Enhanced Switch Technology Improves Performance For RF Signals

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Delivers to 10,000x improvement in IP3 linearity compared to conventional high performing RF mechanical switches and relays

Intermodulation distortion is a key industry metric in determining the linearity of an electronic switch. The third-order intercept (IP3) is the extrapolated point where the ideal linear performance converges with actual third-order distortion products generated by the nonlinearities inherent in the switch. This figure of merit is critical in determining how much distortion a switch or other component will introduce into an RF system, ultimately impacting the quality of the transmitted or received signal.

Now the new MM5130 switch by Menlo Microsystems helps improve RF signal performance across multiple industries by providing IP3 linearity of greater than 95 dBm. The improvement is about 20 dB to 40 dB over conventional RF electromechanical relays and solid-state switches.

It is designed to handle power levels of up to 25W (CW) while operating across a frequency range from DC up to 26 GHz with an insertion loss of 1.3 dB at 18 GHz and switching speeds less than 10 µs.

Enhanced IP3 performance results in size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C) improvements as power amplifiers and other RF components in the chain can be scaled back in power and reduced in size, ultimately enhancing overall system performance.

These improvements make the MM5130 switch a suitable solution for advanced RF systems including low-loss switched filter banks, tunable filters, step attenuators, RF and microwave switching in radio front-ends, and phase shifters for beam steering and phased array antennas used in 5G networks. The high linearity also makes the MM5130 ideal for ultra-compact switch matrices and RF test and measurement applications.

“The electrification of everything and wireless proliferation call for the reinvention of a fundamental electronics industry building block: the RF switch. The MM5130 addresses this challenge. Its exceptional level of IP3 linearity will vastly improve the quality of service and signal performance for a multitude of RF front-end systems in demanding applications,” said Chris Giovanniello, co-founder, SVP marketing, Menlo Micro.

Menlo Micro is engaging with leading 5G infrastructure manufacturers, which have conveyed the necessity of IP3 linearities greater than 90 dBm and that these levels are difficult to achieve even with the most advanced high-power switch technologies. Similar IP3 requirements are in high demand for emerging military communications systems. Menlo Micro is currently working with prime aerospace and defence customers to design the MM5130 for advanced radios and other critical electronic systems.

The MM5130 switch is in volume production today and commercially available in a miniaturised wafer-level chip-scale package (WL-CSP).


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