EuMW 2020 was originally going to take place in The Netherlands last Oct. but with the COVID-19 pandemic, it was rescheduled for Jan 2021 in hopes that the event could still be held in person. But that was not possible so the event organizers quickly pivoted to a virtual event. After an extensive review, the vFairs platform was selected to host the event online. vFairs has hosted many large events and gives a real in-person feel to the virtual experience.
EuMA did a great job of reaching out to the authors and presenters to get recorded versions of their talks and load them into the platform keeping the original conference schedule based on The Netherlands time zone. Some Q&A sessions were done at the end of tracks but some panel and interactive sessions were not done due to the complicated nature of coordinating some many people in different times zones live.
The European Microwave Week is made up of three conferences: The European Microwave Conference (EuMC), The European Microwave Integrated Circuits Conference (EuMIC) and The European Radar Conference (EuRAD). EuMC is Europe’s premier conference on microwave, mmWave and terahertz devices, systems and technologies. This is the 50th edition of Europe’s largest conference that covers a broad range of high frequency related topics, from materials and technologies to integrated circuits, systems and applications. The EuMIC conference is jointly organized by the GAAS® Association and EuMA. It is the premier European technical conference dealing with microwave integrated components whether based on silicon, III-V materials or photonics. It has established itself as a key contributor to the success of the overall European Microwave Week and remains the largest scientific event in Europe related to microwave integrated circuits. The EuRAD conference is in its 17th year and covers future trends in the fields of radar research, technology, system design and applications.
There are also special areas of focus that are organized as forums. There is the Defence, Space and Security Forum that will focus on Space Situational Awareness topics this year with experts from industry and government. The 5G Forum will host a mix of technical presentations from industrial experts that will address 5G strategic and market needs including how these can be met with technology solutions. The Automotive Forum will feature technical experts from the automotive industry throughout the whole supply chain. The speakers will present their views on special technical solutions as well as regulatory and strategic market issues.
The EuMIC opening session had two keynote speakers, Lars Reger, Executive Vice President & CTO at NXP Semiconductors, presented “How Connectivity Technologies are Changing Vehicles”, followed by an inspiring keynote from Pieter Roelfsema (Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience) on “Interfacing with the Visual Cortex to Restore Vision in Blind People”. Lars focused on radar sensor technology for vehicles and UWB location technology as the next big step in mobile devices for location applications.
The were more than 100 exhibitors that chose to have virtual booths with 8 of them choosing to upgrade to the full 3D booths that actually represent the exact structure they were going to have in person. Here is a review of some of the products being featured in the exhibition:
Test and Measurement
Keysight Technologies was of course offering many demos and featuring many applications but were featuring wideband and higher frequency capabilities in many areas with 5G and emerging 6G with measurement to 220 GHz. Keysight demonstrated a 5G waveform generation and analysis reference solution that combines the hardware, software, and measurement expertise to address wideband, high frequency signals. The company also featured the next generation of FieldFox is a field test solution for 5G and wideband signal monitoring. Frequency coverage up to 26.5 GHz and 100 MHz real-time bandwidth make this an ideal tool for 5G deployment. Keysight PathWave System Design (SystemVue) and PathWave Advanced Design System (ADS) provide customers with a complete mmWave design flow that meets the challenges of 5G. Engineers can extract circuit-based RF impairments via ADS or measurement and incorporate them into SystemVue, which performs 5G-compliant baseband verification.
Keysight’s new S93070xB Modulation Distortion Application runs on the Keysight PNA-X VNA. It enables designers to accurately, repeatedly, and quickly characterize the behavior of a device under modulated wideband signal stimulus. The Keysight N5511A Phase Noise Test System (PNTS) is the foundation of test setups that can measure down to kT (-177 dBm/Hz). This is the theoretical limit for any measurement at room temperature. Keysight’s X8712A IoT device battery life optimization solution combines a DC power analyzer, SMU modules, RF event detector, and dedicated software. It enables developers to quickly and effortlessly detect design weakness and optimize IoT device battery life.
Keysight’s electronic warfare (EW) test and evaluation platform offers flexible, commercial off-the-shelf solutions for multiport EW threat simulation and wideband analysis and playback. Create complex multi-emitter scenarios with Keysight threat simulation software, which automatically computes angle of arrival and kinematics. The platform is compatible with other dynamic pulse descriptor word-based scenario generators.
