For a long time, cooking meals with solid-state radio waves seemed little more than a parlor trick to display new wireless power amplifiers. That was until Freescale built a concept oven and offered to license the radio emitters inside to appliance makers—just like it would with wireless chips and processors.
One of the first companies to employ solid-state technology, the startup Wayv Technologies, has revealed a new portable oven at this week’s NXP FTF Technology Forum in Austin. About the size of a thermos, the battery-powered oven directs energy into food more accurately than microwave ovens, the company says.
Known as the Wayv Adventurer, the oven is packed with high-voltage transistors that beam directly energy into the food. That cooks it faster and more evenly than conventional microwaves, which simply fill their cavities with heat. These transistors are the same technology that power RF amplifiers in wireless equipment, sending data signals into smartphones and other mobile devices.
Wayv Technologies has billed the oven—its first product—as an alternative to portable gas stoves for campers and fisherman. It was originally designed for soldiers to cook fast meals at military bases or in the field, but the company has also suggested using it at the office.
The solid-state RF beams are produced by high-voltage laterally diffused metal oxide semiconductor (LDMOS) transistors from NXP Semiconductors. The transistors are contained in a module that delivers 250 watts of power. Wayv contributed an RF antenna to the design that helps deliver high cavity efficiency, quickly transferring energy into the food.
That efficiency is the secret to solid-state RF cooking, and it was one of the most striking aspects of Freescale's concept oven, Sage. The cavity magnetron inside a normal microwave has a supply voltage of around 4,000 volts, while transistors within Sage were vastly more efficient, using between 28 to 50V for cooking meals. That increased energy efficiency translates into a longer device lifespan for Sage, which in turn translates into longer battery life for Wayv.
Part of that efficiency was Sage’s ability to control the location, cycles, and levels of cooking within the appliance. In contrast, conventional microwave ovens simply flood the appliance with heat, which removes moisture from the food and results in uneven cooking. In the Adventurer, the transistors provide "maximum power transfer with controllable energy to the food with less wasted heat,” Wayv said in a statement.
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