New-Tech Europe Magazine | Q3 2020
16 Extending the Performance and
Frequency Envelope for QFN Packaging Technology 22 "Shift-Left PCB Verification Shortens 26 "EESeal - EMC/EMI Filter Insert from Quell, Supplied By Powell Electronics Frequency Synthesizer Circuit" 30 The battle of the box PCs has begun Path to Higher Quality Design"
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Intelligent Condition Monitoring Box – an open platform for Condition Based Monitoring (CBM) of industrial equipment, assets and structures. iCOMOX monitors operating conditions from the surface of the equipment to identify potential faults and reduce risks associated with equipment operation and maintenance. This extends the lifetime of the equipment, reduces unplanned downtime, cuts maintenance costs and unlocks potential for energy savings. iCOMOX NB-IoT uses LTE CAT-M1/NB1/EGPRS modem to send sensor data, status and analysis to the the cloud (TCP/MQTT/SMS). KEY FEATURES • Open embedded sensor-to-cloud platform • Multi-sensing: vibration, magnetic field, temperature and sound sensors • High dynamic range and exceptional SNR for vibration analysis • High performance acoustic emission detection
• Non-invasive current sensing for motor current signature analysis • Ultra-low power consumption with SensorStrobe™ technology • LTE CAT-M1/NB1/EGPRS communication • Embedded SW and analytics for early detection of machine failures in CBM applications • Ability to configure warning and alarm levels and timestamp events for each sensor • CE and FCC certified with IP65 enclosure • Compact form factor for external and under hood mounting • Various mounting adapters to accommodate a wide range of monitored equipment • Easy to install, use and maintain platform concept
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10 LATEST NEWS 16 Extending the Performance and Frequency Envelope for QFN Packaging Technology 22 "Shift-Left PCB Verification Shortens Path to Higher Quality Design" 26 "EESeal - EMC/EMI Filter Insert from Quell, Supplied By Powell Electronics 30 The battle of the box PCs has begun 34 "Driving the VCO of a High Voltage Phase-Locked Loop Frequency Synthesizer Circuit"
38 OUT OF THE BOX 40 NEW PRODUCTS 50 INDEX
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New-Tech Magazine Europe l 9
Analog Devices Announces Combination with Maxim Integrated, Strengthening Analog Semiconductor Leadership
growth, while engineering a healthier, safer and more sustainable future for all.” “For over three decades, we have based Maxim on one simple premise – to continually innovate and develop high- performance semiconductor products that empower our customers to invent. I am excited for this next
Increased scale and diversification from $8.2 billion1 revenue portfolio that is positioned to capitalize on key secular growth trends Enhances domain expertise and breadth of engineering capabilities to develop more complete solutions to solve customers’ most complex problems
chapter as we continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible, together with ADI. Both companies have strong engineering and technology know-how and innovative cultures. Working together, we will create a stronger leader, delivering outstanding benefits to our customers, employees and shareholders,” said Tunç Doluca, President and CEO of Maxim Integrated. Upon closing, two Maxim directors will join ADI’s Board of Directors, including Maxim President and CEO, Tunç Doluca. Compelling Strategic and Financial Rationale Industry Leader with Increased Global Scale: The combination strengthens ADI’s analog semiconductor leadership position with expected revenue of $8.2 billion1 and free cash flow of $2.7 billion1 on a pro forma basis. Maxim’s strength in the automotive and data center markets, combined with ADI’s strength across the broad industrial, communications and digital healthcare markets are highly complementary and aligned with key secular growth trends. With respect to power management, Maxim’s applications- focused product offerings complement ADI’s catalog of broad market products. Enhanced Domain Expertise & Capabilities: Combining best-in-class technologies will enhance ADI’s depth of domain expertise and engineering capabilities from DC to 100 gigahertz, nanowatts to kilowatts and sensor to cloud, with more than 50,000 products. This will enable the combined company to offer more complete solutions, serve more than 125,000 customers and capture a larger share of a $60 billion total addressable market3.
