Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Powering up microwave amplifiers for a wireless world

09.07.2008
Four years ago, Europe trailed the rest of the world in microwave amplifier research and development. Now, however, European-designed transistors and amplifiers equal or outperform the competition worldwide.

Today’s information-rich, wireless world depends on microwave amplifiers that operate efficiently and linearly at high power and high frequencies, so it is crucial that Europe is at the forefront of such research.

Europe’s rapid advance into the front ranks of microwave amplifier research and development was stimulated to a large degree by European researchers in the TARGET project.

TARGET was a four-year effort that linked researchers and laboratories across Europe into an agile and aggressive research and development community.

Guided and energised by TARGET, formerly uncoordinated European research into microwave amplifier development has become “ambitious, highly successful, and collaborative”, says TARGET’s scientific coordinator, Gottfried Magerl at the Technical University of Vienna.

The EU-funded project’s first challenge was to coordinate the efforts and expertise of 49 core laboratories, research centres, and businesses scattered across 16 countries.

The TARGET team tackled the problem in part by using sophisticated software to create a virtual research centre. Wherever they are, members can communicate readily with each other and access a common pool of software, documents and data.

This virtual community was supplemented by frequent face-to-face meetings, tutorials, and research collaborations.

The result, says Magerl, “is a very special kind of team spirit that is still alive”.

TARGET’s network coordinator, Sue Ivan at the telecommunications Research Center in Vienna, adds that the project grew into the largest international research co-operation in civilian microwave engineering history.

Real research in a virtual lab
TARGET researchers found early on that measuring devices and analytic software in different laboratories produced different readings from the same component.

This surprising discovery motivated them to go to great lengths to ensure that the nine co-operating laboratories used comparable equipment and analytic tools and so could produce equivalent results.

In addition, the labs were linked together via a shared computer interface and a powerful design language, XML, which let them manage and share mathematical models, research protocols and the resulting data.

The result was a Europe-wide virtual laboratory in which researchers can quickly and seamlessly perform all the steps needed to design, fabricate, and assess the performance of new components, amplifiers, and systems.

“The steps may be made by several different labs, situated maybe in Vienna, Torino, Lille, and Rome,” says Magerl. “Yet you think you get your results from one expert lab.”

Expanded horizons, award-winning results
Although the TARGET team’s central focus was on designing better microwave power amplifiers, they soon realised that for the programme to succeed, they needed a broader vision.

In the end, they developed expertise in a full spectrum of activities, from the fabrication and characterisation of basic semiconductor devices to the design of entire broadband transmission systems.

Spurred by the realisation that the field needed better tools for modelling the non-linear behaviour of components, sub-systems and complete amplifiers, TARGET researchers developed so much expertise in the area that they have literally written ‘the book’ on the subject, to be published in October 2008.

Before TARGET, European manufacturers of Gallium nitride amplifiers trailed their North American and Asian competitors in terms of power output across the frequency spectrum.

But in just four years, the manufacturers have doubled the power of their amplifiers, matching or exceeding their competitors, especially at the high frequencies needed for heavy data loads.

Building on the foundation of their coordinated virtual labs and modelling expertise, TARGET’s connected labs quickly began to turn out amplifiers that were both powerful and efficient – intrinsically competing qualities that rarely appear together.

In 2005, they produced a six-watt amplifier that operated at close to 60% efficiency, and which garnered an international prize.

Magerl explains that the combination of a high efficiency and a linear response, although extremely hard to achieve, is a key issue.

“For mobile phones it decides battery lifetime and quality of service,” he says. “For base stations it decides operational costs.”

TARGET, which received funding from the EU's Sixth Framework Programme for research, resulted in 35 joint research projects, 63 journal papers, and 340 conference presentations, among other achievements.

“TARGET has become a brand name in the microwave community,” says Magerl.

TARGET’s researchers feel that the combination of precise measurement, powerful models, and fast turn-around times can now allow manufacturers to produce better and more creative designs, while reducing the time it takes for an idea to move from a perceived need to a finished product.

TARGET researchers hope that the level of expertise developed through the project will be its legacy to the European research and development community.

“We think that we achieved more than just the sum of our efforts,” says Magerl. “TARGET can serve as a showcase of how to convince competitors to co-operate and to create a win-win situation.”

Christian Nielsen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esn.eu
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/BrowsingType/Features/ID/89846

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht CubeSats prove their worth for scientific missions
17.04.2019 | American Physical Society

nachricht Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications
12.04.2019 | University of California - Berkeley

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>