The first week of October, the European Microwave Week (EuMW) conference returned to Paris, the City of Light, for this annual confluence of microwave technology, applications, product showcase and the reunion of industry colleagues turned friends. The organizing committee of this 22nd week-long EuMW chose “universality through microwaves” as the theme for the event, reflecting how microwave technology has become fundamental to society and our common desire to be connected to everyone and everything all the time.
To support the technical and market interests of the attendees, EuMW is organized as three overlapping conferences: the original European Microwave Conference (EuMC) — this was the 49th; the European Microwave Integrated Circuits Conference (EuMIC), the 14th; and the European Radar Conference (EuRAD), the 16th. 434 reviewers supporting the Technical Program Committee organized 78 technical sessions with 391 presentations, complemented by 24 workshops and five short courses. New this year was an Automotive Forum that had more than 160 attendees exceeding expectations. Overall, there were more than 1600 delegates which is near record levels from last year.
In parallel with the technical program, the three-day exhibition attracted more than 300 companies and organizations from around the globe, gathered to announce new products, find new leads, discuss programs with existing customers and meet with suppliers. This year set a record for the most exhibition space.
Microwave Journal’s editors did our best to canvass the companies at EuMW and, with the assistance of industry colleagues, compiled this summary to provide readers with our best measurement of the pulse of the industry. We also took many photos, which you’ll find in our photo gallery.
The August issue of Microwave Journal previewed this year’s EuMW. The cover feature, written by Helen Duncan, was headlined Du Pain, Du Vin, Du Fromage, Des Microondes. Indeed. It was the perfect combination of microwave technology and French culture for a productive and enjoyable week.
Fabless MMIC start-up Altum RF, which debuted at the 2019 International Microwave Symposium in Boston, displayed initial products and discussed MMIC designs under development. An example of the former, the ARF1307C7 is a packaged GaN distributed power amplifier (PA) providing 10 W saturated output power across 2 to 20 GHz, with better than 20 percent power-added efficiency, 11 dB power gain and 17 dB small-signal gain. This PA is useful for broadband applications such as EW and T&M. For mmWave 5G TDD systems, Altum RF is taping out single-chip front-end modules (FEM) integrating a PA, low noise amplifier and T/R switch. Two FEM designs will cover 24 to 30 and 37 to 43.5 GHz, with single and dual channel versions planned. While competitors are using SiGe and GaN, Altum RF is using GaAs and designing the PA to achieve 1 W saturated output, which will support phased array antennas with fewer elements for a given EIRP than required using SiGe PAs. The FEMs will be assembled in a 4 mm x 4 mm SMD package.
Analog Devices has been releasing many products targeted at 5G and SATCOM applications including a pair of highly integrated up-converter (ADMV1013) and down-converter (ADMV1014) ICs covering 24 to 44 GHz with greater than 1 GHz instantaneous bandwidth. Matched to 50 ohms, the ADMV1013 and ADMV1014 simplify the design and implementation of mmWave platforms for the popular 28 and 39 GHz 5G bands, whether backhaul, fronthaul or other wide bandwidth transmitter and receiver applications. The up- and down-converter ICs are highly integrated, comprising I/Q mixers with on-chip quadrature phase shifters. The converters are configurable for direct conversion to or from baseband (DC to 6 GHz) or an IF (800 MHz to 6 GHz). The up-converter RF output has an on-chip driver amplifier with a voltage variable attenuator (VVA), while the down-converter’s RF input starts with a low noise amplifier (LNA), followed by a VVA and gain stage. Each local oscillator (LO) chain contains an integrated LO buffer, frequency quadrupler and programmable bandpass filter. Most of the programmability and calibration are controlled with a serial peripheral interface (SPI), making the ICs easily configurable via software.
ANSYS tools are ideal for designing and simulating antennas, antenna-to-antenna coupling and environmental effects on signal propagation. ANSYS solutions can enable successful deployment of V2X and V2V systems to improve the safety of self-driving cars that are expected to hit the road in 5G. Their customers report that they were able to:
- Improve antenna performance by 5X and reduce development cycle by 25%
- Reduce component costs by 67% and weight by 90%
- Reduce power consumption by 70%
- Achieve 20% faster speed-to-market
Ampleon showcased a wide variety of new LDMOS and GaN power transistors for 5G networks, aerospace and defence, non-cellular communications, industrial, scientific, medical, cooking and defrosting applications. Products featured were:
- Devices for mobile broadband and 5G networks that optimize the tradeoff among efficiency, cost and size.
