Microwave Journal

IMS2019 Was a Hub of Activity

Event Summary and Wrap Up

June 10, 2019

IMS2019 returned to Boston in its normal 10 year rotation through major centers of microwave activity. The theme was the Hub of Microwaves as Boston is laid out in a spoke and hub highway formation around the city to access the suburbs where many microwave companies reside. The event took place from June 2 to 7 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) and featured the Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit (RFIC) Symposium, the International Microwave Symposium (IMS), the 5G Summit and the ARFTG Microwave Measurements Conference. The social and networking events took place throughout the revitalized Seaport District in Boston. This neighborhood, adjacent to the BCEC, has undergone a remarkable transformation since the 2009 IMS, and is now home to many museums, shops, restaurants and nightlife. The 2019 International Microwave Week will be memorable for years to come.

Videos and photos from the event can be found here:
IMS2019 Videos
IMS2019 Photo Gallery

Boston has a rich microwave heritage that continues through today. The Radiation Laboratory, run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) during the 1940s, made seminal contributions to the emerging microwave engineering field. Much of this knowledge was transferred to surrounding industry and universities in the 1950s. The local IMS Steering Committees took particular pride in balancing the traditions of IMS with innovative twists and a focus on creating the best experience for the technical and industry exhibition attendees.

MOVE Truck

Putting a name with a face, we had the opportunity to talk with Jay Diepenbrock, SiRF Technology Consultant, who was at IMS representing IEEE’s MOVE truck. Tucked in the far right corner of the show floor, but has had a phenomenal impact in rescue operations was IEEE’s MOVE truck. MOVE (MObile VEhicle ) is an IEEE Project that creates and operates a vehicle for disaster relief providing needed communications, light and power to victims. This Mobile Outreach Vehicle operates with a group of IEEE member volunteers to provide disaster relief. The volunteers bring a wide range of experience and use their unique skills along with demonstrating their technologies that are used in the industry to help people during disaster relief. Jay Diepenbrock provided the tour and was passionate about the cause explaining how the vehicle has actively been involved in responding to disaster survivors who have survived the initial catastrophe. "Unlike other First Responder Efforts (e.g., ARRL, RACES), this project is intended to help the disaster survivors by supplying valuable services until normal infrastructure is restored," said Jay Diepenbrock. Additionally it energizes the IEEE volunteer base, highlights skills, promotes public awareness and more. For more information and detailing regarding the truck, visit https://www.signalintegrityjournal.com/articles/782-the-ieee-move-truck.

The IMS2019 Exhibition consisted of over 600 exhibiting companies who represent the state-of-the-art when it comes to materials, devices, components and subsystems, as well as design and simulation software and test & measurement equipment. It is the best place to find out about new products and services being offered in the RF/microwave industry. It is also the best place to network with industry experts to find out answers to your design, simulation and test & measurement challenges.

The Exhibition also included the MicroApps and Exhibitor Workshops addressing new products, processes and applications of interest to the microwave community. There was more than 65 15-minute presentations given by representatives of companies from around the world as part of the MicroApps program. The Industry Workshops were two-hours each in duration, with one or more presentations. They are awarded to a single company or group of companies to discuss a specific technical topic in much greater depth than the MicroApps seminars, possibly with live demonstrations and attendee participation. Here is a summary of the products and services we saw on display this year in the exhibition:

3D Glass3D Glass Solutions displayed their passive component products including:  Antennas, Baluns, Filters, Inductors, Capacitors, Couplers, etc., all integral to the efficiency of RF circuits and designs. 3D Glass Solutions’ circuit elements allow circuit designers to integrate multiple dielectric constants, including air.  The ability to design with air allows very high performance at high frequencies (>1GHz) which are necessary for Mil Aero and Commercial RF applications (5G, Autonomous Vehicle, High Speed Data Photonics).  Traditional technologies fall short of needed performance at high frequencies.

3D Glass Solutions’ technology is based on using ‘glass-ceramic’ substrate materials which are manufactured (IP) with a process similar to conventional semiconductor fabrication methods.  Markets include Mil-Aero, Commercial Telecom, High Speed Data, Automotive Radar, etc.  Customers are typically component and system designers working in high frequency, power conversion, Radar, antennas or RF system integration.

Advanced Microwave Technology (AMT) – Booth #283
AMT is a leading company in the research, development, design, manufacture and distribution of RF, Microwave and Millimeter-wave 50 Ω coaxial cables, connectors, adapters, cable assemblies and passive devices up to 110 GHz. With 10 years rapid development, more than 200 types of cables are available. Special products include phase stable cables with out-meter covers from mini 1.2mm to 12mm enduring high power and ultra stable phase cables whose phase vs temperature is 100 ppm @ -10℃~+55℃.

AGC Nelco highlighted the following materials:
N9000 PTFE laminates provide superior mechanical and electrical performance for your lowest electrical loss and high frequency applications. N9000 materials provide tightly controlled dielectric constant, loss and thickness, passive intermodulation (PIM) performance up to 25% better, and foil adhesion 50-100% greater than other PTFE laminates available.

Nelco Meteorwave materials offer very advanced electrical performance and very high reliability. They are intended for use in next generation applications where low signal attenuation, high reliability and high data transfer rates are critical. Meteorwave products are designed to facilitate high temperature lead-free assemblies and high layer count printed circuit board designs that require high reliability, CAF resistance and low Z-axis expansion. Meteorwave materials are also available with controlled Dk’s of 3.5 and a new Dk 3.0 material. M-Ply is a Meteorwave-based bond ply for RF hybrid applications.

The management team from fabless MMIC start-up Altum RF was introducing the company and its capabilities to prospective customers at IMS. Altum RF plans to fill the product gaps left by the consolidation of RF semiconductor players and address emerging market opportunities, particularly mmWave systems. The strategy of the highly experienced management team is to recruit design talent around the globe and use whichever foundry process is best suited for the design. To demonstrate the company’s capabilities, VP of engineering Tony Fattorini gave a MicroApps presentation discussing the company’s design philosophy: appropriate technology selection (e.g., GaAs, GaN) with unified modeling of the electrical, electromagnetic and thermal characteristics of the device to achieve superior performance.

AMCAD Engineering was featuring their IQStar 50 ohm characterization system that generates interactive datasheets. They had an NI test setup to characterize device parameters and the system will automatically make all of the measurements over various frequencies and conditions; then automatically generate an interactive datasheet. Users can then see the device performance under various conditions to see if it fits their needs using the interactive datasheet program. This really seems to be the future in device characterization and display to the customer.

AmphenolAmphenol and SV Microwave were showing their jointly developed Megtron 7N Ultraspeed Evaluation Board. The purpose of the board is to demonstrate the Amphenol proprietary UltraSpeed technology combined with a simulated and optimized RF connector, the LiteTouch solderless connector from SV Microwave (PN SF1521-60124). The Amphenol Ultraspeed process controls the topography of the conductive surfaces, and includes control of factors such as backdrilling and impedance control. The SV Microwave 2.92 mm connector is designed to enable high-frequency performance using an impedance-matched spring-pin technology that limits force on the trace.

Ampleon exhibited its broad line of LDMOS and GaN transistors for the wireless infrastructure, RF energy, defense and broadcast markets — and, for the first time, a 24 to 28 GHz SiGe front-end for mmWave phased arrays, the output of its investment in and collaboration with Sivers IMA.

For wireless infrastructure, Ampleon remains committed to LDMOS, saying it is better suited than GaN for digital predistortion. Adding to the company’s portfolio of LDMOS transistors for traditional macro base stations, Ampleon unveiled new LDMOS PAs for massive MIMO, for the 2.6 GHz (China Mobile) and 3.6 GHz (Korea) bands.

For 2.4 GHz cooking applications, the company developed a 250 W, two-stage LDMOS PA in a plastic package, targeting the performance and cost needed to commercialize solid-state cooking. Following a similar move by NXP, Ampleon recently introduced a 65 V LDMOS technology for applications requiring extremely rugged transistors — driving high power CO2 lasers, plasma generators and MRI systems. The first Advanced Rugged Technology (ART) device is a 2 kW transistor covering DC to 650 MHz and assembled in an air-cavity ceramic package. Ampleon is using GaN for wideband and radar applications, offering 50 Ω transistors and MMICs covering all the radar bands from L- to X-Band.

ADIAnalog Devices introduced the ADMV1013, a wideband, microwave upconverter optimized for point to point microwave radio designs operating in the 24 GHz to 44 GHz frequency range. The upconverter offers two modes of frequency translation. The device is capable of direct conversion to RF from baseband in-phase quadrature (I/Q) input signals, as well as single-sideband (SSB) upconversion from complex intermediate frequency (IF) inputs. The baseband I/Q input path can be disabled and modulated complex IF signals, anywhere from 0.8 GHz to 6.0 GHz, can be inserted in the IF path and upconverted to 24 GHz to 44 GHz while suppressing the unwanted sideband by typically better than 26 dBc.

ADI also introduced a new solution for mmWave 5G with the highest available level of integration to reduce design requirements and complexity in the next generation of cellular network infrastructure. The solution combines ADI’s advanced beamformer IC, up/down frequency conversion (UDC), and additional mixed signal circuitry. This optimized “Beams to Bits” signal chain represents a unique set of capabilities only available from ADI. The new mmWave 5G chipset includes the 16-channel ADMV4821 dual/single polarization beamformer IC, 16-channel ADMV4801 single-polarization beamformer IC and the ADMV1017 mmWave UDC. The 24- to 30-GHz beamforming + UDC solution forms a 3GPP 5G NR compliant mmWave front-end to address the n261, n257 and n258 bands. The high channel density, coupled with the ability to support both single- and dual-polarization deployments, greatly increases system flexibility and reconfigurability for multiple 5G use cases while best-in-class equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) extends radio range and density. ADI’s heritage in mmWave allows customers to take advantage of world class applications and system design to optimize complete lineups for thermal, RF, power and routing considerations.

AnokiwaveAnokiwave featured the industry’s most advanced and complete portfolio of Silicon ICs for mmWave 5G, SATCOM, and RADAR applications. This year marks Anokiwave’s 20th anniversary as well as the release of its 3rd generation of mmWave dual polarization 5G Beamformer ICs (BFIC), IF Up/Down Converters (IFICs), and 2nd generation of K/Ka and Ku Band SATCOM BFICs. Anokiwave senior staff will be present and available for meetings during the show. Utilizing a 300 mm Silicon CMOS process, Anokiwave ICs provide the optimum balance of low cost and high-performance. Thereby, today Anokiwave is the industry’s trusted provider of mmWave Silicon ICs for high volume commercial deployments of 5G and SATCOM systems worldwide.

AnritsuAnritsu showcased the VectorStar in the microwave industry’s first broadband system that supports 70 kHz to 220 GHz in a single sweep. It wasthe first public showing of the solution that addresses the testing requirements to verify chipsets, components, and systems associated with today’s high-speed, high-frequency commercial and military applications.  The official launch of the VectorStar 220 GHz system is slated for later in 2019. They also featured updates to their Shockline VNAs and other products.

AnsysANSYS showed how 5G communication systems, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), IoT and other high-performance wireless and digital systems are driving high-levels of integration, pushing the limits of battery life, and continuing the drive to design smaller electronic components.  Their simulation software will help you meet these design challenges.  ANSYS is a leading standard software for the design of RF/microwave components, signal integrity, power integrity, EMI analysis and electronics reliability.  

ANSYS is accelerating, streamlining and simplifying the product life cycle through new functionalities released in ANSYS 2019 R2. With ANSYS® Mechanical™ user experience, simplified simulation of complex electronics and a new ANSYS® Fluent™ workflow that significantly speeds meshing of dirty geometries, ANSYS' pervasive simulation engineering solutions enable digital transformation — speeding customers' innovations and reducing their time to market. With new functionalities in ANSYS 2019 R2, including new materials capabilities for structural analysis following the recent acquisition of Granta, ANSYS' simulation solutions accelerate collaboration, validation and verification — creating a reliable digital thread between all operations.

