Millitech39s new circularlinear polarizer Image courtesy of Millitech

Millitech's new circular-linear polarizer (Image courtesy of Millitech).

Polarizers and Circulators Block Antenna Noise

From isolators to circulators, passive components play a back-room role in antenna systems. They are designed to prevent noise from leaking into the antenna and manipulating the polarization of wireless signals to avoid signal-corrupting conditions.

Antenna makers are increasingly trying to excise the expensive and bulky components. One option has focused on using metamaterials, or synthetic materials that bend light and radio waves in ways not observed in nature. Engineers have designed one antenna that can change its frequency and polarization on a whim. Other antennas – not based on metamaterials – can inherently block out interference leaking into an antenna’s receiver.

But for now they are still necessary. The latest components will be seen in Boston this week at the Electronic Design Innovation Conference, also known as EDI CON.

Milltech, a maker of millimeter wave technologies for radar and satellite communication, will reveal a new linear-circular antenna polarizer. The new E-band device features an axial ratio of less than 0.6 dB, an insertion loss of less than 0.5 dB, and a frequency range of 18 to 100 GHz.

In radar, polarizers are used to route signals between the transmitter and antenna, and the antenna and the receiver, controlling the polarization of the antenna signal. A circular polarization is often used in satellite communications to preserve signals while passing through anomalies in the atmosphere.

TRAK, a maker of passive components owned by Milltech’s parent company Smith Microwave Subsystems, will also demonstrate its surface-mount circulators. The company said that its new X-band circulators, which were introduced earlier this year at the International Microwave Symposium, are designed for phased array radar assemblies. When installed in an antenna system, the device ensures that signals are not allowed to pass directly from receiver to transmitter. The company will also show Ka-band latching circulator-isolator with 1 us switching speed and insertion loss of 0.2 dB.

Both companies will be showing these components at Booth #721. 

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