- New 65 and 50 V Advanced Rugged Transistors (ART) in ceramic and plastic packages, designed to extend device ruggedness and breakdown voltage.
- Easy-to-use 30 to 700 W broadband and matched GaN transistors, enabling high efficiency designs without sacrificing other performance.
- 433, 915 and 2400 MHz transistors, pallet modules and multi-kilowatt system reference designs for industrial, cooking and defrosting.
- Radar transistors based upon the ninth generation LDMOS technology, which pushes the limit of power density and achieves best-in-class efficiency at an optimized cost structure.
Anritsu and EMITE announced that the Anritsu MT8000A test instrument, an integrated one‐box test set for testing 5G NSA and SA at sub‐6 GHz and mmWave frequency ranges, has been successfully integrated and used in combination to the EMITE H300 CATR 5G OTA Test System to test 5G OTA figures of merit. The combination of H300 + MT8000A enables simultaneous sub‐6 GHz and mmWave bands OTA measurements and beamforming tests using call connections specified by CTIA, 3GPP and PTCRB with automated reporting and pass/fail evaluation.
Anritsu showcased its test solutions for emerging 5G, satellite and signal integrity applications while highlighting its vector network analyzer (VNA) cutting-edge technology. Anritsu featured the VectorStar VNA which is the industry’s first broadband system that supports 70 kHz to 220 GHz in a single sweep. They also introduced a 43.5 GHz frequency option for the 2- and 4-port ShockLine VNAs with guaranteed specifications using Anritsu’s new Extended-K type connectors and components. Visitors to Anritsu’s stand also discovered new additions to the Field Master Pro MS2090A, a real-time spectrum analyzer, which delivers performance never previously available in a compact, handheld instrument. With continuous frequency coverage from 9 kHz to 54 GHz, the Field Master Pro MS2090A is specifically designed to meet the test challenges of a full range of other wireless technologies in use today, including 5G, wireless backhaul, aerospace/defense, satellite systems, and radar.
API Technologies designs and manufactures hi-rel SAW oscillators for today’s space and defense markets. Among the products demonstrated at EuMW were low noise amplifiers, high reliability attenuators and API’s micro-optical transceiver, Opto-Fire. API recently appointed Terrence Hahn as API Technologies' CEO replacing Bob Tavares who left the company. Hahn is a proven global executive with a demonstrated track record of profitable growth, technology innovation and talent development. He has served on AEA's Senior Advisory Council for two years and is well known to AEA. Hahn was with Air Products & Chemicals for 19 years in several senior leadership roles in Taiwan, Malaysia, Canada and the US. He subsequently joined Honeywell where he served as President and CEO of Home and Building Technologies, President and CEO of Transportation Systems, and Vice President and General Manager of Performance Materials and Technologies/Fluorine Products.
AR Europe was prominently on display with several highlights at this year’s EuMW. The 125S1G2z5, a new Class A amplifier design, instantaneously covers a frequency range of 1 – 2.5 GHz with a minimum of 125 watts RF power from 1 – 2.5 GHz, and 140 watts typical RF power from 1 – 2.5 GHz. Also featured was the 500A250D, a new Class A amplifier design. It instantaneously covers a frequency range of 10 kHz – 250 MHz with 600 watts typical and 500 watts minimum rated RF power, with a P1dB RF power of 525 watts typical and 400 watts minimum from 10 kHz – 200 MHz, and 425 watts typical and 375 watts minimum RF power from 200 - 250 MHz.
Based in Singapore, arQana is another fabless MMIC start-up. Formed in 2013, it began offering custom design services. In 2017, the company shifted strategy to become product focused, now developing amplifiers, switches, phase shifters, mixers, limiters and attenuators for phased array radar, satellite communications and telecom infrastructure to Ka-Band. arQana designs in GaAs and GaN and can assemble its MMICs in various packages. The company also offers PCB fabrication and assembly for board-level assemblies. arQana has expanded its footprint to add design centers in Taiwan and Belgium.
