areas of the model.
With version 7.11 cylindrical surfaces can be auto-detected in the faceted model and exported as such into the STEP file, which enhances the usability of the model in external CAD-packages. Vertex coordinates and radii equations can now be used directly in external 2D geometry files, which allows a much easier setup of user defined shapes and apertures for step discontinuities, planar and quasi planar structures and general cavities. The optimization of the variation of a variable or equation is supported, for example +/- 0.5 degree variation of the phase shift.
Microwave Innovation Group (MiG) has further developed its fast hybrid EM CAD and optimization tool, WASP-NET. Arbitrary general 3D microwave and antenna structures can now be created by a user-friendly and intuitively operable graphic 3D modeler, which is fully parametrized, and which allows arbitrary material parameters, such as frequency dependent tensor permittivity/permeability, easily being included.
WASP-NET’s efficient hybrid multi-solver EM CAD engine not only involves all proven EM solvers (MM/MoM/FEM/FD/FE-BI/PTD/PO) within one tool, it is claimed to utilize automatically the most efficient solver for appropriate sub-parts of a complete structure. New synthesis wizards and WASP-NET’s integrated comprehensive Designer Data Base with over 400 design examples streamline the design flow.
Semiconductors, Devices and Components
Analog Devices (ADI) exhibited the combination of their own products with those of Hittite Microwave, which was acquired by ADI in July. With the tag line of antenna to bits and back, the combined portfolio of over 2000 products offers customers ADI’s data converters and RFICs with Hittite’s high performance microwave and millimeter-wave products. For several years Hittite had been developing GaN-based power amplifiers (PAs) and, before being acquired by ADI, had acquired high power amplifier (HPA) supplier Keragis. This moved Hittite up the food chain and provided more demand for its GaN PAs. With Hittite’s capabilities, ADI is targeting wireless infrastructure, including base stations and point-to-point backhaul, aerospace and defense, industrial and automotive markets.
AT Wall was featuring their thin wall waveguide for WR 34, WR 42, WR 51 and WR 62. They offer a wide variety of configurations with thin wall designs and can hold the tight tolerances needed for repeatable, high performance waveguide.
At the IMS event in June, Diamond Microwave announced that it was extending its range of GaN-based solid-state power amplifiers (SSPA) to include a 2 to 6 GHz 50 W GaN power amplifier module. At EuMW, the company announced the imminent release of the 100 W version. These ultra-compact high power solid-state power amplifiers are suitable for use in demanding defence, aerospace and communications applications. Using GaN devices, they offer state-of-the-art power performance coupled with a power-to-volume ratio believed to be among the highest in the industry for such products. The designs are flexible in layout and architecture and are fully customizable to meet individual specifications for electrical, mechanical and environmental parameters.
Dielectric Labs (DLI, a Knowles company) was featuring their DC to 18 GHz EW series gain equalizers designed as a small, low cost solution in a package smaller than a 0302 capacitor. Gain slopes from 1 to 3.5 dB are available and optimized for typical 50 ohm transmission line width. They also showed off their 6 to 8 GHz Wilkinson power dividers in its new high frequency surface mount package. Insertion loss is typically .7 db with 20 dB typical isolation and return loss. They also had 2 to 18 GHz bandpass filters for various popular frequencies bands within this range.
The Dover Microwave Product group was present showing off K&L Microwave’s thin film lumped element filters for surface mount applications. These miniature filters are realized on alumina or high dielectric substrates starting with product from 2 to 18 GHz and 2 to 40% relative bandwidths. They have VSWR of 1.5:1 and 5 W of power handling with high IP3. They also were featuring their adjustable bandwidth tunable filter operating from 700 to 1000 MHz. They have variable 1 dB bandwidth of 5 to 20 MHz, VSWR of 2.5:1 maximum and insertion loss of 2 dB typical.
As expected of the base station power amplifier (PA) market leader, Freescale was supporting its range of LDMOS power transistors for cellular infrastructure. More interesting, though, was their announcement of two LDMOS transistors (MHT1003N and MHT1002N) designed to enable a new generation of solid-state ovens, with the goal of unseating the magnetron in the microwave oven. By distributing several LDMOS PAs around the cooking cavity, and measuring the reflected power, the company says the cooking process can be optimized for the food. Freescale’s strategy is to develop the solid-state oven market from the high end – restaurants, for example – where the customer is willing to pay more for a better cooking experience.
