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IG stands for Yttrium Iron Garnet, a man made crystal structure is the best known
members of a family of ferromagnetic materials that possess unique properties. This material first synthesized in the laboratory in 1958 at Bell labs and in France has been the subject of innumerable investigations over the years.
A highly polished sphere of single crystal YIG resonates at a frequency directly proportional to the applied magnetic field. The YIG crystal or sphere (in the case of YIG devices) has a high Q factor and is perfect for use as a resonator. Over the years various types of YIG material has been grown to cover a vast range of frequencies, namely 500 MHz to 50 GHz. In these cases the material is doped much like the doping in transistor growth or is combined with other material to yield YIG material across the wide frequency spectrum.
Currently YIG’s are used in sphere (ball) configuration as this lends itself to better coupling in a microwave circuit. However, other sizes and shapes have been used over the years such as cubes, slices and films, but to a minimum in a production environment.
There are numerous factors that enter into the tuning speed of a YIG device. However, there are some rules of thumb that one can use to get an idea of the basic tuning speed based on the mechanical package size. The speeds below are based on standard driver voltages of +/- 15 Vdc and no driver “tweaks.”
Standard 1.75” and 2” cylinders: 1-2 mSec per GHz tuned
Standard 1.25” squares: 700-800 uSec per GHz tuned
Standard 1” cubes: 500-600 uSec per GHz
Mini’s ½ cubic inch: 300-500 uSec per GHz
Fast Tune Mini’s: 100 uSec per per GHz
TO-8’s: Full band 3 to 6 GHz in 400-500 usec
If one starts changing to lower inductance tuning coils and changes the driver parameters including the driver input voltages, faster tuning speeds can be obtained.
The heater in a YIG device is used to elevate the temperature of the YIG resonator to approximately +80-85 degrees C. The material at this elevated temperature is less susceptible to emit spurious tones. The heater has a secondary effect on the temperature compensation (temperature drift) of the device over extended temperature ranges.
The best frequency range for a YIG resonator is 3.0 to 6.0 GHz. This is where the YIG material has shown the best overall performance including phase noise spurious performance and loaded “Q” value. Other bands such as 2 to 8 GHz and 8 to 18 GHz have also shown premium performance.
First off, a YIG device is a tunable component that requires a change in magnetic field to change the frequency of the device. So, you cannot operate a YIG device directly from a power supply as you will only be changing voltage and not the necessary change in current. Due to the changing resistance and impedance of the highly-inductive tuning coils present, a constant current source in-between the power supply and YIG device is required.