The news for the first week of July was relatively slow compared to all the happenings announced during the week of IMS. Among the press releases, news from EDA vendors AWR and Agilent, test equipment manufacturer Cascade and defense sub-contractors Comtech, Trak, Saab and Sensis stood out. The following is a summary of what took place in the microwave world for the week ending July 4th.

In the RF/microwave circuit simulation world, AWR® and United Monolithic Semiconductors (UMS) introduced an advanced process design kit (PDK) for the UMS PPH25X GaAs pseudomorphic high electron mobility transistor (PHEMT) foundry process. The UMS PPH25X process is dedicated to the design of microwave monolithic integrated circuits (MMIC) at frequencies up to 35 GHz.

The PPH25X process is specifically developed for high-frequency (45 GHz Ft) and high-power designs and is fully qualified by UMS. The process features high breakdown voltage that achieves power density up to 1 W per millimeter of gate periphery (load-pull power measurements exhibit 5 dB power gain at 30 GHz for a large 8 x 75 μm periphery). Small via-hole definitions through the 70 μm substrate can be connected directly to the sources of the transistors, reducing parasitics and simplifying wideband amplifier design.

The PDK lets users take advantage of the industry-leading fabrication capabilities of UMS together with AWR's innovative Microwave Office® design suite.

Meanwhile, Renesas Technology Corp. has selected Agilent’s GoldenGate EDA software to expand its RF design environment. The multi-year agreement includes product licensing and support for the GoldenGate simulator. Renesas already designs its RF circuits using Agilent’s Advanced Design System.

Agilent’s GoldenGate software is an advanced simulation and analysis solution for integrated RF circuit design. Its unique simulation algorithms are optimized for the challenging demands of today’s complex RF circuit design, enabling full characterization of complete transceivers prior to tape-out. To ensure device manufacturability and reduce design spins, GoldenGate takes advantage of both frequency-domain and time-domain simulation capabilities to perform necessary analyses on today’s RF devices. Adding the GoldenGate simulator will extend the company’s design and simulation capacity.

Once the simulation stage is over and the MMIC/RFIC has been fabricated it is now the moment of truth – test and measurement time. With the cost of developing each new semiconductor manufacturing process node escalating dramatically and time to market pressures increasing, there is no longer room for error in measuring critical parameters such as flicker noise. Speaking of which, Cascade Microtech has introduced the EDGE Flicker Noise Measurement System, the only flicker noise measurement system that is certified to provide accurate measurements from 1 Hz to 30 MHz.

The EDGE Flicker Noise Measurement System is a true turn-key solution. Seamless integration of the wafer probe station, instruments, software and accessories is overlaid with unprecedented service and support in the form of site surveys, pre- and post-measurement optimization and continuing application support. The result is a worry-free, accurate flicker noise measurement. This news comes with an endorsement from Michael Cheng, senior director, device technology division at Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing: “Having worked closely with Cascade Microtech on the first deployment of its EDGE Flicker Noise Measurement system, we can have confidence in the measurements this system produces.”

In the Defense world, Comtech received a $5.6 M dollar contract with the US Army under its Movement Tracking System contract. The orders are for supply of satellite network bandwidth, network operations and tech support.

Some back story:

Comtech Mobile Datacom Corp. was awarded the MTS contract in 1999. This is an eight-year contract vehicle, and is available to all US Government Agencies and allied governments. Tens of thousands of MTS units have been delivered during the first six years of the contract. Comtech has designed a spread-spectrum, packet-switched data network that uses state-of-the-art modulation techniques and short burst transmissions. This provides low probability of intercept/detect characteristics to reduce the likelihood that hostile forces can determine the sender’s position or intercept other intelligence.

MTS comes in two configurations, the V2 mobile unit for vehicle mounting and the Control Station configuration for command center operations. Both configurations use CMDC's MT-2011 is a compact, all solid-state satellite transceiver for sending and receiving messages and position reports. A ruggedized, compact computer is delivered with the vehicle-mount configuration, while the Control Station uses a laptop with a larger screen for observing and controlling multiple mobile units more effectively. The control station also includes a portable color printer and a 100-ft reel of cable.

TRAK Microwave Corp., a Smiths Interconnect business, announced that it has been selected by the General Dynamics-Lockheed Martin team for the US Army’s Warfighter Information Network – Tactical (WIN-T) program to supply Model 9000S Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) Modular Time Code Processors and other support equipment. The processors will provide SAASM precision time code and frequency synchronization for WIN-T, the Army’s transformational battlefield communications network.

Saab and Sensis Corp. have entered into a cooperation agreement to promote, enhance and support Saab's GIRAFFE AMB family of radars in the United States. The agreement is initially focused on the systems for US defense applications. Sensis Corp., a provider of advanced radar detection solutions, will provide modifications and adaptations to US military specifications.

The GIRAFFE AMB, which is land-based, and the Sea GIRAFFE AMB, which is ship borne, are multi-mission 3-D radar systems that can simultaneously perform air and sea surveillance, military air traffic control and 360° tracking and locating of rockets, artillery and mortars.

On the merger front, ANSYS Inc. and Ansoft Corp. announced that the Securities and Exchange Commission has concluded its review of the Registration Statement on Form S-4 in connection with ANSYS' acquisition of Ansoft. An amended Form S-4 was filed and became effective on June 20, 2008. A special meeting of the Ansoft stockholders to approve the transaction has been set for July 23, 2008.

Meanwhile, NXP Semiconductors and Thomson announced that they have signed a definitive agreement on the transaction to combine their can tuner module operations in a joint venture. NXP will have a 55 percent holding in the new venture and Thomson the remaining 45 percent. In 2007, these operations posted combined sales of over approximately $250 M (approximately €160 M). The two companies expect that the transaction will close in the third quarter of 2008, subject to closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

The new organization will comprise approximately 4,000 employees, the majority of these being staff from NXP and Thomson manufacturing operations in Indonesia. The CEO of the joint venture will be an NXP designate, Pieter Paumen, and Thomson will assign the CFO.