Micro Harmonics, a developer of ferrite components for mmWave frequencies, featured its circulators and Faraday rotation and cryogenic isolators. As with many small companies inspired by the development of technology, Micro Harmonics’ capabilities have been seeded with Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs, largely from NASA. The company is completing a Phase II SBIR to develop cryogenic mmWave isolators for every standard waveguide band from WR15 (50 to 75 GHz) to WR3.4 (220 to 330 GHz).

Milliwave Silicon Solutions was demonstrating the latest addition to the MilliBox mmWave anechoic chamber and antenna positioner family, the GIM04 positioner. The GIM04 controls three axes from a single USB controller: elevation, azimuth and polarization. The construction enables the positioner to adjust to various DUT form factors, with two depths from the rotation axis to accommodate different thicknesses and form factors. The GIM04 is available in four standard sizes, so changing size is possible as DUT requirements change. 

Mini-Circuits featured several new products at IMS2021. Watch this video summary by Steven Scheinkopf.

Mini-Systems’ glass sidewall packages provide high performance for many RF applications and are used in various applications with stringent specifications, such as military standards, the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association and NASA space qualification.

MixComm used its SUMMIT 2629 beamforming RFIC in a 64 element array to demonstrate a 28 GHz over-the-air link, spanning some 100 ft. across the exhibition hall. Fabricated using GlobalFoundries’ RF SOI process, the SUMMIT 2629 is an eight channel front-end that integrates the PA, LNA, T/R switch and beamformers with memory. The RFIC provides calibration and gain control, with temperature and power sensing, and has a high speed interface for system-level monitoring and control.

Morion US was featuring a new miniature, Rb frequency standard (RFS-M102) that generates a 10 MHz output in a compact 51 mm x 51 mm x 25 mm package. The short-term stability (i.e., Allan Deviation) is <5 x 10-11, temperature stability is better than ±1 x 10-10 and aging is under ±4 x 10-12 per day or ±5 x 10-10 per year.

NSI-MI Technologies introduced the Vector Field Analyzer (VFA) Performance Suite, a harmonized system for fast, accurate RF/microwave field measurements. The suite includes a VFA measurement receiver and Vector Measurement Controller, with microwave signal sources and various position controllers and positioners to mechanically move antennas, field probes and other assemblies. The VFA can test from 10 MHz to 1 THz and offers 10 ns timing resolution and coordinated motion control interfaces, enabling multi-channel phase-coherent RF measurements of electromagnetic fields.

Otava is another new fabless RFIC design house pursuing the emerging mmWave phased array market; however, Otava’s strategy is novel: rather than develop RFICs optimized for each 5G, commercial SatCom or defense mmWave band, Otava has developed a single, wideband RFIC covering 24 to 40 GHz and with the capability to optimize performance on-chip. The OTBF103 is an eight element beamformer RFIC for time-division duplex systems that integrates wideband PAs and LNAs with a beamformer, providing independent channel gain control of 20 dB in 0.5 dB steps and independent phase control of 360 degrees in 5.6 degree steps. The OTBF103 has eight drivers for external T/R switch control, programmable gate drivers for the PA and LNA, power detection and temperature sensing and a high speed interface for system monitoring and control. The RFIC is also fabricated by GlobalFoundries, using its 90 nm SiGe platform.

Pentek, recently acquired by Mercury Systems, was discussing board- and system-level embedded systems for data acquisition, digital signal processing and software-defined radio. Pentek (as well as Mercury Systems) is a member of the Sensors Open Systems Architecture (SOSA) Consortium. Aiming to reduce development time and cost and reduce the risk that subsystems from different organizations may not being interoperable, the SOSA Consortium is advocating an open system reference architecture for military and commercial sensors, developing on modular design and nonproprietary standards for the key interfaces.

Pickering added 67 GHz microwave multiplexers to their PXI/PXIe (models 40/42-785C) and LXI (models 60-800 and 60-803) product families, offering both SP4T and SP6T form factors. These high frequency multiplexers maintain the same physical dimensions as the existing lower frequency products, enabling users to upgrade to 67 GHz while maintaining the same slot count and rack height within the test system. The components exhibit virtually identical performance to 50 GHz compared to existing 50 GHz switches. Applications include military, aerospace, automotive radar, 5G and high frequency communications and semiconductor testing.

Qorvo was represented in Atlanta by RFMW, exhibiting products from across its defense, infrastructure and mobile product lines. These included the QPA0007, a reconfigurable dual-band GaN PA; the QPA2513, a 3.1 to 3.5 GHz, 125 W GaN on SiC PA; the QPM5811, an 8.5 to 10.5 GHz, 0.5 W T/R module; and several cellular, Wi-Fi and Zigbee/Thread/Bluetooth filters, front-ends and RFICs.

