Phased array systems continue to be a rapidly evolving technology with steady advances motivated by the challenges presented to modern military and commercial applications. This year, the conference had a significant amount of commercial content as phased arrays are being designed and produced for mmWave 5G applications from fixed wireless access to repeaters to small cells. We visited the small exhibition and found the following information from the companies we visited.

Altair recently announced their acquisition of Polliwog Co. Ltd., a high-tech software company based near Seoul, providing EDA software to the rapidly growing electronics industry. Polliwog expands Altair’s solution portfolio for system-level engineering to the PCB design and analysis market. Its impressive customer roster includes major consumer electronics companies, such as Samsung and LG Electronics. The products include a powerful PCB modeler, simulation solvers, and design verification tools, and integrates seamlessly into customer environments that use any of the leading ECAD PCB design solutions.

ADIAnalog Devices was demonstrating a couple of 5G phased array solutions including the ADALM-PLUTO Active Learning Module (PlutoSDR) which is an easy to use tool that can be used to introduce fundamentals of Software Defined Radio (SDR) or communications as advanced topics in electrical engineering in a self or instructor lead setting. The PlutoSDR allows students to better understand the real-world RF around them, and is applicable for all students, at all levels, from all backgrounds. They were also featuring the ADRV9009, the widest bandwidth, highest performance RF integrated transceiver according to ADI. The demo setup provides a single 2x2 transceiver platform for device evaluation and rapid prototyping of radio solutions. The ADRV9009-W/PCBZ is a single-chip TDD solution of dual receivers, dual transmitters with observation receiver and operates over a wide tuning range 75 MHz – 6 GHz. In addition, they featured the mixed signal front end (MxFE®) which is a high integration device with a 16-bit, 12 GSPS maximum sample rate RF digital-to-analog converter (DAC) core and a 12-bit, 4 GSPS rate RF analog-to-digital converter (ADC) core. The AD9081 features a 16-lane, 24.75 Gbps JESD204C or 15.5 Gbps JESD204B data transceiver port, an on-chip clock multiplier, and digital signal processing capability targeted at single- and dual-band direct to-RF radio applications.

AnokiwaveAnokiwave further expaned of its SATCOM Beamformer IC family with the release of its 2nd generation Ku-Band ICs – AWMF-0146 and AWMF-0147 – for the design and deployment of commercial phased array-based ground terminals. The 2 new ICs enable Ku-Band phased array active antennas that can auto-align and auto-position to support ground and aviation-based use cases for LEO/MEO/GEO satellites. This new Ku-Band IC family builds on Anokiwave’s previous generation, by improving performance, reducing cost, and providing a host of digital functionality to simplify the active antenna array design. The highly integrated AWMF-0146 Rx IC and the AWMF-0147 Tx IC both support four dual polarization radiating elements with full polarization flexibility, low power dissipation, and reduced noise figure. The small WLCSP (Wafer Level Chip Scale Package) makes the overall phased array assembly and thermal management significantly easier.

ANSYS recently announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Livermore Software Technology Corporation, a provider of explicit dynamics and other advanced finite element analysis technology. Once closed, the acquisition will empower ANSYS customers to solve a new class of engineering challenges, including developing safer automobiles, aircraft and trains while reducing or even eliminating the need for costly physical testing.

BAE was featuring their advanced technology R&D group inside our Electronic Systems sector, BAE Systems' FAST Labs™ team, that invents, innovates, adapts, and produces highly-advanced science, electronics, and engineering breakthroughs to provide those technologies. And FAST Labs is well known for its ability to clarify processes, focus resources, and overcome impediments to get those solutions into our customers' hands more quickly and cleanly than most imagine possible. FAST Labs also collaborates with business areas throughout BAE Systems and partners with universities, venture capital firms, and start-ups via our External Tech Scouting unit. FAST Labs even works with competitors if it means identifying, integrating, and delivering the game-changing technologies our clients need at a higher velocity.

BAE Systems recently announced it successfully completed a Phase 1 effort to transition short-gate GaN semiconductor technology developed by the U.S. Air Force to our Advanced Microwave Products (AMP) Center. They also were selected by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for Phase 2 of the program. The GaN semiconductor technology comes in the form of a wafer that provides high efficiency and broad-frequency bandwidth capabilities in a compact form that can be integrated into a variety of systems to enable next-generation radar, electronic warfare, and communications.

Cobham announced a new multi-axis gimbal system for military applications such as counter UAV and air defense operations that offers the industry’s best combination of reliability, precision and affordability. The SPS-1000 is Cobham’s next-generation sensor positioning system (SPS) that accurately acquire, track, and point a variety of sensor payloads in harsh land, sea and airborne environments. The new positioner maximizes use of Military Commercial Off-the-Shelf (MILCOTS) components, leading to significant cost savings and lead-time reductions. Two key benefits of the SPS-1000 modular design approach are integral field-replaceable control electronics, which eliminates all external cables without any sacrifice in performance; and a reconfigurable design allowing for utmost payload flexibility.

Custom MMICCustom MMIC was talking about their end to end solution in collaboration with TI. They have teamed up with X-Microwave and TI to proto-type a X-Band radar demonstrator. It matches Custom MMIC RF front end devices with TI's ADC and DAC products to make a complete signal chain proto-typed on X-Microwave's breadboard platform.

Keysight recently announced the PathWave Test 2020 software suite, which delivers an integrated experience for leading electronic manufacturers to accelerate time-to-market of their digital and wireless platforms and products. Developed on the Keysight PathWave software platform, the PathWave Test 2020 software suite enables 5G, IoT and automotive engineers and managers to streamline test data processing and analysis to speed product introductions and secure a competitive advantage in the market. PathWave Test 2020 software provides data sharing and management between platform software tools including test automation, advanced measurement, signal creation and generation, as well as data analytics.  This integrated software platform allows application-tailored solutions to be developed and deployed to significantly accelerate electronic test workflows and product introductions.

MathworksMathWorks was discussing beamforming tradeoffs and to help navigate the path to multidomain (RF and baseband) modeling, you can use a baseband Simulink model with hybrid MIMO beamforming to help start your system-level design. A framework is described in their white paper that includes two example hybrid beamforming algorithms: quantized sparse hybrid beamforming (QSHB) and hybrid beamforming with peak search (HBPS). The APIs into the model are open so that you can also integrate your own custom algorithms for hybrid beamforming. The Simulink baseband model also provides a starting point to move to the multidomain model with RF components using RF Blockset. In this white paper, Phased Array System Toolbox™, RF Blockset™, Communications Toolbox™, and 5G Toolbox™ are used in the associated workflows.

Mitsubishi is moving into the BTS market and has several 3.4-3.8 GHz, 50 V devices that deliver from 37-39 dBm of output power with 20 DB linear power gain. They all have 67% efficiency and packaged in a leadless plastic GF-67 package. They also have some new GaN devices for satellite communications applications with output power from 43-50 dBm output power operating from 13.75-14.5 GHz and a new 27.5-31 GHz 39 dBm output power device.

NEL was featuring their ULPN 10/100/1000 MHz Appliance that has global synchronization via GPS signal, locks to either 10 MHz reference or 1 PPS input and has ultra-Low Phase Noise (ULPN) on all outputs. It has 10 MHz, 100 MHz, and 1 GHz outputs with excellent holdover in the absence of REF IN. It has 10 MHz and 100 MHz internal SC-cut OCXOs and is well suited for 5G applications.