Design & SimulationSeptember 3, 2019

Substrate Integrated Waveguides and the Technology of the Future

Technology such as 5G is on the verge of making the world…
Avatar Clare Scott

Technology such as 5G is on the verge of making the world a more connected place, with faster speeds and better capabilities that allow more devices to communicate with each other. 5G, along with 77 GHz automotive radar and 60 GHz gigabit WiFi, is an example of a millimeter wave (mmW) technology. These waves travel on the millimeter wave spectrum, which operates at much higher frequencies than most of the technology we are used to today, and they require waveguides that are capable of transmitting these frequencies efficiently.

Traditional waveguides like microstrip and coplanar waveguides are not sufficient for mmW technology, as mmW involves a very short wavelength and thus the waveguides must be extremely small. The small size of the waveguides results in large transmission and radiation losses, possible thermal issues, tight fabrication limitations, crosstalk and mode conversion issues.

Rectangular metallic waveguides and coaxial lines are low loss and completely shielded, and thus are more efficient at these higher frequencies, but they tend to be bulky and expensive, and they cannot be integrated into printed electronics.

Another kind of waveguide exists, however, that combines the strengths of the abovementioned types. Substrate integrated waveguides (SIWs) are highly integrated, cost effective and mass producible, low loss but not bulky, and they can be fabricated easily with standard manufacturing processes as a simple printed circuit board with rows of vias, which are the electrical connections between layers. They can also be used in wearable electronics using conductive fabric and embroidered vias.

To integrate SIWs into devices, standard components such as transitions, splitters, filters and antennas must be implemented in SIW form. A whitepaper entitled “Principles and Simulation of Substrate Integrated Waveguides” describes how this can be done, and how CST Studio Suite can be used to design and simulate these components.

The whitepaper explains the general design rules for an SIW and its various components, including how to implement common microwave components into the waveguides. CST Studio Suite offers a resource for the electromagnetic simulation that can assure that these waveguides perform optimally. The waveguides can also be fully designed within CST, quickly and accurately.

The technology of the future is literally going to be operating on a different wavelength than the technology available today. SIW components are going to be seen more frequently as 5G and similar technologies are rolled out on a large scale. These SIWs are efficient and easy to manufacture, and with the kind of design and simulation tools offered in combination through CST Studio Suite, their development is made even more simple and accessible.

Request access to the full whitepaper, here.

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