Coilcraft introduced two new series of low-profile wirewound chip inductors: the 0402CT Series and the 0402FL Series. The 0402CT Series features a ceramic core and has a maximum height of just 0.45 mm — a 30% lower profile than competitive products. Offered in 23 inductance values from 1.2 to 56 nH (with, 5%, 3% or 2% tolerance), the 0402CT provides excellent Q Factor performance – up to 84 at 2.4 GHz. The ferrite-core 0402FL Series has a maximum height of 0.55 mm and is offered in 16 inductance values from 20 to 560 nH. It is ideal for use as a one-pole filter or RF choke in cellular bands, and can be used in both mobile and infrastructure equipment. The 0402FL’s ferrite construction provides high current handling — up to 1.3 Amps (Irms) — with extremely low DCR.
Copper Mountain Technologies displayed its SC Series Compact VNAs for 2-port 2-path measurements at this year’s EuMW. The SC Series network analyzers feature a 140 dB dynamic range, 15 dBm output power, and a typical measurement speed of 16 µs per point. The SC Series is the latest addition to CMT’s Compact line of VNAs and includes the SC5065 and SC5090. Both instruments have a starting frequency of 300 kHz, the SC5065 goes up to 6.5 GHz and the SC5090 goes to 9 GHz. With faster measurement speed, better dynamic range, and higher output power, the SC Series delivers exceptional performance in the familiar compact form factor. They were also featuring their participation in a materials measurement system with Compass Technology Group that was being demoed in the booth. In addition, they are now producing the PXI VNA that NI is selling and partners with Pulse Larsen Antennas to sell an IoT Antenna Testing Kit.
COMSOL featured a prerelease of COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.5, together with its add-on products, including the RF Module. Some benefits to RF Module users include:
- New sketching tool with dimensions and constraints
- Improved tools for shape and topology optimization for RF and microwave, mechanical, acoustics, electromagnetics, heat, fluids, and chemical analysis
- Import/export of the 3D printing and additive manufacturing formats PLY and 3MF
- Combined full wave and ray tracing simulations
- New PCB ports for vias and transmission lines
- Linking of images to Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentations
- The ability to create your own add-ins for customizing the workflow
COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.5 is expected to be released in November.
Custom MMIC was at EuMW to discuss the company’s rapidly expanding portfolio of MMICs, now more than 130. It has released 28 new products this year, with another 12 on the roadmap this quarter. Fabless, Custom MMIC’s designers can choose the best process for each circuit function, tapping foundry relationships developed over its 13-year history. The company specializes in challenging design problems and serves markets with long-lived programs, such as defense and space. Reflecting this commitment, it is “second sourcing” many of its own products through a second foundry, to ensure if one foundry discontinues a process, Custom MMIC can continue shipping to the customer.
Elite RF offers a portfolio of amplifiers, from pallets to rack mounted, 1 MHz to 10 GHz, 1 to 10 kW, LDMOS to GaN. Many of the amplifiers are available off-the-shelf; if not, the company says it can turn a custom design in 60 days. Elite RF has also developed the Test Bench in a Box™, an integrated test system controlled with a wireless keyboard and mouse supplied with the unit or via software running on a Windows 10 PC. The SP20 base version combines a 100 kHz to 20 GHz signal generator and spectrum analyzer with a 250 MHz, four-channel oscilloscope. Add-on options include a 100 kHz to 18 GHz VNA, 1 MHz to 26.5 GHz power meter, dual 10 MHz to 24 GHz signal generators, a programmable attenuator, 1 W power amplifier and displays. Other models are configured with different capabilities and options, such as a built-in 7 in. display. The Test Bench in a Box can be purchased or rented.
Focus Microwaves always seemed to have a full booth of interested observers watching its hardware and software demonstrations. The hardware demos included 1) the new DELTA series of passive tuners designed for on-wafer measurements, with frequency coverage to 110 GHz, and 2) the new Omega electro-mechanical tuner (see photo), which has a small footprint designed to place the tuner close to the wafer and easy to integrate with off-the-shelf positioners. The Omega tuner was developed for 5G testing, with frequency coverage to 60 GHz. Focus also introduced 40, 67 and 110 GHz low loss and high directivity directional couplers and 50 and 67 GHz high power bias tees.
