Microwave Week Returns To Sunny California

May 13, 2005
Aside from the activity on the exhibition floor, this years MTT-S International Microwave Symposium offers a variety of technical sessions, panels, and workshops and tutorials.

Every year, microwave engineers descend upon one destination to hear the newest microwave theories and catch a glimpse of the latest products. That destination is the site of the IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium (IMS). This year, Long Beach, CA is playing host to the conference and exhibition. The conference is brimming with plenary, technical, and panel sessions. It also offers tutorials, workshops, and an interactive forum. To round out this year's experience, attendees also can take part in the Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit (RFIC) Symposium, Automatic RF Techniques Group (ARFTG) Conference, and the µAPS microwave application and product seminars.

The technical part of the symposium starts on June 12 with tutorials and workshops. It closes with the ARFTG conference sessions on June 17. This year, the IMS Technical Program Committee sifted through 984 presentations to choose 344 papers for oral presentations and 149 for the paper sessions. In addition, 20 papers were nominated for the Student Awards competition (see sidebar). Conference-goers also can attend workshops, special sessions, and lunch panel sessions. Should they need a break from these plentiful educational offerings, attendees can roam the exhibition floor to see the latest in hardware, software, and test equipment.

The RFIC Symposium gets off to a running start on Sunday, June 12. The goal of this technical conference is to advance integrated circuits as well as the subsystems for RF and communications systems. The RFIC Sunday tutorials are geared toward people who are new to microwave design or unfamiliar with specific technical areas. By going to these introductory-type sessions, attendees can prepare themselves to hear papers on these same topics later in the week. The topics for these tutorials include RF and Microwave Filter Design, Basic RFIC Building Blocks, and Monolithic Distributed Power Management for Next-Generation Wireless Application.

The RFIC Plenary Session will be held right after the workshops on Sunday. Two industry experts will speak on separate but related topics. Jerry Neal, Co-Founder and Vice President of RF Micro Devices, will cover, "Integration Technologies: Cellular and Beyond." "The Drive for Integration" will be discussed by Ed Healy, vice president of Silicon Laboratories. The rest of the RFIC technical program is spread out over Monday and Tuesday. Sessions will cover topics like CMOS RF Device Technology, Wideband Communications Circuits and Systems, Advanced VCO Techniques, and Optical System ICs and Architectures. On Monday (June 13), an RFIC Symposium panel session will focus on the topic, "CMOS PAs Step On The GaAs!"

Monday is a workshop and tutorial day for the regular IMS conference as well. In "Application and Technology of High-Speed Analog to Digital Converters," for example, industry experts will discuss the current states and obstacles faced by high-speed analog-to-digital-converter (ADC) applications, requirements, architectures, designs, IC technologies, and testing. A panel discussion session, which welcomes attendee participation, will follow the presentations. Other Monday workshops will be devoted to advances in RF power amplifiers; terahertz radiation; and AM noise in modern receivers. On the packaging end, topics include Packaging and Interconnects for Microwave Photonics Applications, Liquid-Crystal Polymers for Microwave and Millimeter-Wave Packaging, and Low-Cost Packaging for Microwave and Millimeter-Wave Products. Among the additional topics to be covered are High-Frequency Digital Backplane Interconnect Characterization and Design; New Developments in Low-Noise Frequency Sources; and Technology and Implementation of High-Speed/GHz Digital Interconnections.

The IMS2005 technical sessions get started on Tuesday, June 14. One early-morning session highlights advances in Frequency Conversion and Control Circuits. Individual presentations will cover topics including a subharmonic CMOS mixer based on threshold voltage modulation from Texas Instruments and the Georgia Institute of Technology; a 6-30 GHz image-rejection distributed resistive MMIC mixer in a low-cost surface-mount package from Agilent Technologies; and a low-voltage and broadband V-band InP HEMPT frequency-doubler MMIC from NTT Corp.

