From The Editor | December 30, 2013

Year In Review: The Top 5 RF Design Stories (And More) Of 2013

By Jim Pomager

2013-14

Having spent the past 15 years as an editor of online and print publications, I’ve learned that there are three types of content that most readers particularly enjoy (among others). One is the year-in-review article, wherein the writer reflects on the important happenings or trends of the previous 12 months. Another is the list post, which promises the reader a specific quantity of easily digestible steps, tips, secrets, mistakes (to avoid), winners, losers, or other items of interest and/or importance.  Finally, there’s “what your peers are reading” (for lack of a better term), which you can find in the ubiquitous Most Popular, What’s Hot, Most Shared, and similar sections across the web.

For this, my final column of the calendar year, I decided to combine all three.

What follows is, if you will, a Most-Popular-Year-In-Review List. Ok, so technically it’s three lists, though each presents the top five most popular pieces of content — editorials, news, and tutorials — from RF Globalnet in 2013. My hope is that these lists will provide you with a quick, informative, and enjoyable look back at the year that was in RF and microwave technology, as we prepare to enter 2014.

Let’s start with my most popular editorials:

  1. 7 Standout Technologies From IMS2013 — Never will you find more cutting-edge RF and microwave technology on display in one place than at the International Microwave Symposium (IMS) Exhibition. With all due respect to the dozens of compelling technologies that did not make the list, here are seven that really turned our heads at IMS2013.

  2. The Shocking Truth About RF Implantable Devices — Implantable wireless devices inherently carry serious cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Heck, former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney was concerned enough about these threats that he had his pacemaker’s wireless capabilities disabled this year. Find out why… and what designers must do to mitigate these issues.

  3. Microwave Oven = Smartphone Charger: Will RF Energy Harvesting Make It Possible? — Imagine setting your dead smartphone down on the kitchen counter as you grab a frozen dinner out of the freezer. You pop the meal in the microwave, hit the start button, and viola! — 5 minutes later you have a hot, nutritious meal and a charged phone. Sounds too good to be true, right?

  4. 4 Key Factors Driving Military Electronics Development — The coming years are sure to be challenging ones for the U.S. military, defense contractors, and the electronics companies that support them. But by designing technology that addresses these four trends, the industry can ride out the storm and be well positioned for the upturn that will inevitably come.

  5. A Novel Approach To Averting The Spectrum Crisis — We’re teetering on the brink of a mobile broadband catastrophe. And if machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and the Internet of Things (IoT) are even half as big as anticipated, we’re headed right over the edge. But fear not — salvation is on the way from, of all places, Idaho.

Here are the top news headlines of the year:

  1. Reducing The Size Of Phased Array Systems — A research team from Georgia Tech developed a novel device that could help reduce the size, complexity, power requirements, and cost of phased array designs.

  2. World's Smallest Transceiver Released — Chipmaker Mediatek introduced an RF transceiver that measures a mere 7 square millimeters, and is also the world’s first 40-nm transceiver.

  3. Magnetic Vortex Antennas For Wireless Data Transmission — European scientists discovered three-dimensional magnetic vortices, which could eventually be used as antennas for ultrafast wireless data transmission.

  4. World Record: Wireless Data Transmission At 100 Gbit/s — By marrying photonics and electronics, researchers achieved record data transmission rates at 237.5 GHz over a distance of 20 meters.

  5. Faint Sources Of Almost All Radio Waves From Distant Galaxies Identified — Astronomers determined that most background radio emission comes from galaxies with black holes at their cores, and the rest come from galaxies that are rapidly forming stars.

Last but not least, here are our most popular tutorials (with a strong test and measurement flavor!):

  1. Understanding LTE — In this 60-page guide, you get a comprehensive overview of LTE technology and the testing issues it presents to both the engineer and the network operator.

  2. Calculating System Phase Noise — This tutorial illustrates phase noise calculation of a system and the effects of correlated components verses uncorrelated components.

  3. Spectrum Analysis Fundamentals — Learn the basics of spectrum analysis and the various signal analyzer architectures, from single stage to super heterodyne.

  4. Measuring Harmonics Using Spectrum Analyzers — This paper highlights the source of harmonics and explains how to measure them using modern spectrum analyzers.

  5. Oscilloscope Basics: Waveforms 101 — An overview of basic waveforms intended to help budding engineers learn about those “squiggles” on their scope displays.

For more of the year’s most popular content from RF Globalnet, check out our Top 10 Of 2013 newsletter. Have a happy New Year!

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