The 24 GHz 2-Channel FMCW Radar from IMST is a miniaturized, ultralight radar unit, which comprises a manifold configurable RF frontend with digital signal processing and programmable interface. The controller allows flexible generation of radar signals and provides enough computation power to perform signal processing for target detection or even complex tracking algorithms. The Developer Kit comprises the Radar Sensor, PC software with Graphical User Interface and an USB cable/adapter for user-friendly start-up, testing and application specific integration of the radar unit. The software allows parameter settings and visualization of measured radar data.
Infineon Technologies presented a full system design for the wireless connection of base stations to the corresponding base station controller of a mobile communications network (wireless backhaul). Based on the company’s E-/V-band transceiver family and Escape Communications’ Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) it allows for continuous upgrades in the field, giving network operators maximum flexibility and competitiveness.
The solution was created in a joint effort of four companies: The RF front-end has been developed by Infineon’s system design house partner GreenWaves featuring Infineon’s BGT70 and BGT80 E-band transceivers. Escape Communications has successfully integrated this RF front-end, which features an additional power amplifier for transmission ranges of several kilometres, with their Altera FPGA-based 250 MHz modem module.
MACOM announced two new products during the show, including a low-noise active mixer that covers 4-25 GHz in RF bandwidth with 9 dB conversion gain (MAMX-011023). The second product is a four-stage driver amplifier (MAAM-011167) that covers the entire E-Band spectrum (71-76 and 81-86 GHz) with a single design. With 18 dB small-signal gain and 24 dBm saturated output, the driver complements MACOM’s E-Band power amplifier that was announced in March (MAAM-011106). The company continues its aggressive push to commercialize GaN and presented several papers on products and process development. MACOM notes that it is the only supplier offering both GaN on SiC and GaN on Si products, with a strategy to have dual sources for each technology.
Mercury Systems was part of the Defense Forum showing how vertical integration can save costs and increase integration levels and performance. Mercury’s Advanced Microelectronics Centers provide world-class design and manufacturing capabilities and dual facility sourcing for highly reliable supply. They have the ability to integrate RF components, sub-systems, base-band processing, memory and more into one system within their company including all environmental testing and screening.
The Micro Electronic Technology Development Application Corp (METDA), based in Shijiazhuang City, China, was marketing their GaAs and GaN MMICs, GaN power transistors, and GaN modules. Their GaN devices are processed in their own fab in China. The company’s catalog contains a considerable list of products, featuring power and low noise amplifiers covering frequencies from 500 MHz to 96 GHz. Additional MMIC functions include phase shifters and delay lines, vector modulators, digital attenuators, voltage-controlled oscillators, switches, mixers, frequency dividers and multipliers, limiters and power detectors. METDA was formed in 1993 to be the international brand of China’s Hebei Semiconductor Research Institute (HSRI). METDA says overseas sales in 2013 were $26 million.
We stopped by MtronPTI who offers a wide range of precision frequency control and data timing solutions including: RF and microwave filters – crystal, ceramic, cavity, lumped element, digitally tunable and low noise / harsh environment oscillators – crystal, TCXO/VCXO, ovenized, GPS and IEEE-1588 locked. Vertically integrated with complete control of the material and process, MtronPTI provides solutions for high reliability high performance Internet data timing, public safety and Mil/Aero communication and control, instrumentation and energy management applications. Their E-Band diplexer was on display along with many other designs.
Seeing the same opportunity to adopt solid-state power amplifiers for cooking as Freescale, NXP believes market adoption requires the collaborative effort of companies across the value chain. So NXP facilitated the formation of the RF Energy Alliance, with EGO, Huber Suhner, ITW, NXP, Rogers, and Whirlpool the founding members. Membership is open to other companies – even competitors. The microwave oven is the first target for the alliance, which represents a 70 million unit-per-year market opportunity. EGO, ITW, and Whirlpool bring direct experience in the food industry, which should aid market development. Adriano Scaburri, Technology Director for Advanced Development at Whirlpool, will chair the RF Energy Alliance, which was formed as a non-profit technical association and announced at EuMW. On its booth, NXP highlighted the company’s latest RF power solutions for base stations, demonstrated an ultra wideband concept for Doherty architectures developed by NXP broadcast experts, and the latest pallet design for a highly integrated RF power amplifier for radar applications.
