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Interconnect Solutions Hook Up at IMS

June 25, 2018
Suppliers of interconnect products were in full force at IMS 2018, demonstrating new solutions to “connect” all the pieces together in RF/microwave applications.

While interconnect products may not always seem glamorous, they are essential elements in creating successful RF/microwave applications. At IMS 2018, the latest and greatest high-frequency interconnect solutions were exhibited by companies that specialize in this arena. For one, those looking for robust cables at millimeter-wave (mmWave) frequencies may want to consider Junkosha. Among the mmWave solutions on display was its MWX001 cable (Fig. 1).

1. The MWX001 cables offer performance to 110 GHz.

Junkosha even demonstrated an actual measurement of the MWX001 at its booth, showing visitors that the cable’s insertion loss is around 2 dB at 110 GHz (Fig. 2). Furthermore, the MWX001 has a typical propagation delay of 4.2 ns/m. It has an outer diameter of 4 mm.

2. This demonstration revealed that the MWX001 cable had about 2 dB of insertion loss at 110 GHz.

In addition, Junkosha gave a live demonstration of its MWX051 cable, revealing how this cable maintains phase stability at 50 GHz when being repeatedly flexed. These cables are well-suited for vector-network-analyzer (VNA) measurements at higher frequencies. The MWX051 features a high tensile strength, a low dielectric constant, and high flex life thanks to Junkosha’s “precision engineered expanded-PTFE wrapping technology.” Junkosha’s new cables illustrate how the company is focused on supporting tomorrow’s 5G requirements and more.

In addition, W.L. Gore & Associates showcased its GORE PHASEFLEX Microwave/RF Test Assemblies, ON Cables for high-density test/interconnection applications (Fig. 3, left). The company boasts that these test assemblies “ensure consistent, repeatable measurements with stable electrical performance up to 50 GHz.”

3. With performance to 50 GHz, the GORE PHASEFLEX Microwave/RF Test Assemblies, ON Cables are ideal for 5G applications and much more.

With their flexibility, light weight, and small diameter, the GORE PHASEFLEX Microwave/RF Test Assemblies, ON Cables allow for easier routing in cramped spaces. In addition to reducing the stress on test ports and devices-under-test (DUTs), the cables maintain phase and amplitude stability when flexed. In terms of use cases, these cables will fit modular test instruments, RF switches, 5G applications, and more.

W.L. Gore & Associates also highlighted the GORE-FLIGHT Microwave Assemblies, 6 Series lightweight cable solutions, which have been qualified to stringent specifications for airframe assemblies (Fig. 4). According to the company, these cable solutions deliver low insertion loss before and after installation, ensuring reliable performance for the life of the system. Typical applications include airborne electronic surveillance/countermeasures, radar warning (electronic defense) systems, missile-approach warning systems, radar interconnects, electronic/signal intelligence, and navigation/communication systems.

4. The GORE-FLIGHT Microwave Assemblies, 6 Series lightweight cable solutions are qualified to meet stringent specifications for airframe assemblies.

Another company displaying a range of connectivity solutions at IMS was HUBER+SUHNER. One that got the spotlight was the RFEX, a connector dedicated to RF energy applications (Fig. 5). With the RFEX, the coaxial structure is integrated into the housing body. This eliminates gaps caused by separate mounted connectors or feedthroughs, minimizing potential sources of RF leakage. The RFEX also features an antenna mounted to the top of the housing, making it ideal for connecting to rectangular waveguides, dielectric-filled waveguides, and cooking cavities.

5. Intended for RF energy applications, the RFEX integrates a coaxial structure into the housing body.

In addition, HUBER+SUHNER recently announced its PSM connectors, which are intended for low-weight, power-sensitive aerospace applications (Fig. 6). The PSM connectors combine the size and weight of an SMA connector with the power-handling capabilities of a TNC connector. They are fully space-qualified per MIL-PRF-39012 and ESCC 3402.

6. The PSM connectors offer the size and weight of an SMA connector while achieving the power-handling capability of a TNC connector.

HUBER+SUHNER also highlighted the SPUMA RS, which is the latest addition to the company’s line of low-loss RF cabling. This cable solution utilizes HUBER+SUHNER’s patented rotary-swaging technology, which allows for the combination of increased flexibility with low signal loss.

Also shown were the MXP and MXPM multi-coax solutions—these are intended for benchtop and systems testing applications at frequencies as high as 67 GHz. Yet another new product on display was the SUCOFLEX 526V/526S test assemblies. These test assemblies feature what the company describes as a “unique cable and connector design” that guarantees superior phase and amplitude stability versus flexure, movement, temperature, and tensile stress. The SUCOFLEX 526V/526S test assemblies offer performance to 26.5 GHz. A 50-GHz option is currently being developed.