The session on Radio over Fiber: Devices, Techniques and Systems begins with a presentation by students from Yonsei University and the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute. They will detail bi-directional 60 GHz radio-on-fiber systems using cascaded SOA-EAM frequency up/downconverters. The session also features the linearity enhancement of a directly modulated, uncooled DFB laser in multi-channel wireless-over-fiber systems. Other presentation topics include radio-on-fiber downlink transmission systems based on optically controlled InP/InGaAS HPT oscillators and a relative-intensity-noise reduction technique for frequency-converted radio-on-fiber system (given by Optowave Labs and Yazaki Corp.).

Tuesday's other morning sessions comprise Frequency Domain Numerical Techniques, with individual presentations on rapid 3D electromagnetic simulation of quasi-periodic structures from the Naval Research Lab; a surface integral equation formulation for dielectric post structures in waveguides, and the rigorous calculation of all ohmic losses in rectangular waveguide multiport junctions. In the session on Silicon- and GaAs-based Novel Amplifiers and Mixers, papers will focus on an intermodulation-reduction concept for cascode RF amplifiers; micropower amplifiers for wireless-PAN applications; and a University of Ulm presentation on a single traveling-wave MMIC for highly linear broadband mixers and variable-gain amplifiers. This session also will spotlight the first demonstration of a low-power monolithic transimpedance amplifier using InP/GaAsSb/InP DHBTs by students of the University of Michigan and National Tsinghua University.

During some of these morning sessions, the Plenary Session also will be taking place. The Plenary Session marks the formal opening of IMS2005. It will be held at 10:10 a.m. on Tuesday in the Long Beach Convention Center ballroom. After opening remarks by the conference organizers, there will be two keynote speakers. Dr. Teresa Meng, Reid Weaver Dennis Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, will delve into digitally assisted analog design for wireless systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) and its future. Although Meng may be best known for founding Atheros Communications, she also has received many awards and honors for her research work at Stanford.

The second keynote speaker, Mr. Ziqiang Hou, is a professor of the Institute of Acoustics, China Academy of Science (CAS). At that institute, Hou is the leader of an R&D group that focuses on digital information, consumer-electronics products, and broadband wired and wireless IP networking. Hou's presentation will examine one of today's hottest topics: 3G and mobile broadband wireless access. Previously, Hou was the Chairman of the Board of KeJian Co. and Chief Scientist at China Netcom.

Tuesday also is a good day for conference-goers that want to increase their knowledge of filters. Filter Theory and Synthesis Techniques will be covered in the morning, while an afternoon session focuses on Filter Design and Implementation. In addition, a focused session on FBAR Filters for Cellular-Phone Applications is brimming with offerings from both large engineering firms and educational institutions.

The other afternoon sessions include Hot Carrier Effects and Mixer Technology, which offers presentations on distortion-free varactor-diode topologies for RF adaptivity, the impact of hot-carrier stress on the RF power characteristics of MOSFETs, and isolation issues in multifunctional Si/SiGe ICs at 24 GHz. In Advances in Time-Domain Modeling, MIT Lincoln Lab presents its state-space system representation of time-domain responses from electromagnetic simulations. Other papers in this session cover low-reflection macromodels for a stable FDTD scheme operating with highly refined local meshes and ETH Zurich's novel wave separation scheme for the extraction of S-parameters in non-TEM waveguides for the FVTD method.

In the session on Sensors and Sensor Systems, presentations focus on location tracking with directional antennas in wireless sensor networks and cement-kiln temperature techniques using microwave radiometry. WJ Communications also will present a paper on the environmental effects on RFID tag antennas. Tuesday afternoon's technical program wraps up with sessions on the following: MW Component Miniaturization, Performance Optimization, Size Reduction, and Emerging Technologies; New Applications of Time-Domain Methods; Microwave Magnetic Devices; and Distributed RF Sensor Communication Systems.

A Special Tribute
Wednesday's schedule features two special sessions: Future Technologies for Microwave/Millimeter-Wave Applications and A Tribute to Harold Sobol. Sobol made numerous contributions to the microwave industry and the IEEE—especially the Microwave Theory and Techniques and Communications societies. In this session, co-workers will review Sobol's career and honor his legacy.

