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Blink and You'll Miss 'Em: IMS 2021's MicroApps

June 1, 2021
Sometimes you want a whole meal, and sometimes just an appetizer. IMS 2021 aspires to provide the latter with short and snappy MicroApps tech presentations.

Check out our full coverage of IMS 2021.

What you’ll learn:

  • Microwave Applications Seminars take a highly practical approach
  • Engineers learn design and test techniques they can apply immediately
  • MicroApps are sponsored, but sales pitches are discouraged

This year's International Microwaves Symposium will be in two versions, one live (Atlanta, June 7-10) and one virtual (June 20-25). The live event will feature an exciting slate of full technical presentations in a whirlwind three days (June 7-9). Likewise, the virtual event will do the same, the difference being that you can take in the sessions from wherever you happen to be, so long as you've got a good internet connection.

Both versions of IMS 2021 will also feature something the organizers are calling Microwave Application Seminars, or MicroApps. These 15-minute sponsored presentations, which, in the case of the live-event IMS, will take place at the MicroApps Theatre on the exhibition floor, are a bit like tech speed dating. You get just enough time with a presenter and the topic to get a flavor of what it's about. The presenters are discouraged from hitting attendees with a sales or marketing pitch but pointing out specific features of their products that might solve specific problems is OK. And, it might be enough to get attendees to stop by their booth later for a follow-up discussion in more detail.

The MicroApps seminar presentation materials, typically PowerPoint files converted to .pdf format, will be available electronically through a cloud distribution service at the IMS website and the IMS Microwave Week mobile app.

MicroApps are intentionally brief, but the organizers are grouping them based on subject matter. On one hand, that gives attendees a chance to hear more than one presentation on a topic of particular interest to them in a sitting. On the other, companies that are looking for industry partners or supply-chain links have an opportunity to network behind the scenes.

Tuesday, June 8

Some of the highlights among Tuesday’s MicroApp sessions include:

  • Technical considerations for testing 5G base-station finals for digital pre-distortion (DPD) characterization (sponsored by AR RF/Microwave Instrumentation): Bandwidth and peak-to-average ratios for 5G modulation requires accurate DPD characterization. An oft-overlooked aspect of the characterization is a near-distortion-free 3GPP test model for presentation to the final device-under-test. With Class A amplifiers typically recommended in these applications, this presentation will cover whether the typical Class A spec of P1dB is a sufficient selection criteria.
  • Fixture removal technique with a 1-port reflect model on a VNA (sponsored by Copper Mountain Technologies): De-embedding the test fixture using a 1-port reflect mode traditionally requires an identical 2X thru-line. CMT will show an alternative method to overcome fixture limitations when testing surface-mount components.
  • Miniaturized SIW using high-K ceramics (sponsored by Knowles Precision Devices): Substrate-integrated waveguide (SIW) technology has been merged with a high-precision, repeatable, thin-film process using high-permittivity material. This helps to create small, temperature-stable, high-performance filters in a surface-mount package. The presentation will cover size and performance benefits vs. common PCB materials, as well as flexibility in configuration and implementation. A demonstration will show modeled to measured performance at 28 GHz.
  • Pulse-to-pulse phase stability measurements (sponsored by Rohde & Schwarz): Advanced radar systems use signal processing to detect and suppress unwanted reflections from trees, buildings, and so on by comparing the phases and amplitudes of successive echoes. The greater the phase and amplitude stability of the transmitted pulses, the better the radar’s performance. The presentation will cover the precise measurements required to determine overall system performance.

Wednesday, June 9

IMS's MicroApps presentations continue Wednesday; here are a few standout examples:

  • Broadband bias-tee design using accurate models at mmWave frequencies (sponsored by Modelithics): Bias tees are often used to apply DC bias to RF circuits. This presentation will cover how to design bias tees using models accurate out to mmWave frequencies, including design details and simulation results. Then, presenters will compare measured data to simulated performance with an eye toward good performance up to, if not beyond, 40 GHz.
  • Modular implementation of the latest RFSoC chip from Xilinx: (sponsored by Pentek): The paradigm shift from discrete components connected via parallel LVDS, or high-speed differential pairs on various mezzanine cards, to an FPGA has shifted to a more integrated design. The latest generation of devices includes analog I/O and multi-core ARM processors with high-speed PHY protocol components hardened in the traditional FPGA fabric. This presentation will illustrate key design criteria to properly implement this system-on-chip technology on the latest commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) modules.
  • Pulse-shape duplication for high-power SSPAs (sponsored by Empower RF Systems): High-power amplifiers struggle to duplicate input signals without distortion, with their transient response introducing overshoot, ring, and droop. Modern pulse shaping seeks to restore signal fidelity using a combination of imperfect methods, mostly external to the amplifier. This presentation outlines a new approach that matches input pulse signal shape and minimizes undesired distortion.
  • 5G connectivity: Challenges and gold solutions (sponsored by Indium Corp.):The high-speed and bandwidth needed within the 5G network result in two common issues facing companies that are producing this mobile technology: controlling thermal management of solder joints while also maintaining their strength. This presentation will discuss the challenges and present solutions that can improve the thermal transfer of high-output lasers, as well as solving the weak solder-joint issue on the gold-rich substrate of gallium nitride (GaN) dies.

There's plenty more where those highlighted presentations came from, and it all happens at next week's live IMS in Atlanta. See you there!

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