5 Recent and Important Developments in Microwave Engineering

With an increasing number of industrial applications, microwave engineering has led to lots of important development. The multiple ways that microwaves can be deployed by companies is leading to its growth by leaps and bounds. As technology gets smaller and more powerful, microwave engineering is leading the way.

Here are five developments in microwave engineering and where the industry is headed.

  1. More GPS Services
    • With just about every app and device now tracking GPS data, that’s one of the biggest trends in microwave engineering. As more devices can be made increasingly smaller, adding this function to those products is a must. The applications for finding, gathering data, and tracking trends are valuable to many users.
    • When building a drone or any kind of moving object, owners or producers want to analyze data. They’ll want to see where it goes, how long it takes, and how they can improve their products.
    • This is made possible through the use of GPS receiver chipsets, and GPS antennas on a chip. This high level of integration makes it possible to include a GPS system in a very small package. This technology has permitted GPS to be included in new products daily.
  2. Better RFIC and MMIC Chip Design
    • Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits (RFICs) and Microwave Monolithic Integrated Circuits (MMICs) are the Integrated Circuits (ICs) that make wireless products possible in the world today. The Internet of Things (IoT), GPS, mobile phones, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, laptops, iPads, and countless other wireless products are designed using RFIC and MMIC technology to take advantage of the compact size afforded to circuits implemented with these ICs.
    • Also, RFIC and MMIC design techniques are commonly used today to make the gigahertz clock speeds possible for personal computer chips provided to us by Intel and AMD, along with the continually evolving methods for quickly moving data using PCI-Express technology such as PCIe 4, and USB-4 concepts.
    • Hence, RFIC and MMIC technology can be found everywhere in our wireless world, including the processor chips we take for granted today. Over the year, look for engineers to develop new features and various options for integrated circuits. The design concepts used for RFIC and MMIC technology allow for more versatility in designing new features into ICs, so the applications for these chips are constantly expanding.
    • Advances in engineering are increasing the complexity of not only individual chips but also the whole system. Complicated designs and developments allow for better variety. New chips can handle digital signals, analog, mixed-signal, RF, Microwave, and even Digital Signal Processing (DSP) applications.
    • In some cases, chips can tackle hundreds of thousands of signals. This is great for the kinds of demands that users are putting on microwave signals today. Live-streaming, video on demand, and all kinds of complex data exchanges are continually driving the evolution of RFIC and MMIC electronics.
  3. Millimeter-Wave for Mobile Technology
    • The use of Millimeter-Wave frequencies for 5G mobile communications is creating some real challenges for wireless circuit designers. Older systems such as 2G3G, and 4G all made use of Microwave frequencies, which permitted a mobile device to typically transmit and receive information from a single base station.
    • This has changed with 5G, where Mobile phones will be able to send and receive information from multiple base stations that are within line-of-sight of the mobile device, so there will be a significant increase in the movement of data with these devices.
    • The use of Millimeter-Wave frequencies for 5G systems requires that the mobile device is within line-of-sight with the base station since the Millimeter-Wave signals experience a higher degree of loss from environmental factors, so their propagation distance has been decreased.
    • Therefore, engineers need to be able to manage independently driven antenna beams to permit the mobile phones to talk to multiple base stations, thereby causing changes to the architecture of the antennas and MMICs used for these 5G systems. Because of the driving need for change, digital and analog beamforming are being developed for different implementations of 5G systems.
    • The 5G system architectures are evolving daily for multiple vendors, and a great deal of research is being expended to optimize the performance of mobile devices while minimizing the cost associated with deploying 5G systems.
  4. Defense Electronics Drive Growth
    • As with most technologies, defense requirements drive the industry. As conflicts around the world continue to persist, governments task contractors to upgrade the technical capabilities of their radar and sensing systems to provide timely and accurate detection of threats. Therefore, the ability to send powerful signals quickly across great distances allows for the kind of leg up that governments demand from these defensive systems.
    • Long-term growth will be stoked and maintained by evolving military concerns, which leads to performance advancements. The Department of Defense is sure to be one of the main funding sources and research partners when it comes to microwave technology growth. Investment in technological advancements by DARPA and the Defense Innovation Initiative will increase with time to foster these future developments.
    • The types of applications include surveillance, communications, missile defense, and improved munitions. Smart munitions controlled by microwave signals will be a place where we’ll see engineers working. Even space-based electronics can be counted on as a key area of investment.
    • Microwave technologies are an essential part of their designs.
  5. Research is Growing
    • If engineers spend their efforts in 2019 researching new applications for microwave technologies, consider it useful. Finding new applications or ways to improve current implementations provides market growth through investment.
    • Wireless sensors and RFID systems are a big part of growing research. Being able to secure spaces and systems with greater accuracy is valuable to every consumer and company. When RFID systems can be implemented more discreetly and with less cost, companies will line up to purchase these products.
    • Increasing climate change around the globe, products with high-efficiency and low power consumption are eagerly sought to replace low-efficiency devices and systems. More research into the application of microwave technology for environmental or energy-related concerns will grow. Researching ways to do more with less energy is sure to be a hot topic for the next several years.
    • In defense, medicine, and environmental applications, nanotechnology is going to be a place where we’ll also see more research. Engineers who can provide applications in these fields will find a lot of interest.

Microwave Engineering is Everywhere

More than ever before, microwave engineering is finding a place in consumer, industrial, and military technologies. With the help of more powerful systems and the need for faster connections, microwaves are set to revolutionize the way we communicate and do business.

If you’re wondering whether your company should be using microwave technology to save money on production, contact us today