Executive Interview - Ed Liang, co-founder and CTO of MCV Microwave
Ceramic technology enables new antenna products
Can you tell us about the company and its core technologies?
MCV Microwave was founded based on expertise in the area of high Q / low loss dielectric ceramic and microelectronic material and manufacturing technology. Over the past twenty years, we have accumulated RF/Microwave and EM design experience led by industry gurus in various filter topologies including ceramic, lumped element, combline cavity and waveguide. Focusing on patent pending broadband antennas for IoT and high performance filter products, we are positioned to bring connectivity to serve the 5G next generation of wireless.
Summing up, MCV is committed to bring technology and new products to solve problems for the industry.
What are the major industries and applications you are serving today?
We are serving the 4G LTE small cell, distributed antenna system (DAS), low power repeater, public safety, GPS, wireless and satellite communications, ISM bands, Wi-Fi, UHF and VHF broadcasting, aerospace, radar and defense markets.
Can you tell us about your strengths in manufacturing and design?
MCV adopted a contract manufacturing strategy in early 2000 and has been continuously improving the supply chain management process. This allows MCV to focus on filter design and new product development. We now have one of the best lumped element, ceramic, combline cavity, waveguide filter and antenna design engineering teams in the industry. Our goal is to develop a design system that can be transferred to any production facility worldwide.
Can you tell us about your design for manufacturing for quick development times?
Design for manufacturing has to be based on design rules of the factory. The design rules are developed from machine precision, tolerances, materials and processes used. We incorporate the design rules in our EM simulation in order to realize design prototypes efficiently. MCV can respond to design proposals in 48 hours and provide quick-turn prototyping service in 10 working days.
What expertise and advantages do you have in the area of ceramic materials?
MCV owns a series of high Q / low loss dielectric ceramic material recipes after two successful acquisitions in the US in 2007. We have been working with a Japanese manufacturing partner for over ten years supplying various types of dielectric resonators including the ultra-high Q MDR24 and MDR30 materials with Qxf value over 300,000 and 150,000, respectively (measured at 10 GHz).
The high Q factor of MCV dielectric resonators offer low insertion loss, superior roll off and very narrow bandwidth (i.e., 0.1% at 8 GHz) for filter designs and high precision frequency response for VCOs and DROs.
The other key area of expertise is the ability to adjust the recipes to provide suitable Tf for high Q dielectric materials to maintain a minimal frequency drift of cavity filters for high power applications.
What types of antenna and filter products do you design and manufacture?
When you go to our website you will see that ceramic patch antennas are featured there. We are developing new designs to augment these popular styles; as those designs mature they will be added to the MCV website. One new antenna product that is very exciting is our Broadband Hybrid Antenna, for the Internet of Things(IoT). This hybrid antenna can handle six LTE bands and Wi-Fi without external matching.
New products tend to come from new needs in the marketplace, so if your readers need a novel antenna we would love to be in on that conversation.
You recently developed a new antenna with more bandwidth for base station applications, can you tell us about that technology and product?
We have been looking into commercially available log-periodic antennas and have noticed that they all look the same inside - same screws, cables, radomes, even the little 'gimmicks' used to tune the original designs are the same.We did a cost-performance analysis on a new LPDA design that looks promising. But we cannot publicly disclose it until we have completed the patent application process.
Speaking of patents and new designs, we would be happy to discuss the Hybrid Antenna. In a nutshell, we were able to divide the antenna's functionality between a mass-produced 'superstructure' portion that enhances the radiation pattern and a custom-designed planar circuit board portion that enables economical tuning for frequency and match. We believe this antenna will be helpful to designers who want to embed wireless connectivity into their products.
What are your major growth markets for the next couple of years?
In terms of markets, we believe the (wireless) IoT will be an explosive growth market. We have already discussed some of our ideas for helping folks with that. I would have to say "the cloud" or whatever the remote collaborative space comes to be called is another area of strong growth. Of course, 4G LTE and new 5G wireless are our mainstream markets.