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2019 RF & Microwave Design Seminar
2019 RF & Microwave Design Seminar

Interlligent UK’s 5th RF & Microwave Design Seminar

7 November 2019 | Møller Institute, Cambridge, UK 

Interlligent UK’s fifth annual RF & Microwave Design Seminar was a great success. We’d like to thank all the attendees for joining us.

Programme speakers included:

  • Tudor Williams, CSA Catapult
    Beam steering challenges and advances at mmWave frequencies
    The ever increasing demands of RF systems has led to a dramatic rise in the use of Beam Steering techniques in a range of applications from RADAR, Autonomous vehicles, Satellite Communications to 5G mobile systems. In this presentation some of the key challenges for beam steering at mmWave frequencies are identified and state of the art advances looking to provide solutions are covered. This includes:
    • Device technology selection and the drive for compound semiconductors
    • Topologies to improve power amplifier efficiency
    • Novel phase shifting technologies
    • Advanced packaging and integration

    The presentation concluded by reviewing the Catapults current project looking to create a demonstrator for beam-steering at mmWave frequencies, to allow the industry to evaluate this technology. (Download pdf) or (Watch Video)

  • Jeremiah Turpin, Isotropic Systems
    Hybrid optical beamforming for electrically steered antennas
    Currently-available satellite communications antennas do not meet the requirements of new satellites and constellations. Neither reflectors not currently-existing phased array antennas can reach both the upcoming cost and capability needs of the industry without significant improvements. Isotropic Systems is developing a solution that is a hybrid between optical (lens) and electrical (phased array) antennas that supports many new capabilities while yielding significant improvements in performance and power consumption.(Download pdf) or (Watch Video)
  • Mike Geen, Filtronic
    Application of mmWave technology in High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites (HAPS) and LEO constellations