API Technologies featured the new OPTO-FIRE™ micro-optical transceiver from API Technologies enables the improvement of critical data communication systems in airborne, naval, and renewable energy applications. With a range of high-speed data rates (20 Mbs to 25 Gbs), multiple-channels & protocol agnostic architecture, the OPTO-FIRE™ micro-optical transceivers are specifically designed for harsh environment applications. OPTO-FIRE™ is a major change in optical core technology which enables significant size and weight reductions. Available in customized rugged packaging styles to withstand harsh -58 to +212 degrees F operating temperature requirements. Designed and manufactured in the U.K., The OPTO-FIRE™ transceiver product portfolio offers a replacement for traditional copper cabling while delivering proven error free performance up to 1.1km of multimode fibre, is rad tolerant & has a low power consumption (130mW/chl).

ARAR highlighted its latest ultra-wideband, cost effective Universal 10 kHz – 1000 MHz solid state power amplifiers, now to 250 W. Excellent for EMC, lab use, R&D, medical, wireless, and scientific applications. AR is the leader in supplying the highest power solid-state CW amplifiers and has delivered a Class A RF amplifier capable of delivering over 50,000 watts with excellent harmonic performance of -40 dBc minimum.

Another recent milestone is a 10,000 W linear amplifier covering the entire 80 to 1000 MHz frequency band.

They also showcased their ultra-wideband single amplifier 0.7 to 6 GHz, hybrid power modules and bench-top amplifiers in both Class A and Class AB designs. These single band amplifiers incorporate the latest GaN devices, and utilize chip and wire technology, proprietary combining techniques, and are manufactured in our microelectronics hybrid facility. Dual band units covering the 1-18 GHz band will also be on display.

Berkeley NucleonicsBerkeley Nucleonics introduced a top performing 40 GHz Multi-Channel Signal Generator. Visit them for a first hand demonstration of phase coherent frequency switching, a unique advancement in multi-channel RF/Microwave Signal Generators. Model 855B Series 2-Channel, 4-Channel, and 8-Channel RF/Microwave Signal Generators expand testing capability by enabling multiplexing, increasing data throughput and improving signal-to-noise ratios. The growing need for testing multiple channels in multi-antenna applications is driving new signal simulation and characterization capabilities. The ultra-compact Model 855B offers superior performance in several critical areas. The new design increases power range to an impressive -80 to 25 dBm on each output. The operator’s frequency selection has been expanded to 300 kHz – 40 GHz and ultra-fast switching speeds are now down to 25 uS. The new design boasts a very respectable Phase Noise measurement of -150 dBc/Hz at a 100 kHz offset from a 1 GHz carrier (-100 dBc/Hz at 10 Hz offset).

CadenceCadence invited attendees to explore their products and solutions for multi-fabric design, analysis, and verification, including innovations in electromagnetic (EM) analysis and cross-fabric implementation. Visitors could learn about new design techniques such as RFIC and RF module co-design flows with the Virtuoso RF Solution, Edit-in-Concert™ technology for simultaneous editing of multiple ICs and modules across technologies, how to accurately analyze the most complex EM challenges with the new Clarity™ 3D Solver, and how to streamline EM analysis across fabrics including combining EM models and RC parasitics. Additionally, Cadence will host a number of MicroApps presentations, a workshop, and in-booth presentations with topics including system clarity with cross-fabric EM analysis, advanced packaging, concurrent layout editing of RFIC and RF modules, and chip, package, and PCB co-analysis for 5G mmWave front ends.

Century Seals, a glass to metal seal and hermetics company, introduced two new products at IMS 2019. First, a 50 Ohm RF feedthrough with a .006" diameter pin. This hermetic feedthrough is capable of operating at frequencies up to 90 GHz. CSI is partnering with Signal Microwave who will supply mating connectors. Second, CSI introduced their CRGS (Ceramic Reinforced Glass Seal - patent pending) product which combines glass and ceramic at the seal point creating a seal impervious to cracking.

Cinch Connectivity Solutions, part of Bel, featured four recognized RF/microwave brands at IMS: Johnson, Midwest Microwave, Semflex and Trompeter. Johnson designs 50 and 75 Ω coaxial connectors and adapters; Midwest Microwave manufacturers passive coaxial microwave components for military and commercial systems; Semiflex supplies RF/microwave cables, cable assemblies and connectors up to 120 GHz; and Trompeter provides connectors, patch jacks, cable assemblies, HDTV digital technology and DS3 connectivity solutions for telecom, central office, broadcast, instrumentation and aerospace and defense applications.

CobhamCobham Advanced Electronic Solutions’ displayed its new Cross Notch Antenna Model Number 94800568 that is a dual-linear, high power, crossed notch antenna. This antenna offers breakthrough performance and is suitable for airborne and high-power ECM applications. In addition, it is also suitable for feeding reflector antennas, wide-band antenna arrays and other broadband applications.

ComsolCOMSOL showcased how its multiphysics simulation software promotes faster antenna evaluation with the latest features introduced in the RF Module, a high-frequency electromagnetic (EM) simulation add-on tool now available in COMSOL Multiphysics version 5.4. Simulation and design engineers could stop by their booth to discuss applications for a number of markets such as communication, automotive, Internet of Things (IoT), and virtual reality using multiphysics modeling. COMSOL Multiphysics version 5.4 features the following highlights for microwave & RF designers:

  • Postprocessing workflows and variables for antenna-array radiation-pattern analysis
  • Simulation domain transformation utilizing time-to-frequency and frequency-to-time fast Fourier transform (FFT)
  • Expanded material library for microwave and millimeter-wave (mmWave) circuit boards
  • Application library updates through the deployment of commercially available connectors in the RF Part Library
  • Improved user experience for defining ports

CMTCopper Mountain showed a CobaltFx system with a C4409 VNA (4-port, 100 kHz to 9 GHz) and FET1854 Frequency Extension Modules (18 to 54 GHz) on ports 1 & 2 to demonstrate vector mixer measurements and FEV-15 Frequency Extension Modules (50 to 75 GHz) on ports 3 & 4 to demonstrate filter measurements. The vector mixer measurement setup had a reference mixer to allow transmission phase measurements and a low pass filter to reject the unnecessary image signals. Additionally, the LO was supplied from an external source to the LO port of the two mixers via a splitter. Two calibrations were performed for this setup: first, a full 2-port calibration at the ports of the two extension modules, and then a second-tier calibration using open, short and load standards to de-embed the reference mixer setup. Finally, the measurements shown were conversion loss, group delay and return loss measurements of the mixer under test. The second setup on ports 3 & 4 of the CobaltFx system shows a band pass filter measurement. By switching to FEV-15 under the ‘Frequency Extender’ menu option on the VNA software, we were able to quickly take measurements in the FEV-15 band without reconfiguring the physical setup. For calibration, a full 2-port calibration was performed using the FEV-15 waveguide calibration kit to achieve highest accuracy. The final measurements shown were return loss and insertion loss of a WR-15 filter. Complex measurements such as vector mixer measurements can be performed just like a base VNA. The setup also demonstrated the use of one 4-port VNA to drive two different sets of frequency extension modules. Copper Mountain Technologies also offers a customizable multi-port network analysis solution that builds on the capabilities of the 1-Port USB vector network analyzers (cable and antenna analyzers) named RNVNA. This solution includes a software application that runs on Windows computer or tablet and links up to 16 1-Port analyzers together into a customizable multi-port network analysis system. Designed with cable and antenna testing in mind, RNVNA is compatible with all of Copper Mountain Technologies’ 1-Port USB VNAs, allowing users to measure vector reflection (S11, S22, S33, ...) and scalar transmission parameters (S21, S31, S41…). 1-Port VNA models are available in frequency ranges from 1 MHz to 18 GHz.

CTTCTT exhibited a family of GaN and GaAs-based solid-state power amplifiers designed for commercial, industrial and military applications.

  • New 600 W X-Band Radar Power Amplifier - CTT’s new X-Band solid-state GaN-based power amplifier, Model AGN/098-5864-P, is designed specifically to meet the demands of the latest synthetic aperture radar (SAR) requirements. Providing more than 600 W pulsed [10% duty] at 9.5 GHz, in a compact package, 6.17-in (L) X 6.60-in (W) X 0.82-in [H]. This new power amplifier design makes an especially attractive choice for new SAR designs where SWaP is at a premium, including many UAV applications.
  • New 40 W Multi-Band Power Amplifier CTT’s new solid-state GaN-based power amplifier, Model AGX/180-4656, covers 3.0 to 18.0 GHz with 40 W of CW power output. The compact size of 5.16-in (L) x 4.90-in (W) x 0.28-in (H) offers RF/Microwave designers an excellent choice for SWaP solutions in many applications, including EW jammers, and for transmit power in multi-band SATCOM terminals.

Custom MMICCustom MMIC had a live demonstration of their flagship Ultra-Low Noise Amplifier (CMD283) that boasts the industry’s lowest noise figure of 0.6 dB. They introduced four new MMIC devices to our growing portfolio of standard products that now numbers over 170. These new products further demonstrate Custom MMIC's commitment to continuous innovation and delivering the highest performing RF and Microwave MMICs in the industry.

The new products included the CMD285C3 that is a DC-20 GHz Variable Voltage Attenuator in a Ceramic QFN (3mm x 3mm), the CMD295C4 that is a 2-20 GHz Driver Amplifier in a Ceramic QFN (4mm x 4mm), the CMD298C4 that is a 17-25 GHz Low Noise Amplifier in a Ceramic QFN (4mm x 4mm) and the CMD302C4 that is a DC-20 GHz Switch (SP4T) in a Ceramic QFN (4 mm x 4 mm). They are working on an impressive DC to 70 GHz distributed amplifier with very flat gain and some other very interesting products.

Finally, Custom MMIC teamed with X-Microwave and TI to proto-type a X-Band radar demonstrator. It matches Custom MMIC RF front end devices with TI's ADC and DAC products to make a complete signal chain proto-typed on X-Microwave's breadboard platform.

Dalicap is a source of microwave/RF High-Q (>10,000) MLCC, regular MLCC, broadband MLCC and SLC, and is dedicated to the design and manufacture of customized products such as MLCC c/w microstrip, ribbon, etc. After years’ development, Dalicap is one of the leading suppliers of Hi-Q MLCC, which is being widely used in the industry for applications such as 5G power amplifiers, MRI coils, semiconductors, high-speed railways, filters, Plasma igniters, television & broadcast transmitters, etc.  To facilitate their customer’s R&D, standard design kits are also available. Besides standard Hi-Q MLCC, products sized larger than 70B, with microstrip, ribbon or wire are also the best sellers, inclusive of non-magnetic types.

Dynawave was showing its PhaseTite cable assemblies that are well suited for use in radar or military applications. Using a proprietary dielectric technology (DynaCore), the assemblies are phase stable over temperature (as compared to PTFE-based products), so the company targets them at applications where phase stability is critical over temperature for system performance. Also in the booth, Dynawave had its ArcTite ultra-low-profile cable assemblies that maintain electrical performance with ticht bends (without the need for supplemental strain relief boots). These cables allow the use of straight connectors versus right0angle ones, so users can save expense and avoid degraded performance.

Eastern OptX is introducing Model 1250 Radar Target Simulator is a digital propagation path replicator. The 1250 will produce a moving target with appropriate target cross-section, propagation loss, with a dynamic range of over 50 dB. The 1250 operates with pulsed, frequency hopping, or CW radars and with any encryption or modulation scheme. A high speed, user defined scenario may be triggered from the detected radar pulse or a user supplied eternal pulse, The 1250 will provide coherent operation with user supplied LO.

Nova Microwave, under the ElectroTechnik company, recently announced the release of the DKIU3325 broad band isolator. The new DKIU3325 isolator operates from 26.5 to 40 GHz and it can handle 5 W of forward average power.  This high-performance isolator is available with 2.92 mm (K) connectors.

