What are Microwaves?
Electromagnetic wave is a form of wave or energy that can travel without any medium. The entire electromagnetic spectrum consists of the following 7 radiations – Radio waves, Microwaves, Infrared, Visible Light, Ultraviolet, X-ray & Gamma radiation. All these radiations travel with the speed of light, the only difference is in their wavelength and frequencies.
Speed of light, c = frequency x wavelength
Microwaves frequency ranges from 300MHz (wavelength = 1m) to 300 GHz (wavelength = 1mm). Microwaves are used for point-to-point telecommunications (example: spacecraft communication), radar technology but the most common use of microwaves is in heating and drying. Microwave ovens have penetrated our kitchen and has become our go to appliance for defrosting, baking, cooking or heating anything to eat.
What generates microwaves in household microwaves?
Ovens have built in magnetrons which acts as a source for microwaves and is the main component of the appliance. Typically, a regular oven with a power rating of 1000 Watts has a magnetron that can generate 1000 Watts of microwave energy to heat our food. While magnetrons can do the job of heating, getting a consistent power output throughout the process is not possible.
Magnetrons are high powered vacuum tubes that acts like a self-excited microwave oscillator. In simple terms, they operate on a vacuum tube-based technology or we can say cross field oscillation technology. While the use case of magnetrons in kitchen appliances seems reasonable, the magnetrons does not tick all the boxes for many industrial high-power applications.
Current Industrial Applications of Magnetrons:
High power magnetrons that can generate power up to 100kW are widely used in applications like semiconductor manufacturing, mining and mineral processing, medical devices, particle accelerator-based systems, chemical vapor deposition, plasma generation, sterilization, RF heating, drying and thermal processing, waste to energy etc. Most of these magnetrons available in today’s market operates on fixed frequencies of either 433 MHz, 915 MHz or 2.45 GHz. All these frequency bands are referred to as ISM bands.
Limitations of Magnetrons:
- Magnetron has a limited life time of around 3 years or 10000 hours of operations, and will typically lose 25% to 50% of its power based on its usage
- Operates on fixed frequencies, hence no frequency sweeping possible
- Cannot do auto adjustments in power levels due to zero software controls
- Uses dangerous multi kV power supplies
- High cost of replacement upon failure
- Low reliability
What’s new in Microwave Technology
As technology advances and processes becomes more sophisticated, the microwave energy space is ripe for innovation. Semi-conductor based or popularly called solid-state microwave generators is the talk of the industry. It is not only a perfect solution to all the magnetron limitations listed above, but has several other advantages that makes a strong use case and business case for this new technology.
Elite RF, a USA based leader in RF power amplifiers market, has launched a 2450MHz (2.45GHz) 6kW solid state microwave generator at an attractive price range that reduces the total cost of ownership of microwave generators. These generators have superior performance over magnetrons.
- Solid- State Microwave Generators lasts for more than 100, 000+ hours compared to low life than magnetrons
- Frequency sweeping possible, so operators can set the frequency in their operation that gives them the best product quality
- Custom software controls (digital architecture) provide agility in process controls
- Operating voltage is 50V with many safety locks controlled by software
- Low cost of replacement upon failure
- High Robustness
Solid state will replace the old tube-based technology and gradually make it obsolete.
For more information, please visit www.eliterfllc.com