Expected to be accretive to free cash flow at closing and adjusted EPS in 18 months post-close with $275 million of cost synergies by the end of year two Analog Devices, Inc. and Maxim Integrated Products, Inc. announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which ADI will acquire Maxim in an all stock transaction that values the combined enterprise at over $68 billion2. The transaction, which was unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, will strengthen ADI as an analog semiconductor leader with increased breadth and scale across multiple attractive end markets. Under the terms of the agreement, Maxim stockholders will receive 0.630 of a share of ADI common stock for each share of Maxim common stock they hold at the closing of the transaction. Upon closing, current ADI stockholders will own approximately 69 percent of the combined company, while Maxim stockholders will own approximately 31 percent. The transaction is intended to qualify as a tax-free reorganization for U.S. federal income tax purposes. “Today’s exciting announcement with Maxim is the next step in ADI’s vision to bridge the physical and digital worlds. ADI and Maxim share a passion for solving our customers’ most complex problems, and with the increased breadth and depth of our combined technology and talent, we will be able to develop more complete, cutting-edge solutions,” said Vincent Roche, President and CEO of ADI. “Maxim is a respected signal processing and power management franchise with a proven technology portfolio and impressive history of empowering design innovation. Together, we are well-positioned to deliver the next wave of semiconductor
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by the end of year two, driven primarily by lower operating expenses and cost of goods sold. Additional cost synergies from manufacturing optimization are expected to be realized by the end of year three subsequent to closing. Strong Financial Position & Cash Flow Generation: ADI expects the combined company to yield a stronger balance sheet, with a pro forma net leverage ratio of approximately 1.2x4. This transaction is also expected to be accretive to free cash flow at close, enabling additional returns to shareholders.
Shared Passion for Innovation-led Growth: The combination brings together similar cultures focused on talent, innovation and engineering excellence with more than 10,000 engineers and approximately $1.5 billion1 in annual research and development investment. The combined company will continue to be a destination for the most talented engineers in multiple domains. Earnings Accretion & Cost Savings: This transaction is expected to be accretive to adjusted EPS in 18 months subsequent to closing with $275 million of cost synergies
Ericsson selected by SoftBank Corp. to deliver cloud native dual-mode 5G Core
continuously collaborating in developing and deploying 5G technologies throughout the Japanese market including 5G RAN and 5G EPC. In May 2019, Ericsson was selected by SoftBank as its primary 5G radio access network (RAN) vendor. Keiichi Makizono, Senior Vice President, CIO of SoftBank,
Ericsson to deploy cloud- native, dual-mode 5G Core, enabling the launch of SoftBank’s standalone 5G services Dual-mode 5G Core enables SoftBank to develop new 5G use cases towards consumers, enterprises and industry partners Zero-touch operation,
including continuous delivery and integration processes (CI/CD), is made possible through container-based microservice architecture and its automation capabilities Ericsson has been selected by SoftBank Corp. (“SoftBank”) to deliver cloud native 5G Core for SoftBank’s 5G Standalone Network. The solution, which includes Ericsson Cloud Packet Core, Ericsson Cloud Unified Data Management and Policy, as well as Ericsson NFVI, will play a key role in SoftBank’s operational transformation. Zero-touch operation, including continuous delivery and integration processes (CI/CD), is made possible through container-based microservice architecture and its automation capabilities. Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core provides SoftBank with capabilities that enable the development of new 5G use cases for mobile broadband users, as well as for enterprises and industry partners. Ericsson and SoftBank have been
says: “Japan is a leading 5G telecom market and together with Ericsson we are building a new platform of innovation for the country. Under our new agreement, we will extend our long-term partnership and provide a high quality and future-proof platform enabling a new wave of innovation for Japanese society.” Luca Orsini, Head of Ericsson Japan, says: “Ericsson’s cloud native dual-mode 5G Core provides the cutting-edge container-based microservice architecture that will help SoftBank to both develop new business models towards consumers, enterprise and industry partners as well as to move onto the next level of network operational efficiency.” Ericsson currently has 99 commercial 5G agreements or contracts with unique operators and supports 54 live 5G networks worldwide.
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Latest News University of Antwerp and imec launch Crowdscan, a new spin-off to measure crowds without compromising personal privacy
CrowdScan, a spin-off from imec and the University of Antwerp, has developed a system that measures the density of a crowd in real-time using a wireless sensor network. Based on six years of research at the University of Antwerp and imec, CrowdScan has developed a system to measure crowd densities without using camera images, mobile phone data or other privacy-
CrowdScan also aims to make an online ‘crowd barometer’, to show population density at specific places”, says Bellekens.“We are proud to enable the creation of this spin-off together with the University of Antwerp”, says Jo De Boeck, CSO at imec. “Recently, the innovative technology has been optimized for use cases with high market potential and a noble social
sensitive information. By transmitting low-energetic radio waves (868 MHz), CrowdScan measures the average signal attenuation of a wireless sensor network relative to the empty environment. The technology was validated at different large-scale events such as Tomorrowland. When the coronavirus crisis broke out, CrowdScan immediately realized the added value of the technology for helping society adapt to the new needs of social distancing. The business model was extended from services for event organizers to services for local governments and cities. In May, a successful pilot project was launched to measure the size of groups on a bridge and a street near the MAS museum in Antwerp. “There will be no mass events this summer, but the importance of accurate information on crowd densities has only increased since the coronavirus crisis”, says Ben Bellekens, CEO of CrowdScan. “By providing police and emergency services with accurate information on crowd densities, they can make fast, objective decisions. This can help cities guarantee social distancing at places where population density is high, like city streets, public events, or parks.
