Isola Group is inviting the RF/microwave industry to find more practical circuit material solutions at the upcoming 2023 IEEE International Microwave Symposium (IMS) exhibition. Welcoming visitors to the San Diego Convention Center (San Diego, Calif.) for the industry’s largest annual RF/microwave conference and exhibition during June 13-15, 2023, Isola Group is offering a sampling of its extensive lines of laminates and prepreg materials for RF, microwave, millimeter-wave (mmWave), and photonics circuits. Representatives from Isola Group will be on hand at exhibition booth #2235 to discuss design strategies, manufacturing methods, material testing, and how to find the best circuit material for that special project, no matter how high in frequency. Isola’s team has tackled a wide range of applications, from ADAS automotive radars to satellite communications (satcom) receivers, and they look forward to exploring how their materials might satisfy your circuit requirements. 

As the RF/microwave industry moves higher in frequency, in almost all markets including commercial, industrial, medical, and military/aerospace business, circuit materials serve as foundations and starting points for higher-frequency circuits. Those materials must transfer signals with smaller wavelengths and do so with as little loss as possible. Circuit materials for RF and microwave circuits have long provided the characteristics needed for critical applications, including electronic warfare and radar systems. But with more systems reaching for available channels and bandwidths at mmWave frequencies, the circuit materials must exhibit outstanding thermal behavior and excellent dielectric stability to minimize performance variations at mmWave frequencies. The circuit materials on display from Isola Group offer the characteristics and performance needed for repeatable mmWave circuits, and they have the chemistry that makes them extremely manufacturable, even for those fine circuit features needed at microwave, mmWave, and even photonic wavelengths. 

One of those materials is Astra® MT77, available in laminate and prepreg forms. The circuit materials are characterized by a low dielectric constant (Dk) of 3.00 as measured through its thickness or z-axis at 10 GHz. The material has extremely low loss when used for printed-circuit boards (PCBs) at high frequencies, denoted by a dissipation factor (Df) of 0.0017 at 10 GHz. It maintains consistent electrical and mechanical attributes across wide operating temperature ranges in support of commercial and military applications at mmWave frequencies, including automotive ADAS radars and airborne radar systems. 

For designers seeking circuit materials with higher Dk values, I-Tera® MT40 laminate and prepreg materials have a slightly higher loss, with Df of 0.0034 at 10 GHz. But these materials are available with a choice of Dk values: 3.38, 3.45, 3.60, and 3.75, all as measured through the thickness or z-axis of the material at 10 GHz. The higher Dk values enable miniaturization of circuit structures for a given frequency or wavelength, in support of reduce circuit size, weight, and power in military and aerospace applications. 

Tachyon® 100G laminates and prepregs feature the electrical and mechanical traits that make them strong building blocks for high-speed-digital (HSD) circuits. They are similar in behavior to Astra® MT77, with Dk of 3.02 through the z-axis at 10 GHz and Df of 0.0021 at 10 GHz. But they are tailored for HSD circuits operating at speeds of 100 Gb/s and more. And they exhibit thermal behavior closely matched to Astra MT77, as evidenced by their similar coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) values for a wide operating temperature range of -55°C to +125°C. The thermal compatibility makes Astra MT77 and Tachyon 100G laminates and prepregs good candidates for hybrid PCBs, where one material holds RF/microwave circuits and the other handles HSD circuits. 

Isola Group will also be showing its halogen-free materials at the 2023 IEEE IMS exhibition, with example circuits on its TerraGreen® laminates and TerraGreen 400G laminates and prepregs. TerraGreen features a Dk of 3.45 in the z-axis of the material at 10 GHz with Df of 0.0031 also at 10 GHz. TerraGreen 400G laminates and prepregs exhibit lower Dk of 3.05 in the z-axis at 10 GHz and lower Df of 0.0018 at 10 GHz for outstanding performance in ultra-high-speed digital circuits requiring halogen-free circuit materials.

The materials are different but work well together and Isola Group’s representatives welcome visitors to the booth wishing to learn more about designing and manufacturing with the various circuit materials.