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Presenters Abstracts & Bios

Interlligent UK's RF & Microwave Design Seminar

2023's Presenter Abstracts & Bios

Thursday 30 November 2023

at the Møller Institute in Cambridge, UK.

An X-band Pulse Compression Instrumentation Radar for RCS Characterisation

Alex Scarbro; Managing Director, Rathera Limited

The design, development and realisation of a system for Radar Cross Section (RCS) characterisation of an Uncrewed Surface Effect Vehicle (USEV). Consisting of an X-band Qorvo 4W PA/LNA, a near full-band up/down block converter and a wideband software-defined pulse processor, the system can also be used as a platform for the development of complex radar waveforms. An integrated ADS-B/AIS receiver along with an electro-optics package provides wireless laser range finding and low latency video for visual object recognition and tracking of cooperative and non-cooperative targets. (Watch presentation video)

Alex Scarbro is the founder and Managing Director of Rathera Limited, a company he formed to design and support the development of integrated RF & electronic products and systems, including components for radar and EW (ESM, ECM and EA). Prior to founding Rathera in 2018 he was Principal Engineer at Teledyne Defence & Space, where he was hardware system architect for the Phobos Tactical Radar Threat Warning System, and before that at Linwave Technology. Alex has a first-class BEng in Electronic and Computer Systems Engineering from Loughborough University, where he was sponsored by Celeritek Inc. and also worked on secondment at its headquarters in Santa Clara, California.

How to Design and Develop Custom MMICs

Liam Devlin, CEO, PRFI Ltd

Microwave Monolithic Integrated Circuits (MMICs) allow the realisation of microwave and mmWave circuit functions in a compact, high-performance, low cost and highly reproducible form. They are the key building blocks of most modern microwave and mmWave front-ends and are readily available from a range of suppliers. So why bother going to the effort of developing your own custom MMICs?

This presentation will start by addressing this point, describing the reasons why companies choose to develop custom MMICs. It will then look at the MMIC development process. Starting with selection of the preferred process and package. It will describe how the unit cost of the MMIC can be determined – any custom MMIC development needs to make commercial sense as well as providing a technical advantage. The MMIC design and layout process will be described followed by the fabrication and packaging procedure. MMIC evaluation will be considered, both prototype/design-proving evaluation and pass/fail testing in production. Finally, qualification of the MMIC and the move to production will be discussed.

The presentation will give a complete summary of the steps that need to be taken to develop a new custom MMIC from concept to production, leaving attendees better placed to understand the challenges and benefits and able to appreciate under what circumstances such a development could be useful for their own programmes. (Watch presentation video)

Liam Devlin is the CEO of PRFI Ltd, a UK based design house specialising in the design and development of RFICs, MMICs and microwave/mm-wave modules. He has led the design and development of over 150 custom ICs on a range of GaAs, GaN and Si processes at frequencies from baseband to 90GHz. He has also developed microwave and mm-wave sub-systems using a variety of technologies including conventional SMT on laminate substrates, High Density Interconnect (HDI), chip and wire, thin film, thick film and LTCC. Liam is also a Non-Executive Director for Interlligent UK. He was previously Chief Designer with GEC-Marconi (Caswell) where he designed GaAs ICs for both the commercial product line and for customer-specific applications, and before this was employed by Philips Research Laboratories. Liam has a BEng (Hons – Class 1) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Leeds, and has published over 50 technical papers. For more information please see: PRFI

Integrated Simulation for Comprehensive Satellite Mission Support: From Antenna Design to Radar Signature Validation

Fatemeh Hoveizavi; Lead Application Engineer, EDRMEDESO

This talk emphasizes an integrated simulation approach encompassing component-level modeling to satellite deployment. Ansys HFSS is leveraged for antenna design and analysis, focusing on crucial aspects such as component modeling, array optimization, and post-processing techniques. Special attention is given to antenna placement strategies for optimizing satellite system performance. Furthermore, the simulation high-fidelity antenna patterns with large target radar signatures for performance validation will demonstrated. The integration of HFSS SBR+ data into Systems Tool Kit (STK) allows for a thorough assessment of the satellite’s radar signature and stealth capabilities. This seamless integration underscores the efficacy of approach in achieving mission success, enhancing satellite performance, and propelling advancements in the space industry. (Watch presentation video)

Fatemeh Hoveizavi, a Lead Application Engineer at EDRMEDESO, specializing in advanced RF and microwave design using ANSYS simulation tools. With expertise across high-frequency and low-frequency domains, I hold a Ph.D. in RF MEMS devices from a leading institution. Over a decade of professional experience has honed my skills in technical leadership, business development, and academic engagement. My proficiency in designing complex RF and microwave systems, including antennas, filters, and beam steering systems, demonstrates a deep understanding of electromagnetic principles. Actively participating in research projects and industry collaborations, my career embodies a relentless pursuit of innovation and a comprehensive grasp of cutting-edge RF and microwave techniques.