purpose. For example, CrowdScan now offers a concrete solution to the new challenges that cities are facing today. With the support of the imec.istart acceleration program, the commercialization of this technology will accelerate in the coming months. “ “In Antwerp’s innovation ecosystem for metropolitanism and smart city, our university is focusing more than ever on value creation from research. To do this, we collaborate with the city government, local businesses and citizens. Open innovation hubs such as The Beacon facilitate this process by bringing people together and actively setting up projects that effectively benefit partners. That’s how CrowdScan grew into a startup that, due to the coronavirus crisis, became more relevant than ever”, says Silvia Lenaerts, Vice Rector Valorization & Development of the University of Antwerp. “This spin-off is a textbook example of how scientific research from the Faculty of Applied Engineering Sciences can actually generate an impact on society. As an entrepreneurial university, together with the City of Antwerp and imec, we have every reason to be proud”.
Mobileye and Ford Announce High-Volume Agreement for ADAS in Global Vehicles
Mobileye, an Intel company, and Ford Motor Company are collaborating on cutting-edge driver-assistance systems across Ford’s global product lineup. As the chosen supplier of vision-sensing technology for Ford’s advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), Mobileye will
provide its EyeQ® family of devices, together with vision- processing software, to support Level 1 and Level 2 ADAS in Ford vehicles globally. More: Autonomous Driving at Mobileye (Press Kit) | Mobileye Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (Fact Sheet)
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“It is a privilege to extend and expand our
Mobileye will provide its suite of EyeQ sensing technology to support Ford Co-Pilot360™ Technology available ADAS features, such as Lane-Keeping System, auto high-beam headlamps, Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Lane-Centering.
Companies are looking for new and innovative ways to apply digital transformation initiatives to their businesses to combat increasing complexity and get new innovations to market faster. While new technologies including ubiquitous sensing capabilities, artificial intelligence and machine learning are being used to enable digital transformation initiatives, customers need integrated systems and software platforms to connect and harness the value of the overwhelming amount of data these technologies produce. Through the acquisition of OptimalPlus, NI is positioned to help customers accelerate their digital transformation initiatives by coupling our leadership in test operations with new advanced product analytics for enterprises. This in turn will enable organizations to connect test and measurement data from real world devices seamlessly throughout the product lifecycle – from product design to characterization and all the way to manufacturing – to help get technologies to market faster and lower the cost of test investments. “We’re confident NI’s enterprise software strategy unlocks the value of test data by embracing digital transformation and bringing it to the analog world,” said Eric Starkloff, NI President and CEO. “OptimalPlus’ data analytics capabilities allow us long-standing collaboration with a company that is so committed to safety on behalf of its global customer base,” said Professor Amnon Shashua, president and CEO of Mobileye. “We look forward to working closely together to bring these functionalities to market in the full Ford product lineup.” Working together, Ford and Mobileye have agreed to the following: Ford and Mobileye will offer better camera-based detection capabilities for ADAS, including improved forward-collision warning; vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist detection; plus lane-keeping features.
to build the advanced software required by today’s modern enterprise and engineer, enabling the connection of multiple data sources across the digital thread of a product’s lifecycle to help dramatically improve quality, yield and avoid failure. We welcome the employees of OptimalPlus and look forward to collectively accelerating our long-term growth ambitions.” The transaction is valued at $365 million and was funded through a combination of cash on hand and debt. OptimalPlus had $51 million in revenue for 2019. A call with the investment community is not planned in conjunction with this press release. Forward-Looking Statements This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding expected effects of the OptimalPlus acquisition regarding: 1) our position to help customers accelerate their digital transformation initiatives by coupling our leadership in test operations with new advanced product analytics for enterprises; 2) our enabling organizations to connect test and measurement data from real-world devices seamlessly throughout the product lifecycle, 3) OptimalPlus’ data analytics capabilities, allowing us to build advanced software and enabling the connection of multiple data sources across the digital thread of a product’s lifecycle; 4) our confidence in NI’s enterprise Ford will display Mobileye’s name in vehicles through the inclusion of its logo in the automaker’s SYNC® ADAS communication displays, making customers aware that some Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology features use sensing capabilities provided by Mobileye. Read the full news release on Ford’s website: Ford and Mobileye Expand Relationship to Offer Better Camera-Based Collision Avoidance in Global Vehicles
NI Completes Acquisition of OptimalPlus NI announced it has officially closed the acquisition of OptimalPlus, a global leader in data analytics software for the semiconductor, automotive and electronics industries.