OMMIC highlighted a number of its innovations. The CGY2191UH is a high performance GaAs Low Noise Amplifier MMIC designed to operate between 100 and 160 GHz. It has a low noise figure of 4.5 dB and 20 dB of gain at 140 GHz. The on-chip matching provides 7 dB of input return loss and 7 dB of output return loss. The die is manufactured using the company’s advanced 70 nm gate length very high Indium content MHEMT Technology.
Second, the CGY2139AUH/C2 is a high performance three-stage GaAs Power Amplifier MMIC designed to operate in X-band. It has an output power of 12 W at the 1 dB compression point and has a small signal gain of 25 dB. It can be used in X-Band radars, telecommunication and instrumentation applications. For both the CGY2191UH and the CGY2139AUH/C2, the MMIC uses gold bonding pads and backside metallization and is fully protected with silicon nitride passivation. Products also featured were a K-band fully integrated corechip with SIPO, a full W-Band Tx/Rx chip set and a W-Band matched Tunnel diode detector.
Sumitomo and Maxim Integrated were demonstrating Maxim’s RF power linearizer (RFPAL) with a Sumitomo GaN PA operating in the 7 GHz point-to-point radio band. The RFPAL uses analog signal processing to linearize the PA, offering radio designers the benefits of smaller size and lower power consumption than would be achieved with digital predistortion (DPD). Without RFPAL, the Sumitomo PA in the demo didn’t meet the required spectral mask; with RFPAL on, the spectrum comfortably met the linearity specification.
Teledyne Defence Australia just announced that it has been awarded an Australian Government contract to develop a next-generation people-screening radar for Homeland / Domestic Security applications. The contract forms part of a larger bilateral cooperation between the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate and Australia Defense Science and Technology Organization (DSTO) in the fight against terrorism. The mission relevance for this work is targeted towards applications requiring stand-off people screening in real time which does not interrupt the flow of traffic and where there is a need to screen for detection of prohibited items such as weapons, IEDs and other contraband. Teledyne in Australia has developed a niche radar imaging capability called MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) radar and has applied this technology to screening people for prohibited concealed items at stand-off, on the move and in real time.
TriQuint continues to expand its portfolio of GaAs and GaN MMIC and discrete standard products, addressing both commercial and defense markets. The featured GaN products included a 2 W, 6-12 GHz driver amplifier designed with a push-pull topology, which yields > 40 dB of harmonic suppression at full output (TGA2627-SM). This design uses the 0.25 µm GaN on SiC process, one of three that TriQuint has released to support applications from < 100 MHz to > 40 GHz. The company plans to release a 0.5 µm high voltage process before the end of the year, to address commercial infrastructure markets. This will likely be TriQuint’s last show, as the merger with RFMD is expected to close before year-end, and the two companies will become Qorvo.
United Monolithic Semiconductors (UMS) has recently launched the CHA3024-99F, 2-22 GHz distributed low noise amplifier with adjustable gain control (AGC). This gain control can achieve up to 30 dB with bias voltage and the LNA exhibits a flat gain in the 2-22 GHz band and better than -15 dB input/output return losses. It is designed for a wide range of applications such as electronic warfare, test instrumentation and X-Ku band point to point radio.
The company also showcased its three latest GaN products. The CHZ050A-SEA and the CHZ180A-SEB are internally-matched GaN high power quasi-MMIC devices that are now available in hermetic, thermally enhanced metal-ceramic packages. The CHZ050A-SEA is a 50 Ω input and output internally matched packaged GaN C-Band HPA, while the CHZ180A-SEB is an input internally matched and output internally pre-matched packaged GaN L-Band HPA. The CHZ015A-QEG is a GaN 15 W L-Band (1.2-1.4 GHz) input matched packaged transistor. It is an internally-matched quasi-MMIC device supplied in a low cost SMD plastic package. The circuit operates in pulsed mode and features an output power of 18 W with more than 13 dB associated gain and a high PAE, up to 55 percent.
Cables and Connectors
From its broad portfolio HUBER+SUHNER highlighted the TL-8A – 8 GHz, armoured – RF cable assembly, designed for test laboratories and production lines for continuous measuring applications. It has very high mechanical endurance due to TPU-armouring and moulded cable entry protection, yet is still very flexible. The new assemblies are available in predetermined lengths such as 0.6 m, 1.0 m, 1.5 m and 2.0 m. In general, they are terminated with N male connectors but SMA connectors are available on request.