Configurable high-power E-Band transceiver for low-cost, volume, terrestrial telecommunications deployment

Tudor Williams; Director of Technology, Filtronic plc

This work presents the design of a new, high-power E-band transceiver offering world leading linear output power. The design is easily configurable within a high-volume manufacturing environment with eight variants available without changing the overall envelope of the module and with 95% commonality in components. It is possible to change key performance requirements such as high or low-band operation, receiver noise figure and output power with only minor design amendments leaving the core of the transceiver module unchanged. Perhaps the most novel aspect of the implementation is the ability, within the same footprint of the low power variant, to combine two planar mounted High-Power Amplifier (HPA) MMICs using a waveguide combiner at the output for ultra-low loss mmWave power combining. The configurable transceiver is described including design, simulation and experimental evaluation of the key components. Full module results for the variants are presented. (Watch presentation video)

Dr. Tudor Williams is an accomplished Engineer, Technical Manager, and Strategist with expertise in Semiconductors, Space, Telecommunications, and Aerospace/Defence. Presently serving as the Director of Technology at Filtronic, Dr. Williams is responsible for spearheading and developing the technical strategy and market roadmaps for Filtronic. He leads key initiatives in forging industrial/academic partnerships and collaborations. Prior to joining Filtronic, Dr. Williams held the position of Interim Technical Director at the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult in South Wales. In this role, he steered the strategic direction in application areas such as Net Zero, Future Telecoms, and Intelligent Sensing. Earlier in his career, Dr. Williams served as an Engineering Manager at Mesuro, a startup originating from Cardiff University that specialized in commercialising semiconductor test equipment. Beginning as the sole engineer, he nurtured and expanded the team before the company was acquired by a Canadian competitor. Dr. Williams holds a Master of Engineering degree from Swansea University and a PhD from Cardiff University.

Doherty Power Amplifiers Move to mmWave – Designing an Efficient 28GHz PA

Rob Smith; Commercial Director, PRFI Ltd

The design of a Doherty MMIC for the 28 GHz 5G frequency band will be described. Doherty power amplifiers are widely used below 6 GHz to improve Power Added Efficiency (PAE) for communications applications. However, designing Doherty PAs incurs many challenges, which increase as the frequency of operation moves towards mmWave. Power amplifiers at mmWave are less efficient than those at lower frequencies, so improving this efficiency is key to accelerating the adoption of mmWave frequencies for commercial use. The Doherty topology can achieve higher efficiencies at back-off without the need for external control circuitry, making it simple to integrate in RF and microwave sub-systems.
In this talk, the design of a Doherty MMIC for the 28 GHz 5G frequency band will be described. First pass design success was achieved using an asymmetrical topology designed on the commercially available 0.15 µm G28v5 GaN-on-SiC process from Wolfspeed. The MMIC was packaged in a 4x4mm air-cavity QFN package. The efficiency improvements compared to a conventional PA are demonstrated through measurement, and details of the design, simulation, layout, and packaging will be described. (Watch presentation video)

Dr. Robert Smith is Commercial Director for PRFI, his role includes overseeing the design of mmWave GaN power amplifiers, broadband MMICs, LNAs and RF switches. His experience encompasses designing on GaAs and GaN processes at Qorvo, Wolfspeed and WIN Semiconductors. Before joining PRFI, Robert designed transmitter modules for active phased array radar.

He received a Ph.D. in microwave engineering from Cardiff University, where he specialised in broadband power amplifier design. Robert is a reviewer for IEEE Microwave and Wireless Component Letters, has written multiple conference and industrial journal papers and is on the Editorial Review Board for Microwave Journal. He received his MBA in Technology Management in 2023.

The GHz Characterisation of Soft Materials

Paul Ben Ishai, THz & Dielectric Science Laboratory, Dept. of Physics, Ariel University

For most engineers the dielectric constant of a material and its conductivity are parameters characterizing its electrical properties in a particular frequency range.  However, for a physicist their origin is in the molecular response of the material to an electromagnetic wave.   Consequently, by realizing that the dielectric “constant” is not constant but reflects just how molecular dipoles or charge motion react to their surrounding when perturbed by the EM wave, one has a powerful tool to probe materials.  This is especially true for liquids and gels – “soft” materials.  Lacking the rigidity of chemical bonds, molecular mobilities are far higher and place the dielectric response in the GHz region at room temperatures.  The poster boy example is water, with its dielectric response centered at 18 GHz at 20 °C, and aqueous systems. The dielectric permittivity is a thermodynamic function, influenced by temperature, pressure, composition and mechanical strain.  Understanding how to extract the information inherent in the dielectric response Is the aim of all dielectric spectroscopy. This is never more so than for the GHz region of the frequency spectrum.