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products including orders from NI’s large customers; component shortages; delays in the release of new products; NI’s ability to effectively manage its operating expenses; manufacturing inefficiencies and the level of capacity utilization; the impact of any recent or future acquisitions or divestitures by NI; expense overruns; and adverse effects of price changes or effective tax rates. Actual results may differ materially from the expected results. NI directs readers to its Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2019, its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2020 and the other documents it files with the SEC for other risks associated with the company’s future performance. All information in this release is as of the date above. NI undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statement to conform the statement to actual results or changes in NI’s expectations.
software strategy to unlock the value of test data by embracing digital transformation and bringing it to the analog world, and; 5) and the acceleration of our long-term growth ambitions. These statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including: the risk of uncertainties related to the ability to successfully operate or integrate the OptimalPlus business into NI; the ability to retain and integrate OptimalPlus employees into NI; the ability to realize the expected benefits of the acquisition; COVID-19 and further economic and market disruptions resulting from COVID-19; further adverse changes or fluctuations in the global economy; further adverse fluctuations in our industry; foreign exchange fluctuations; changes in the current global trade regulatory environment; fluctuations in customer demands and markets; fluctuations in demand for NI
ABB to supply charging technology to Gen 3 cars racing in ABB FIA Formula EWorld Championship
ABB is proud to announce that it will provide the charging technology for the Gen3 cars in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship – the first all- electric global race series. ABB has been title partner of the championship since Season 4. Gen3 cars will be racing as of Season 9 (2022-2023), with the vehicles designed to be lighter, faster and more energy-efficient.
“The ABB FIA Formula E Championship is more than a race – it is our test-bed for innovative electromobility technologies,
driving development to the production line of electric vehicles and ultimately contributing to a cleaner environment for all,” said Mehta. “We are very proud to be associated with Formula E and the FIA’s decision to elevate the race series to World Championship status in Season 7 enhances Formula E’s growing impact.” “Since ABB joined as the FIA Formula E Championship’s title partner in Season 4, they have worked closely with us to develop the series as a proving ground for race-to-road technology development that promotes our founding purpose of accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles to counteract climate change. We are looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together through our long-term partnership,” said Agag. “As Formula E builds on the first successful phase of our partnership with ABB, we are delighted to extend our relationship through a deeper level of integration in Gen3. ABB will provide critical charging technology that will improve the racing product and showcase the potential of enhanced charging capabilities for electric vehicles,” said Reigle. ABB has become a global leader in connected DC fast
The agreement was officially commemorated today via a virtual event between ABB Electrification President Tarak Mehta; Daniela Lužanin, ABB Formula E Head of Partnership; Alejandro Agag, Founder & Chairman of Formula E and Jamie Reigle, Chief Executive Officer of Formula E. Together with engineers from motorsport governing body the FIA and Formula E, ABB’s Electrification teams are currently working on the specifications and requirements to develop an innovative and safe solution for charging the Gen3 cars through portable charging units that can charge two cars simultaneously. With more than 14,000 DC fast chargers installed across more than 80 countries worldwide, ABB has a wealth of proven technology and experience which will be incorporated into these chargers for Gen3 and adapted in a bespoke way to meet the particular needs of the racing environment.
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charging systems for electric vehicles and through impactful projects, such as Electrify America, IONITY, Fastned and many more, to which ABB supplies High Power DC fast charging stations. It is also an official partner of the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team. The expanding global reach of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship showcases the innovative technology that is key to the success of this sustainable form of motorsport, which is set to return for six races at Tempelhof Airport, Berlin, from August 5.
Today also sees the launch of ABB’s new Formula E media site, which can be found here – https://new.abb.com/media/ abbformulae. This area includes a range of content highlighting how ABB’s partnership with Formula E and involvement in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship is helping to drive progress in e-mobility and lead the way to a better, more sustainable future. This is in addition to imagery, videos and information from all the E-Prix action on- and off-track.
