IN MY OPINION

Evolving at the Speed of Software
By Sherry Hess, VP of Marketing,
AWR Group, NI

Thank you, Dr. Joe Salvo of GE Global Research and the founder and director of the Industrial Internet Consortium for sharing this tagline with me. At NIWeek 2014, Dr. Salvo took the keynote stage to comment on the Industrial Internet in the “systems age,” which has superseded the information age.
Read More...

MILITARY MICROWAVE DIGEST


MMD March 2014
New Military Microwave Digest

ON THE MARKET


Band Reject Filter Series
Higher frequency band reject (notch) filters are designed to operate over the frequency range of .01 to 28 GHz. These filters are characterized by having the reverse properties of band pass filters and are offered in multiple topologies. Available in compact sizes.
RLC Electronics


SP6T RF Switch
JSW6-33DR+ is a medium power reflective SP6T RF switch, with reflective short on output ports in the off condition. Made using Silicon-on-Insulator process, it has very high IP3, a built-in CMOS driver and negative voltage generator.
Mini-Circuits


Group Delay Equalized Bandpass Filter
Part number 2903 is a group delayed equalized elliptic type bandpass filter that has a typical 1 dB bandwidth of 94 MHz and a typical 60 dB bandwidth of 171 MHz. Insertion loss is <2 dB and group delay variation from 110 to 170 MHz is <3nsec.
KR Electronics


Absorptive Low Pass Filter
Model AF9350 is a UHF, low pass filter that covers the 10 to 500 MHz band and has an average power rating of 400W CW. It incurs a rejection of 45 dB minimum at the 750 to 3000 MHz band, and power rating of 25W CW from 501 to 5000 MHz.
Werlatone


LTE Band 14 Ceramic Duplexer
This high performance LTE ceramic duplexer was designed and built for use in public safety communication and commercial cellular applications. It operates in Band 14 and offers low insertion loss and high isolation to enable clear communications in the LTE network.
Networks International

See all products in this issue


June 2014

Plastic-Packaged LDMOS RF Power Transistors Deliver Up to 300 W CW
By David Lester, Freescale Semiconductor

RF systems such as FM and digital TV broadcast, aerospace and defense, land mobile radio, CO2 lasers, and industrial heating and sealing systems stress RF power transistors and amplifiers to a far greater degree than most other applications. RF input power often exceeds device ratings, DC voltages vary, and impedance mismatches can rise to levels that essentially resemble a direct short. Nevertheless, the end product must continue to operate to specification over long periods without failure.

Figure 1: The MRFE6VP5300 delivers at least 300 W CW over a frequency range of 1.8 to 600 MHz

To accommodate such hostile operating environments, power amplifiers have traditionally employed RF power transistors housed in air-cavity ceramic packages, especially at higher RF output levels. However, Freescale Semiconductor has changed this paradigm in recent years with LDMOS FET RF power transistors that deliver high RF power levels when housed in overmolded plastic packages. The company has recently increased these power levels to 150 W CW and 300 W CW, which represent the highest RF power outputs available from any plastic-packaged RF power device.

Like their ceramic-packaged counterparts, these devices will perform without failure or performance degradation when driven by twice their rated RF input power into an impedance mismatch (VSWR) greater than 65:1 at all phase angles. The new MRFE6VP5150 and MRFE6VP5300, available in both straight-lead and gull-wing packages, deliver 150 W and 300 W CW over a frequency range of 1.8 to 600 MHz. Detailed specifications are provided in Table 1.

Table 1: Key Device Specifications

Freescale rates its RF power products conservatively and at the highest frequency in the range, which ensures that they will deliver their rated output levels with considerable margin. For example, Figure 2a shows the RF power output of the MRFE6VP5150 operating at 230 MHz with an input signal having a pulse width of 100 µs and a 20% duty cycle. P1dB RF output power ranges from slightly over 3 W with a 13 dBm input signal to over 158 W with 30 dBm of drive. In Figure 2b, MRFE6VP5300 operating at the same frequency and with an input signal having similar characteristics delivers about 10 W with 17 dBm of drive and greater than 398 W with just over 31 dBm of drive.