Keysight’s E8740A automotive radar testing solution analyzes and generates automotive radar signals across full frequency ranges for legacy 24 GHz and new 77 GHz and 79 GHz bands. The solution provides the scalable analysis bandwidth from 2.5 GHz to > 5 GHz that new mmWave technology tests and standards demand. PathWave Lab Operations provides a 360-degree view of design flow. For manufacturing applications, the E8707/8A radar target simulator helps automotive electronics manufacturers simulate targets in real time, down to 4 meters, to quickly validate the product’s performance.
The Keysight partners area included Maury Microwave, Virginia Diodes, FormFactor and W.L Gore covering many measurement applications from semiconductors to terahertz measurements and were in a area next to the Keysight booth. Maury Microwave launched the Maury Immersive Experience that is an interactive virtual lab where you can explore the latest best-in-class solutions from Maury Microwave and strategic partners AMCAD Engineering and Vertigo Technologies B.V. designed to give you confidence in your measurements and models! It can be experienced here.
Rohde & Schwarz displayed RF component tests and associated research featuring their vector-receiver load pull measurement setup with an R&S ZNA high-end vector network analyzer (VNA) and microwave impedance tuners from Maury Microwave. This setup enables very fast, high-precision measurements on nonlinear RF amplifiers, as well as on-wafer measurements on nonlinear semiconductor components. Using the R&S ZNB40 VNA with a frequency range up to 40 GHz, Rohde & Schwarz also demonstrates how measurement accuracy can be significantly increased with little effort when testing signal integrity on digital designs and microwave board designs.
Rohde & Schwarz demonstrated online access to the R&S WinIQSIM2 simulation software and the R&S Vector Signal Explorer RF analysis software via the R&S Cloud4Testing software-as-a-service platform. Analyses and simulations are running in the cloud, so users need not install the software on their own devices – e.g. in their home offices – nor do they need to allow for any processing power for these tasks. The R&S Cloud4Testing SaaS platform is also attractive for companies that perform amplifier tests according to multiple, different standards.
Rohde & Schwarz also presented RF base station test solutions for the 5G FR2 frequency range from 26 GHz to 39 GHz, as well as an R&S CMP200 based test solution for ultrawideband components compliant with IEEE 802.15.4a/4z. This transmission technology is suitable for precise location finding, e.g. for machines or materials.
Rohde & Schwarz experts explained how an antenna operating in the sub-terahertz range can be characterized over the air (OTA testing). Many modern components and modules are so small and so tightly integrated that wired measurements are no longer possible. Using a compact antenna test range (CATR) and suitable test procedures will provide a compact setup for OTA antenna characterization.
Another display highlighted forward-looking test solutions for radar and satellite systems, including the high-sensitivity R&S FSWP phase noise analyzer with a new option for measuring the noise power ratio (NPR) of satellite system components. In addition, visitors can learn about multichannel pulse analysis, carried out with the R&S RTP164 high-performance oscilloscope. Another counter is dedicated to automotive radars where a test for E band radars will be presented.
Copper Mountain has aggressively addressed a broad range of application from materials measurement to characterization of filters, amplifiers, mixers and more. Their new RNVNA solution is a customizable multiport network analysis solution for MIMO antennas and other 5G applications. RNVNA builds on the capabilities of CMT 1-Port USB vector network analyzers. RNVNA links up to 16 analyzers together into a multiport network analysis system, allowing users to measure vector reflection and scalar transmission parameters. RNVNA is compatible with all Copper Mountain Technologies’ 1-Port USB VNAs with frequency ranges up to 6 GHz (R60), 14 GHz (R140), and 18 GHz (R180). The RNVNA solution incorporates shelving for mounting the VNAs. Each shelf is designed to fit a 19-inch rack mounting system and can house up to eight VNAs. Frequency and trigger synchronizing devices are offered as options to increase measurement speed. Note: FD and TD do not support the R140 1-port VNAs.
NI also covers 5G applications and was featuring an automotive radar testing system with 4 GHz of bandwidth. The 5G NR Test UE is built from a combination of PXI instrumentation and software defined radios (SDRs). This offers several key advantages. First, it allows users the flexibility to operate at in any sub 6 GHz band that is needed using the tunable RF front end in the SDRs. Second, since the entire system is software defined, as new features such as FFD mode become available, a software upgrade can deliver these new features and the same hardware can be reused. The 4 GHz Vehicle Radar Test System (VRTS) performs highly repeatable and accurate radar obstacle simulation and parametric measurements in parallel to reduce test time. VRTS integration partners provide solutions leveraging NI RF test systems, including anechoic chambers, mechatronics, actuation, and software development.