1Q/4Q“Direction Indicator” Signals Rebound in the 2020 IC Market After dropping by 15% last year, the worldwide IC market is expected to show single-digit growth in 2020, even with the disastrous effects of Covid-19 on the global economy.
will build. Overall, when the 1Q/4Q performance of a given year is better than the previous year’s 1Q/4Q result, the annual growth rate for that year can be expected to be better than the previous year. The opposite is usually true when the 1Q/4Q performance of the current year is worse than the year earlier. Since the 1Q20/4Q19
IC Insights will release its 200+ page Mid-Year Update to the 2020 McClean Report later this month. The Mid-Year Update revises IC Insights’ worldwide economic and IC industry forecasts through 2024 that were published in The McClean Report 2020, released in January. From 1984-2019, the average seasonal sequential decline in the 1Q IC market was 2%. In 1Q20, the IC market was down just 3% as compared to 4Q19, slightly below the 36-year average. Excluding the years after the severe IC industry downturns of 1985 and 2001, IC Insights believes that the 1Q/4Q sequential quarterly IC market change is a good indicator of the direction and intensity of the annual IC market change. Note that Figure 1 is labeled as a “direction indicator.” This is because the actual 1Q/4Q change does not directly forecast the eventual annual IC market growth for a given year, but instead more accurately describes the expected direction and intensity of the annual IC market growth rate as compared to the previous year. For example, 2017 showed 0% 1Q/4Q growth and 25% annual IC market growth, whereas 2011 displayed 1% 1Q/4Q growth but a full year IC market growth rate of only 1%, the difference being the 1Q/4Q change as compared to the previous year’s 1Q/4Q change. The reason why this model is a good indicator of the direction of the IC industry’s annual growth rate lies in the seasonality of the IC market itself. Given the typical quarterly seasonal pattern that is characteristic of the IC industry, the first quarter essentially establishes a “base” upon which future quarterly IC market growth
IC market change of -3% was much better than the 1Q19/4Q18 IC market change of -17%, IC Insights believes that the annual growth rate for the 2020 IC market, even after incorporating the negative impact of Covid-19, is likely to be much better (3%) than the 15% decline the IC market registered in 2019. In the original 2020 McClean Report (released in January before any mention of Covid-19), IC Insights forecast a 1Q20/4Q19 IC market decline of 5% and a full-year 2020 IC market increase of 8%. With the 1Q20/4Q19 IC market registering only a 3% decline, excluding the now known severe damage of Covid-19 on the global economy, IC Insights would most likely have raised its full-year 2020 IC market forecast from 8% growth to 10% or greater. Report Details: The 2020 McClean Report Additional details on IC market trends and forecasts are provided in the Mid-Year Update to The McClean Report—A Complete Analysis and Forecast of the Integrated Circuit Industry. A subscription to The McClean Report includes free monthly updates from March through November (including the 200+ page Mid-Year Update), and free access to subscriber-only webinars throughout the year. An individual user license to the 2020 edition of The McClean Report is priced at $4,990 and includes an Internet access password. A multi-user worldwide corporate license is available for $7,990.
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Extending the Performance and Frequency Envelope for QFN Packaging Technology
Erick Olsen, Radha Setty and Chris Simmonds
High-performance, millimeter- wave (mmW) Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit (MMIC) products and cost-effective surface mount lead-frame-based packaging typically don’t come up in the same conversation, and for good reason. Just two to three years ago, it was difficult to conceive of operating at frequencies above 20 GHz without an expensive, open cavity, High Temperature Co-fired Ceramic (HTCC) package or resorting to more bespoke chip and wire assemblies. Why the need for these expensive solutions? The answer is simple. At mmW frequencies, every dB of signal strength is hard won. Traditional low frequency materials, like FR-4 for printed circuit boards or epoxy for molded packages, have excessive losses at mmW frequencies. For example, even newer materials like Hemeixin’s Megtron 6 that operate
well up to 20 GHz have a dissipation factor (Df) of 0.04 at 12 GHz, compared to TLY-5Z from Taconic, which has a Df of 0.0015 at 10 GHz. Although these materials are cost effective, their lower performance above 20 GHz combined with the potential need for extra gain stages, accompanying support circuitry and more complex signal processing are an ineffective trade-off for the lower cost materials. Thus, more exotic and more expensive materials are needed to mitigate parasitic losses. Air cavity packaging also reduces losses. However, these types of assemblies often require manual manufacturing methods. The resulting cost of materials and manufacturing methods make up a significant portion of the solution bill of materials (BOM) cost, and therefore a natural target for optimization. Meanwhile the
growing attractiveness and demand for high volumes in the mmW bands is adding further cost pressure. In response, Mini-Circuits has developed innovative packaging techniques to push the frequency range of over-molded packaging (e.g. the compact “quad flat no- lead” or QFN chip) up to 50 GHz. These techniques have been used successfully to design passive components including fixed attenuators, equalizers, splitters and reflectionless filters, as well as for high-frequency active mixers, multipliers and amplifiers. This article will explore the methods used to achieve high-frequency over- molded packing solutions for active and passive components, including high frequency package synthesis through a multiphysics 1 simulation approach and manufacturing techniques.
