MPD: Please describe what you consider to be your company’s most significant technological achievements in 2023.
One of Guerrilla RF’s most significant technological achievements in 2023 was the completion and production launch of our GRF6402 digital step attenuator. We’re proud that this extremely sophisticated RF silicon-on-insulator (SOI) product was developed internally. It represents the culmination of years of work and investment and has been very well received in the market and we’re excited to develop additional new products leveraging this core platform. Being able to develop and offer unique features like our RapidFire capability made this a particularly rewarding technical development.
Another significant technological achievement for us has been the development of our first gallium nitride power amplifiers. We’ve made excellent progress, overcome several technical hurdles, and anticipate introducing several of these products in 2024. Both achievements underscore the versatility of Guerrilla RF’s capabilities to use various RF process technologies to deliver exceptional performance in differentiated products. Technical innovation is central to our value proposition and a lot more fun.
MPD: Has EDA software improved in recent years, and if so, how is it helping your company meet its goals?
Electronic design automation (EDA) software has been steadily enhanced over the past several years and EM cosimulation tools have greatly improved the odds of first-pass success on new product developments. RF and microwave circuit design has always been challenging, but when you can cosimulate your integrated circuit along with the package and printed circuit that the part will be tested with, you can avoid many issues. The accuracy, speed and integration of these cosimulation tools have noticeably improved over the years.
Another improvement in EDA software has been the device models. With gallium arsenide devices, in particular, models were notoriously inaccurate for a long time. However, great strides have been made in the last few years. Models generally converge much better, represent realistic thermal behavior much better, and improve fit at higher frequencies.
With these improved capabilities, we can develop more new products quicker and with fewer people. New product development and release are the lifeblood at Guerrilla RF, so we’ve taken advantage of these tools to compete with much larger companies.
One final observation is that no matter how good the EDA software tools get, RF and microwave design will always require a good deal of experience and tribal knowledge. It’s critical we continue bringing young engineers into the field and make sure to provide effective mentoring.
MPD: An increasing number of applications rely on RF and microwave technology. What applications are most likely to significantly contribute to the industry by the end of the decade?
Wireless communications will continue to be the dominant application for the industry for the foreseeable future. An intriguing new application is RF wireless power transfer. With the ongoing shift to renewable energy and electric vehicles, there’ll be a huge incentive for flexible, convenient recharging. Huge technical hurdles remain to make RF power transfer truly useful, but the demand would be massive if they can be cleared or at least reduced.
For instance, wireless power transfer could offer extended EV range. This would reduce the need for a dense rollout of expensive charging infrastructure. While inductive charging is already available, it has significant limitations that RF power transfer can overcome, including range and power density.