FormFactor displayed its latest on-wafer probe capability, which adds autonomous operation to the SUMMIT200 on-wafer prober. The company says the Autonomous RF Measurement Assistant achieves several industry firsts: automatic, hands-free calibration; monitoring drift and automatic recalibration when necessary; and accurate, repeatable probe positioning at all temperatures. This ability to test unattended enables overnight temperature testing of a wafer, and an optional wafer handling unit extends the autonomous test capability to 50 wafers, unloaded and loaded from SEMI standard cassettes. FormFactor’s software tools include a simplified test manager (the Velox™ Auto RF Tool) and calibration software (WinCal XE ™). On-wafer probes are available for the SUMMIT200 up to WR3 waveguide (220 to 330 GHz).
Addressing the demands of the aerospace and defense industry, Mathias Vetter, product manager at HUBER+SUHNER presented the long-line of benefits to the Spuma RS FR at European Microwave Week. During his presentation titled "Thanks to Spuma RS FR, no more challenging installations of low-loss RF cables in restricted environments," Vetter highlighted the advantages of the patented rotary swaging technology which enables HUBER+SUHNER to provide low-loss RF cables in harsh environments, illustrated with live demonstrations across the three-day event.
Intelliconnect was featuring for the first time its recently extended range of award-winning solderless, field-replaceable connectors which provide simple attachment to 0.047, 0.085 and 0.141 in. semi rigid cables. This innovative clamp connector series offers customers an alternative for assembling connectors to semi-rigid cable with no loss in performance or reliability. The stainless-steel 2.9 mm and SMA connectors have been designed for applications where reliability, durability, robustness and high frequency performance are very important. Typical applications include civil and military telecommunications, civil and military aeronautics, military equipment, space and measurement systems. The Intelliconnect solderless connector range has many key features including field replaceable capability, guaranteed equivalent performance to solder connection, any no special tooling required.
Junkosha was featuring phase stable, slim cable in their MWX161 series. They operate up to 67 GHz and have a unique small diameter neck (7.9 mm) part that makes them well suited for multi-port VNA testing applications. Their propagation delay is typically 4.35 ns/m with velocity of propagation typically 77% and VSWR of 1.3. Maximum insertion loss is 7.3 dB/m. They are also developing a 145 GHz cable with a 0.8 mm connector.
Keysight Technologies demonstrated a wide range of high frequency test equipment and solutions to help customers master microwave complexities as well as design, simulate, and test with accurate measurement solutions, software, and services. On display at the Keysight booth was:
- FieldFox analyzer – provides frequency coverage up to 26.5 GHz and 100 MHz real-time bandwidth in combination with a phased array antenna. Enables 5G operators to perform accurate measurements for coverage, beamforming verification, and wideband signal monitoring.
- 5G waveform generation and analysis – combines hardware, software, and measurement expertise to validate 5G base station antennas and components from sub-6 GHz to millimeter wave frequency bands; enabling 5G researchers the ability to explore a wide range of waveforms, frequencies, and bandwidths.
- 5G mmWave design from circuit to system – provides complete mmWave design flow to extract circuit-based radio-frequency (RF) impairments to perform 5G-compliant baseband verification.
- Automotive radar test – analyzes automotive radar signals across full frequency ranges for legacy 24 GHz and new 77 GHz and 79 GHz bands. Provides scalable analysis bandwidth from 2.5 GHz to > 5 GHz to meet the demands of new mmWave technology tests and standards.
- Automotive radar design for designers - improves complex environment modeling for system design and validation with PathWave Design 2020, while integrating critical safety-conscious and complicated scenarios into reliable, leading-edge, automotive radar design.
- KeysightCare a unique service model that offers design and test engineers dedicated, proactive support for instruments, software, and solutions that enhance their processes, and transform test asset insights into an increased return on investment.
- IoT device battery life optimization solution – enables developers to quickly and effortlessly detect design weakness and optimize IoT device battery life.
- RF and MW teaching solution – provides students with engineering essentials, practical skills, and everyday application knowledge; enables the successful development of 5G and IoT wireless applications.
