by Walt Strickler, VP / General Manager, Wireless Telecom Group
MPD: Please describe what you consider to be your company’s most significant technological achievements in 2022.
Wireless Telecom Group had a number of technical achievements in 2022 of which we are very proud. In example, our Holzworth brand moved to high volume production of the industry’s highest density multi-channel phase coherent synthesizers. Holzworth offers 16- and 32-channel synthesizers in a 1 RU (rack unit) high compact chassis which are ideal for quantum computing applications. Our Noisecom brand introduced a 60 GHz noise generator in support of the growing millimeter-wave technology development. Our Boonton brand added performance leading component characterization capability to their signal generator, the architecture of which uniquely enables both low phase noise and fast switching signals.
MPD: Many technologies are driving RF and microwave technologies today. Which ones do you feel are the most important as it concerns your company’s work?
One technology that continues to drive the market is GaN. We are helping to facilitate the increasing advancements in and utilization of GaN in many ways. For example, we are partnering with an industry leader to enable them to demonstrate their innovations in pulse fidelity for high-power GaN radar and EW transmitters. Our Boonton brand power measurement capabilities are being used to make the highest resolution pulsed RF power envelop measurements to illustrate their unique real-time pulse droop and overshoot reduction techniques. In addition, Boonton’s exclusive Measurement Buffer mode permits measurements over a virtually unlimited number of pulses to analyze long-term heating effects.
MPD: If your company serves the defense market, what are you working on (that you can talk about)?
The defense segment is an important part of our Test and Measurement business. One example is the area of radar system tests. New and increasing threats abroad require long-range visibility and corresponding wide radar pulse widths and long pulse repetition intervals, while the increase in urban warfare demands narrow radar pulse widths and high pulse repetition frequencies to detect slow moving threats. Our Boonton brand uniquely offers RF power measurement products that can address both needs in a single instrument. Another example is in the area of directed energy weapons (DEW). Our Noisecom brand provides solutions to address Stimulated Brillouin Scattering challenges associated with DEW.
MPD: Technology appears to have advanced to the point where millimeter-wave deployment on a wide scale is possible. What is your perspective on this?
Millimeter-wave technology advantages have long been documented. In the past, practical exploitation was limited by cost, whether from the complexities of component design or the challenges in large scale production. With recent advancements, these barriers are coming down. However, there are still some fundamental challenges that remain, such as high path loss and low penetration capability. Millimeter-wave technology will clearly have an important role. The challenge will be with identifying where it can be most effectively deployed. We are helping in many ways. For example, our Noisecom noise sources are available up to 110 GHz for receiver testing and noise figure measurements.