Also featured were HUBER+SUHNER Astrolab coaxial test cable assemblies that are high frequency, low loss cables which are triple shielded for superior RF isolation. A stainless steel outer braid provides a high pull strength and light weight. Nomex and polyolefin jackets are also available. In particular, the 32026, which offers high levels of isolation due to its five shielding layers, was spotlighted.
Santron was featuring their pSeries of pressurized coaxial connector solutions without o-rings to eliminate that failure mechanism. They operate to 30 GHz at +/- 65 psi with low loss and high stability performance. They were also showing their SRX low-PIM cable assemblies and coaxial adapters addressing the demanding needs of 4G and 5G communication systems. Mini DINs were recently added to the line of low-PIM SRX products featuring RF performance through 16 GHz and low PIM of -160 dBc and VSWR less than 1.1:1 up to 7 GHz.
Southwest Microwave was showing their 1 mm DC to 110 GHz connectors and 0.9 mm super mini DC to 67+ GHz connectors. They both have low VSWR, low insertion loss and RF leakage, high temperature performance with a rugged and durable construction.
Spinner previewed the BN 533660 range of flexible Terahertz waveguide assemblies that operate in the 75 to 110 GHz frequency range and features a precision flange with anti-cocking rim. They are compatible with M3922/67-010 (UG-387/U-mod) and IEE b1785-2a style flanges. The waveguides have copper alloy/gold plated waveguide transitions and black polymer protective jackets. They have an average power capability of 1 W and a minimum life of 100,000 flex cycles. The BN 533660C0007 has 7 tubular sections, is around 30 cm long and weighs approximately 0.25 kg, while the BN 533660C0019 has 19 tubular sections, is around 60 cm long and weighs approximately 0.35 kg.
Also showcased was the DC to 110 GHz BN 533402 pcb-launch connector with 50 Ω impedance, a typical return loss of 10 dB at DC to 110 GHz and a 1.0 mm socket interface per IEC 61169-31. The pcb thickness is 0.15 – 0.6 mm but types for other pcb thicknesses can be requested.
Among its large portfolio of products Rosenberger highlighted the high performance 75 Ω calibration kit, which is designed for applications up to 12 GHz and contains RPC-N open, short and broadband loads for measurements in N 75 Ω applications. Additionally, highest quality RPC-N 75 Ω to BNC 75 Ω adaptors enable measurements in BNC 75 Ω applications – calibrate in RPC-N 75 Ω series and connect the adaptor and measure in BNC 75 Ω series.
Arlon was featuring several families of their laminates. The CLTE-AT is a glass, PTFE and micro-dispersed ceramic composition material that has excellent dielectric constant control and phase stability over temperature with a Dk of 3.0 and Df of .0013. Also, they exhibited their high thermal conductivity materials TC350 and TC600, with Dk of 3.5 and 6.15, respectively, and Df of .0020. Also featured were low loss thermoset resin systems such as Multiclad HF, a halogen-free ceramic hydrocarbon resin with Dk of 3.7 and Df of .0045.
BAE Systems showcased its solid copper thin film via technology. This interconnect technology for ceramic substrates is applicable for advanced, high density module design in the microwave band. The advantages of filled via are: lower electrical and RF resistance, higher thermal conductivity, higher percentage of real estate availability for component placement, the ease of downstream substrate processing and a cost effective packaging approach.
Isola was featuring their Astra MT low loss laminate material stable between -55 and +125 deg C at up to 20 GHz. It has a Dk of 3.0 and Df of .0017 making it a cost effective alternative to PTFE and other commercial microwave laminate materials. They have also been successful in fulfilling orders to short lead time laminates, where others have had longer lead times.
Rogers was showing their RO4360G2 series that is a hydrocarbon ceramic woven glass material. It has a Dk of 6.4 (design) and Df of .0038. They also were showing their CoolSpan series of thermally and electrically conductive adhesive which has been well accepted in the market.
Taconic was showing off their TacLamplus, a cost effective, non-reinforced microwave substrate that can be used to create very low loss structures both with single and multiple dielectric layers. It has good copper foil adhesion allowing small feature resolution and the composition of the dielectric facilitates clean laser ablation for micro via and component cavity formation. It is one of the few RF laminates which has been characterized at frequencies of 50 and 90 GHz, allowing designers to get some assurance of performance above the general datasheet standard of 10 GHz test results.