Microwave Show Comes To The City By The Bay

May 17, 2006
The worlds largest microwave gathering convenes in San Francisco this June with a rich array of technical presentations, new products, and the 67th ARFTG Conference.

FOR A WEEK, THEY WILL SWARM THIS TOWN, INCREASING its population by more than 10,000. They will marvel at the local attractions, like Fisherman's Wharf and Alcatraz, and look out over the San Francisco Bay to the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. And they will come with stories of their research and their accomplishments, making over 1000 technical presentations during the week. For this is the week of June 11-16, 2006, and the 2006 edition of the International Microwave Symposium (IMS) is scheduled for the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

For one week, San Francisco may well become the largest gathering of microwave engineers to ever take place, as well over 10,000 visitors are expected to IMS 2006. As most microwave engineers know, it is an event that combines a diversified technical program with an exhibition area that showcases the latest in microwave industry products and services. What some microwave engineers may not know, the event is actually a combination of different technical programs including technical presentations, evening sessions, workshops, panel sessions, and "focused" sessions highlighting a single topic. The three main symposia at the event are the International Microwave Symposium (IMS), Radio Frequency IC (RF IC) Symposium, and Automatic RF Techniques Group (ARFTG) Conference. Listings of event schedules can be downloaded in the form of a large PDF file from the conference website at www.ims2006.org.

Credit is due to the volunteer technical paper reviewerswho combed through the 980 paper submissions, more than half of which were received on deadline day. Papers were collected and organized by 32 technical committees into the week-long program that serves as a refresher course in microwave technology for some, and a chance to summarize the current state of the art for others. Praise is also due to John Barr of Agilent Technologies, the IMS 2006 General Chairperson, and the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the Microwave Theory & Techniques Society (MTT-S) for helping to organize the many components of such a massive technical event.

The 2006 IEEE Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit (RF IC) Symposium, for example, is one of the major events during IMS 2006. Scheduled from June 11-13, 2006, it boasts an opening day with a number of highquality workshops and three Sunday evening plenary sessions.

Sunday workshops include sessions on RF ICs for ultrawideband (UWB) systems, which covers low-noise receivers, pulse generators, frequency synthesizers, position-location functions with UWB, and UWB high-speed personal-area networks (PANs); advanced power-amplifier ICs for high-efficiency mobile transmitters, which includes presentations on devices for WiMAX, cellular, and wireless-local-area-network (WLAN) applications; a software-based session on multichip radio module design approaches, which details the use of electromagnetic (EM) analysis tools, simulation with SPICE, and design and verification techniques; noise measurements and modeling for CMOS; substrate effects in silicon RF IC interconnections; radio transceivers for 3G and WiMAX systems; and three-dimensional integration and packaging, which covers both analog and digital applications for these highlevel module packaging approaches.

Additional Sunday RF IC workshops cover memory effects in power amplifiers, advances in multimode, multiband cellular radios, determining the quality of automotive RF systems (which includes measurement approaches for GPS, automotive radars, and car antennas), millimeter-wave silicon-bipolar and CMOS circuits, and advances in gallium-nitride (GaN) technology.

The RF IC workshops continue on Monday with tutorial sessions on new developments in oscillators, evaluation of high-speed digital signal integrity, how to determine the accuracy of microwave measurements, microelectromechanical system (MEMS) resonators and filters, making active and passive differential (balanced) measurements, component design using space-mapping technology, active antennas, frequency-agile radios, highefficiency power amplifiers for space and terrestrial applications, electronic equalization for multigigabit communications systems, and microwave multiplexer design.

The RF IC plenary sessions include "RF Modems: The Real Application for RF CMOS" by Stefan Wolff, vice president of Infineon Technologies, whose company has focused on practical RF CMOS solutions for current multiband cellular radios and inevitably RF modems. For those seeking more information on mutimode, multiband cellular radios, Kent Heath, director of the Radio Products Division of Freescale Semiconductor, will provide a session entitied "Architectural Implications of Multimode, Multiband Cellular Radios," in which he compares and contrasts some of the approaches for nextgeneration cellular phones, including System-in-Package (SiP) and System-on-Chip (SoC) designs. Finally, Arogyaswami Paulraj, founder and CTO of Beceem Communications, explores the emerging significance of multiple antenna wireless technologies in his Plenary Session "Multiple Antenna Technology in Mobile BroadbandNew Challenges for RF Designers," with a focus on multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) radio configurations using multiple antennas at both ends of a communications link in particular for mobile broadband applications.