Wednesday morning's technical sessions focus on Phased Arrays and Retrodirective Systems, Components and Technologies for THz Applications, Nonlinear Device Modeling, and Microwave Acoustic Devices, which features a presentation by Infineon Technologies on spurious-mode suppression in coupled resonator filters. The session on High-Power GaN Devices offers a paper on 150-W GaN-on-Si RF power transistors by Nitronex Corp. while Bandstop and Dual Resonator Filters spotlights some interesting work by Alcatel Space. In Baluns and Transmission Structures, Hofbauer & Stock Microwave details an ultra-wideband microwave balun using a tapered coaxial coil structure working from the kilohertz range to beyond 26.5 GHz. The morning sessions are rounded out with the following topics: Smart Antennas and Beam-Forming Techniques, Tunable Dielectric Materials and Devices; Terahertz Imaging; Power Amplifiers For Wireless Applications; Ultra Wideband and Extended Stopband Filters; and Novel Components.

Wednesday's afternoon sessions offer a couple of papers on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS): MEMS Device Technology and MEMS Component Technology. The session on Advances in Wireless-Subsystem Technologies includes EPCOS AG's talk on high-rejection LTCC diplexers for dual-band WLAN applications; Nokia's examination of bandpass pulse-width modulation, and the examination of a single-chip SiGe BiCMOS transceiver and SiGe power amplifier for 5.8-GHz WDCT applications from Atmel Germany GmbH. In Tunable and Active Filters, Peregrine Semiconductor will present a paper on antenna impedance mismatch measurement and correction for adaptive CDMA transceivers. Wednesday afternoon is filled with a host of other sessions on topics like nonlinear simulation techniques, power amplifiers, packaging materials and applications, low-noise oscillating system arrays, low-noise devices and MMICs, and the nonlinear behavioral modeling of microwave circuits and systems.

Page Title

The Future Of Radar
Thursday's conference offerings include a two-part special session on Trends for Future Radar Systems with Electronically Scanned Arrays. Part I presents an overview of new technologies for radar with electronically scanned arrays. It also offers papers on more specific topics like airborne, naval, and ground-based applications. Part II of the special session details the technology advancements that are needed by space-based radars using electronically scanned arrays.

The morning technical sessions cover the following: Novel Techniques for Signal Generation; High-Power Amplifiers, with a presentation by Northrup Grumman Space Technology on a V-band, eight-way combined solid-state power amplifier with 12.8-W output power; Millimeter and Submillimeter-Wave Components for Emerging High-Frequency Applications; and the Linear Modeling of Active and Passive Structures. In Superconducting and Innovative Planar Filters, Superconductor Technologies delves into tuning-fork filter design for hand-scribe tuning. Advanced Nonlinear and Active Device Measurements offers a presentation by Agilent Technologies on a mixer-based, vector-corrected, vector-signal/network analyzer offering 300-kHz to 20-GHz bandwidth and traceable phase response. In addition, Cardiff University students will discuss the experimental evaluation of an active envelope load-pull architecture for high-speed device characterization.

Thursday's morning sessions wrap up with Advances in High Power-Amplifier Linearization and New Approaches for Low-Noise Oscillators, with National Taiwan University presenting a low-power and low-phase-noise 5.7-GHz LC VCO in an OOK transmitter for neurosensory applications. The session on Millimeter-Wave Monolithic Transceiver Components includes metamorphic 94-GHz power-amplifier MMICs from Fraunhofer Institute IAF. The Neural Network and Space Mapping Technologies session features the University of Waterloo's tuning of microwave filters by extracting human experience using fuzzy logic. Synthetic Transmission Lines and Their Applications spotlights a novel feeding technique for an antipodal, linearly tapered slot-array antenna from Montreal's Southeast University. Innovations in Microwave Measurement offers BreckonRidge Manufacturing Solutions' presentation on the statistical analysis of random errors from calibration standards.

The afternoon schedule includes a few sessions on transmission: Novel Transmission Lines and Structures, Circuits and Techniques for Multi-Gigabit/sec Transmission, and Left-Handed Transmission Lines and Applications. In Advances in Signal-Generation Techniques, Mitsubishi Electric Corp. details a triple wideband VCO with triple-tuned circuits in C-/Ku-band. NEC Corp. presents a 60-GHz-band subharmonically injection-locked VCO MMIC operating over a wide temperature range. In the Advanced Radar Systems session, Carnegie Mellon University discusses single-antenna microwave nulling using time-reversal techniques.

