For a few years now, the International Microwave Symposium (IMS), like virtually all in-person industry events, had been in the doldrums. Despite its reputation as “the flagship event dedicated to all things microwave,” attendees and vendors alike were hedging their bets and hanging back, either scaling down their participation or just not showing up at all. The lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with our broad societal acceptance of working remotely and teleconferencing, served to throw a blanket over IMS.
Well, with IMS 2023 having recently concluded at the San Diego Convention Center, I can say without hesitation that those doldrums have passed. In fact, IMS 2023 was a blast! The exhibit floor, conference sessions, workshops, and social events were all extremely busy. As an editor whose days at IMS are full of non-stop meetings with industry experts, navigating the crowded aisles of the exhibit hall was challenging. Apologies to those who waited patiently for me to reach your booths.
Fortunately, all of the breathless running around was rewarded with a broad overview of the industry that you can get only at IMS. Here are some snapshots of highlights with links to our full coverage:
Among the most impressive IMS launches was ADI’s software-defined, direct RF-sampling, wideband, mixed-signal front-end platform. With Apollo MxFE, ADI has in its sights the future of phased-array radar, signals intelligence, industrial IoT, advanced test and measurement, mil/aero, and more. We’re talking about the industry’s first integrated radio that covers the 6G bands from 7 to 15 GHz with instantaneous bandwidths up to 10 GHz.
Oscilloscopes have long since cemented their places on RF/mmWave designers’ testbenches, but they continue to add functionality by way of new application-specific software. To that end, Tektronix now offers multichannel vector-signal-analysis capabilities in its 5 and 6 MSO Series platforms. The software endows the oscilloscopes with the functionality of a vector signal analyzer, pulse analyzer, WiGig or WLAN tester, and spectrum analyzer—all coupled with the advanced triggers of a digital scope.Timing is everything in life, and even more so in digital circuits. Microchip came to IMS with an interesting demo of its SA65 chip-scale atomic clock, which the company says is the world’s lowest-power chip in its class (<120 mW). The device delivers short-term stability (Allan Deviation) of 3.0 × 10–10 at τ = 1 s from −40 to +80°C. The SA65 has all you need to quantify oscillators.
Those are just a handful of interesting launches and demos we saw at IMS 2023. There’s lots more where that came from in our online issue with full IMS 2023 coverage, with more being added as I write. If you couldn’t get to San Diego, I hope our efforts provide you with at least a flavor of what the show was like.