Element Six, known for developing synthetic diamond materials, announced a new diamond material, Diafilm TM220, with a thermal conductivity greater than 2200 W/mK. This thermally isotropic CVD diamond addresses the need for higher thermal conductivity packaging for high power density semiconductor devices, such as GaN PAs, ASICs and FPGAs used in wireless infrastructure and defense systems.

Empower RF is continuing its quest to develop “intelligent” high power amplifiers capable of handling complex waveforms with high linearity. Since last year’s IMS, Empower has been extending its portfolio in both output power and frequency coverage. At this year’s IMS, the company featured a new GaN PA covering 0.6 to 6 GHz with 40 W output power (typical). Empower says it is the first to cover this extended frequency range with an affordable, off-the-shelf PA.

FocusFocus Microwaves had Dr. Tushar Sharma presenting his work on input-output controlled continuous mode GaN Power amplifiers, "Investigation of Input-Output Waveform Engineered Continuous Inverse Class F Power Amplifiers " The work has been carried out in collaboration with University of Calgary, and Focus Microwaves. Focus Microwaves’ new DELTA series of electro-mechanical tuners is designed specifically for high frequency on wafer measurements. The tuner’s low profile allows it to be placed within the wafer perimeter and allows for a direct connection between the probe tip and the tuner, eliminating all possible insertion loss between the DUT and the tuner. This revolutionary new tuner design enables the engineer to achieve optimum tuning range, with a tuner whose footprint and weight has been dramatically reduced.

At the Frontlynk booth, many attendees were interested in the company’s 1.0 mm series which includes adaptors, end launch, connectors, and cable assemblies for applications in the 110 GHz band. The company also offers customization and assistance to customers from the prototype stage all the way through mass production.

Gigalane was showing its Kevlar MW/RF coaxial cable and connectors up to 67 GHz that are in compliance with MIL standards and target applications in aerospace, military, broadband, instrumentation, and telecom.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF) and Analog Bits announced the availability of Analog Bits analog and mixed signal IP design kits for GF’s 12nm Leading-Performance (12LP) process technology.  Through collaboration with GF, the IP portfolio includes wide range fractional Phase-Lock Loop (PLL) with Spread Spectrum Clock Generation (SSCG), PCIe reference clock PLL subsystem, Process, Voltage, and Temperature (PVT) Sensor and Power-On-Reset (POR) circuitry.  Silicon Reports based on these IPs will be available 2Q 2020, and first customer tape-out is expected in 2H 2020.

GF and Soitec announced that they have signed multiple long-term supply agreements for 300mm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers to secure the high-volume supply to meet the growing demand from GF customers for its differentiated radio-frequency-silicon-on-insulator (RF-SOI), fully-depleted-silicon-on-insulator (FD-SOI) and silicon photonics technology platforms. The agreements, which take effect immediately, build on the existing close relationship between the companies to ensure state-of-the-art high-volume manufacturing for years to come.

RFIC supplier Guerrilla RF continues its double-digit growth through its willingness to support unique customer needs and provide strong applications support. Developing products for the automotive market is one area of focus, with Guerrilla RF releasing four RFICs meeting AEC-Q100 Class 2 qualification since the start of the year. The most recently qualified products are a high gain low noise amplifier for 802.11ac, with less than 1 dB noise figure, and a broadband gain block covering 700 MHz to 3.8 GHz. At IMS, the company introduced its first two high efficiency InGaP HBT PAs. The first delivers up to 3.5 W saturated output power with 64 percent power-added efficiency (PAE), when tuned to a fractional bandwidth between 3 and 5 percent across 400 to 500 MHz. A second PA delivers just under 5 W saturated output with 58 percent PAE when tuned to a fractional bandwidth between 3 and 5 percent between 700 and 1000 MHz.

HolzworthHolzworth Instrumentation showcased its new 40 GHz RF Synthesizer and Phase Noise Analyzer products at IMS in Boston, in support of 5G manufacturing test and R&D efforts where high speed data fidelity is critical. The HSX Series RF Synthesizers offer incredible spectral purity and phase noise performance. These unique multi-channel, phase coherent synthesizers offer industry leading channel-channel phase stability in a 1U chassis. The newly released 40 GHz options offer broadband performance from 10 MHz to 40 GHz (1 mHz step size), while complimenting the lower frequency options of 3, 6, 12 and 24 GHz.

The HA7062D 40 GHz Real Time Phase Noise Analyzer is the only phase noise analyzer available with real time FFT data analysis that covers the entire 100MHz offset measurement bandwidth. In addition to pure measurement speed, Holzworth's phase noise analyzers include an ANSI z540 calibration and focus on data accuracy, repeatability and reliability.

H+SHUBER+SUHNER, a leading expert in RF connectivity, has reinforced its commitment to developing products dedicated for solid-state RF Energy applications as it became one of eight companies to found the International Microwave Power Institute’s (IMPI’s) new Solid State RF Energy Section. The Alliance shifted over to IMPI late last year. With significant advantages over existing solutions, such as magnetrons, high-power Radio Frequency (RF) applications are on the cusp of transforming to solid-state RF Energy in many vertical markets – but pushing a new technology into new and existing markets also presents challenges. As part of IMPI’s Solid State RF Energy Section, HUBER+SUHNER is dedicated to endorsing solid-state RF Energy’s true potential as a clean, highly efficient and controllable heat and power source. On the cable side, they were featuring the PSM connector (Power Sub Miniature) interface that meets the increasing demand for cost effective, low weight and power sensitive A&D applications. The PSM connector system enables customers to maximize overall system weight.

HYPERLABS displayed its extensive line of components, including a 40 GHz resistive pick-off tee with a rise time less than 9 ps. The HL9465 has a through-line insertion loss of approximately 4 dB, a pick-off level of −14 dB and return loss generally better than 10 dB over the full bandwidth of 40 GHz. A matched pair of resistive tee is available for differential applications requiring equal propagation delays, designated HL9465M.

Another fabless MMIC start-up, ICONIC RF, announced two MMIC PAs with high back-off efficiency for 5G mmWave and satellite applications: 1) a 5 W, single-ended, two-stage GaN PA covering 24 to 31 GHz with greater than 40 percent PAE and 2) a GaAs MMIC Doherty PA covering 24 to 27.5 GHz, delivering 28.5 dBm output power with greater than 35 percent PAE at full output and 21 percent at 8 dB output back-off. ICONIC RF was formed in December 2018 and is based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

IDT, recently acquired by Renesas, is in the midst of being integrated into the larger company. Nonetheless, RF remains a core strategy, and IDT is expanding its focus from silicon RFICs for sub-6 GHz cellular infrastructure to mmWave applications, such as 5G infrastructure, SatCom and radar. IDT’s process technology will no longer be restricted to silicon, now including GaAs and GaN. At IMS, IDT demonstrated its entry in the 28 GHz beamforming race, an 8-channel front-end, the first of a family that will cover all the 5G bands.

In PhaseIn-Phase Technologies announced four new Core Test Sets, the first commercial test sets of this type available to the high-frequency ATE market. Analog and digital test systems are already embracing the new concept of Core Test Sets. Core Test Sets save money through their ease of configurability. Now it’s time for the microwave and RF Automated Test Equipment (ATE) community to do the same, to meet a gap in the industry. With In-Phase Technologies’ pre-configured Core Test Sets, test engineers will cut test set development time in half. They also save on development time, manufacturing, and documentation costs. In-Phase assures total system signal integrity among all pre-configured building blocks. New Core Test Sets:

  • Analog/Digital Core Test Set (#1342649) tests avionics products, power supplies, LCR measurements, low frequency boards (<1 GHz), electronic loads, etc.
  • Full Transceiver Core Test Set (#1342650) tests digital or analog radios, radars, altimeters, frequency translators, and components
  • Amplifier Core Test Set (#1342651) tests high power amplifiers, low noise amplifiers, medium power amplifiers, frequency translators, and components
  • Transmitter Core Test Set (#1342652) tests all types of transmitters from analog to digital modulation
  • Receiver Core Test Set (#1342653) tests all types of receivers, including analog and digital modulation

Integra Technologies presented a new family of X-band power solutions at IMS. Integra hosted a live demo of the IGT1112M90, a Fully-Matched-to-50-Ohms GaN/SiC RF Power Transistor designed to meet the demanding needs of modern X-band radar systems. The IGT1112M90 operates instantaneously over a frequency range of 10.8-11.8 GHz, delivers a minimum peak output power of 90 W at 50 V drain bias voltage and 11 dB of gain, achieving 43% efficiency. This new family of X-band products positions Integra to address the increasingly challenging needs of the X-band radar market for higher sensitivity, improved resolution, superior detection and smaller form factor.

Junkosha has launched their latest mmWave cabling solution, the MWX004, in a bid to go beyond the 145 GHz barrier, a unique capability in the marketplace and one that places it at the forefront of cable assembly innovation. The MWX004 can use 1.0 mm enhanced connector to 130 GHz and 0.8 mm connector to 145 GHz. They were also featuring their Phase Stability and Slim Cable the MWX161 which operates to 67 GHz. They have small diameter at the neck part adn most suitable for multi-post VNA applications.

K&LK&L Microwave featured its 7SFB-225/Q512-O that is a 7 channel switched filter bank designed to filter spurious and harmonic content generated by high power amplifiers and transmitters in the UHF band. These interferers can degrade performance and even damage sensitive equipment. As communications band usage and amplifier technology power densities increase, this challenge becomes more formidable. K&L Microwave has leveraged core competencies in PIN diode based switches and high-power filters to develop a suite of high-power switched filter banks. Please consult the factory for custom filters, other bands, or higher power levels. 

KeysightKeysight Technologies announced the optional S93070xB Modulation Distortion application for the company’s PNA-X Vector Network Analyzer, which delivers a wide system dynamic range resulting in the lowest possible residual error vector magnitude (EVM) on the market today. The new S93070xB Modulation Distortion application, which is fully integrated with Keysight’s PNA-X Vector Network Analyzer, enables designers to accurately, repeatably and quickly characterize the behavior of a device under modulated wideband signal stimulus.

Keysight also introduced a new phase noise measurement system for “power users”, which enables them to optimize and prove performance of new designs, meet operational requirements, as well as remain on schedule and on budget. The new N5511A Phase Noise Test System (PNTS) models are available in three frequency ranges - from 50 kHz and going up to 3, 26.5, or 40 GHz with offsets from .01 Hz to 160 MHz internally. It can be configured for either single or dual-channel operation.

They also announced the next generation of the company’s multi-purpose, handheld microwave analyzer, the FieldFox B-series, which delivers measurement precision and bandwidth up to 100 MHz for wide-band, real-time spectrum analysis to enable 5G testing in the field. In addition, these new capabilities enable customers to locate and identify the shortest interfering threats to their satellite communication networks. It has 10 dB improvement in displayed average noise level (DANL) for measuring low noise signals and detecting weak interferers and can collect, play back, and analyze raw I/Q data for electronic warfare test.

They also launched the next generation of network analyzers that best-in-class dynamic range, trace noise and temperature stability, as well as a wide range of software applications, enabling engineers to consistently achieve comprehensive device characterization. Keysight’s new E5080B, P50xxA Series, and M980xA Series network analyzers deliver next generation features and performance in benchtop, USB, and PXI form factors.

In a major development, Keysight announced PathWave Design 2020, which includes the latest releases of Keysight’s electronic design automation software to accelerate design workflows for radio frequency (RF) and microwave, 5G, and automotive design engineers. The PathWave Design 2020 software suite includes new releases of flagship products: PathWave Advanced Design System (ADS) 2020, PathWave RFIC Design (GoldenGate) 2020, PathWave System Design (SystemVue) 2020, and PathWave RF Synthesis (Genesys) 2020.

Knowles was showing off their passive solutions for 5G including n257, n258, n260 and n261 frequency bands. To solve these problems, the DLI brand has created a variety of solder mountable (SMD) microwave products. They now have sample kits for SMD band pass filters, power dividers and couplers. They recently published a 5G mmWave filter technology article in the May IMS issue Microwave Journal.