The Future Is Plastic
Freescale pioneered the use of overmolded plastic packages in RF power applications in 1997 after first successfully introducing the technology for automotive and industrial applications in the 1980s. The company has subsequently dramatically increased the use of this packaging technique in a wide array of small-signal and LDMOS RF power transistors, and most recently in LDMOS devices that deliver even greater amounts of RF power.

Achieving higher power levels such as those represented by the new MRFE6VP5150 and MRFE6VP5300 presents a major challenge in packaging design as the devices must simultaneously accommodate 225° C die operating temperatures and greater heat dissipation without compromising electrical performance, ruggedness, or reliability. One of the key metrics in this area is thermal resistance (measured in °C/W), which represents how effective the die/package combination is in transferring heat into a heat sink or cold plate. The higher the thermal resistance the more difficult it becomes to remove heat from the die so it must be as low as possible. Freescale has made consistent advances over the years in reducing thermal resistance, and the new devices not only match the thermal performance of Freescale’s ceramic-packaged LDMOS FETs delivering the same RF output powers but actually improve upon it.

Replacing traditional ceramic air cavity with overmolded plastic packages has significant advantages, the most obvious being lower cost. However, unlike bolt-down ceramic-packaged devices, they are also compatible with automated pick-and-place manufacturing, which makes them suited for moderate-to high-volume production applications. This has significant benefits for OEMs. For example, ceramic air cavity packages are usually hand soldered down to the circuit board, which is not only time-consuming but much less precise than what automated equipment can achieve. Typical accuracy with hand soldering is 0.12 mm while automated equipment can achieve precision of about 0.025 mm, which can reduce or even eliminate the need for tuning that is required to compensate for the imprecision of hand soldering.

Figure 2: The MRFE6VP5150 (a) delivers up to 159 W (P1dB) at 230 MHz with 30 dBm of drive. The MRFE6VP5300 (b) delivers up to 398 W (P1dB) with slightly less than 32 dBm of drive

Why Such Hostility?
Compared to applications that require extremely rugged RF power transistors, systems such as wireless base stations, smartphones, and other wireless-enabled devices are far less demanding. Their operating environments are far more stable and not subject to wild variations in DC operating voltages, RF input power, and often (but not always) impedance mismatches. In contrast, CO2 lasers, plasma exciters, and even FM and over-the-air TV transmitters not only require high RF power output but present some or all of the aforementioned anomalies, often on a frequent basis. Lasers and plasma generators must ramp up quickly and place severe stress on RF power transistors and amplifiers, which can easily exceed the specifications on their data sheets.

Even with the help of power monitoring circuits in the radio that help maintain RF output power with reductions in supply voltage, they do so by increasing drive to the final amplifier, producing an overdrive condition that many devices have difficulty accommodating. However, Freescale’s high-ruggedness LDMOS devices can simultaneously shrug off variations in DC power, twice their rated RF input level, and mismatches that occur resulting from poor connections, user abuse, and cable discontinuities.

The MRFE6VP5300 is in full production and the MRFE6VP5150 is expected to be available in production quantities in the third quarter of this year. Freescale provides a wide range of support tools including broadband fixtures, models, and reference designs. More information can be obtained by visiting our website.

Freescale Semiconductor
www.freescale.com/rfpower
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FROM WHERE WE SIT

Uncertain Times for DefenseIn Defense of DARPA; Lamenting Bell Labs
By Barry Manz

A federal agency like DARPA is a sitting duck for politicians and assorted other critics. It has come up with some truly bizarre programs over years that ultimately either delivered no tangible results, were canceled before they could cause any damage, or attempted to answer questions that nobody was asking or needed answers to. Read More...


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