Funded by money from an MOD Defence Technology Centre, Cambridge, UK-based Plextek has designed a compact, low loss, high power microwave switch that, it claims, offers substantially improved performance compared to current commercially available microwave switch ICs.
The switch could offer a number of benefits, such as reduced cost, weight and power dissipation, for a wide range of defence applications including the gain/phase control modules used in active phased array radars.
The switch topology designed by Plextek covers an operating bandwidth of 7 to 11 GHz with a mid-band insertion loss of 0.7 dB and a predicted power handling capability of 6.3 W.
The mid-band loss is significantly lower than current commercially available X-band switch MMICs while the estimated power handling capability comfortably exceeds the initial target of 2 W.
The design makes use of the PHEMT MMIC process of UK-absed Filtronic and would therefore be available from a UK source.