KrytarKRYTAR showcased their new breakthrough directional coupler which offers some of widest frequency coverage on the market. Model 1100110010 maintains flat 10 dB coupling across a wide 100 GHz bandwidth. The new directional coupler lends itself to wireless designs and many test and measurement applications for emerging mmWave and 5G markets. This coupler can also be manufactured to meet military specifications. The coupler will find many uses including power monitoring and leveling in many different systems, including antenna beamforming systems, electronic-warfare (EW) systems, electromagnetic-compatibility (EMC) testing, radar systems, and many wireless communications systems. This new coupler further expands the KRYTAR family of directional couplers offering superior coupling performance.

LadybugLadyBug showcased a variety of their high accuracy solutions with a focus on system integration. They highlighted their flexible USB and SPI direct-connect power sensor options. The options address power measurement needs of system integration including higher accuracy, reduced size, weight, and power consumption. The SPI option allows users to connect directly to the sensor using SPI or I2C. This eliminates the hardware and software overhead associated with USB connectivity and still delivers an accurate calibrated, power measurement. Customers can build compact test systems that include first-tier NIST traceability along with LadyBug’s patented No-Zero Technology.  LadyBug manufactures direct reading pulse sensors along with True-RMS average power sensors. Sensors with ranges from 9 kHz to 40 GHz and 86 dB dynamic range.

Lark, a Benchmark company, is a leader in advanced liquid crystal polymer (LCP) next-gen manufacturing methods for the miniaturization of printed circuit boards. Using LCP they can offer a dimensional board space reduction average of 60%, a maximum board reduction of 1/10th the original size and performance up to 100 GHz.  Their LCP manufacturing takes place at our newly built RF and High-Speed Design Center of Innovation in Phoenix, where we offer prototyping and design services, substrate and packaging technologies, mixed microelectronics and complex product assembly and test.

LPKFLPKF's 4th generation S-series in-house rapid PCB prototyping equipment is capable of creating traces and spacing as small as 100 μm (4 mil), includes a solid granite-based construction, automated fiducial alignment camera, ceramic base vacuum table, solder paste dispensing and 2.5D pocket milling capabilities as standard features on the new 60,000 RPM ProtoMat S64 model. The ProtoMat S104 model adds a higher speed 100,000 RPM variable speed spindle motor and high-precision copper thickness sensor probe as additional standard features which are ideal for more sensitive materials such as PTFE or ceramic filled PTFE for RF/MW applications. With an automatic tool change and depth sensor, the cut depth can be precisely and automatically controlled with zero operator interaction – the first truly set-it-and-forget-it automated PCB prototyping machines ever.

Additionally, LPKF will showcase the first-ever table-top version of the popular ProtoLaser series; the ProtoLaser ST. The ProtoLaser ST is a compact rapid prototyping laser system. The advanced laser technology and optics result in shortened development time and simple data handling for rapid surface metal removal, making the ProtoLaser ST an ideal solution for RF and microwave PCBs and a complementary partner to any ProtoMat mechanical milling system.

MacomMACOM announced a new wideband distributed amplifier with the introduction of the MAAM-011238, offered in both bare-DIE and Surface Mount packaged formats. Well suited for use in 5G test and measurement (T&M) equipment, the MAAM-011238 gives system designers the ability to leverage a single amplifier for 5G applications spanning sub-6  GHz to mmW frequencies. It supports wideband operation from 100 kHz up to 50 GHz (67.5 GHz for the Bare-DIE version) with typical gain of 14 dB at 30 GHz. The input and output are fully matched at 50 Ω with typical return loss of 10 dB across the band.  They also released the MAAM-011275-DIE amplifier that supports wideband operation from 30 kHz up to 40 GHz with typical gain of 15 dB. The input and output are fully matched at 50 Ω with typical return loss of 13 dB across the band.

MACOM also demonstrated its W-Band capabilities targeted for mmW communications, radar and passive imaging applications. The W-Band demonstration included a Variable Voltage Attenuator (VVA) with typical variable attenuation range of 25 dB, reflective SP2T Switch with integrated bias circuits and typical Insertion Loss of 0.8 dB, and balanced 3-stage power amplifier with typical Saturated Power of 24 dBm. These all use MaCOM’s AlGaAs PIN Diode technology.

They also announced the MAAP-011250 which is a balanced 4 W, 4-stage power amplifier assembled in a lead-free 5 mm 32-lead AQFN plastic package. This power amplifier operates from 27.5 to 30 GHz and provides 24 dB of linear gain, 4 W saturated output power and output IP3 of 41 dBm while biased at 6 V.

MarkiMarki Microwave introduced their first 50 GHz surface mount products, the MM1-1850HSM and MM1-1850SSM double-balanced mixers. These GaAs MMIC mixers offer wide bandwidths and high linearity in a proprietary surface mount package. With an RF bandwidth of 18 to 50 GHz and IF of DC to 21 GHz these are ideally suited for electronic warfare, radar, multi-band 5G, and other K/Ka-band applications. Both mixers offer excellent spurious suppression with the MM1-1850SSM providing the highest linearity with +28 dBm IIP3. The MM1-1850HSM and MM1-1850SSM are offered in a 4x4 mm SMT package. Evaluation boards are also available. They also featured their AMM-6702 which is a broadband MMIC LO buffer amplifier that efficiently provides high gain and output power over a 20-55 GHz frequency band. It is designed to provide a strong, flat output power response when driven with an input power at 0 dBm. It has built-in DC blocking capacitors on the input and output.

Massachusetts Bay Technologies now includes full thin film circuit capabilities in their portfolio. MBT has the knowledge and factory infrastructure to support & supply any standard or custom thin film design. Send them your requirements to see how MBT supports you all the way from design inception to meeting your desired costs. Their knowledge and quality cost-cutting methods put MBT first for Thin Film.

  • CAD Design
  • Thin Film Circuit Design
  • Photomask Layout & Design
  • Photolithography
  • Substrates
  • Vias
  • Plating
  • Sputtering of Resistor Films
  • Polyamides
  • Laser Trimming
  • Dicing
  • First Article Inspections

MathWorks presented its latest capabilities and workflows for designing and testing RF, wireless communications, and Radar systems at the show. MathWorks experts will deliver four Industry Workshops, which are 2-hour technical seminars that provide insight into leading edge technologies through in-depth presentations, demonstrations, and interactive engagement with attendees. The session topics are:

  • Hybrid Beamforming for 5G Systems
  • Introduction to the 5G NR Physical Layer Standard
  • Antenna, Array Design and Prototyping Using MATLAB
  • Automotive Radar IQ Data Simulation for Performance Analysis

MathWorks demonstrated the integration they now have with MATLAB and NI test hardware. They had a demo showing a Wolfspeed GaN PA being tested and used the DPD algorithms from MATLAB to see the EVM improvement with various models. So now designers can use the simulation and modeling capabilities of MATLAD with NI’s LabVIEW and test systems.

MauryMaury had the most impressive line of new products that we saw. They added the software platform Insight to their Precision Calibration portfolio.  Insight represents a paradigm shift in the way users approach VNA calibration, validation, measurement, visualization and analysis because they can use a single software platform with most commercial VNAs (they have demonstrated similar measurements on a Keysight USB VNA and Copper Mountain USB VNA and can support others). Users can also define mechanical calibration standards from any vendor and use with all VNAs, avoid common errors with a simplified calibration using intuitive GUI validate VNA calibration, measure S-parameters and save S2P files, understand measurement results better with advanced visualization and analysis, identify and quantify the individual contributions of uncertainty and display uncertainty boundaries with measurement results

They also updated their VNA calibration kit offering with Characterized Device (CD) fixed-load SOLT cal kits.  CK50-series CD cal kits are composed of individually characterized short, open and fixed load standards. Each kit comes with custom S-parameter files which are used for VNA calibration instead of a generalized polynomial definition, resulting in TRL-like accuracy with fixed-load SOLT ease-of-use. 

They also introduced CK60-series Verification Kits are designed for 1-port and 2-port VNA calibration validation for well-matched and mismatched DUTs. Each kit comes with individually characterized verification standards and is used for calibration validation by comparing the S-parameters of the individual verification standards measured by the user and the S-parameters measured at the factory. When combining the CK50-series cal kits and CK60-series verification kits with MT940-series Insight Calibration and Measurement Software, users will be able to quantify the uncertainty contribution of their calibration kit to their overall measurement uncertainty.

They recently launched the AM3100-series Pulsed SMU in partnership with AMCAD Engineering.  The AM3100 can operate up to 120 V and 30 A pulsed with pulse widths down to 1.1 us. It includes internal and external synchronization and triggering and can be controlled through direct SCPI commands via USB or Ethernet. The AM3100 includes multiple levels of protection circuitry including a fast short-circuit current breaker (e-fuse).    

They also updated our MT2000 Mixed-Signal Active Load Pull System to have 1000 MHz of wideband impedance control for 5G FR1 and FR2 and WiFi device characterization.  The MT2000 replaces a VNA, NVNA, up to six modulated signal sources, vector signal analyzer, oscilloscope and six automated impedance tuners with a one-box turnkey system.   It is also the only commercial load pull solution actually suitable for 5G measurements, and overcomes the well-known limitations of passive load pull and automated impedance tuners.

Their vector-receiver load pull system has been upgraded with new software options for Large Signal Analysis (LSA) and Enhanced PHD (EPHD) behavioral model extraction.  LSA and EPHD were designed to help users design advanced circuits by enabling nonlinear large-signal time-domain measurements on most commercial VNAs.

The most exciting announcement was their new partnership with Vertigo Technologies, another spin-off of TU Delft (our partner Anteverta was a spin-off of TU Delft in 2010, and we acquired them in 2015).

MCV Microwave featured their ceramic filters with high Q - low loss, small size and rugged SMT design using discrete resonators and monoblock ceramic covering the frequency range from 300 MHz to 10 GHz. MCV's ceramic filter line includes band pass filter, band reject filter, low pass filter, high pass filter, duplexer, and multiplexer. High Power Ceramic Filters (20-30 W continuous power) are suitable for small cell base station applications such as 4G LTE, public safety and wireless communication in 700 MHz up to 5 GHz.  These can be an economical option for cavity filters at a much smaller size.

MegaPhase was discussing its RF and microwave products through 110 GHz, including test and measurement cables, RF and microwave cables, RF components, connectors, adaptors, and accessories. One highlight was its recent announcement of CNC capabilities to guarantee expedited delivery on all prototype and production connector solutions, allowing the company to deliver connectors with precision-grade performance for custom and standard interconnects.  From the CNC capability, board launch and cable connectors are available through 110 GHz including 1.85 mm, 1.0 mm, SMPS, and SMP3.

Menlo Micro showcased its latest products at MTT-IMS. On display were:

  • Demo boards of its latest high-power RF switches, the MM5120 and MM5130, which have ultra-low insertion loss up to 18 GHz. In some cases, 0.5 dB to 1.0 dB better than solid-state switches.
  • The extreme linearity and harmonic performance of its micromechanical devices, in many cases 30 to 40 dB better IP3 and harmonics than solid-state. Menlo Micro also conducted demonstrations of the devices’ high-power handling capability, up to 25 W, and their performance at high temperatures.
  • In collaboration with industry partners, Menlo Micro showed off some of the early applications of these high-performance switches, including very low-loss switched filter banks, which can be applied to both military and commercial applications.

MercuryMercury Systems announced the SpectrumSeriesDS-3000 synthesizer, the company’s latest high-performance, direct digital synthesis (DDS)-based synthesizer. Designed to support customers’ advanced frequency conversion technology requirements and operate in the harshest environments, the DS-3000 synthesizer offers industry-leading phase noise of -121 dBc/Hz at 10 GHz with 10 kHz offset, and frequency coverage up to 20 GHz with 1 Hz resolution. Ultra-low phase noise synthesizers are critical to electronic warfare (EW) and electronic intelligence (ELINT) systems that monitor large radio frequency (RF) bandwidths through either a channelized architecture or wide instantaneous bandwidth (IBW). Mercury’s DS-3000 synthesizer increases the operational range and performance of a customer’s EW or ELINT system by employing both low phase noise and high frequency stability to maximize a receiver’s sensitivity. By exceeding the phase noise and frequency stability performance of other frequency generation products, Mercury’s innovative Spectrum Series synthesizers provide next-generation EW systems with increased operational range, keeping the warfighter farther from the threat.