The talk will cover the basics of dielectric science, the information available and samples applicable for dielectric research in the GHz range, as well as the methodologies one can use to carry it out.  We will briefly cover topics such as Time Domain Responses, The use of VNAs, The limitations of probes  and interaction of biological tissues at these frequencies. (Watch presentation video)

Dr. Paul Ben Ishai runs the Dielectric and THz Laboratory of the Physics Department of Ariel University after heading the Center of Electromagnetic Research and Characterization (CERC) of the Hebrew University. He joined Ariel University in 2016 after 17 years in the Hebrew University where he was concurrently involved with the Laboratory of Prof. Feldman, concentrating on dielectric research. His research topics include soft condensed matter physics, glassy dynamics, biophysics, sub terahertz spectroscopy and dielectric spectroscopy. In 2004 he was part of the founding team investigating the interaction of the human sweat duct with sub terahertz electromagnetic radiation, research that he is still involved in till today. As an outcrop of this research, he has studied effective SAR rates for the general population resulting from exposure to Cellular and wireless radiation. He has published more than 80 articles, reviews and chapters in subjects ranging from Ferroelectrics and superconducting materials to protein solutions and red blood cells.

Contiguous mode Power Amplifiers in Class BJF-1: a robust design approach for 5G applications

Maria Merlyne De Souza; Professor of Microelectronics, University of Sheffield

Below 6 GHz, GaN outperforms other technologies in terms of both output power and efficiency. However, above 20 GHz, the efficiency of GaN is on par with other technologies. Harmonic tuning is a well-known approach that requires precise impedances at the fundamental and harmonic frequencies to improve efficiency. Continuum modes, an extension of harmonic tuning, offer a wider design space along the arc of a circle on the Smith chart.   We discuss new waveforms that offer a two dimensional contiguous design space between the class B/J and continuous class F-1 continuums that are intrinsically broadband and even more flexible in terms of design space and yield. These waveforms require a short at third and higher harmonic impedances, which are easier to achieve in the Ka-band.

Between 2.2-4.6 GHz, and a fractional BW of 63%, an amplifier designed using the CGH40010 delivered a Pout of 43dBm, with a DE 51-70%, whereas that using the CGH40025 delivered an average efficiency of 70.8 % and an output power 45.7dBm  over a bandwidth from 2.2-3.3 GHz, with a  frequency weighted efficiency of 91%. (Watch presentation video)

Professor De Souza graduated with a BSc in Physics and Mathematics (1985) from the University of Mumbai, a BE. in Electronics and Communications Engineering (1988) from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and a PhD from the University of Cambridge (1994).

She joined as a Junior Research fellow in ‘95, was promoted to a Senior Research fellow in ‘98 and was appointed Professor in Electronics and Materials at the Emerging Technologies Research Centre, De Montfort University in 2003.

In 2007 Professor De Souza joined the EEE department at Sheffield University as Professor of Microelectronics. Currently she works in multi-disciplinary research focused on the physics of devices, materials and their microelectronic applications in computing, communications and energy conversion

Implementation of true time delay for wideband beamforming applications in an integrated RFSoC

Mike Roberts; Co-founder & Technical Director; Slipstream Design Engineering Ltd

Communication and radar systems consisting of antenna arrays conventionally use phase shifters in beamforming applications. This results in beam squint and dispersion (of wideband signals), limiting the capabilities of these systems to narrowband operation. An enhanced approach is the application of a true time delay (TTD) to each element of the array which enables beamforming with wideband signals. The key difference between a phase shifter and a time delay is that a phase shifter provides a constant phase shift with frequency whereas a time delay provides a linear variation of phase with frequency which automatically compensates phase for the delay experienced by signals arriving later at the antenna. Output phase for a given beam angle is always matched irrespective of frequency because delay is matched across the array. With systems employing high-speed data converters and digital front end interfaces including Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), these time delays can also be used to account for and calibrate the discrepancies between channels and elements. One such device is the RF System-on-a-Chip (RFSoC) which combines programmable logic, hardened processors and high-speed data converters onto a unified chip which enables the digitisation of RF signals. This paper investigates a TTD  beamforming algorithm implementation via a Farrow-structured Fractional Delay filter technology on Xilinx RFSoC. The performance of the beamformer is then assessed using continuous wave (CW) and wideband linear frequency modulated (LFM) chirp signals to confirm its suitability for wideband applications. (Watch presentation video)

Dr. Mike Roberts is the Co-founder and Technical Director of Slipstream Engineering Design Ltd, a company who provide specialist design, development and support for the RF and Digital electronics industry.  Mike has been the system architect for many RF and digital products over the years including RF power amplifiers, radar transmitters and receivers, ground penetrating radar, digital beam formers, frequency converters and many more.  Prior to co-founding Slipstream with Philip Wilson, Mike was a principal engineer at Filtronic where he designed and developed MMIC switches and efficient power amplifiers for handset and basestation applications.  Mike received his PhD on 77GHz millimetrewave mixers from Leeds University where he was sponsored by BT labs

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