    High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites, operating in the stratosphere, together with Low Earth Orbit satellite constellations have the potential to provide solutions to the challenge of providing ubiquitous connectivity. While there is great progress in developing ever faster mobile networks to serve major centres of population, to deliver the full promise of 5G and address the digital divide it is essential to provide coverage to low population areas where terrestrial mobile networks are not viable and where many of the IoT sensors will be located. This presentation gave an overview of the role of HAPS and satellites in forming “networks in the sky” and described some of the RF challenges in designing the high data rate (10Gbps-plus) communication links needed to backhaul data, both between earth and the satellite/HAPS and between satellites/HAPS. (Download pdf)
  • Liam Devlin, Plextek RFI / Mark Wong, MobiPhive
    A highly-integrated CMOS front-end for mm-wave 5G
    The roll-out of mmWave 5G has commenced, and with it comes the promise of step changes in data rates, low latency and a wealth of novel and integrated applications. Many of the early applications for mmWave 5G are broadband access to the home, but this will soon be augmented with the introduction of mobile handsets, devices and vehicles. Such applications will require the availability of hardware in very high volumes, and must be supported by low-cost, compact, and highly-integrated mmWave components.MobiPhive is developing innovative mmWave front-end solutions for the end consumer electronics market using low cost, high-volume CMOS technology. This presentation described a complete front-end SMT packaged 28GHz IC including a 4-element Antenna-in-Package (AiP) array. Each of the 4 channels includes Tx and Rx path switching, amplification, phase control and gain control. It also includes on-chip RF combining/splitting to allow a single SMT interface at RF. The resulting component facilitates electronic beam steering and allow the realisation of high-volume 5G user terminals. Details of the IC, including measured results, the packaging approach and the antenna array performance were presented. (Download pdf) or (Watch Video)
  • Yonatan Cohen, Quantum Machines
    RF goes Quantum-how RF engineering is shaping the future of Quantum Computing
    Quantum mechanics, born at the beginning of the 20th century and which revolutionized our understanding of nature, implies that nature is far more counter intuitive and far richer than anyone previously imagined. In the 1980’s, physicists understood that this richness of nature can be used to construct a new kind of computer that can outperform any classical computer that ignores the quantum world. In the decades that followed, physicists have made huge progress in learning how to design and control quantum systems, and have turned the once far away dream of a large scale quantum computer, into a realistic and closer than ever prospect. Interestingly, in many of today’s leading implementations of quantum computers, communicating with and controlling of quantum hardware is done using state of the art microwave and RF technologies.What are the basic principles on which quantum computers work and how do quantum computers beat classical computers? How can quantum computers be built and what essential role does  microwave and RF technology play in the field? (Download pdf) or (Watch Video)
  • Jeremy Fisher, Wolfspeed
    GaN MMICs for mmWave applications
    The demand for more bandwidth is driving significant growth for commercial applications at millimeter wave frequencies. Satellite communications, point-to-point communications, and the upcoming 5G rollout are all driving the need for high power, highly efficient linear circuits. In addition, phased array architectures are becoming more prevalent in these applications, and the high element count and small element spacing needed to work at Ka-Band requires excellent raw linearity, high efficiency, and reliable operation with minimal cooling. The high power density, high breakdown voltage, and excellent thermal properties of GaN-on-SiC make it of particular interest for these applications. Wolfspeed has developed a leading 150-nm, GaN-on-SiC process using an optically defined, i-line gate. This includes a fully integrated MMIC process, which supports 28V operation and provides in excess of 3 W/mm and 40% efficiency at 30 GHz under typical operating conditions.
    To demonstrate the capability of the G28V5 (28V, 150 nm gate) MMIC process, Wolfspeed has designed and manufactured a 5W MMIC HPA operating from 26.5 to 30.5 GHz. This PA produces 37.6 dBm of saturated power with 39.8% associated PAE. Additionally, Wolfspeed’s G28V5 process demonstrates much improved compression characteristics compared to other available GaN processes. Where typical GaN processes are characterized by a soft compression and peak performance typically in the 4-5 dB range for a single transistor stage, the AM-to-AM characteristics of both the Wolfspeed HEMT and MMIC perform with a flatter power curve and much improved P1db. Through use of the G28V5 process and proper biasing, the above MMIC is capable of producing 37.1 dBm of power and 37.8% PAE at P1dB. This type of performance is particularly attractive to the burgeoning 5G and Sat Com markets, where the intention is to achieve good linearity without the use of pre-distortion or other off chip techniques that would add to the cost, power dissipation, and size of the system. (Download pdf) or (Watch Video).
  • Mark Barrett, Blu Wireless Technology
    5G mmWave wireless – recent results from transport applications
    This presentation provided an update on recent work in exploiting the large amounts of spectrum available at 5G-millimetre wave frequencies (notably 57 – 71GHz) for improved wireless connectivity for road and rail transportation. Results from two ongoing projects were described. Firstly, how mmwave communications technology is being applied to deliver gigabit-grade connectivity to trains in order to improve passenger internet-based services. Secondly, the ‘Autoair’ project, one of six DCMS funded 5G Test Bed projects, aimed at 5G connected vehicle mobility applications will be described. Here a network of millimetre-wave nodes has been deployed around the two-mile circumference high-speed bowl at the Millbrook proving ground, to support high speed gigabit level track-to-car (and train) applications.(Download pdf) or (Watch Video)
  • Avtar Virdee, Microwave Technology Ltd
    Development of GaN based Solid State Power Amplifiers up to 1kW CW
    Gallium Nitride (GaN) power devices are now extensively used in the realisation of solid state power amplifiers that are employed in radar systems, electronic warfare systems, space systems, medical, communication systems and industrial heating. The presentation described the design, implementation and measured results of GaN solid state power amplifiers operating across S-Band, C-Band, X-Band and Ku-Band with output power levels ranging from 20 W to 1 kW, and operating in pulse and continuous wave (CW) mode. The GaN devices constituting the S-Band, C-Band, X-Band and Ku-Band amplifier are based on commercial off-the-shelf packaged and bare die devices that are ITAR free (Download pdf) or (Watch Video)

The seminar was accompanied by a table top display. We’d like to thank our sponsors:

Albatron Science;    Ansys;    AWR Group;    Aspen Electronics;   Castle Microwave;    CSA Catapult;    Filtronic;   Intelliconnect;    Inseto;    Melcom Electronics;    MHz Technologies;    Microtek Components / Smiths Interconnect;    MPI Corporation;    RN Electronics;    Sematron;   YIC Technologies;


What delegates are saying

“The quality of the speakers, the venue, and the ability to network with many of the experts and leaders in our industry, make this an outstanding event that I and many of my colleagues look forward to throughout the year. My thanks to everyone in the Interlligent team for making these seminars so exceptional. The organisation, the vision, and the hard work that goes into coordinating and creating this event for the RF and Microwave community is massive”

Keith Alexander Cambridge Radio Technologies 

“The seminar was really helpful and informative about the current state-of-the-art in RF and microwave technology in the UK. The presentation material and videos will be a useful source of information, and I will definitely look forward to next year’s conference.”

Geoffrey Barigye, Arralis


“The Interlligent RF Seminar provided an outstanding series of technical presentations, from speakers who were clearly experts in the subject matter they were discussing. It gave an excellent introduction to some of the current activities in technical aspects of 5G development, and I was particularly fascinated by the insight into the world of quantum computing.”

Alex Bienek, CRFS Ltd.

“All the speakers were very good to excellent, with a well-balanced range of topics. It was an excellent location, with a well laid out and busy exhibit area as well as a comfortably equipped seminar room. Finally the food was wonderful, especially the cream scones!”

Malcolm Edwards, AWR


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