MicianMician software products are geared towards rapid development of passive RF components in aerospace and telecommunications. The software’s hybrid EM solver guarantees fast and accurate simulation of passive components, feed networks and antennas. Typical applications include horn and reflector antennas, feed clusters, OMTs, polarizers, circulators, waveguide and combline filters, multiplexers, couplers and more. Integrated COM/VBA interfaces support external control and third-party add-ons. Customers around the globe rely on Mician’s software products as a powerful tool for synthesis, analysis and optimization of microwave assemblies.

The latest release includes new features such as interactive tuning support in 64-bit mode and accelerated COM calls to modeler by kernel and 3D viewer. It allows extrapolation down to DC to include f=0 GHz point for time domain analysis, the modeler as well as the overall performance was improved. The building block libraries with already more than 400 predefined building blocks have also been extended.

Microchip showcased its new MMIC, VCSO and GaN products. They demonstrated best-in-class low phase noise voltage-controlled SAW oscillators. Their highest performance VCSO (pn 101765) achieves -160 dBc/Hz @ 10 KHz offset @ 600 MHz while their smallest VCSO (pn VS-800) is packaged in an ultra-small 5 mm x 3.2 mm x 1.8 mm and achieves -125 dBc/Hz @ 10 KHz offset @ 1.568 GHz. They are also showcased high power GaN in plastic DFN surface mount package for commercial avionics applications.  They demonstrated combining in parallel two of these 850 W plastic GaN devices to achieve 1600 Watts of output power. They introduced new wideband high linearity power amplifier MMICs that are ideal for test and measurement and wideband military applications up from 30 kHz to 24 GHz.  These MMICs are packaged in a 4.5 mm QFN SMT package and achieve over 35 dBm OIP3. Finally, they demonstrated the MMA052PP45 DC to 24 GHz power amplifier with .5 W at P3dB and 14 dB gain with positive 2 dB upslope to compensate for losses at higher frequencies. It has high OIP3 of 35 dB at 10 GHz.

MilliBox anechoic chamberA bit hit at IMS, Milliwave Silicon Solutions displayed the MilliBox, an anechoic chamber for testing mmWave antennas and systems, sized to sit on a lab bench. Three chamber sizes are available to support 80, 140 and 200 cm far-field distances. Milliwave has developed a companion family of 3D gimbals to aid mounting and testing devices in the MilliBox. Controlled over USB with Python scripts, the gimbals enable radiation pattern and beam forming measurements, offering several load capacities and rotational velocities.

Mitron has developed 2-6 GHz and 24-40 GHz phase & amplitude controlled modules that have the 50 dB attenuation and 360 degree dynamic range, 0.1 dB and 1 degree attenuation and phase adjusting steps, and maximum 0.2 dB and 2 degree absolute attenuation and phase set-up accuracy at any combination of attenuation and phase.  Also, the modules have maximum 0.2 dB and 5 degree amplitude and phase error over the 500 MHz instantaneous bandwidth at any frequency over the entire band. Potential applications include wideband 5G test systems like OTA testing, multi-channel signal route simulation, beam forming, wideband phase array realization and test, multi-channel vector signal sources, as well as high power.  As an example, Mitron showed a 2-6 GHz 4 channel arbitrary amplitude and phase signal (OTA) combining emulator.  The tested result on the network analyzer showed the combined power value of 4 separate phase and amplitude variable signals with error less than 1.6% compared with theoretical calculation. The other important advantage is there is no external calibration needed.

A new name at IMS this year, MixComm is a fabless silicon RFIC start-up founded in 2017 to commercialize the research of Harish Krishnaswamy’s CoSMIC lab at Columbia University. At IMS, MixComm introduced a patented mmWave power amplifier technology, offering increased output power and efficiency, as well as showing its first-generation phased array RFICs. In addition to Krishnaswamy, co-founder and VP of engineering Frank Lane, VP of technology Arun Natarajan and CEO Mike Noonen were at the symposium. The founding team has a track record of R&D and commercializing RF silicon at both startups and large semiconductor companies.

NINI recently announced a new Vector Signal Transceiver (VST) that goes to 44 GHz with 1 GHz of real-time bandwidth enabling production testing of 5G mmWave products. The mmWave VST integrates two bidirectional “IF” test ports covering a frequency range of 5 GHz to 21 GHz and up to two mmWave radio heads covering a frequency range of 22.5 GHz to 44 GHz. The radio heads are available in multiple configurations that provide 2 to 32 switched, bidirectional ports to address a wide array of high-frequency components and systems for 5G New Radio (NR) at new test points along the signal chain.

Addressing the technical challenges associated with 5G mmWave wafer probe test, NI demonstrated a solution can help semiconductor manufacturers reduce their risk, cost and time to market for 5G mmWave ICs. NI, TEL, FormFactor and Reid-Ashman collaborated to demonstrate a direct dock probe solution that simplifies the signal path, provides the necessary signal integrity for mmWave applications and supports both top and bottom load probe applications.  A key element of the solution is the NI Semiconductor Test System (STS), and NI recently demonstrated a multisite mmWave test solution for 5G power amplifiers, beamformers and transceivers.

NI/AWR discussed how the race to commercialize the many forms of 5G—faster broadband, mobility, and the Internet of Things (IoT)—is compelling RF, microwave, and millimeter-wave researchers and practitioners to take a smarter approach to microwave design and test. This new approach involves rethinking workflows. When development occurs in silos, information is not adequately shared across organizations. The NI software-defined platform prevents development in isolation by empowering teams to streamline concept-to-production workflows with interoperable software, such as the NI AWR Design Environment and LabVIEW. With these tools, organizations can accelerate product development, meet new and evolving test requirements, and manage aggressive time-to-market and schedule pressures. Demonstrations in the booth highlighted key features and applications such as:

  • MMIC/RFIC, Module, & PCB Design Flows
  • RF Amplifier & Filter Design
  • 5G, IoT, & Radar Systems Design
  • EM Analysis & Antenna Design  

NIC introduced Thin Film Filters that span from 1 to 20 GHz with a bandwidth span of 1%-60%. These high-performance filters are built on industry standard substrates such as alumina and titanate and are offered in a compact package size with low profile of < 0.075 inches. Custom designs are available to meet a wider range of environmental requirements. They also introduced a low profile, high-performance 4 channel Switched Filter Bank that covers a wide frequency range from 1 to 18 GHz. This Switched filter Bank uses a combination of Thin film filters and LC filters along with Pin-diode switches and is TTL compatible. The filter bank offers low VSWR, excellent passband flatness, fast switching speeds, and is housed in a compact, low profile ruggedized enclosure.

NoiseWave announced the NW1G18-LM miniature calibrated noise source which was displayed at the show.  The NW1G18-LM features broadband frequency coverage from 1 to 18 GHz. Designed in an industry standard small package, 0.53x0.62x0.25 in excluding field replaceable connectors, the device offers a minimum of 25 dB ENR with spectral flatness of +/- 1.25 dB. The unit operates from +15 Vdc and typically draws less than 15 mA.  Custom models are also available. Ideal for built-in test integration include noise figure measurement, dithering for increased dynamic range of A/D converters and as an economical source of broadband power and signal to noise ratio testing. The NW1G18-LM is ideal for wireless test applications and covers all major wireless and CATV applications.

Norden Millimeter offers converters and transceivers for military and commercial applications including 5G, Airborne, UAV and EW.  Norden offers COTS models for quick to market solutions and provides custom designs which utilize proven, low risk solutions. Its products operate in frequency bands from 500 MHz to 110 GHz.  Features which can be included are temperature compensation, variable gain, internal LO and matched phase between channels.  Norden products have passed stringent environmental test conditions and provide operating temperature ranges -55C to +85C. Their state-of-the-art NUDC2-18/1.3-2.3 is a dual conversion Transceiver providing 2-18 GHz operation in a versatile low-SWaP 3U VPX module. The NUDC2-18/1.3-2.3 includes internal LOs which provide an instantaneous IF bandwidth of 1 GHz and exceptional Noise Figure. Norden can customize the NUDC2-18/1.3-2.3 for your specific requirements.

NXPNXP introduced a family of LDMOS multi-chip modules (i.e., board products) for 5G massive MIMO systems. Each board contains an individually packaged PA, pre-driver, LNA and circulator. The boards have the same input and output and bias pins for all the power levels and frequency bands, i.e., 33 to 39 dBm average output power and 2.3 to 4.5 GHz. This common footprint simplifies base station design and shortens the development cycle for the range of cellular frequency bands. The PA, pre-driver and LNA ICs are also available separately for customers designing their own boards. Interestingly, NXP remains committed to LDMOS for the massive MIMO application — even to 4.5 GHz.

For mmWave base stations, NXP has developed 4-channel beamforming ICs fabricated with its internal SiGe process. Each channel contains a PA, LNA, T/R switch and vector modulator, for amplitude and phase control. NXP’s SiGe process delivers around 19 dBm compressed output power and better than 2 percent EVM when backed off to normal operating power. NXP argues their SiGe process provides the best system cost and DC power consumption compared to mmWave arrays fabricated with either SOI or GaN front-ends. To demonstrate the end application, NXP was displaying one of the company’s SiGe front-ends integrated with a Gapwaves mmWave antenna array.

NXP has not abandoned GaN, introducing what it says is the first solid-state device that beats the efficiency of a magnetron: a 330 W, 50 V GaN on SiC transistor with 73 percent efficiency at 2.45 GHz — 5 points better efficiency than the company’s best LDMOS transistor. This new GaN product is being marketed for commercial cooking, industrial, medical and other RF energy applications.

Ophir released a line of 6 to 18 GHz broadband amplifiers with powers ranging from 10 to 200 W. The 5304050 is a 10 Watt broadband amplifier that covers the 6 to 18 GHz frequency range and is small and lightweight. It utilizes Class AB linear GaN devices that provide an excellent 3rd order intercept point, high gain, and a wide dynamic range.

Optenni Lab RF Design Automation Platform has introduced antenna array analysis capabilities with the recently released version 4.3. By incorporating the per-port radiation pattern data as well as the full S-parameter matrix of the array, Optenni Lab is now able to accurately and efficiently evaluate active reflection coefficients, system efficiencies and beam properties of the array without the need for analytical approximations. The analysis can also include matching circuits composed of discrete inductors and capacitors or transmission lines. With the help of Optenni Lab, the designer can easily verify the performance of full array in different feeding configurations.

On Wednesday of IMS Week, Dr. Ryan C.C. Chin, CEO and Co- founder, Optimus Ride Inc. spoke at the MTT-S Awards Banquet. For a few hours leading up to the talk, we had the opportunity to see the Optimus Ride on the show floor. Optimus Ride Inc. is a leading self-driving vehicle technology company developing systems for geo-fenced environments. Emerging from Boston’s vibrant robotics ecosystem, they bring together the promise of self-driving technologies with real world considerations. The design of their software enables efficient, sustainable, and equitable mobility networks.

With roots at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Optimus Ride combines over thirty years of interdisciplinary research in self‑driving technologies (DARPA Urban Challenge), electric vehicles (MIT CityCar), and Mobility-on-Demand Systems. Its technology expertise and industrial experience combines manufacturing robots, urban design, and on-demand vehicle fleet management.

Optimus Ride

Pasternack continues to add to its RF coax adapter line-up with new 1.0mm, 1.85mm, 2.4mm 2.92mm, SMP, Mini SMP and 4.3/10 adapters to address the growing need for 5G and mmWave R&D, testing and production applications. These high frequency adapters feature precision manufactured construction and high quality materials and support frequencies up to 110 GHz (model dependent). In-series as well as between-series connector options are offered and both in-line and right-angle options are available for most series. Additionally, the vast majority of these adapters are REACH and RoHS compliant. All of Pasternack’s high frequency adapters and in stock and available for immediate shipment.

