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The First Gold-Plated Plastic Microwave Connector

June 18, 2024
Corning’s Polylink connectors offer high performance of up to 26.5 GHz despite their plastic construction.
Photo 8822040 © Songquan Deng | Dreamstime
Photo 16594480 © Katarzyna Zwolska |
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Browse our complete IMS 2024 coverage.

At IMS 2024, Corning Incorporated introduced what it called the world’s first metal-plated plastic microwave connector ready to reduce costs and maximize installation flexibility in the telecom and aerospace sectors.

Based on its proprietary Polylink technology, the materials giant said the gold-plated plastic blindmate interconnects turn out to be lighter and less costly than traditional components manufactured out of beryllium copper. The parts also feature compatible interfaces and high performance that extends up to 26.5 GHz. The company also said that they’re inherently more flexible, which is increasingly vital to the microwave connectivity field.

The Polylink technology saves more than 30% of the weight of Corning’s copper-based interconnects in a similar form factor, weighing only 0.06 grams with a center-to-center spacing of 0.0135 in. The new connector family is also ideal for 5G networks as well as aerospace, defense, and automotive systems due to its high degree of flexibility. More specifically, the Polylink technology features up to 0.005 axial compression.

Corning said Polylink also features a faster manufacturing process. The quick molding speed for plastic polymer materials accelerates fabrication times compared to its traditional interconnects. On top of that, the connectors offer cost advantages because they’re based on plastic polymers instead of copper. All these features, said Scott Flint, business director of the aerospace and defense unit within Corning Advanced Optics, give it the edge in “low-to-medium frequencies, especially when payload and cost efficiency matter most.”

The company’s traditional metal blindmate interconnects will be on display at IMS, too. These are widely used in telecom and radar systems as well as naval, airborne, and ground-based missile programs for the defense industry.

Browse our complete IMS 2024 coverage. Also, read more articles in the TechXchange: Interconnect Insights.

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