- Multiport and multifunctional component test – provides complete device characterization with a single instrument covering time domain, frequency domain, and pulsed measurements.
- Wideband mmWave power amplifier test – enables designers to accurately, repeatedly, and quickly characterize the behavior of a device under modulated wideband signal stimulus.
- mmWave component characterization solution – enables designers to perform accurate measurements to address higher mmWave frequencies for all sources of uncertainty.
- Electronic warfare (EW) test and evaluation solutions – offers flexible, commercial off-the-shelf solutions for multiport EW threat simulation, wideband analysis, and playback.
- Phase noise test system (PNTS) – provides measurements down to kT (-177 dBm/Hz) for designing high-performance aerospace and defense applications, cutting-edge device characterization for 5G, and accurate validation of phase noise performance.
Knowles Precision Devices, which manufactures specialty RF/microwave passive components, discussed its thin film filter capability and the benefits for 5G mmWave systems. Knowles has developed standard products for the 26, 28 and 39 GHz bands, each with 3 GHz bandwidth and >50 dB out-of-band rejection, and will develop custom designs if a standard product doesn’t fully meet the customer’s requirements. Thin film technology enables the filters to be 20x smaller than other filter technologies and stable over temperature, from –55°C to +125°C. These filters are assembled in surface-mount packages compatible with high volume assembly. Knowles also has a long history serving the defense market and recently received a multimillion dollar contract from BAE Systems to produce filters for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Mathworks recently released a white paper that illustrates a process to design hybrid beamforming in massive MIMO antenna arrays for 5G, using features available with MATLAB® and Simulink®. Taking a 64 x 64 element, 66 GHz mmWave design as an example, they show a strategy to model antenna arrays and partition beamforming operations between the digital and RF domains, including:
- Specifying an array and visualizing the geometry, 2D and 3D directivity, and grating lobes
- Importing antenna patterns to increase model fidelity
- Mitigating the effects of array element imperfections, element and subarray failures, and mutual coupling
- Designing array architectures and generating RF phase shifts and digital complex weights
- Measuring performance of link-level designs using high-fidelity, RF/digital multidomain simulations
- Modeling multi-user beamforming scenarios
- Assessing tradeoffs between performance, power dissipation, and implementation complexity
Insight, Maury Microwave’s VNA calibration and measurement software platform, is designed to empower VNA users, helping them make better decisions. Insight represents a paradigm shift in the way users approach VNA calibration, validation, measurement, visualization and analysis. With Insight, users can
- Use a single software platform with most commercial VNAs.
- Define mechanical calibration standards from any supplier and use them with all VNAs.
- Avoid common errors with a simplified calibration process, powered by an intuitive graphical user interface and wizard.
- Validate VNA calibration using airlines and individually characterized verification kits.
- Measure S-parameters and save S2P files for easy data sharing.
- Understand measurement results better with advanced visualization and analysis tools.
- Identify and quantify the individual contributions of uncertainty and display uncertainty boundaries alongside measurement results.
MiCable presented its line of passive components, which includes power dividers and combiners, directional couplers, 90 and 180 degree hybrids, various adapters and cable assemblies. A few examples: a broadband, 8-way power divider covering 500 MHz to 40 GHz, a 6 dB coupler covering 20 to 44 GHz and cable assemblies designed for applications requiring high power and shielding. The two series have maximum CW power handling of 3340 W at 1 GHz and 910 W at 10 GHz (A11 series) and 455 W at 18 GHz (B10 series). Both series achieve shielding of 95 dB or better.
Mician GmbH showed their new Filter Workbench tool which is an add-on for their µWave Wizard software products. The tool features the design of filters for 5G applications and supports a wide variety of filter types such as Dual mode filters, Interdigital filters, microstrip/strip-line filters as well as customized filter designs. Even filter geometries with circular cavities or corner radii on square cavities are supported. Based on user provided filter specifications like filter order, return loss, start/stop frequency, etc. Filter Workbench creates a text file-based coupling matrix. Using either the tool’s self-generated coupling matrix or an externally created coupling matrix, users can then view and, if required, modify the synthesized filter. As a unique feature the tool allows either manual or automatic tuning and while tuning the user can view the 3D geometry in parallel. The optimization includes an integrated Mesh-Morphing which leads to a fast convergence.