Pentek introduced several enhancements to its Navigator Design Suite for the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC. New IP expands Pentek's existing IP library to over 140 cores for FPGA development on its Quartz Architecture platform. Pentek's Navigator Design Suite includes the Navigator FDK (FPGA Design Kit) for integrating custom IP into Pentek factory-shipped designs and the Navigator BSP (Board Support Package) for creating host applications. Starting with the FDK, new cores support the RFSoC on-chip A/D and D/A converters with the following new features. Data acquisition and waveform generator cores have been updated that include support for VITA 49.2 VITA Radio Transport (VRT) packet formatting. A new optimized x16 decimation core extends the range of the built-in RFSoC decimation. Pentek's Smart A/D Calibration feature adds hardware, FPGA IP and software to make Xilinx's calibration circuitry more robust across diverse operational scenarios. The programmable signal synthesizer core now includes a programmable frequency sweep generator, ideal for generating radar chirp pulse waveforms. These new cores for Quartz support operation of all eight RFSoC A/D and D/A converters simultaneously. In addition to data converter support, the Navigator core library now includes 100 gigabit Ethernet UDP engines, each moving data in both directions at 12 GBytes/sec through on-board optical interfaces. The Quartz board's optical interface supports up to two 100 gigabit Ethernet connections providing a total transfer rate of more than 24 GBytes/sec.

Pixus Technologies discussed how as the Microwave/RF industry moves to more open standard architectures, prototyping/test systems will be required for fast and efficient product development. Pixus displayed one of their new VITA 67 open frame test/dev chassis for OpenVPX. The VITA 67 specification defines RF signaling across the open standard backplane architecture.  The versatile Pixus chassis allows either 3U or 6U boards of various configurations to be tested. 

Pixus also displayed a rugged Software Defined Radio (SDR) based on X310 from Ettus Research, a National Instruments brand.  The weatherproof, rugged enclosure features IP67 sealing for water and dust ingress.  The Pixus RX310 contains two extended bandwidth daughterboard slots covering 10 MHz – 6 GHz with up to 160 MHz of baseband bandwidth, dual 1/10 GigE high-speed interfaces, and a large user-programmable Kintex-7 FPGA.  The RX310 series can be used in various types of airborne, shipboard, ground vehicle, or outdoor designs.

RogersPlanar Monolithics Industries had on display model P16T-100M52G-100-T-DEC which is a 0.1 to 52.0 GHz, SP16T Absorptive Switch. This model offers a typical insertion loss of 16 dB while maintaining a typical isolation of 70 dB. PMI displayed Model No. PS-2G18G-360-8D which is a 2.0 to 18.0 GHz, 8-Bit, Vector Phase Shifter making that is ideal for frequency translation where continuous monotonic phase shifting is required.  This model also features high speed switching, and typically lower than 60 dB harmonic distortion.  Other specifications include Insertion Loss: 18.0 dB maximum, Phase Shift Range:  360°, Switching Speed:  500 ns Max - Measured 410 ns, Control Slopes:  Linear, Phase Vs Frequency:  ±15° Typical - Measured ±15.39°, RF Input Power:  +20 dBm CW, 1 W maximum, VSWR:  2.2:1 maximum - Measured 1.79:1 (50 Ohm System) and Power Supply:  ±12 V to ±15 V @ ±100 mA maximum, Measured +15V @ 63 mA, Measured -15V @ 76 mA. Unit size is 4.25" x 3.50" x 1.00" with SMA (F) RF Connectors and DC-37P, Sub Miniature D Multi-Pin Control & Power Connector.

textpSemi, Murata’s semiconductor center of excellence, announced the release of UltraCMOS® 13, the next-generation of its proprietary RFSOI process running on a GlobalFoundries’ 300 mm wafer fab. After several generations improving RonCoff, UltraCMOS 13 maintained that switch figure of merit at 80 fs and focused on improving LNA noise figure and PA linearity and efficiency, to enable the integration of sub-6 GHz front-ends for 5G. For the mmWave bands, pSemi and Murata have quietly been developing an antenna array leveraging Murata’s LTCC packaging technology with pSemi’s UltraCMOS process. While the company isn’t ready to formally announce a product, a 28 GHz 16 x 16 element prototype was publicly displayed, scaled from a 4 x 4 element unit cell driven by a single UltraCMOS beamformer IC.

QorvoQorvo launched two new GaN PA families for domestic and international Ka-band satcom and X-band phased array radar applications. The QPA2212 for Ka-band applications has industry leading linearity for wideband multi-carrier systems. The PA delivers 20 W of RF power operating over the 27 to 31 GHz frequency band. The QPA2212D is available now as die; packaged versions will be available in August 2019. The QPA1022 for X-band phased arrays offers best-in-class power added efficiency of 45% at 4 W RF power in the 8.5-11 GHz range. This is an increase in efficiency by 8% over previous products while providing 24 dB large signal gain. The QPA1022 is available to customers now in packaged and die versions.

Qorvo also unveiled a MMIC power amplifier that delivers more than 10 W of saturated power over the 32 to 38 GHz band. The TGA2222 provides 16 dB of large-signal gain, 25 dB small-signal gain and an industry-leading power-added efficiency greater than 22%. It delivers this extended RF power in a smaller die, which reduces size, weight and number of components to create a simple but powerful solution for radar and electronic warfare applications.

Qorvo teamed up with Gapwaves to introduce a 28 GHz band phased array solution with 15% bandwidth, 24 dBi gain and better than +/-60 degree azimuth scanning. Gapwave supplies the waveguide based low loss 64 element antenna array which is paired with Qorvo's GaN front end modules and other components to produce an integrated array with 56 dBm EIRP. It can easily be scaled for higher powers and is aimed at macro cells, hot spots, fixed wireless access and other similar applications.

Finally, Qorvo announced new power-efficient, small cell front-end solutions for the sub-6 GHz wireless infrastructure market. The products significantly boost efficiency, enabling base station manufacturers to enhance existing 4G LTE infrastructure with greater bandwidth, coverage, throughput and capacity – particularly in high-density, high-traffic areas. The new Qorvo solutions include the Band 3 QPA9903 PA, the Band 8 QPA9908 PA, and the QPL9098 4-6 GHz bypass ultra-low noise amplifier. The PAs offer 34% PAE, enabling Power over Ethernet (PoE) small cell architectures targeted for deployments in high-traffic areas, such as subways, train stations, and stadiums or for high quality of service (QoS) enterprise in-building applications.

ReactelReactel is Celebrating its 40th Anniversary, Reactel  featured its full line of Filters, Multiplexers & Multifunction Assemblies covering up to 50 GHz.  Supporting Military, Commercial, Industrial, Medical and Research needs, they can design a unit that is right for you.  They were featuring their discrete component filters that can satisfy a variety of filter requirements. These versatile units cover the broad frequency range of 2 kHz to 5 GHz, and are available in either tubular or rectangular packages, connectorized or surface mount, and standard or high power versions. All standard discrete component filters utilize a low ripple Chebyshev design which offers the best compromise of low loss, low VSWR, and high selectivity. Each filter situation is unique, and the data provided on the following pages offers only a small glimpse of our capabilities. Should a different design become necessary to meet your requirements, we can provide these units with Bessel, Butterworth, Elliptic, Gaussian or Linear Phase responses. Please contact the factory for filters designed to your unique requirement. 

RemcomRemcom demonstrated its EM simulation software suite for complete end-to-end design of complex devices and wireless communication systems.  Together, the products provide a comprehensive 5G solution, from system and antenna design through performance assessment in realistic, simulated environments, and planning for deployment in 5G networks.

  • MIMO and Array Design
  • 5G Urban Small Cells
  • Fixed Wireless Access
  • Indoor Wireless Applications

New features in XFdtd simplify 5G antenna array design; performance metrics for 5G beam steering applications enable engineers to confidently prepare their devices for the challenging demands of 5G networks. Wireless InSite's ray-tracing capabilities determine multipath propagation through a 3D environment, including diffuse scattering at millimeter waves.  MIMO techniques including antenna diversity, spatial multiplexing, and beamforming make Wireless InSite a powerful tool for determining whether a device will meet 5G performance requirements in a realistic operating environment.

RF LambdaRF Lambda discussed how in recent years RF-Lambda has developed a new Beam Forming System production line. These systems cover a range of frequencies, from sub-GHz to 18 GHz, with a number of elements ranging from 16 to 64 to meet a variety of beam width requirements. All antenna systems have a built in T/R Module—with PA’s, LNA’s, and phase shifters. RF-Lambda combined its state-of-the-art design capability for both power amplifiers and transceivers into these phased array systems, creating devices that are higher power and higher sensitivity than market competition. The unit in the demonstration is their 6 to 18 GHz 4x4 element system. This system has an equivalent output power of over 1000 W with a noise figure below 3 dB. It was designed for jamming systems but can also be used for radar and communication applications.  It can be easily extended to an 8 x 8 system for narrower beams and higher power as needed.

Response Microwave announced the availability of a new waveguide to coax adaptor for use in antenna Tx/Rx applications that will be featured at the show. The new model RMAD.BS.W137Nf operates over the 5.85-8.2 GHz band with typical electrical performance of 0.25 dB max insertion loss, and 1.10:1 max VSWR. Power handling is 50 W CW. The unit is operational over the -10° to +85° C range and mechanical package is 2.7 x 1.75 x 0.94 in with precision SS/P type N female connector and WR137 flange. Alternate bands and connectors are available on request.

RFIC launched two state-of-the-art MMIC SoC products for the advanced 5G Network. The first product in the ARNA series, Front End Beamformer, ARNAFE01 is a highly integrated MMIC covering 24-30 GHz RF band with complete solution for single front end beamforming for 5G, SATCOM phased array antenna system.  The second product, ARNAUD01, Up/down converter MMIC chip which down or up converts RF, 24-30 GHz to or from much lower IF Bands, 2-6 GHz with LO multiplier chain in built.

RFMWRFMW is the premier pure play technical distributor of RF & Microwave components, semiconductors, passive devices, RF interconnect and T&M accessories. On the IMS2019 show floor they highlighted high power GaN devices for 5G infrastructure and Aerospace & Defense from Qorvo, 5 GHz BAW filters from Akoustis, Ampleon amplifiers for RF Energy and Avionics, filter technologies to 60 GHz, 5G switching solutions, MEMS and crystal-based timing solutions, custom RF cable assemblies and more. They offer value add services and design solutions through a focused technical sales and marketing organization ready to support your RF component engineering efforts. From antenna to baseband, RFMW is your source for RF and Microwave solutions.

RLCRLC Electronics continues to invest in its surface mount technology to add to its extensive capabilities across multiple product lines.  Their surface mount electro-mechanical switch product enhancements include both SPDT and DPDT offerings, operating up to as high as 26.5 GHz.  Units are offered in both Failsafe and Latching Operating Modes, and recent upgrades to the product line include the option of adding a TTL control or Indicator circuitry into our miniature package (0.625” x 0.625” x 0.40”).   RLC’s continues to expand its surface mount filter line as well, offering lowpass, bandpass, highpass and notch filters in both pin style packages as well as PCB versions. Filter technology supports both low frequency (UHF) and L/S/C bands with lumped topology, as well as up to K-band with surface mount cavity technology.

Rogers Corporation was featuring the new TC350™ Plus Materials that are printed circuit board substrates comprising PTFE, high thermally conductive ceramic fillers and woven glass reinforcement.TC350 Plus materials offer the designer a unique combination of lower loss tangent (and insertion loss) and higher thermal conductivity to enable superior reliability and reduced operating temperatures in high power applications.


