We – Dominique Schreurs, Jan Geralt bij de Vaate and Peter Hoogeboom – would like to welcome you back to Amsterdam after a four-year break, for what we hope will be a worthwhile and memorable 11th European Microwave Week 2008 and in particular to the 38th European Microwave Conference (EuMC). As volunteers, the three of us have tried to organize the EuMC so that it balances new ideas and innovations with proven, valuable events and various associated attractions.

The EuMC is the largest conference in the Week, running from Tuesday until Thursday. Following a large number of submitted contributions, EuMC 2008 comprises 68 oral sessions of which 18 are joint sessions with other conferences, three poster sessions and one Interactive Poster Session (IPS). The conference workshops and short courses (18 in total) extend the event to the full working week.

The conference covers a broad range of technological and engineering themes covering Passive and Active Components, Circuits and Subsystems, often extending to systems and applications. It is the perfect platform for keeping up to date with recent achievements in the RF, microwave and millimetre-wave domain, and an exciting forum for the presentation and discussion of the most recent advances in the microwave arena.

Many common topics with the other three conferences underline the synergy in microwaves. Under the Electromagnetism and the Microwave Systems and Applications themes attention is paid to Medical and Biological Effects, extending to Quality of Life. In the opening session a keynote address on Quality of Life is scheduled. The Week will be opened with an invited paper from the United States on trends in mixed signal electronics. On Thursday a pre-closing plenary with two invited papers is scheduled, touching on modern radar techniques and on LOFAR, the large low frequency array for astronomy.

Homeland Security is also a new theme, which, in particular, is covered in a focussed session, common with EuRAD, on the European Stand-Off Surveillance and Target Acquisition Radar (SOSTAR) system.

Together with EuRAD an interactive poster session is organized on Thursday for the first time. Authors who signed up for a presentation in the IPS will demonstrate their results with laptops and equipment, rather then with static paper poster presentations. A special IPS demonstration environment is being set up near the regular poster session in the exhibition hall.

Another first is that the yearly Military Radar Conference of the International Quality and Productivity Centre (IQPC) in London will be collocated with EuMW and has its own programme on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Military Radar delegates can visit the large trade exhibition, participate in the EuRAD sessions and, of course, like everybody else, participate in all conference workshops. Likewise, EuMW attendees can register for IQPC’s Military Radar Conference at a reduced rate and benefit from the presentations being organized. The cooperation between these conferences emphasizes the trend of growing importance of microwave systems for the EuMC.

For the first time too, a Women in Engineering event is organized. Taking place on Wednesday evening after the conference sessions, the ladies and hopefully some men who attend will hear presentations on gender issues and making up of careers, followed by discussions and networking in the Amsterdam Café at the RAI, where drinks and snacks will be served.

For the first time an on-line version of the conference programme is being kept up to date until the conference. All known programme changes are reflected in this pdf file, which can be downloaded from: www.eumweek.com. Check regularly for a new version.

Peter Hoogeboom’s view of trends in European RF and microwaves technology

The RF and microwave sector continues its strong development both worldwide and in Europe. The main driver is telecommunication. Commercial mobile and wireless communications are the main driver with wireless communications increasingly extending into the everyday world. Companies, households, ships and aircraft all have countless functional antennas and wireless devices that play critical roles in day to day activities. Europe is at the forefront of the developing mobile and wireless communications sector.

The evolution of electronic components is driven by requirements stemming from new applications. Not only do we increase linearity in amplifiers or selectivity in filters, but digital electronics is also coming to the fore. Once digital signals can be processed in software instead of analogue components it will contribute enormously to quality and flexibility. Software-defined radio is an example.

And again, the synergy between microwave sectors can be seen; for instance, the digital direct synthesizer that FMCW radar uses for its modulation was developed for a mobile phone.

Antennas are the key component of every microwave system. They determine the functionality and quality of the application and tend to follow the miniaturisation trend set by electronic components. Achieving this is an enormous challenge, since the laws of physics come into play. Nevertheless, small antennas are becoming more powerful and are being developed for wideband or multiband applications.

Also, there are trends to combine the signals of individual radiating elements at the digital level – digital beamforming. Fantastic flexibility in antenna patterns and multibeams is the result. As indicated earlier, one plenary invited talk is devoted to the largest digital beamforming array being built today in the Netherlands: LOFAR.

Europe is well placed in the world of microwave systems and continues to strengthen its role in development and applications. Today this is epitomised by the success of European Microwave Week, which, this year, will see a record number of exhibitors and participants. This is no coincidence, but a reflection of the strong position Europe holds in industry and science in the microwaves field.