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Figure 1: Sir J.C. Bose’s wireless millimeter wave (microwave) apparatus 
Figure 2: Sir J.C. Bose demonstrating his wireless millimetre wave (microwave) experiments at the Royal Institution, London in January 1897 
Historical Background For as long as RF, microwave and millimeter wave systems have been developed and deployed, circuit designers have been faced with developing high-performance circuits that can withstand the rigors of their intended applications. Early discrete implementations evolved into increasingly more integrated solutions to reduce size and cost, as well as improving part to part uniformity. The methods of maintaining optimal operating conditions and protecting the circuitry against environmental hazards evolved in lock step. Electrical and mechanical requirements have never been mutually exclusive, though the engineering approaches to meeting their interrelated specifications have often been accomplished piecewise due to the limitations in analysis software, and sufficiently accurate simulation models. As operating frequencies increased, so too, did
concern. That is not to say the packaging was not important. Often, these systems were built into metal housings, and dealing with thermal management, mode suppression, and shielding was accomplished effectively, but done empirically, and with minimal regard to cost. It was all about getting the system to work. The volumes were low, so cost was less of an issue. Research and low-level production of broadband and mmW systems were more tolerant of this hands- on approach, and the balance of supply and demand was adequately met. Fast forward to the era of commercialized telecommunications, and the situation is far different. mmW bands, once the domain of research and niche applications, have become mainstream. 5G and massive MIMO 2 promise to accelerate the demand for mmW systems, with as much as 45% of the predicted 24GB of individual monthly data consumption to be delivered by
the difficulty of meeting these combined requirements. Operating at mmW bands is hardly a new concept. J.C. Bose presented his research on mmW to the Royal Institution in London in 1897  , where he showed operation and measurements as high as 60 GHz (Figures 1. and 2.). Similar, independent workwas demonstrated by Lebedew in Moscow, also up to 60 GHz . mmW applications and frequency allocations have existed for some time for uses including navigation, radiolocation, Industrial, Scientific and Medical research, space exploration, point-to-point communications and commercial telecommunications backhaul. In the early days of these applications, packaging the systems and supporting components was typically focused on physical protection, as they were often contained within fixed, environmentally-controlled enclosures. Protecting the individual active components was of less
1 Multiphysics is an approach where coupled processes or systems involving more than one simultaneously occurring physical field are used in an analysis. In this case it is an interdisciplinary analysis using the Finite Element Method (FEM), and Method of Moments (MoM). 2 Multiphysics is an approach where coupled processes or systems involving more than one simultaneously occurring physical field are used in an analysis. In this case it is an interdisciplinary analysis using the Finite Element Method (FEM), and Method of Moments (MoM).