  • High Z-Axis Thermal Conductivity (1.24 W/mK)
  • LowTCDk(-42 ppm/°C, -40°C to 140°C)
  • Low Planar X/Y CTE (10/9 ppm/°C)
  • Low Z-Axis CTE (38 ppm/°C)
  • Low Loss Tangent (0.0017 @ 10 GHz)
  • Excellent mechanical drilling and routing performance
  • Available in Large Panel Format up to 48” x 36”

RosenbergerRosenberger was featuring its new RPC-1.35 precision 1.35 mm connector series for test and measurement applications up to 90 GHz, specifically targeting new applications such as 5G, millimeter wave sensors for self driving automobiles, and WLAN 802.11ax and ay. Calibration kits are in development. This new connector series was specifically designed to have a highly robust mechanical design, minimum 3000 mating cycles, high connector repeatability, and maximum return loss values. It arose out of a working group made up of PTB (Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt), Rosenberger, Rohde & Schwarz, and Spinner GmBH & Co., which developed the concept of a new 1.35 mm connector to close the gap between 1.85 mm and 1.00 mm connectors for high-performance measurements in E-band. The interface standardization is still in progress. The Rosenberger booth also featured its solderless PCB connectors and an economical version of its new 75 ohm impedance calibration kits in versions spanning DC to 4 GHz, 4 to 8 GHz, and 8 to 12 GHz, which are now in distribution.

R&SRohde & Schwarz demonstrated the latest bench and field solutions for signal generation and analysis in the RF, microwave and millimeter wave range. Featured demos and new products include:

  • 5G device characterization using the R&S®ATS1000 Antenna Test System
  • Beamforming test solutions using the multi-port R&S®ZNBT Vector Network Analyzer
  • The new high-end R&S®ZNA Vector Network Analyzer
  • Wideband signal analysis with the R&S®FSW
  • High sensitivity, pulse and additive phase noise measurements using the R&S®FSWP Phase Noise Analyzer and VCO Tester
  • Wideband multi-channel signal generation with the R&S®SMW
  • The performance leading R&S®SMA100B RF and Microwave Analog Signal Generator 

R&S recently introduced the TSME30DC downconverter to extend 5G testing, the network scanners can analyze signals up to 30 GHz. The solution uses an updated version of the R&S ROMES4 drive test software, which already today supports measurements on 5G NR user equipment, e.g. evaluation boards, USB dongles and pre-commercial and commercial smartphones as they become available. This allows manufacturers of 5G NR technology to gain early insights into a device’s performance and its interaction with real 5G NR networks.

The R&S®ZNA highend vector network analyzer makes demanding measurements easier than ever and was another featured product. New to the market is the analyzer's DUT-centric operating concept, which guides users quickly and conveniently to the desired measurement setup. Two independent touchscreens provide utmost flexibility for smooth, efficient operation. The R&S®ZNA features exceptional stability, low trace noise and excellent raw data, making it a perfect choicefor development and production applications that require high accuracy, e.g. for developing and producing components and modules for A&D and satellite applications. The R&S®ZNA offers four internal, phase-coherent sources, allowing independent control of the signal's frequency at each port as well as phase measurements on mixers. It provides two internal local oscillators (LOs), a true multichannel receiver architecture, pulse modulators and comprehensive trigger and synchronization capabilities.

The R&S®ZNBT is the first multiport vector network analyzer offering up to 24 integrated test ports. The instrument can simultaneously test multiple DUTs or measure one DUT with up to 24 ports. The R&S®ZNBT offers short measurement times even in scenarios with a large number of ports. Other highlights include a wide dynamic range, high output power levels and inputs featuring high power-handling capacity. The instrument is available in two different frequency ­ranges: The R&S®ZNBT8 operates in a range from 9  kHz to 8.5 GHz, the R&S®ZNBT20, R&S®ZNBT26 and R&S®ZNBT40 from 100 kHz to 20 GHz, 26.5 GHz and 40 GHz, respectively. These features make the R&S®ZNBT ideal for applications in the mobile radio, wireless communications and electronic goods industries.

The R&S®SMA100B RF and microwave signal generator delivers maximum performance without compromise. It provides purest output signals while maintaining the highest output power level, far outpacing the competition. As the world's leading signal generator, it can handle the most demanding component, module and system T&M tasks in the RF semiconductor, wireless communications and aerospace and defense industries.

SAGE Millimeter now offers products for mmWave ATE setups that need to calibrate and test at different power levels. This need can be achieved by a highly repeatable programmable attenuator. It is a mechanical-based solution that handles 1W and reduces non-linearities in a super-high dynamic range setup. SAGE Millimeter’s instrumentation grade 2.4 mm Programmable Attenuator family encompasses these needs. Model STA-0005036010-2F2F-P7 covers DC to 50 GHz with attenuation levels between 0 to 60 dB in 10 dB steps. The operation is enabled by uC-disciplined inductive actuators, driven by a +24V voltage and 5V TTL control signals. The fast switching time, less than 25 ms, and long life, 1 million cycles per switch, makes this product and the others in SAGE’s Coaxial Programmable Attenuators family the perfect companion in complex ATE setups. It's also quite compact, measuring at only 3.5"x1.6"x0.9”.

Yonghui Shu, CTO of SAGE Millimeter, was enthusiastically demonstrating the Uni-Guide™ connector, an interface that simplifies the design of products requiring waveguide connections. The Uni-Guide interface connects to a glass bead in the housing wall and is bolted to the wall of the package. WR28, WR22 and WR19 versions are available for the common 12 mil diameter glass bead and 0.48 in. mounting hole interface, with other glass bead pin and mounting hole sizes available. The Uni-Guide portfolio covers waveguide interfaces from 8.2 to 110 GHz.

In October, Samtec announced it had acquired Precision Connector, Inc., and it was showing these products in its booth at IMS. For cabling products, Samtec highlighted the Bullseye high-density array test assembly products up to 70 GHz. They also were displaying a 1.2 mm connector for autonomous driving and a 1mm connector up to 110 GHz that is targeted for use in test equipment. Neither of these connectors has been released yet.

SemiGen was featuring their expanded capability to assist RF/microwave hybrid module manufacturers with our foundry requirements and thin film circuit manufacturing needs. Their ion beam milling technology is a dry etching thin film circuit manufacturing technique in which the ions of an inert gas are accelerated from an ion source into the surface of the substrate in order to remove the metals. The advantage of our thin film technology, is that it is anisotropic, resulting in minimum undercutting of the underlying metals during the etching process. This results in the best and most repeatable thin film traces and spaces, and excellent eutectic value and bond strength. They also offer wafer processing of 100 to 150 mm silicon wafers, and alumina (Al) and aluminum nitride (AlN) substrates up to 4.25 inches. Services include photolithography, wet etch, dry etch, metallization, grinding, polishing, and in-process metrology.

SGMCSGMC Microwaves introduced 2.4mm to 2.92mm between-series precision grade NMD connectors that are designed for use with microwave applications requiring excellent performance up to 40 GHz. NMD connectors are ruggedized test-port connectors that specially designed to stabilize the test port cable during testing on many network analyzers. The features include frequency range of DC to 40 GHz; Ruggedized construction for repeatability and reliability; Phase-matched adapters;  Captivated Center Contact; Low VSWR and insertion loss; and available to ship same day from stock. SGMC offers an extensive line of precision in-series adapters, between-series adapters, receptacles, and cable connectors for various semi-rigid and flexible coaxial cables. Special designs are also available upon request.

SignalCore featured their 6 GHz Single Channel Signal Sources: the SC5507A and SC5508A are from their PSG line of signal sources, providing tunable frequency range from True DC to 6.25 GHz, with resolution of 1 MHz. Its amplitude range is typically between -50 dBm to 15 dBm, stepping at 0.01 dB. The harmonics are typically < -35 dBc and the phase noise at 5 GHz CW is typically -125 dBc/Hz @ 10 kHz. These devices incorporate a 1MHz to 6 GHz power sensor with a measurement range from -25 and 15 dBm with accuracies of better than 0.50 dB. The signal purity, wide frequency range, large amplitude range, and power sensing make these devices ideal for applications ranging from digital clocking to LO sources, as well as in applications requiring stimulus and sense in a compact and rugged form factor.

Signal HoundSignal Hound had two new products on display at IMS – the VSG60A vector signal generator (50 MHz - 6 GHz), and the SM200B high-performance spectrum analyzer, which tunes from 100 kHz - 20 GHz. The VSG60A vector signal generator is a small, pocket-sized device capable of producing many of the complex signals used in today’s ever-evolving wireless communications industry, featuring 40 MHz of streaming modulation bandwidth and an arbitrary sampling rate. The VSG60A connects to a Windows PC via USB and is controlled by software running on the PC.

The SM200B is the next iteration of Signal Hound’s popular SM200A high-performance spectrum analyzer. Tuning from 100 kHz to 20 GHz with 1 THz sustained sweep speeds, a 20 MHz to 20 GHz sub-octave preselector, and 110 dB of dynamic range, the SM200B now offers 160 MHz of segmented I/Q capture for even more analysis capabilities.

Signal Integrity Inc. was showcasing its expertise in assisting customers to design test sockets and contact solutions, working with products from its standard library of probes or a customized probe. The company offers contact probes with pitches from 0.20 mm to 1.0 mm for high-speed digital and microwave application requirements. Typical end applications include matched impedance connectors, OEM devices, and miniature sub assemblies.

Skyworks was featuring their infrastructure solutions including SKY66313-11 wide instantaneous bandwidth, high efficiency power amplifier. It operates from 3.4 to 3.6 GHz with PAE of 15% at 23 dBm and has high linearity +23 dBm with less than -50 dBc ACLR with pre-distortion. It is packaged in a 5x5x1.3 mm, 16 pin package. They also featured their A&D products such as they SKYH22001 hermetically sealed broadband low noise amplifier operating from .3 to 3.8 GHz with a noise figure of 1.2 dB typical and the SKYH22002 hermetically sealed cascadable amplifier operating from .1 to 6 GHz with small signal gain of 20 dB typical at 2 GHz and OIP3 of +34 dBm typical.

Smiths Interconnect returned to IMS promoting its comprehensive product suite of board level components, cables, connectors, integrated microwave assemblies, time & frequency systems and antennas.  Featured this year was the SpaceNXT™ Ku Series of high power WR75 circulators and loads. The newly released Ku-Band family of passive waveguide components is part of an overarching initiative to create a broad range of readily accessible connectors, cables, attenuators, waveguide isolators, circulators, terminations, transitions, hybrids and couplers pre-tested and qualified for space use.

SWMicrowaveSouthwest Microwave was showcasing its latest product, the industry’s first board (PCB) mounted 1.0 mm vertical launch connector. The connector delivers low insertion loss and a VSWR of 1.35:1 max across 70 to 105 GHz and a VSWR of 1.6:1 max across the complete 110 GHz bandwidth. (This data represents two 1.0 mm connectors mounted on test-board.) The company also offers 1.85 mm (V) DC to 67 GHz (VSWR 1.25:1 max) and 2.92 mm (K) DC to 40 GHz (VSWR 1.15:1 max) board-mounted vertical launch connectors. These connectors feature a common two-hole flange mounting footprint. (Connectors can be supplied with or without screws to accommodate for various PCB thicknesses.) The image here shows 2.92mm, 1.85mm, and 1.0mm versions.

Wireless internet service provider Starry had a kiosk in the IMS start-up pavilion, demonstrating the start-up’s mmWave fixed wireless access technology. Starry, which uses spectrum in the 37–39 GHz band and recently won 24 GHz spectrum in the FCC’s Spectrum Frontiers auction, uses 802.11ac Wi-Fi for the radio link, rather than the 5G New Radio standard. Read Microwave Journal’s recent interview with Joe Lipowski, Starry’s co-founder and CTO.

SVmicroSV Micro's new Mini-D RF Connection System has industry leading .110” port-to-port spacing and uses removable SMPS bullets for high mating cycle applications without damaging the housing.  SV’s low profile edge and surface mount PCB connector options are available with excellent RF performance through 67 GHz.