Systems, Semiconductors and Components
BAE Systems was recently awarded a £6.4 million contract by MBDA to design and manufacture elements of a missile system used by the Royal Air Force. The work which will take place at BAE Systems sites at Broad Oak in Portsmouth, Hampshire, and Hillend in Dunfermline, Fife, will secure and maintain important technical skills and capabilities in the specialised microwave sector. The contract to produce Brimstone 3 Receiver Assemblies will involve a microelectronic manufacturing process which combines cutting-edge tools and techniques to deliver high quality, innovative products.
Cobham Microwave announced the availability of three compact, high power surface-mount limiters, developed for military AESA radars at UHF, L- and S-Band. The three limiters are fabricated using a reliable silicon PIN diode process, have integrated DC blocks, and don’t require an external bias. The UHF limiter covers 400 to 500 MHz, with 0.45 dB insertion loss and limiting output power to 11 dBm. Power handling is 52 dBm CW and 58 dBm peak. The L-Band limiter covers 1.0 to 1.8 GHz, with 0.3 dB insertion loss midband and limiting the output to 17 dBm. Power handling is 48 dBm CW and 55 dBm peak. The S-Band version covers 2.7 to 3.4 GHz, with 0.8 dB insertion loss and limiting power to 17 dBm. Power handling is 46 dBm CW and 53 dBm peak. Cobham can design custom limiters for other frequency bands and customer specifications.
Gapwaves' Artificial Magnetic Conductor (AMC) surface enables propagation of electromagnetic waves in contactless artificial waveguide structures. Their high gain antenna array with wide beam is the ultimate solution for any type of automotive radar. Each antenna is very compact and built with a 3D practice using metalized plastic. This makes our antennas small, lightweight and highly cost-effective. In fact, compared to other existing technologies, our automotive radar solutions will reduce your costs by 25%– and at the same time double the performance, while reducing the size with more than 50%.
HUBER+SUHNER featured a new cable assembly for test and measurement and high speed digital applications. The SUCOFLEX 570S is an addition to the 500 series of cable assemblies, extending frequency coverage to 70 GHz with a 1.85 mm connector. Typical insertion loss is 6.48 dB/mm with greater than 20 dB insertion loss across the band, and the rugged assembly lasts more than 20,000 flex cycles. More information about the cable assembly is in this product feature published in the December 2020 issue of Microwave Journal.
HUBER+SUHNER also highlighted its multicoax testing solution, the MXPM90, which the company says is the industry’s first 90 GHz multicoax testing interface. It was developed to support semiconductor, telecom, PAM4/400G Ethernet and automotive applications, which are driving frequency coverage to 90 GHz. The MXPM90 interface has 2.54 mm center-to-center pitch with magnetic locking and built-in interface protection. It uses a flexible and stable multiplex cable and achieves standard phase matching of ±1 ps.
Knowles Precision Devices featured its high reliability, surface-mount passive components for satellite communications, responding to the industry’s need to minimize SWaP. Based on the space and military heritage of Dielectric Laboratories, Knowles’ portfolio includes power dividers and splitters, directional couplers and bandpass filters for the C-, X-, Ku- and Ka-Band satellite bands. Fabricated with temperature-stable dielectric materials, device performance is repeatable and stable across the operating temperature range from −55°C to +125°C. Integrated shielding reduces the risk of interference with neighboring components. While the product line includes many standard products, Knowles is keen to design custom components to meet unique system requirements, exploring ways to integrate functions to simplify board designs.
LPKF was virtually exhibiting its ProtoLaser R4 system. Using short laser pulses, it provides high quality results processing very thin and sensitive materials, such as the soft laminates used for microwave and mmWave circuits. LPKF has tested the system with DuPont Pyralux laminates such as TK, AP and CG, and the ProtoLaser R4 has been used to process GaN substrates (see this article in the August 2020 issue of Microwave Journal). The system is well-suited for quickly turning prototypes and can support short production runs.
NXP was exhibiting RF power modules for 5G, using its LDMOS and GaN technologies. For Wi-Fi, it has introduced front-end modules for the new Wi-Fi 6E bands.
By uniquely adopting GaN on Si technology and investing in a production 6 in. wafer fab, OMMIC is positioning its capabilities to serve Europe’s future need for mmWave MMICs for 5G infrastructure. The allure of 5G notwithstanding, the company says it remains committed to the defense and space markets, intending to qualify all its processes for space flight. A new GaN on Si product from OMMIC’s catalog, being sampled to customers, provides 10 W from 6 to 18 GHz. Biased at 12 V, the PA die delivers 41 dBm saturated output power with 38 percent power-added efficiency and 20 dB gain. Impressive performance and well suited for EW and instrumentation applications.