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5G networks . As such, in November 2019, the World Radio Communication Conference (WRC- 19), concluded that 5G should be allocated, on a global basis access to certain sections of these mmW bands . Applications that are part of the IoT ecosystem will also drive high-volume utilization of mmW frequencies. The benefits of broadband and mmW will be a boon to a number of industries. Commercialization and strong demand, however, in no way lessen the performance requirements or the challenges of meeting them. To the contrary, the former depends entirely on the latter. The challenges of atmospheric attenuation, scattering (e.g. urban canyons), and poor penetration all necessitate high- density point-to-point deployments to reduce the impacts noted. At the core of these systems are high- performance nanometer silicon, GaAs and GaN electronics that need to deliver leading edge capabilities at a cost-effective price point, “cost- effective” being the operative word. The increased demand for high- performance, broadband mmW systems will not be serviceable/ scalable if the supporting solutions can not meet the cost structure needed. Searching for a Solution to the Cost-Performance Dichotomy Two years ago, Mini-Circuits foresaw the demand curve and the simultaneous need for high- performance and cost-competitive mmW solutions, and launched an internal research and development effort to solve the challenge. The two-year effort was a substantial investment in time, resources and opportunity cost, and one could
the problem of mmW performance. Initial analysis identified three areas beyond the circuit design itself that could contribute meaningful improvements to extending the frequency range of QFN packaged components. These include simulation enhancements, package components and manufacturing techniques. Simulation Enhancements Traditionally, MMIC products are designed with most of the focus on the electrical simulation at the IC level, with simple models to represent the package interconnects and grounding of traditional plastic, over-molded packaging. At frequencies below 10 GHz, this approach arrives in the ballpark of actual performance with minimal simulation spins to account for the package. Above 10 GHz, the electrical-only simulation approach becomes inaccurate, and around 50 GHz, this approach won’t even yield a close approximation to real world behavior. To accurately predict IC operation at mmW frequencies, 2.5D or 3D electromagnetic (EM) simulations are essential. These tool suites are now widely available and can greatly increase modelling accuracy. They do, however, trade modelling accuracy for longer development time, so they must be applied judiciously. The process of IC simulations followed by EM simulations of the complete packaged solution, if applied by brute force, is slow and inefficient. At Mini-Circuits, we’ve looked at the entire design process, and optimized the application of these tools to the tasks where they are best suited. Our unique multiphysics simulation approach speeds the entire design process while ensuring close agreement
argue that there are less expensive paths to follow. Historically, it was normal practice for mmWcomponent vendors to deliver their solutions only in die form, eliminating the package entirely. While some legacy applications can afford this manually intensive approach, most customers working in these higher frequency ranges have neither the capability nor the desire to deal with bare die and chip and wire assemblies. With shorter time to market, smaller engineering teams, and greater cost pressures, customers have realized that the performance benefits don’t outweigh the higher total cost of ownership of bare die solutions. Another often-used approach is the aforementioned open cavity package form factor. HTCC solutions have been around for decades and are widely accepted in the industry. However, the more expensive assembly process results in higher component costs which again make it difficult, if not impossible to meet the cost targets for today’s high volume mmW applications. Die on carrier (ceramic, alumina or other high-end substrate) is a hybrid method between bare die and air cavity packaging, but this method offers little physical protection for the active components. These carriers often need to be assembled into expensive hermetic enclosures or protected via conformal coating which carries a higher initial and/or rework cost (e.g. applying, removing and reapplying conformal coating). After evaluating many of these options, Mini-Circuits decided to look internally and leverage in- house capabilities to deliver the high-performance packaging we needed. Working with our integrated circuit (IC) designers and package development team in Malaysia, Mini-Circuits researched new ways to apply our packaging capability to
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Innovating the QFN Production Workflow The results of the aforementioned research provided valuable insights into the limitations imposed by the standard QFN production flow, and more importantly, uncovered multiple options to address these limitations. We used these insights to approach the task of over-molded mmW component packaging in a holistic way, focusing on three primary, interrelated factors: Die and wirebond improvements Leadframe optimization NonRF interconnects Each of these factors will be discussed in turn below with examples of recent QFN components exhibiting excellent performance up to 50 GHz. DieandWirebondImprovements The contribution of the IC circuit design to the overall solution performance cannot be understated, but the interface between the IC and the package is critical. Bondpad geometry and transition were both important factors in optimizing performance. There is always a
between modelled predictions and measured results. Package Components Even with luxury of an in-house IC packaging line, it can be easy to take the status quo as given. But the status quo was not going to deliver the needed mmW performance. Analyzing the packaging materials uncovered some basic assumptions that were limiting performance at high frequencies. Combining this detailed material analysis with targeted 3D EM simulations yielded new options to optimize performance in the mmW range. Manufacturing Techniques As with the packaging components, assembly techniques have a considerable effect on overall product performance. Specifically, the wirebond interconnects, their method of attachment and physical layout have the greatest impact on the frequency response of the package. Detailed analysis of these features of the MMIC assembly led to innovative bonding techniques that have shown IC performance preserve the intrinsic performance of the die itself.
