IMS 2022 Part 2: Technical Takeaways

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The International Microwave Symposium (IMS) is the preeminent RF/microwave/millimeter–wave (mmWave) event globally. Thousands of professionals in the industry and engineers flock to the event every year, with the exception of the 2020 show, which was cancelled due to Covid.

Nearly 7,000 registrants attended this year’s IMS in Denver, Colorado, which took place June 19–24. Roughly 2,000 of the 7,000 attendees took advantage of the technical sessions, workshops, panel sessions, and summits at the show beyond the three–day exhibition that was also going on.

In Part 1, we covered highlights of the exhibition and some of the words on the street. This article provides a discussion of the highlights of the talks, technical sessions, and presentations that occurred.

Plenary session

Though possibly not a novel event for IMS, there were two presentations for Monday evening’s IMS plenary session. The first was given by Dana Anderson, co–founder and CTO of ColdQuanta Inc., Fellow of the JILA Institute at the University of Colorado, and professor in the Department of Physics at the University.

Anderson’s presentation was titled “A Quantum Technology Landscape,” in which he spoke about a myriad of cryogenic quantum systems. In general, the discussion covered a range of revolutions that may be brought on using quantum technology, specifically impacting timekeeping, sensing, communications, networking, and computer technology. The focus of Anderson’s talk, however, was on quantum technologies in the RF/microwave/mmWave fields, including electromagnetic field detection, inertial sensing, and atomic transistors.

Greg Edlund, vice president and chief architect at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, discussed a much physically larger matter: space! His talk focused on the growing space market and increasing diversity of space missions and how these new missions and satellite requirements impact the electronic payloads.

The focus of Edlund’s discussion was Lockheed Martin’s advanced multi–beam electronically steerable arrays, multi–channel system–in–package, and advanced/flexible digital–signal–processor–equipped RF signal–processing units. Moreover, he discussed how microwave engineering is used to overcome the harsh environment and other challenges of space, as well as how custom MMICs and RF photonic integrated circuits can be used to help address these challenges.

Workshops galore

June 19 and 20 were ground zero for the official start of IMS 2022, with two full days of workshops. Sunday’s featured workshops covered tera–byte–per–second optical and wireline transceivers, human–body communications, large–scale antenna arrays, mmWave radiation in 5G health aspects, micro–/nanoscale challenges with 6G, quantum information processing with emerging low–temperature/cryogenic microwave technology, wireless proximity communication, and more.

Monday’s workshop topics included coexistence between 5G and passive scientific systems, phased–array beamforming with open–source hardware and software, front–end module integration/packaging for 6G and beyond 100–GHz communication and radar, superposition and entanglement, heterogeneous integration of GaN/GaAs for emerging mmWave applications, and artificial–intelligence–/machine–learning–based signal processing for wireless channels.

Technical sessions

As always, IMS was rife with rich technical sessions from June 21 to 22. Among the more exciting topics were presentations on quantum–system integration, non–planar filter technology, reconfigurable multi–mode resonators and filters, rectennas for energy harvesting, and 5G/6G mmWave GaN technology — and that was only Tuesday.

Wednesday featured presentations on high–frequency device modeling, non–linear analysis of microwave/mmWave systems, space–to–ground radar, mmWave/terahertz power amplifiers, physically secure communications, cognitive radar, and many other talks on mmWave/terahertz technology.

Thursday’s presentation topics included characterization of biological and semiconductor material with microwave interactions, microwave/terahertz photonics, efficient phased–array antenna system characterization, phase–change materials and substrate–integrated waveguide technologies, and more.

Panel sessions

IMS2022 also featured six panel sessions on key topics covering quantum technology, 6G, AI/ML/cognitive radios, small satellites, wearables, and modern phased–array testing.

Tuesday, June 21:

PL2: This is the Right Way to Architect the Microwave Control for Quantum Computers!

PL3: Race to the Next G — Ride the mmWave or Wave Goodbye!

Wednesday, June 22:

PL4: The Trend of Tiny AI: Will Ultra–Low–Power Fully–Integrated Cognitive Radios Become a Reality?

PL5: Small Satellites and Constellations: Who Will Be the Winners of the New Race to Space?

Thursday, June 23:

PL6: Wearables — Our Life Depends on Them!

PL7: Modern Phased Arrays and OTA Testing: A Design or a Measurement Challenge?

New to IMS 2022: ‘The Systems Forum’

The new initiative for IMS 2022 is meant to provide an additional outlet for systems–level research and discussions, specifically focusing on defense, 5G/6G, quantum, phased arrays, and other topics. These activities included panel sessions, focus and special sessions, IEEE Microwave Magazine overview papers, an interactive forum plenary poster, and a reception.

The activities were scattered over the three main days: Tuesday was Quantum Systems Day and the Connected Future Summit, Wednesday was Radar & Aerospace Day, and Thursday was Phased Arrays & OTA Applications Day.

IMS System Forum event calendar (Source: IMS–IEEE) (Click image to enlarge)

Connected Future Summit

The Connected Future Summit was an all–day roundup of speakers covering a diverse range of topics related to current and next–generation wireless telecommunications (i.e., 5G, 6G, Wi–Fi 6E, and Wi–Fi 7). The summit consisted of four sessions from the morning to evening on Tuesday.

Topics included coverage of smart cities, connected transportation, unmanned aerial systems, non–terrestrial networks, mobile communications, mmWave as the future of 6G, mmWave beamforming, reconfigurables for smart societies, and much more.

IMS Connected Future Summit vision (Source: IMS–IEEE) (Click image to enlarge)

Closing session

IMS 2022’s closing session featured W. Bernard Carlson, the Joseph L. Vaughan Professor of Humanities in the Department of Engineering and Society at University of Virginia and in the TechInnovate program at the National University of Ireland Galway.

Carlson’s session was titled “Learning from the Lightning: How Nikola Tesla Formulated a Scheme for Wireless Power in Colorado Springs” and discussed how Nikola Tesla’s efforts and observations made during his time spent in Colorado Springs enabled many of his later discoveries.

With this last presentation, IMS 2022 wrapped up another amazing year in microwaves.

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