For those who would prefer presentations on technologies other than RF ICs, the IMS technical sessions run from early morning through 5 p.m. each day with a varied assortment of topics. Tuesday (June 13th) afternoon sessions, for example, include coverage of antenna technology, applications in RF MEMS, and synthesis and design techniques for microwave filters. The following morning, sessions highlight planar filters, acoustic filters, signal generation, integrated coaxial and metamaterial transmission lines, ferrite devices, low-phase-noise oscillators and electromagnetic-bandgap structures. That afternoon, sessions focus on advances in integrated filters, the use of GaN for power amplifiers, innovations in those lower frequencies (HF through UHF), and physical nonlinear device modeling.

The IMS 2006 program includes numerous focused sessions that provide interesting looks at topics not normallycovered in the regular technical sessions. On Tuesday of Microwave Week, focused sessions include the use of microwave and millimeter-wave technology in support of societal security. Chaired by Ed Niehenke of Niehenke Consulting and K.D. Bruer of ITT Avionics, the session reviews different threats and how to assess them, communications systems for first responders, and detection technology that is under development to protect societies against threats from terrorism. Additional focused sessions that day cover magnetic-resonance-imaging (MRI) technologies and terahertz (THz) integrated circuits. The following day's focused sessions highlight vibrating MEMS devices used as resonators, the possibility of using 4-GHz bands for the fourth generation (4G) of cellular radios, and a review of the last 50 years of microwave technology in the San Francisco Bay Area by Ferdo Ivanek of Stanford University and Ed Crescenzi of Central Coast Microwave Design.

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The IMS 2006 panel sessions, which extend from Monday through Wednesday of the show, are organized by IEEE members from leading companies, including Intel, QUALCOMM, The MathWorks, and Philips Semiconductors. These panel sessions debate such topics as the need for data rates as fast as 1 Gb/s in 4G cellular systems, the practical use of SiP technology, how to best blend time-domain system verification tools with frequency-domain software simulators, and the future of RF poweramplifier technology for emerging wireless infrastructure equipment (from a power transistor viewpoint).

Of course, no IMS event would be complete without attendance at an ARFTG meeting, and San Francisco is host to the 67th Microwave Measurement Conference held in conjunction with IMS 2006. The group's relatively informal meetings provide an excellent locale for learning about new techniques in high-frequency measurements and in comparing notes with colleagues devoted to accuracy in microwave measurements. The 67th Microwave Measurement Conference, with a theme of "Design and Measurements of High Power Devices and Systems," will be held on June 16th in the Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel, San Francisco, CA. For more information on this part of the IMS 2006 conference, or about ARFTF in general, visit the group's website at www.arftg.org.

For those seeking to take a break from the technical sessions, IMS 2006 offers a full exhibition floor with a collection of booths that represent the majority of the microwave industry. More than 500 industry companies are expected to exhibit this year, with displays of everything from the tiniest transistors to complete systems and software suites. For example, Elcom Technologies will display their UFS series of fast-switching frequency synthesizers, including the model UFS-18 with frequency range of 0.3 to 18.0 GHz (Fig. 1). It offers 1-Hz frequency resolution and blazing 250-ns switching speed to a new frequency with spurious levels of -65 dBc or better and harmonic levels of -50 dBc or better. The typical phase noise is -80 dBc/Hz offset 10 Hz from a 3-GHz carrier and -138 dBc/Hz offset 10 MHz from the same carrier.

Agilent Technologies (www.agilent.com) will be demonstrating their N5230A four-port PNA-L Network Analyzer combined with the new 20-GHz four-port test set (product Z5623A, opt k44). The combination (Fig. 2) provides an 8 x 8 measurement matrix and eight-port error correction to fully characterize eight-port devices, including the isolation characteristics between ports. The PNA-L N5230A's Scalar Mixer Calibration function provides accurate, match-corrected conversion loss measurements of mixers and converters. The Equation Editor allows PNA series network analyzers to automatically calculate and show application-specific parameters such as the K-factor of amplifiers from S-Parameter measurement data.