Milliwave Silicon Solutions had one of the most popular booths at EuMW, judging from the number of people who stopped to look at the MilliBox test chamber for mmWave OTA testing. Two versions of the MilliBox are available: A 4 ft. chamber has an 80 cm far-field distance, making it suitable for the range from 18 to 95 GHz, which covers 5G mmWave user equipment, 60 GHz modules and 24 GHz automotive radar. The 6 ft. chamber also covers 18 to 95 GHz, with a 140 cm far-field distance. It is suitable for testing 5G access networks, 60 GHz equipment and 77 GHz automotive radar. Both versions have gimbal and horn mounts, and Milliwave has developed two compatible 3D gimbals, controlled with software via a USB interface in the MilliBox.
MPI displayed the TS2000-SE wafer probe with integrated waveguide probes for on-wafer testing to 1.5 THz. MPI says this is the industry’s first 200 mm probe system with seamless integration of banded, differential and broadband frequency extenders and automated impedance tuners. An automated single wafer loader and test management system enable loading and unloading wafers at any chuck temperature; cooling down or heating up to the ambient temperature is not required to load or unload a wafer, which increases system capacity.
Innovative features of NI AWR software for the design of power amplifiers (PA), filters and antennas for 5G, IoT and radar applications were showcased. In addition to software demonstrations in the NI Booth, NI AWR software products were featured in a MicroApps workshop and presentation, as well as at the sixth annual RF/Microwave PA Forum and third annual European Microwave Doctoral School. They were also featuring many of their partnerships where they have enabled new technology companies to realize products quickly to the market. They have worked with Fractus Antenna to simulate and model their unique antenna-less antenna that operate over a very wide frequency range using a compact ceramic chip. They also worked with UMS to develop and verify their new high frequency GaN processes as featured in the July cover story of Microwave Journal. At EuMW, they also featured uRAD that has developed compact 24 GHz radar modules for measuring speed and distance. Their multiple antenna module can measure 5 different targets with distance accuracy of 3 percent to 100 m and speed accuracy of +/- 0.05 m/s.
National Instruments was featuring their 5G OTA testing system where they have partnered with Bojay for the anechoic chamber. They also have a WiFi 6 test solution and were noting that there is some shift to unlicensed 5G bands in the 5 to 9 GHz range. In cooperation with Copper Mountain, NI is now offering the PXIe-S5090 1 slot, 2 port VNA operating from 300 kHz to 9 GHz with a maximum power of 13 dBm and dynamic range of 138 dB. The noise floor is -135 dBm/Hz with a measurement speed of 17 micro-sec per point. To support 6G research, NI has developed a real-time sub THz software-defined radio (SDR) built on NI’s mmWave transceiver system (MTS) and Virginia Diodes’ (VDI) radio heads. Using the VDI radio heads, the frequency range of the MTS extends into the sub THz range. The two combined create a powerful testbed. The NI and VDI sub THz testbed provides up to 2 GHz instantaneous bandwidth and frequency ranges between 110 to 170 GHz.
NEL Frequency Controls specializes in ultra-low phase noise TCXO products in small, size reduced packages. Customers needing high frequency, fully characterized, 'best in class' phase noise crystal oscillators come to NEL Frequency Controls for their leading edge requirements such as their ultra-low phase noise TCXO with low G sensitivity of 0.2 ppb/G. The AN-XA7UXXXX Series of SMD TCXO provides High Frequency with excellent temperature stability, extremely low phase noise and jitter with Sinewave or CMOS output in a small surface mount FR4 based package.
At EuMW, NXP Semiconductors announced a portfolio of LDMOS RF power amplifier multi-chip modules (MCM) for 5G massive MIMO (mMIMO) base stations. The MCMs are available from NXP distributors and online partners. The family covers the mobile frequency bands from 2.3 to 3.7 GHz, with each two-stage Doherty PA matched to 50 Ω. Five PA MCMs cover the 2.3 to 3.7 GHz bands delivering average output power from 35 to 37 dBm. To streamline the design of mMIMO base stations for multiple bands, the PAs are pin compatible.