Sessions also focus on Metamaterial Waveguides, Efficient CAD for Multilayer Circuits and Large Interconnect Networks, and Wideband Communications Systems. Given the increasing collaborations between the medical and engineering fields, the session on Biological Effects and Medical Applications should offer some fascinating information. For example, the University of Calgary will discuss tissue-sensing adaptive radar for breast-cancer detection while Yonsei University delves into the thermal steady state in the human head under continuous EM exposure. The remaining sessions for the IMS2005 technical conference concentrate on High-Frequency Propagation and Effects and Advances in HF, VHF, and UHF Technology.

Although attendees can never get their fill of these plentiful and varied technical offerings, they can take a guilt-free break by wandering the show floor. The exhibition is a great place to get up to date on the latest technologies, as it is always brimming with the latest products. This year, for example, Anritsu Co. (www.anritsu.com) will be displaying its Broadband Site Master S810D/S820D portable cable and antenna analyzers (Fig. 1). By providing a wide frequency bandwidth, these analyzers promise to precisely detect faults in the cables and antennas utilized in wireless-backhaul and defense applications. Instead of the time-domain-reflectometry (TDR) approaches, the S810D/S820D use a frequency-domain-reflectometry (FDR) technique. By merging vector-error and waveguide-dispersion corrections, these analyzers achieve a distance-to-fault accuracy of 1 cm in coaxial and waveguide media. The S810D/S820D offer standard return loss, VSWR, cable loss, and distance-to-fault (DTF) displays.

For those attendees who are interested in the newest materials, Emerson & Cuming Microwave Products (www.eccosorb.com) will be adding a low-loss dielectric, rigid syntactic foam material to its ECCOSTOCK line. Dubbed ECCOSTOCK CK, this lightweight, controlled dielectric material is available with dielectric constants from 1.7 to 15.0. Meanwhile, Taconic (www.taconic-add.com) will be showing Taclamplusa low-loss, laser-ablatable substrate material. This non-reinforced PTFE microwave substrate is currently available with a dielectric constant of 2.7. To minimize PTH attenuation at high frequencies, it is available in 0.002-in.-thick sheets.

Analog Devices (www.analog.com) will unveil Version 2.7 of its phase-locked-loop (PLL) circuit design and evaluation tool, ADIsimPLL. The tool's goal is to streamline the RF development process for customers of the company's fractional-N and integrated VCO/PLL products. This latest version boasts enhanced synthesis and simulation capabilities combined with expanded libraries and web access.

Also hailing from ADI is the AD8364 dual-channel, RF root-mean-square (rms) power detector (Fig. 2). This device targets the precision measurement of transmit and receive signals up to 2.7 GHz, and can test two signals simultaneously. The AD8364 houses two matched AD8362 channels on a single chip.

In the radar arena, Picosecond Pulse Labs (www.picosecond.com) is spotlighting the 7600 series of downconversion sampling modules (Fig. 3). By using the company's Non-Linear Transmission Line (NLTL) technologies and terahertz-diode construction techniques, these modules achieve consistent linearity performance over a broad RF bandwidth at sampling rates from 10 MSamples/s to 2 GSamples/s. The 7600 series modules boast a 25-GHz minimum RF bandwidth, 5 W maximum power dissipation, and -50 dBc maximum SFDR.

These products are just a hint of the vast amount of products that will be showcased at this year's MTT-S. Be sure to visit the show floor to see them firsthand. For more information on MTT-S IMS, the RFIC Symposium, or the ARFTG Microwave Measurement Conference, please go to www.ims2005.org.

About the Author

Nancy Friedrich | Editor-in-Chief

Nancy Friedrich began her career in technical publishing in 1998. After a stint with sister publication Electronic Design as Chief Copy Editor, Nancy worked as Managing Editor of Embedded Systems Development. She then became a Technology Editor at Wireless Systems Design, an offshoot of Microwaves & RF. Nancy has called the microwave space “home” since 2005.

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