The company will also display the built-in measuring receiver personality (Option 233) for the Performance Spectrum Analyzer (PSA) series of spectrum analyzers, forming a compact N5531S measuring receiver system. The N5531S consists of a PSA including an optional audio input, a P-Series power meter, and a sensor module with single-input connection up to 50 GHz. In addition, the firm's N4010A wireless connectivity test set (with option 107) supports the Bluetooth enhanced-data-rate (EDR) test mode, ensuring devices adhere to the Bluetooth 2.0 standard by enabling loopback testing of EDR transmitters and receivers.

BroadWave Technologies (www.broadwavetech.com) will display their model 152-014-002-W weather-resistant power divider(Fig. 3). Ideal for hostile field environments and is designed to resist detrimental effects of weather, the divider handles 5 W input power from 800 to 2200 MHz with 20-dB minimum isolation. It exhibits 0.3 dB amplitude tracking and is supplied with female Type N connectors.

Renaissance Electronics Corp. (www.rec-usa.com) will answer questions about a new high-power circulator for FM digital radio applications. This circulator is designed to provide a 4-MHz bandwidth in the 88-to-108-MHz FM frequency range. Across the 4-MHz band, isolation is better than 22 dB. The circulator is capable of handling more than 1.5 kW of CW power without forced-air cooling.

Rogers Corp. (www.rogerscorporation.com) will introduce their RO4450B--dx Bondply material, a high-fill/flow version of the firm's RO4450B- high-frequency circuit material (Fig. 4). Based on the glass-reinforced hydrocarbon/ ceramic thermoset bondply RO4450B material, the new material is a high-fill/flow version designed to fill high-density designs requiring tight spacing. The company will also display its RT/duroid 6202 material for applications from 3 to 90 GHz.

Trilithic (www.trilithic.com) will be showing their lowcost XFP-18 series of precision fixed attenuators for applications from DC to 18 GHz. The attenuators, which are available with standard attenuation values of 1, 3, 6, 10, 20, and 30 dB, handle input power levels to 2 W CW with maximum VSWR of 1.35:1. The attenuation accuracy is 0.75 dB for a 30-dB unit.

Anritsu will be demonstrated the latest version of its model MS2781A Signature High Performance Signal Analyzer with WCDMA/HSDPA Modulation Quality Measurements option (Fig. 5). The test receiver, which operates from 100 Hz to 8 GHz, supports a comprehensive set of measurements specified by the Third-Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) with the option installed. The option is part of the 3.0 version software enhancements to the Signature analyzer.

Test-equipment supplier Aeroflex (www.aeroflex.com) will be showing their various lines of microsecondswitching frequency synthesizers, along with a new addition to their radio test-equipment lines, the model 3500 radio test set. The portable instrument is designed for testing vehiclebased radio systems used predominantly by first responders. It features a built-in signal source and analyzer, and operates from 2 MHz to 1 GHz. It can make power measurements at levels as high as 200 W when used with an external attenuator, and is effective in finding faults in antenna, power amplifiers, and interconnects. It performs a wide variety of AM/FM transmitter and receiver tests including RF power, RF frequency error, AM modulation, FM deviation, Receive Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI), distortion and SINAD/ sensitivity. It features a builtin VSWR meter and other test capabilities invaluable when checking vehicular radio systems. The Aeroflex 3500 radio test set weighs just 8.5 lbs. (3.86 kg) including the battery and solid aluminum weatherproof case.

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National Instruments (www.ni.com) will be showing their latest instruments based on the PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation (PXI) specification. The company's PXI-2595 and SCXI-1195 5-GHz switches and the PXI-2594 and SCXI-1194 2.5-GHz switches are ideal for accurate RF signal routing in telecommunications, military/aerospace and automated test applications (Fig. 6). When combined with the company's Universal Serial Bus (USB) Switch Mainframes, these PXI and SCXI switches form a cost-effective, plug-and-play solution that easily integrates with external RF equipment and takes advantage of the flexibility and ease of use of USB.

A company well known for their trimmer capacitorsVoltronics International Corp. (www.voltronicscorp.com)will be showing a high-performance line of variable (trimmer) capacitors in chip-sized packaging. The company's J Series ceramic chip trimmer capacitors, which are available in tape-and-reel format for use with automated assembly equipment, are usable at frequencies beyond 1 GHz. They feature a wide range of package styles and capacitance tuning ranges, including 1.5 to 3.0 pF, 2 to 6 pF, 5.5 to 30 pF, 8 to 40 pF, 7 to 50 pF, 9 to 90 pF, and 10 to 120 pF in single devices. The high-Q trimmers exhibit DC working voltages as high as 100 V and DC withstanding voltages as high as 220 V.