tradeoff between the number of RF bondwires and the accompanying bond pad size. Simply adding more bondwires doesn’t reduce the series inductance as mutual inductance diminishes the benefit of additional wires. Also, a larger bondpad to accommodate the extra wires adds unwanted capacitance. Our solution was to develop bonding techniques that reduced effective bondwire inductance and simultaneously reduced parasitic capacitance to ground, resulting in an interconnect structure that better approximates a 50Ω transmission line. The better match of the bondwire structure provided flexibility to tune the transition on the die, again optimizing the frequency response. The KAT-series of precision attenuators is one example of Mini- Circuits’ patent pending bonding technique. Based on the YAT-series of 18 GHz attenuators, we were able to extend the desired frequency response to 43.5 GHz (released in late 2019 as KAT-x+). With further refinements, a new family of attenuators will be released in 2020 that will operate up to 50 GHz (Figure 3.) where both the
Figure 3: KAT-0+ Attenuator - Optimized bonding (RED) vs original Bonding (BLACK)
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Figure 4: Next Generation 45 GHz Broadband Equalizers Optimized bonding (BLACK) vs original Bonding (RED)
insertion loss and return loss were measurably improved up to the 50 GHz band edge utilize a Patent Pending wirebond technique. This same approach was used in a new family of DC to 45 GHz slope equalizers EQY-x-453+ (Figure 4.). In these new equalizer products, the optimized bonding delivered more consistent return loss across the band, as well as improved monotonicity of the response. Lead Frame Optimization The package anchor point for the bondwire connection is equally important to the bond pad design on the die itself. This is where in- house packaging capability was of great benefit. We optimized the size and location of the leadframe
RF bondpads (relative to the other package connections) we quickly created prototypes to validate the performance improvements. Another improvement was in the overall design of the leadframe itself. Specifically, the EM simulations showed unwanted coupling between pins, even if unconnected internally or grounded externally. This coupling substantially degraded high frequency response. The EP2KA+ two-way MMIC splitter (10 to 43.5 GHz) is a perfect example of this pin optimization approach. We started with the same package as the MGVA-82+ (DC to 5.2 GHz dual matched amplifier), and by selectively removing pins from the leadframe (Figure 5.), were able to measurably improve the input
to output isolation, as well as the amplitude and phase unbalance. The leadframe bond pad optimization also improved input/output VSWR to better than 2:1 over the majority
of the band (Figure 6.). Non-RF Interconnects
At mmW frequencies, confining the RF signal, and reducing unwanted coupling is a challenge, as described above. While the RF connections are often the focus of the design, the non-RF connections, if overlooked, also contribute to performance degradation at higher frequencies. There are times when these package contacts can’t be eliminated, so Mini- Circuits developed a patent-pending technique which takes advantage of these extra connections to isolate
Figure 5: MGVA-62+ Matched Amplifier pin configuration vs. EP2KA+ Splitter pin configuration
Figure 6: EP2KA+ VSWR
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Figure 7: XBF-24+ Reflectionless Bandpass Filter has >40 dB rejection to 40 GHz
portions of the IC, improving the input to output frequency response. Our line of reflectionless high pass filters used this approach to achieve high stopband rejection to 40GHz (Figure 7.). Conclusion In this paper, we have presented multiple innovative approaches to extending the useful operating frequency range of traditionally low cost, overmolded plastic packaging technologies. Resulting from over two years of research, and through co-development, multiphysics co-simulation, and refining established methods and techniques, we have developed and produced multiple products for use in mmW applications, including: attenuators, equalizers, splitters and reflectionless filters. These innovations have enabled us to meet mmW performance requirements demanded by the telecommunications, aerospace,
grating", Proc. Roy. Soc., vol. 60, pp.167-178, 1897.  J.C. Bose, “Collected Physical Papers. New York, N.Y.: Longmans, Green and Co., 1927.  P. Lebedew, "Ueber die Dopplbrechung der Strahlen electrischer Kraft,"Annalen der Physik und Chemie, series 3, vol.56, no.9, pp.1-17, 1895.  Mobile data traffic outlook, Ericsson, November 2019, https:// www.ericsson.com/en/mobility- report/reports/november-2019/ mobile-data-traffic-outlook  ITU World Radiocommunication Conference agrees key parameters for future communication technologies, Sharm El-Sheikh, 22 November 2019, https://www.itu.int/en/ mediacentre/Pages/2019-PR24. aspx
defense, and test and measurement markets, using cost-effective, industry-standard QFN packaging technology. The electrical benefits described herein were obtained without sacrifice to the inherent capabilities and benefits of our overmolded packaging methods, such as preserving the moisture sensitivity Level of packages at MSL1. References  Wikipedia Commons, Author: Biswarup Ganguly, posting date 26 July 2011, https:// commons .wi k imed i a .org/wi k i / File%3AMicrowave_Apparatus_-_ J a g a d i s h _ C h a n d r a _ B o s e _ Museum_ - _Bose_Ins t i t u t e_ - _ Kolkata_2011-07-26_4051.JPG  Bose Institute, Founder J.C. Bose http://www.jcbose.ac.in/ founder  J.C. Bose, "On the determination of the wavelength of electric radiation by a diffraction
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