SV’s Mini-D RF features:

  • High Frequency RF performance to 67 GHz
  • High density design (.110” port-to-port spacing)
  • Proven SMPS interface
  • Rugged lightweight aluminum housing
  • Easy mating/de-mating with thumbscrews

SynergySynergy Microwave has developed new C- to K-Band Ultra-wide VCO with superior phase noise and high output power. They are packaged in surface mount 0.5” square packages operating with a Vcc of 5 volts. DCYS6001200-5 operates from 6 to 12 GHz with phase noise of -98 dBc/Hz at 100 kHz offset, DCYS8001600-5 operates from 8 to 16 GHz with phase noise of -93 dBc/Hz at 100 kHz offset and DCYS10002000-5 operates from 10 to 20 GHz with phase noise of -91 dBc/Hz at 100 kHz offset. Future models will be available up to 30 GHz.

Teledyne Defense Electronics was joined by several Teledyne business units including Teledyne Labtech, Teledyne RF & Microwave, Teledyne TWT Products, Teledyne Relays, Teledyne Storm Microwave, Teledyne e2v Semiconductors Teledyne e2v RF Power – Defence, and Teledyne Scientific.  The Featured Products in the booth covered many of Teledyne’s comprehensive MW/RF portfolio of advanced products and capabilities, including:

  • First K-Band capable Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC)
  • New 1.35 mm cable connector to 90 GHz from Storm – the TSM SFO47EW
  • Breakthrough PCB Thermal Management using copper coin technology from Labtech
  • Amps, RF Modules, & Components with industry-leading SWaP from RF & Microwave
  • Compact, high power Q and Ka-Band TWTs
  • MPMs, compact Helix TWTs, Multifunctional MW Assemblies, and RF Receiver Protection
  • New 5G RF Switches from Teledyne Relays
  • InP power amps with leading BW and Efficiency from Teledyne Scientific

TimesTimes Microwave Systems featured its Clarity line of 18, 26.5, and 40 GHz coax test cables with steel torque, crush, and overbend protection with abrasion resistance, all while maintaining flexibility. One of the things that makes these cables special is that after 80,000 flexes, there is no change in electrical performance. The Clarity cables are available in armored and unarmored versions. The design includes an ergonomic, injection molded strain relief and Times’  SureGrip coupling nut that aims to improve the user’s everyday experience.  The Clarity series is appropriate for use as VNA test port extension, R&D lab, production test, or system interconnect cables.

TMD Technologies showcased its latest microwave products featuring their state-of-the-art high-power sub-systems for radar, EW, and other defence/homeland security programs. Their latest instrumentation amplifier solutions for EMC, threat simulation, and other scientific applications will also be displayed. They will be showing their new line of Ka-band TWT MPMs, exemplified by the PTX8807, as well as the new lightweight PTXM2000 compact high power MPM, solid state PTS6900 and other ultra-compact TWT based MPMs from the PTXM Series.

  • PTX8807 operates from 30-40 GHz with a power output of 200 W
  • PTXM2000 operates from 6-18 GHz at 200 W
  • PTX8815 TWTA covers 34–36 GHz with a peak power of over 1100 W in the mid-band, and 600 W at the band edges with a maximum duty of up to 12%
  • PTS6900 MPM employs advanced GaN MMIC technology, and offers high performance over a 2-6 GHz range with an output power of 150 W
  • Operating in the X-band, the new travelling wave tube based PTX8430 and PTX8501 have a power output of 1 kW over the frequency range 9-10 GHz with duty cycles of 5 and 10% respectively and 55 dB gain
  • PTXM Series ultra-compact MPMs feature low volume and low and operate from 4.5 to 18 GHz with output powers up to 140 W
  • PTCM Series TWT intelligent instrumentation amplifiers operate over a frequency range from DC to 40 GHz with a power output up to 50 kW

TowerJazz is a specialized silicon foundry for customized analog products, including RF, photonics and MEMS. Competing with GlobalFoundries for RF market share, TowerJazz offers RFIC designers RF SOI, RF CMOS and SiGe BiCMOS process nodes running on 200 and 300 mm wafers in multiple fabs, to assure customers of continuous supply. For example, the 65 nm RF SOI process provides designers with low insertion loss and high power handling RF switches, with options for LNA and digital integration. It ramped in a 300 mm fab in Japan one year ago. At IMS, TowerJazz staff met with potential customers to discuss how the company’s processes support LTE and 5G applications.

TRM featured the DL202 that is part of TRM’s line of 2-Way Ferrite Transformer Dividers and used in a variety of signal routing and processing systems for Early Warning Detection and Signal Exploitation in Military Airborne and Shipboard applications. Frequency range is 0.1 – 100 MHz, featuring high isolation and low loss. Lumped element based circuit technology allows for a compact housing to be applied for all frequency bands offered in the series. TRM will customizable to your spec requirements also.

UMS introduced a new 24.25-30.5 GHz multi-purpose integrated Power Front-End available in a 4x5 QFN low cost plastic package. This is particularly targeted for emerging 5G applications. This novel approach, gathering a high linearity RF transmitter, a switch and a very low noise RF receiver, is available in a standard plastic package. The Tx provides 33dB gain and exhibits 2W RF output power with 22% efficiency by using different technologies, 0.15µm GaN on Silicon carbide and 0.15µm GaAs. The Rx features 18 dB gain with a 3.5 dB Noise Figure. The circuit consumption is low at 3 W for 23 dBm Pout. This compact Front-End, perfectly suited for 5G fixed wireless access applications, is also compatible with telecom Phased Array Antennas, Time Division Duplex systems and high throughput fixed access wireless.

Vaunix announced the recent customization of their RF/microwave, solid-state, portable LMS signal generators to specifically support radar and location applications. The Lab Brick Model LMS-183CX is a high-performance, fast sweeping, digitally tunable RF/microwave test instrument that is USB powered and programmed via PC. The device provides test engineers working on broadband testing of components and systems dependable calibrated power control range of 80 dB, and 100 Hz frequency setting resolution. LMS-183CX Lab Bricks also offer low harmonic energy and are easily programmed for fixed frequency, linear frequency sweep (unidirectional or bidirectional at rates up to 20 MHz per μs), pulse modulation or chirp modulation. All controls are managed directly from the included graphical user interface (GUI). Alternatively, for users wishing to develop their own interface, Vaunix supplies LabVIEW drivers, Windows API DLL files, Linux drivers, Python examples and much more. Customized versions of the LMS-183CX Lab Brick signal generator can be specifically designed for unique radar receiver bandwidths with similar high-performance features.

VDIVDI introduced medium power waveguide amplifiers for WR12 (60 to 90 GHz) and WR4.3 (170 to 260 GHz) with WR 15 (50 to 75 GHz) in development. They have high gain and output power with full waveguide band coverage using a single bias voltage. Output power ranges from about 10 to 21 dBm with gains ranging from 15 to 21 dB. They also hosted the Vertigo and Guzik companies in their booth. Guzik was demonstrating accurate positioning using a D-Band system with parts from VDI.

Velocity Microwave announced a full 12 years of support for their Vector line of repairable VNA cables.  Every Vector cable is provided with an industry leading 2-year warranty.  After the initial warranty, if your vector cable becomes worn or damaged, Velocity will provide a loaner cable to use until your cable is repaired and returned.  The Vector loaner program gets you back up and running in the amount of time it takes to ship the loaner cable. All Vector repairs are provided at a flat rate of $450 so there is no guessing about the cost. 

VIDA Products was demonstrating its high performance, low power, surface-mount, small size and low phase noise YIG oscillators and filters. VIDA integrates proprietary YIG resonators with RFICs to achieve YIG performance with lower power dissipation, smaller size and the convenience of surface-mount packaging. VIDA’s oscillators and filters support both commercial and defense systems operating at frequencies of 5 GHz and higher.

WenzelWenzel Associates instruments combine industry leading Ultra-Low phase noise performance with standard 19” rack mount configurations (1U, 2U, 3U and 5U). A variety of standard rack source solutions are available with pre-configured output frequencies, but custom solutions are also available up to 8U. These units deliver superior performance at a lower cost than a variable low noise frequency synthesizer with the flexibility of providing only the fixed frequencies needed for requirement. Frequency outputs up to 26 GHz are available with Ultra-Low or Golden phase noise performance options are available. Multiple frequencies and multiple outputs are provided as needed as well as phase locking with an external reference. Each instrument includes a low noise power supply and/or low noise voltage regulators to help minimize power supply line related spurs, and provides clean power to drive the internal oscillators and modules.

They were also featuring 10 and 100 MHz low noise PCB mount crystal oscillators with noise levels down to -178 dBc/Hz at 100 kHz offset. They certainly make some of the best oscillators in the industry and used as a reference signal in many high performance applications.

WIN Semiconductors, the largest compound semiconductor foundry, made two announcements at IMS, strengthening the company’s position supporting mmWave systems. Not to be overshadowed by silicon and GaN, WIN announced the commercial release of its highly integrated E-PHEMT process, PIH1-10. The PIH1-10 platform combines a 100 GHz ft E-PHEMT with monolithic PIN and Schottky diodes, which support all the circuit functions in a mmWave front-end for 5G handsets, base stations and radios for backhaul and fronthaul. The single supply E-PHEMT achieves transmit power levels of 30 dBm and receive noise figure of 2.5 dB, and the integrated PIN diode has less than 1 dB insertion loss.

WIN also announced the commercial release of a 0.15 μm GaN on SiC process, the NP15-00, for mmWave PAs operating to 35 GHz. The GaN device, which is designed to operate at 20 V, uses a source-coupled field plate to improve breakdown voltage. The process, which runs on 100 mm wafers, enables through-wafer vias for low inductance grounding. At 29 GHz, the GaN device achieves 3 W/mm saturated output power with greater than 50 percent efficiency — without harmonic tuning — and 13 dB linear gain.

The Wireless Telecom Group featured product demonstrations from their Boonton, Noisecom and CommAgility segments, highlighting how each addresses customer needs. With communication systems using complex modulation, single tone gain and output power measurements and two-tone linearity measurements are no longer sufficient to measure component and system performance. Buying vector signal generators and signal analyzers to replicate and measure actual OFDM signals can be expensive. Alternatively, using a Noisecom broadband noise source at the input, to simulate the modulated signal, and a Boonton peak power meter at the output is an elegant and comparatively inexpensive method for measuring and assuring system performance. The technique measures crest factor, which is more sensitive to the initial compression which quickly degrades system linearity and data throughput. To add insight, the crest factor measurement can include the complementary cumulative distribution function (CCDF), a probabilistic assessment of system performance.

W. L. Gore & Associates (Gore) played a key role in the Apollo 11 mission and featured their Apollo story and artifacts at IMS 2019 in addition to products for 5G and aerospace & defense testing. Gore’s contributions to space exploration began very early in its history. In just ten years, the company went from a Delaware basement where the company was founded in 1958, to the moon with multiple products contributing to the success of the July 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing. Gore wire and cable supported getting men to the moon, was involved in the seismographic experiments on the moon, and helped the astronauts to navigate back home.

Wolfspeed demonstrated two GaN on SiC power transistors in the company’s booth at IMS: a 35 W, X-Band, 50 Ω matched PA for radar applications and a 60 W average (400 W peak) device targeting the 3.6 to 3.8 GHz 5G band in Korea. Although Wolfspeed sees GaN as the RF growth engine, it maintains the LDMOS portfolio acquired with Infineon’s RF power business. Wolfspeed’s marketing strategy is to let the market requirements and customer choose the “best” technology fit for the application. Simon Wood, the senior director of RF product development and applications, said the lower frequency, single cellular band applications favor LDMOS, while the multi-band and higher frequency PAs favor GaN, where GaN’s cost is offset by eliminating several single-band PAs or through operator OPEX savings.

Xilinx discussed applications for the Zynq® UltraScale+ RFSoC, from 5G infrastructure to defense systems. The RFSoC platform builds on Xilinx’s leadership in FPGAs, adding direct sampling 5 GSPS, 14-bit ADCs and 10 GPSP, 14-bit DACs. Now in its third-generation, the UltraScale+ RFSoC covers the full sub-6 GHz spectrum, and mmWave spectrum can be block down-converted to use the performance of the RFSoC. For massive MIMO radios, Xilinx estimates the UltraScale+ architecture will consume 50 percent less power and occupy 75 percent less board area. The capability and flexibility of the platform makes it applicable for cable PHY and phased array radar.