Rogers Corporation was featuring SpeedWave 300P is a low dielectric constant, ultra-low loss resin system prepreg that can be used to bond a variety of Rogers laminates, including XtremeSpeed™ RO1200™ laminates, CLTE-MW™ laminates and the RO4000® series. SpeedWave 300P prepreg is offered with multiple spread and open weave glass style and resin content combinations to maximize stackup options. This material exhibits excellent fill and flow capability around heavy copper features, a low z-axis expansion for plated through hole reliability and is CAF resistant. SpeedWave 300P prepreg is also compatible with FR-4 fabrication processes and lead-free PCB assembly processing.
Rosenberger, a long recognized supplier of RF/microwave coaxial connectors, cable assemblies and test and measurement products, featured its latest products at EuMW: a 43.5 GHz RPC-2.92 portfolio and an update to its cable assemblies. The company also highlighted its products that are tailored for aerospace, defense and security applications.
Rosenberger’s RPC-2.92 portfolio was designed for test and measurement applications in mmWave 5G networks, where coverage to 43.5 GHz is required, and it spans adaptors, cable assemblies and compact calibration kits. The adapters include in-series and RPC-2.92 to RPC-1.85 and RPC-2.92 to RPC-2.40. The cable assemblies are available with RTK 125 or RTK 092-70 cable, and the compact calibration kits include MSO (3-in-1) and MSOT (4-in-1) configurations.
Rosenberger has updated its standard line of flexible microwave cable assemblies, improving the designs to meet changing market requirements. Custom designed cable assemblies are available when a standard product won’t meet the need. For stringent test and measurement applications, where metrology grade performance is required, Rosenberger offers test cables with performance to 110 GHz.
Smiths Interconnect has released a family of high frequency surface-mount chip equalizers, designed to compensate gain variation over frequency in the RF signal chain. The CEX series is a totally passive solution, configurable to tailor the equalization for frequency range and slope, up to 40 GHz and 4 dB. Multiple slope (1 to 4 dB) and band options are available, with ≤±0.25 dB slope linearity, 1 to 1.25 dB insertion loss and ≤1.5:1 VSWR. The equalizers are fabricated with proven thin and thick film process technology, yielding small, light, surface-mount components.
UMS has developed a 24 GHz sensor family, comprising transmit and receive building blocks and integrated system-in-package (SiP). The family was designed to support any application using the 24 GHz ISM band, such as drones, automotive, “smart” infrastructure, security and liquid level sensing. To illustrate the integration, the CHC1443-QRA transceiver integrates two receive and four transmit channels, with a VCO for generating the transmit signal, in a QFN package. Each transmit channel provides 5 dBm output, and the receive channels have 11.5 dB noise figure. The transceiver is biased with 3.3 V and draws 200 mA. A similar transceiver SiP, the CHC2444-QBB, offers a single transmit channel with higher output power: 13 dBm. It draws 315 mA biased with a 3.3 V supply.
UMS was also featuring its range of MMICs for defense and communications, the latter highlighting MMICs for the mmWave 5G bands:
- CHA2595-QDG wideband LNA covering 27.5 to 43.5 GHz, with 2.3 dB noise figure, 19.5 dB linear gain and 11 dBm 1 dB compression point. The MMIC is fabricated on UMS’ 0.10 µm GaAs PHEMT process.
- CHA3409-98F self-biased driver amplifier covering 25 to 45 GHz. Biased with 4 V, the MMIC provides 19 dBm output power at 1 dB compression, with 19 percent power-added efficiency and draws 100 mA. Linear gain is 23 dB. The circuit is fabricated with a 0.15 µm GaAs process.
- The CHC6053-QQA is an integrated front-end containing transmitter and receiver. Developed for 5G active antenna systems, it covers the 3GPP FR2 bands from 24 to 30 GHz.
Wolfspeed presented two full-day workshops at EuMW:
- Integrated Doherty PAs for Cellular and mmWave Applications, by Jangheon Kim and Abdulrhman M. S. Ahmed. It was held on Sunday, as part of EuMIC.
- Digital Predistortion for 5G MIMO Wireless Transmitters, by John Wood. It was held on Tuesday, part of EuMC.
In its virtual exhibition booth, Wolfspeed promoted its line of GaN power devices for defense applications, from L-, S-, C- and X-Band radar to EW and MILCOM systems.
TNO, VTT and Fraunhofer were sharing a booth area featuring high frequency and space application, among others.
EuMW 2021 is in London Oct 10-15 so hope to see everyone in person at the event if we can all get vaccinated in the meantime!