The concluding months of 2021 have us reflecting on a very eventful year for the electronic component industry. Despite facing mass semiconductor shortages and a global pandemic, the industry remained more resilient than predicted. As businesses shifted to work from home, and travel and entertainment adopted new safety precautions, the tech industry responded with a series of new innovations. At the core of those innovations, are powerful RF, microwave, and semiconductor technologies. To get the inside scoop on the top innovative electronic components of 2021, we surveyed the technical experts at RFMW and determined nine products that we recommend you keep an eye on as we transition into 2022.
Reconfigurable Driver Amplifier Enables Next-Gen Dual-Band Radar
Mark Millhollin, Qorvo Supplier Business Manager, highlights that reconfigurable driver amplifiers are unique to the market and enable next-generation, dual-band radar systems. Test results show that a dual, S/X-band implementation of Qorvo’s QPA0004 (Figure 1) has superior performance in comparison to individual S and X-band MMICs combined with an SPST switch. This is a significant advantage in SWaP-C design considerations. The 7 x 4 mm SMT GaN MMIC amplifier delivers 9 Watts of Psat RF power in S-band (3.1 to 3.5 GHz) and 8 Watts in X-band (9 to 11 GHz). The QPA0004’s large signal gain is 21 dB (S-band) and 19.0 dB (X-band) operating at a 26-volt bias.
General Purpose Airfast GaN Transistor
Tim Daniels, RF Power Business Development Manager, recommends NXP’s A3G26D055N transistor from their new GaN fabrication facility. The A3G26D055N has been a popular discrete transistor and although it’s incredibly compact in a DFN 7 x 6.5 OMP package, it’s capable of 50 Watts of peak power while operating from 48 V. This dual-path transistor provides input matching while offering an unmatched output. This allows precise tuning for optimal circuit performance. With a versatile operating frequency range of 100 to 2690 MHz, the A3G26D055N is optimal for a broad variety of applications, it has been successfully used in a variety of different applications while being configured as a classical Class AB amplifier for industrial 915 MHz and 2.45 GHz applications, or as a symmetrical Doherty in tactical, wideband radios and 5G cellular infrastructure such as 64T64R mMIMO radio units where it provides a typical gain of 18 dB and 54% Doherty efficiency, with an average power of 8 Watts at 8 dB back off.
Extremely Rugged RF Power Transistor
Tim has also selected Ampleon’s ART1K6FH as a notable transistor choice of 2021. Based on Ampleon’s Advanced Rugged Technology, the ART1K6FH is an excellent alternative to the sought-after BLF188XR “extremely rugged” transistor. The ART1K6FH has a higher breakdown voltage than its predecessor, making it capable of use in Class E amplifiers at 50 Volts. This device is also qualified up to a maximum voltage of 55V. Most 50V switch-mode power supplies can be adjusted upwards, allowing a designer to use even higher RF output powers if necessary. The ART1K6FH transistors are optimal for use in industrial RF applications, particle accelerators, broadcast amplifiers, and in non-cellular, low-frequency communications up to 425 MHz.
High Power n78 Ceramic Filter
Colin Field, Supplier Manager for Sangshin Elecom, has highlighted the Sangshin MBP86RC3550S500B, ceramic filter as one of his top product picks of 2021 due to its small form factor and high power capability. Designed for peak-to-average power requirements of LTE signals, the filter supports 3.5 GHz band, 5G deployments (n78), which is the most commonly tested and deployed 5G frequency, popular due to its global availability and the need for operators to identify large blocks of contiguous spectrum in order to operate wider channel widths. This monoblock filter offers 500 MHz pass band with low insertion loss (1 dB) and 0.5 dB ripple yet is rated to 15 Watts CW input power making it suitable as a roofing filter for global deployments of 5G gnodeB base stations. Colin also notes that Sangshin filters can be designed for customer specific applications including pass band center frequency, band width and out-of-band attenuation.
Ultra-Compact XBAW Filter
Colin also recommends Akoustis’ AKF 1336 XBAW filter due to it being the smallest filter on the market within the U.S. Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band. Implemented by an abundance of RFMW customers, alternatives are considerably larger and take up a valuable amount of PC board space. At a center frequency of 3.6 GHz, the AKF-1336 is capable of handling up to 30 dBm of RF input power with 150 MHz passband.
Broadband SMT Power Limiter
Already globally renowned for their innovative and high-performing portfolio of RF products, Marki Microwave impresses again with the release of their high power, broadband signal limiter HLM-40PSM. Steven Darrow, Supplier Business Manager, chose this unique limiter for its broadband (DC-40GHz) performance in an SMT package. The HLM-40PSM has a power handling of 2.5W CW and 9.5W pulsed, with a typical insertion loss value of only 0.5 dB. Input IP3 is excellent at 30 dBm at 20 GHz. Its high power handling makes it ideal for the protection of sensitive receivers and for applications requiring high linearity.
50 GHz Attenuators in 0604 Package Size
Paul Timberlake, Supply Business Manager for RFMW EMEA, nominates Smiths Interconnect’s new TSX series DC to 50 GHz Chip Attenuators (Figure 7) as his top product choice for 2021. The attenuators are available in 0604 package sizes with values from 1 – 10, 15, and 20 dB. This series of chip attenuators push the boundaries of size, weight and power in a cost effective, easy to implement surface mount solution. The TSX series addresses critical factors in Sat Comm, radar, instrumentation and 5G with excellent broadband RF performance to 50 GHz–meaning power handling is increased while reducing size.
28.0 GHz Surface Mount Band Pass Filter
Nick John, Supplier Business Manager for Knowles Precision Devices, has selected the Knowles B274MB1S microstrip bandpass filter (Figure 8) as a noteworthy component of 2021. Using high-K ceramic materials, the B274MB1S offers highly repeatable performance without tuning. Complete with integrated shielding, this SMT device is designed for use on most RF PWB materials for 26.5 to 29.5 GHz applications. Its frequency remains stable over temperatures ranging from -55°C to +125°C. The B274MB1S is designed for demanding, high-reliability microwave applications. Its characteristic impedance is 50 Ohms.
Endura MEMS Oscillators Engineered for Harsh Environments
Nick also notes that a product to keep an eye on is SiTime’s SIT5346AICFQ-33N0A50.000000 a Super TCXO providing ±0.1 ppm stability over a temperature range of -40 to 85 degrees C making if an obvious choice for top product from SiTime. The SIT5346 is a SiTime Endura™ oscillator that provides industry-leading robustness and reliability. This Super-TCXO features:
The Endura series includes single-ended and differential XOs, TCXOs and VCXOs. Products in the series are engineered for harsh environments and meet MIL-PRF-55310 and MIL-STD-883 specifications. Endura oscillators are ideal for high-reliability aerospace and defense applications like munition guidance, vehicle comms/telemetry, command/control, avionics and drones, satellite GNSS and field communications systems.
Consult with the experts at RFMW to determine optimal product selection and technology interoperability. Contact us for assistance on your next project.