Solid State RF Ovens

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New for October 2018: we spend a lot of time explaining to non-engineers that Microwaves101 is NOT about microwave ovens, but on this topic we make an exception. There's been a lot of buzz lately about advances in cooking technology, specifically the use of solid-state power amplifiers that can cook food with much greater control than the ubiquitous magnetron-based microwave ovens. Here's a clip courtesy of Microwaves & RF of the oven they were showing off at IMS back in 2014:

Murphy believes that reliability is a major benefit of solid-state RF cooking. He notes, “With regard to system reliability, solid-state RF transistors can provide 10X longer lifespans that magnetrons—this is a major benefit in 24/7 production environments where frequent magnetron failures can slow production and require numerous expensive service calls. By eliminating the rotating platters common to magnetron-based microwave ovens, system reliability is further increased due to the reduction of mechanical moving parts, which are a common point of failure.”

Greater reliability is not the only benefit of solid-state RF cooking, according to Murphy. He adds, “Food processing speed and throughput are increased due to solid-state microwave ovens’ ability to heat and cook food much faster than magnetron-based systems, owing to the rapid energy transfer enabled by RF power. Solid-state RF technology is particularly valuable for food defrosting processes, enabling food to be defrosted much faster and more evenly than it can today without drying or damaging the food.”

To sum it all up, Murphy does indeed believe that microwave ovens based on solid-state RF energy will eventually find their way into homes. He says, “With continued innovation in solid-state GaN based RF technology and cost structure improvements, this technology will eventually migrate to consumer kitchens, and in so doing will change our perceptions of the modern microwave oven. Its value will evolve from that of a simple heating device, to a device that’s capable of cost-effectively cooking healthier, multi-course meals with unprecedented efficiency. In a way, this evolution will do for cooking what the smartphone did for the way we use our cell phones.”

In summary, this article hopefully answered some questions that one may have concerning the possibility of cooking based on solid-state RF energy. Some interesting points were made in an attempt to validate this technology. While everyone still may not be convinced, one thing can be said: it will be interesting to see how solid-state RF cooking unfolds in the future.


Author : Unknown Editor