As is always the case, we've been busy adding plenty of new features to Microwaves101. We ain't been slack, Cap'n Walker!


Best wished to all who stopoped by our IMS 2019 booth! Especially those people that dropped by with samples for the Microwave Mortuary! For those who plan to wish Julius Caesar a happy 2119th birthday on July 13, just remember that he secured and held onto his dictatorship by populist/imperialist activities like invading Gaul and killing a lot of people. It is unknown if Caesar suffered from bone spurs, but if he did, they did not affect his ability to personally engage in battle.

What's new at Microwaves101 for July 2019?

  • We've posted a new category of switch technologies, namely, phase change switches. Many authors have published in this area in the past few years, and the race is on to come up with a technology that performs as well as MEMS but does not bring any of the MEMS baggage. There are two categories of phase change switches, plus we threw in a third switch technology which didn't have a home:

  • Chalcogenide is a class of materials that exist in two states (conducting and insulating, both solids) at room temperature, an ideal characteristic for RF switches. The specific material that is making news is germanium telluride. One key advantage of chalgogenide switches is that they are latching: they don't require any DC power to stay in either state. Set it and forget it!

  • Metal-insulator transition is a class of materials that have two solid states (conducting and insulating), which are dependent on temperature. Vanadium dioxide is the main material that is being researched. 

  • Liquid metal switches are in a class by themselves.  Long ago, mercury was a popular material for switches, but it can degrade into toxic waste.  The new favorite is galinstan, an alloy made from a mixture of galium, indium and tin.  Gallium is one of the ingredients in GaAs FETs and MMICs. With liquid metal you need to consider effects of shock, vibration and G-loads.  And maybe even just plain old tipping, like what happens to some unfortunate cows.

  • Galinstan, Juneteenth and Sanka have been added to portmanteaux page.  Two of these portmanteaux don't have  much to do with engineering, but we post what we like...

  • The Unknown Editor has previously contributed a piece on Lobsta Mania!  We gave out almost 300 Microwave101 stuffed lobsters at IMS, and we want you to submit pictures of your new pet from your favorite corner of the world. We've only got a few photos so far so we'll wait another month to award two $50 prizes: the lobster photo that is taken from a landmark that is farthest from the Boston Convention Center, and just any photo that we decide is our favorite. So far it doesn't look like our lobsters travelled very far...


  • Stuff that was broken but is fixed now:

    • The link to the free book by Kaul and Wolff (just entitled "Microwave Engineering") was broken.  The file is pretty big, so we've uploaded it to a drop box.  You can link to it from the Kaul and Wolff book page
    • We're always fixing typos of one kind or another.  This month's pocket knife thank you gifts will go out to Claudio and to Mike.  Thanks for keeping us on our toes, guys!

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As always, we want you to sign up for the MW101Stuff newsletter, or submit a photo for our Microwave Mortuary. We'd love to hear from you, whether you have nice things to say about or just want to tell us how we've ruined your life.