5 critical features of millimetre wave (mmW) isolators

Author : Technical writer, Dr David Rizzo & Diane Kees | COO | Micro Harmonics Corporation

01 December 2020

MHC Isolator Core Graphics_580x280
MHC Isolator Core Graphics_580x280

It’s no secret that meeting the inexhaustible demand for the future of wireless electronics will require utilising the higher ends of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. Driven by 5G, 6G & beyond, ultra-high definition video, autonomous vehicles, security applications, IoT & Industry 4.0, design engineers must capitalise on the millimetre wave (mmW) bands which presently cover the frequencies between 30 GHz to 500 GHz.

The full version of this article was originally featured in the December 2020 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. Sign up to receive your own copy each month.

Here, technical writer, Dr. David Rizzo & Diane Kees, COO at RF components specialist, Micro Harmonics Corporation (MHC) explains how advancements in the design of isolators is benefiting electronics manufacturers working on next-generation wireless technologies and applications…

These higher mmW frequencies present a significant problem that design engineers must address: that of standing waves. Without control, these unwanted waves can attenuate power output, distort the digital information on the carrier and, in extreme cases, even damage internal components.

To counteract the problem of standing waves at lower microwave frequencies, engineers rely on Faraday rotation isolators – more commonly referred to simply as isolators. At its most basic level, an isolator is a two-port, input and output component that allows EM signals to pass in one direction, but absorbs them in the opposite direction. However, traditional isolators fall short at the higher frequencies required for next-gen wireless applications.

A big part of the problem is that the first isolators were designed more than half a century ago, with very few modifications since the original concept. With recent advancements, however, companies at the cutting edge of mmW technologies are now gaining the ability to launch products that operate optimally, even at stratospheric frequencies.

By understanding the nature of these advancements, design engineers can better harness isolators to improve their mmW products.

Read the full article in EPDT's December 2020 issue...

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