Long-time exhibitor and microwave supplier M/A-COM (www.macom.com, a business unit of Tyco Electronics) will be offering several discrete transistors Fig. 7 for the emerging WiMAX basestation and customer-premise-equipment (CPE) markets at frequencies to 3.8 GHz. The company's models MAAP-003438-005PP0 and MAAP-003438-010PP0 are 12-V GaAs pseudomorphic high-electron-mobility-transistor (PHEMT) devices that provide RF output power levels of 5 and 10 W, respectively, through 3.8 GHz. The former is also suited for multichannel-multipointdistribution-system (MMDS), wireless-local-loop (WLL), or widebandcode-division-multiple-access (WCDMA) driverapplications from 2.1 to 3.8 GHz, providing +27 dBm output power in WCDMA applications and adjacent-channel-powerratio (ACPR) performance of -40 dBc. It has a typical of 10 dB gain with leadfree 3-mm PQFN 16-lead surface-mount packaging. The latter, which is also suited for MMDS, WLL, or WCDMA driver applications from 2.1 to 3.8 GHz, delivers +30 dBm output power in WCDMA applications with ACPR of -40 dBc. It has a typical gain of 9.5 dB in a lead-free 4-mm PQFN 16-lead surfacemount package.

Cable supplier Semflex (www.semflex.com) will show a line of European Union Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) compliant products, including the HP series microwave cables. In addition, the firm now has the cable-termination process in place to produce RoHS-compliant cable assemblies to RoHS Level 6 (lead-free) on customer request. The company is willing to share the details of its soldering process with purchasers of bulk cable so that they can produce RoHS-compliant HP cable assemblies.

In the connector arena, Times Microwave (Wallingford, CT) will be making news with the industry's first rotating connector. This DC to 18-GHz connector provides a 360-deg. rotation feature at any point along the length of a coaxial cable assembly or at the connector end. The company also will be debuting a range of self-releasing, size 8 coaxial contacts. These DC to 18-GHz contacts can be inserted and removed from all standard MIL-C-38999 shells without installation or removal tools.

Ansoft (www.ansoft.com) will offer details on its Linux versions of its electronic-design-automation (EDA) software tools. The company, which now provides versions of HFSS (Version 10.1), Q3D Extractor (Version 7.1), Maxwell (Version 11.1), and RMxprt (Version 11.1) for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (Version 3) operating system, also supports Sun Solaris workstations and Windows-based computers.

Speaking of software, electromagnetic (EM) software specialist Sonnet Software (www.sonnetsofware.com) will be paying tribute to the father of EM analysis, James Clerk Maxwell, at IMS 2006 by co-hosting the 175th birth anniversary of Maxwell celebration at the show. Cohosts include the MTT-S committee and Computer Simulation Technology (www.cst.com). During the celebration, Sonnet president and founder Dr. James C. Rautio, an MTT-S Distinguished Microwave Lecturer, will make a presentation on the life of Maxwell. Packaging specialist StratEdge (www.stratedge.com), in addition to displaying samples of their high-performance packages, will be hosting a seminar on monolithic-microwave-integrated-circuit (MMIC) packaging, testing, and reliability in conjunction with IMS 2006. The seminar will feature three experts in packaging and testing of high-frequency devices. Jerry Carter, senior applications engineer for Strat-Edge, will discuss the latest package technologies and assembly techniques for microwave and millimeter-wave MMICs. Jerry Schappacher, well known for his probe technology, will discuss testing methods and probe stations for testing bare and packaged MMICs through 65 GHz. Roland Shaw, president of Accel-RF, will discuss accelerated life-test/burn-in test systems for compound semiconductor devices, which are used in the implementation of broadband wireless infrastructures and networks. According to StratEdge president and CEO Tim Going, "We are excited to be able to hold this seminar during MTT-S, which is one of the preeminent trade shows for microwave theory and techniques." The seminar is by invitation only. More information is available on the company's website or by contacting Hannah Foster at (858) 569-5000 ext. 130, or by e-mail at [email protected].

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