Solid State Microwave: a breakthrough technology with nearly infinite potential for dozens of applications.
Traditional magnetron microwave technology is highly efficient in converting power into microwave energy, but limitations of control and long term reliability have limited its potential for advanced applications.
Solid state microwave technology uses transistors instead of a magnetron to convert power to radio frequencies. This has many advantages including radically better reliability and service life, frequency stability, and precision control.
Solid state microwave systems of this type are used in the Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) radio frequency ranges of 2.4 GHz to 2.5 GHz (center frequency 2.45 GHz) and 902 MHz to 929 MHz (center frequency 915 MHz), and can be scaled to extremely high power outputs of hundreds of kilowatts.
High power coupled with precision control and high reliability opens up a myriad of application areas for many industries. The applications are only limited by your imagination.
Solid State Microwave Technology Uses
These are a few of the applications and industries where solid state microwave RF technology has been successfully deployed.
Plasma Generation Applications
Solid state microwave technology used with precision guided waveforms is the ideal technology to ignite and sustain plasma reactions of all kinds. A high speed pulsing mode is used to ignite the reaction, followed by stable, steady state power to sustain the reaction. There are a wide range of non-electrode plasma applications that can benefit from the high controllability of RF generation.
CVD Diamond Manufacturing: The extremely high reliability and precise control are essential for maintaining a stable plasma reaction throughout a long growth cycle.
Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition: Producing or coating parts with thin layers of materials via an RF-controlled plasma reaction. Low temperature and precise process control produces higher quality products. Industrial applications include thin films, coatings and semiconductor manufacturing.
Plasma Lighting (electrodeless microwave lights): EML lighting offers long lasting and efficient high output, dimmable light sources. The generated light characteristics are a close replacement to natural sunlight, but are also color-controllable. This has applications in indoor agriculture, large scale commercial building, and even medical sterilization.
Waste to Energy: Waste gasification plants use a high energy plasma reaction to convert waste products to usable energy. The plasma reaction breaks down materials by pyrolysis and not combustion, which allows more complete breakdown of materials, including ones that are commonly difficult to dispose of, such as chemically contaminated and medical waste. It also works equally well to convert municipal solid waste into heat for power generation.
Low-Heat Curing and Drying Applications
Microwave heating heats a material throughout its volume (volumetric heating), rather than traditional sources which apply heat to the outside of a material. An advantage of RF microwave energy in heating and drying applications is the ability to more precisely control temperature while avoiding the hot and cold spots of traditional magnetrons. This is due to the ability of solid state generators to automatically vary frequencies while operating. This process is also much more energy efficient than conventional heating.
Biomass Drying: The ability to quickly remove moisture from high volumes of organic materials at low temperatures while maintaining product quality and without “cooking”.
Curing of Materials: Solid state RF technology can be used for curing of adhesives, resins, coatings, thin films, and composite materials such as carbon fiber.
RF Heating and Thermal Processing
Unlike all other methods of heating—which begin heating a material from the surface and moves inward—microwaves simultaneously penetrate all parts of the material so that heating occurs uniformly. This is called volumetric heating.
Microwaves produce heat by vibrating polarized molecules (usually water molecules), at almost a billion times per second. The resulting friction converts the radio waves to heat and vaporizes the water. Since nearly all the RF heating energy applied removes water, it is far more energy efficient than conventional dryers where a lot of the energy is lost heating air and the enclosure.
Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment
The semiconductor industry has incorporated solid state microwave technology to a wide variety of manufacturing processes including wafer fabrication and lithography.
Medical and Bioscience Applications
The unique characteristics of RF microwave systems including high output and precise control lend itself to multiple medical device applications including tumor ablation, medical particle accelerators and x-ray modulation. RF technology also shows potential in the areas of medical imaging, sterilization, pharmaceutical manufacturing and medical waste disposal. Bioscience applications can also benefit from microwave heating including the synthesis of biochemicals such as peptides and oligopeptides.
Mining and Mineral Processing Material Separation
High power RF energy is an ideal source for creating micro-fissures in mined materials, allowing easier separation of component materials at a lower energy input than other methods.
Due to the “steerability” of radio waves via a waveguide, they can be precisely focused and targeted at a specific area. This is ideal for continuous processes that require the application of energy at a specific location and duration as the material passes by. Continuous processes such as extrusion, thin films, coating curing, and composites can benefit from this capability.
Charged particle acceleration made possible by the use of high energy RF energy has a variety of industrial applications beyond basic research. For example, microwave sterilization of materials such as water or sewage. Electron irradiation is used for preservation or sterilization of food or other materials. Accelerators can also be used for non-destructive testing and other research purposes.
Our expert RF engineers’ experience across multiple industries and diverse applications makes them an ideal resource to help evaluate your emerging market concept for the application of high power RF technology to a previously untapped market. Crescend Technologies is your partner for feasibility studies and proof of concept for emerging technologies.
Crescend Technologies helps bring your RF energy solutions to life.
You supply the concept, and Crescend supplies the solid state microwave technology and RF engineering expertise. Our goal is to partner with each and every customer throughout the entire development process, from initial feasibility study to working prototypes through to final productization. Since RF energy technology is adaptable to so many industries and applications, our broad expertise helps us determine the best way to adapt RF energy to your application, shortening development time.
Manufacturing Practice Leader
Crescend Technologies, LLC
100 High Grove Boulevard
Glendale Heights, IL 60139