July 2019

IMS 2019 Wrapup


Brenda and The Other Editor at the Booth in Boston

We had a great time in Boston, and driving around New England afterwards.  It's taken us a little while to recover get around to it, but we're finally posting a few things we really liked about this event.  

As always, it was a massive event, with six consecutive days of workshops, short courses, technical sessions, and more, with over 600 vendors showcasing their wares in the Industry Exhibition (including yours truly, MW101).  We saw some old friends and made some new ones, and enjoyed a number of social events.

Congrats to Jared Williams Jordan, his paper won Best Industry Paper.  Read about that effort here. It is not often that you see a monolithic 4096 element antenna array!

The Unknown Editor only saw just a few presentations, but his personal favorite was TH1C-2, "A Scalable 60 GHz Tx/Rx 2x64-Element Dual-Polarized Dual-Beam Wafer-Scale Phased-Array with Integrated Dual-Transceivers".  This was yet another effort out of UCSD, and presented by Umut Kodak.   The presentation featured a surprise that was not in the abstract: the authors were able to use reticle stitching to scale up a 64-element phased array (one 21x21mm reticle) into a 256 element phased array.  You definitely need to go outside the design kit to pull this off, and you need a wafer fab that offers some flexibility in that unused space, which is often populated with process control monitors.  In this case, the wafer fab was TowerJazz.  Bravo, and keep going: next year we want to see 1028 active elements!

Hmmm, what's going on with the Home Team's booth, which was well off the beaten path?  Rewind the tape to GOMACTech 2019 conference in Albuquerque, where The Lazy R Ranch planted a recruitment booth on the edge of the Exhibit floor.  This is generally regarded as something that is not allowed or at least frowned upon: would your boss send you to a conference if it was known to be a recruitment event planned by competitors??  Maybe some IMS organizers that were at Gomac expressed some concerns.  Or maybe this was just a big coincidence and Raytheon's exhibit got stuck in Customs?  Next time you see the Unknown Editor, ask him how he got Uncle Ray's Rest Home's recruiter flustered enough to walk away from her own GomacTech booth!


You may recall that we brought along some stuffed lobster to share with everyone... and they were a big hit! 

Rock, Joy Boy, and Hippo all dressed up to go to IMS

Some of you may also remember that we promised a cash prize for photos of the lobsters out in the world.  Well, we're happy to say we've chosen two winners. Congrats to the German team of Uli, Karen, and Christina, and to Nick!  Here's a snap of Hippo out and about in Upper Bavaria. Doesn't he look like he's having fun? 


Hippo in Upper Bavaria

We also recieved a photo of Joy Boy watching a game out at Fenway park.  Watch out for that kerchief, Joy Boy!  Also, Go Sox!

Joy Boy at Fenway Park

In recent years, we've seen a number of efforts to bring in the younger set - usually around middle school - to see what IMS is all about, and (in theory) inspire them to pursue careers in engineering or science.  Sometimes it's just a nice afternoon off from school.  This year, our MW101 booth was pretty close to the "STEM" area, and we got to watch tomorrow's colleagues doing tons of cool stuff like actually building circuits.  From the official description:

The IMS2019 STEM Experience for Students and Teachers is a one-day event hosted by the IEEE at the 2019 International Microwave Symposium. The goal of this program is to introduce a diverse and highly motivated group of middle and high school students and their teachers to the exciting world of microwave engineering. The event will include inspirational talks by technical speakers, a science fair, tours of IMS sponsor exhibits, and interactive STEM activities focused on microwave technology and engineering. 

This year, there were several STEM groups helping out, including the MassBay Community College STEM program. 



Once again, there was a history exhibit, highlighting the accomplishments in the microwave industry over the past decades.  Here's a WWII-era ground radar.

Vintage ground surveillance radar 

And what's a visit to Boston without a trip to see the "Green Monster"?  Luckily for us, one vendor sponsored a party actually INSIDE Fenway Park, even though there were no games scheduled.  This means we could enjoy ballpark food and drinks, and even get private tours of this historic facility and not have to deal with long lines for food and drinks and the opposite of drinks.  We enjoyed the hospitality of Wolfspeed (thanks, Ed M!) and a visit from team mascot Wally the Green Monster.  Whoever thought of this venue is a genius.

View from the "Sam Adams Deck" at Fenway Park

Speaking of Wolfspeed, they just released their millimeter-wave-capable G28V5 0.15um GaN HEMT foundry process.  It's so new, it isn't even listed on their foundry services brochure, so you'll have to contact them for more information.

Check out the Unknown Editor's amazing archives when you are looking for a way to screw off for a couple of hours or more!

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