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• • • COVER STORY • • •


Keeping the pace – Accurate inspection of 5G devices


With a range of potential applications, super-fast 5G networks promise to transform all our lives. However, as 5G device electronics become smaller and more intricate – accurate inspection has become challenging. In this article, discover how Olympus DSX1000 microscopes address this challenge, and provide guaranteed measurement accuracy for 5G device electronics


rom ultra-low latency communications for self-driving cars, to massive machine type communications for smart cities, 5G broadband networks are revolutionizing business, industry, and society, and leading us closer to a truly connected world. Ensuring that these 5G networks are efficient


F


and dependable starts with manufacture of reliable 5G devices. However, as the technology used in devices has become more advanced, obtaining reliable inspection data for quality control has become more challenging, with conventional digital microscopes often lacking the precision to accurately measure smaller and more intricate components.


In this article, we highlight some of the technology that gives 5G networks their fast connection and response times, and discover how features of DSX1000 digital microscopes from Olympus enable accurate inspection and manufacture of 5G devices with assured reliability.


5G - THE NEW STANDARD IN BROADBAND NETWORKS


Currently being rolled out globally, 5G networks represent a new standard for speed, throughput, and bandwidth. When compared to previous generations of mobile broadband, 5G delivers faster connections and response times – with download speeds in the Gbit/s range and latencies as low as 1 millisecond.


The unprecedented device connectivity enabled by 5G means that conventional industrial machinery and even consumer devices are being gradually replaced by smart devices. By connecting via the ‘internet of things’ (IoT), smart devices can deliver more efficient automated industrial processes and make appliances more intelligent – with examples including wearable health monitors and environmental systems that can adapt and alert users to changing conditions.


LOW LATENCY 5G NETWORKS RELY ON PRECISE PCB CHARACTERISTICS


The extremely low latency of 5G networks is a major 8 ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING • APRIL 2021


step forward for broadband technology. By enabling efficient live streaming of video formats including 360-degree HD video with minimal delays or interruptions, 5G is transforming how we interact with rich media and with each other. In order to integrate 5G antennas into smartphones, manufacturers must make use of all available space, and ensure devices can withstand wide variation in temperature and humidity. To ensure that PCBs used in 5G devices meet modern quality standards, characteristics such as the width and height of vias and lands and pattern shape must be measured during production. However, as the reflectance of PCBs varies greatly depending on the material composition, accurate measurements are only possible using a microscope that can provide uniform brightness.


5G MIMO ANTENNAS EXPAND NETWORK CAPACITY


By using sub-6 GHz frequency bands alongside higher frequency bands of around 24 GHz, 5G networks provide greater capacity, and enable more users and more traffic than previous generations. 5G networks also use MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) base station antennas to increase capacity. These antennas have many integrated transmit and receive elements, each of which can emit individual beams, which strengthen radio waves in a specific direction and improve reception sensitivity. To prevent unwanted interference between


individual beams during emission, antenna elements and circuits are designed with a specific shape, which must be inspected after production to ensure the correct dimensions. However, with the intricacy of these elements increasing, using inspection equipment with a high accuracy and precision is vital to obtain reliable inspection results.


REDUCING ELECTRONIC NOISE


To provide network users with a dependable connection, 5G base station antennas also integrate a large number of multilayer ceramic capacitors, which are designed to suppress


electronic noise and set circuit constants within the device.


Along with other components used in 5G


antennas, multilayer ceramic capacitors are becoming miniaturized, with layers that are increasingly thin. While inspection of these thin layers is normally performed using metallurgical, stereo, or conventional digital microscopes, the difference in reflectance between electrodes and the dielectric make it impossible to view the entire capacitor at once – greatly reducing measurement accuracy.


DSX1000: ALL IN ONE SOLUTION TO 5G DEVICE INSPECTION


The development of 5G technology has led to production of devices with progressively smaller and more intricate components. To address the need for more precise inspection equipment, Olympus offers the DSX1000 digital microscope – an all-in-one solution for 5G device inspection with guaranteed measurement accuracy and repeatability. By providing even device illumination, the


DSX1000 reduces reflection from components such as PCBs, multilayer ceramic capacitors, and optical fibers, enabling reliable inspection and production of 5G devices that meet high quality standards. With a telecentric optical system, the DSX1000 provides guaranteed measurement accuracy at all magnifications – and the ability to quickly change between 6 observation modes with a single click means that inspection of a range of 5G devices is simpler than ever.


5G rollout is expected to continue in the coming years, bringing the benefit of high-speed, low latency broadband networks to more people worldwide. The DSX1000 from Olympus represents an all-in-one solution for 5G device inspection that not only provides assured measurement accuracy and repeatability, but a more streamlined inspection process.


OLYMPUS olympus-ims.com electricalengineeringmagazine.co.uk


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