RFMW was representing their full line card at IMS2021, particularly important for companies not able to travel to Atlanta. Among the product categories being featured: filters for applications from MHz to mmWave, fabricated with technologies encompassing ceramic, SAW, BAW and proprietary processes from suppliers such as Sangshin Shoulder and Cubic Nuvotronics; semiconductor products from Microsemi and NXP, in addition to Ampleon and Qorvo; and cable assembly, connector and other interconnect products from Carlisle Interconnect Technologies, Delta, P1dB and Rosenberger. Representing the leading suppliers across the RF/microwave product space enables RFMW to help their customers select the best technology and product for the application. Watch a video tour of RFMW’s booth.

Rogers Corporation made a major commitment to being in Atlanta. John Coonrod, the company’s well-known technical marketing manager made two presentations: “Thermal Management for High Frequency Printed Circuit Boards” and “Stripline Circuitry for Millimeter-Wave and Very High Speed Digital.” At its booth, Rogers featured 5G and automotive materials, including XtremeSpeed™ RO1200™ laminates and bondplies, RT/duroid® 6035HTC laminates and the recently launched SpeedWave™ 300P ultra-low loss prepreg. SpeedWave 300P offers thermal reliability for high layer-count designs that have multiple sequential laminations, with superior fill and flow capability around heavy copper features. It is well suited for mmWave applications, whether 5G, 77 GHz automotive radar or aerospace and defense. John Ekis talked with Microwave Journal editor Gary Lerude about new products Rogers is developing for the aerospace and defense markets.

Rohde & Schwarz gave Microwave Journal an informative overview of their extensive line of products for communications, broadcast transmitters, COMINT/ELINT/SIGINT, EMC and over-the-air test facilities, automotive radar, mmWave body scanners and secure voice communications. It is surprising how many markets they are addressing. In the U.S., they have regional offices in Maryland, Texas, California and Oregon, with an expansive 40,000 square foot facility in Coppell, Texas for design, integration and production.

Rosenberger was featuring many cable and connector products, including WSMP coaxial connectors and cable assemblies for high density applications to 100 GHz. The company offers evaluation boards in four configurations: single port NexGen WSMP, 1 x 4 port NexGen WSMP, 2 x 8 channel WSMP and high speed IOF style connectors.

SynMatrix Technologies demonstrated its real-time tuning workflow for complex multi-element filter designs. Integrated with several Rohde & Schwarz VNAs, the SynMatrix software can access the VNA’s configuration and setup controls and has a real-time tuning mode that displays instructions for tuning a filter. The software platform begins with a filter’s design: integrated with HFSS and using AI to optimize the performance.

Although marking its 10-year anniversary, Tagore Technology has largely been in stealth mode, executing its strategy developing products for RF and power electronics using GaN on Si — one of the few companies believing GaN on Si has a play in RF. That premise is worth considering since the company’s principals bring extensive semiconductor experience from Motorola, Freescale, Skyworks and Rockwell, and they have tapped TSMC as their foundry. Tagore Technology’s vision is to offer all the circuit functions used in the RF front-end for land mobile radio, military radio and cellular base stations, with most fabricated in GaN on Si. Its large product catalog reflects this, comprising an extensive line of high power switches, PAs and LNAs, as well as ultra-low noise figure LNAs fabricated in GaAs.

Vaunix was featuring their new 700 MHz to 7.25 GHz RF power dividers and combiners, designed to be used in advanced wireless test stands such as 5G, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6E, MIMO and SIMO. These dividers and combiners have been added to the company’s growing line of standardized, low-cost Lab Brick testing devices and rack mount equipment, with frequency coverage through 40 GHz.

Watch Virginia Diodes demonstrate making D-Band noise figure and gain measurements using VDI’s down-converter, one of several videos recorded at IMS2021. They also worked with Keysight to setup a 144 GHz 6G test bed which they also demoed in their booth. An additional setup was a H-Band S-Parameter Measurement Demo Using a 20 GHz Keysight VNA.

David Danzilio of WIN Semiconductors briefed Microwave Journal on the company’s business and plans. Despite the pandemic, foundry demand has remained strong, largely because of 5G. Overall revenue in 2020 was NTD25.5 billion (approximately $924 million), up 19 percent from 2019. For the most recent quarter, ending March 31, cellular accounted for almost 50 percent of total revenue, with infrastructure and Wi-Fi around 20 percent each. To support continued growth, WIN plans to build a new NTD10 billion wafer fab in the Southern Taiwan Science Park in Kaohsiung. The southern location will reduce the risk of keeping all of WIN’s fab capacity in northern Taiwan. Danzilio said WIN is continuing to improve the performance of its GaN process, and he remains bullish on the competitiveness of its E/D PHEMT process for 5G mmWave infrastructure. While acknowledging that SiGe has taken the lead, he sees systems returning to GaAs as efficiency becomes more important. At the device level, GaAs beats silicon efficiency some 50 percent to 30 percent, according to Danzilio.

As the second and final day of the exhibition, as the exhibitors began to pack up, Microwave Journal’s Pat Hindle and Gary Lerude compared thoughts about IMS2021. What did it feel like to attend the first IMS after the pandemic? How did the low attendance, which was expected, influence everyone’s outlook? Was it worth coming to the show? Watch the conversation. If you attended, what are your thoughts?