Radio frequency

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Radio frequency (RF) is the oscillation rate of an alternating electric current or voltage or of a magnetic, electric or electromagnetic field or mechanical system in the frequency range from around 20  kHz to around 300  GHz . This is roughly between the upper limit of audio frequencies and the lower limit of infrared frequencies; [1] [2] these are the frequencies at which energy from an oscillating current can radiate off a conductor into space as radio waves. Different sources specify different upper and lower bounds for the frequency range.


Electric current

Electric currents that oscillate at radio frequencies (RF currents) have special properties not shared by direct current or alternating current of lower frequencies.

Frequency bands

The radio spectrum of frequencies is divided into bands with conventional names designated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU):

ITU designation IEEE bands [5]
Full nameAbbreviation [6]
3–30 Hz105–104 km Extremely low frequency ELF N/A
30–300 Hz104–103 km Super low frequency SLF N/A
300–3000 Hz103–100 km Ultra low frequency ULF N/A
3–30 kHz100–10 km Very low frequency VLF N/A
30–300 kHz10–1 km Low frequency LF N/A
300 kHz – 3 MHz1 km – 100 m Medium frequency MF N/A
3–30 MHz100–10 m High frequency HF HF
30–300 MHz10–1 m Very high frequency VHF VHF
300 MHz – 3 GHz1 m – 10 cm Ultra high frequency UHF UHF, L, S
3–30 GHz10–1 cm Super high frequency SHF S, C, X, Ku, K, Ka
30–300 GHz1 cm – 1 mm Extremely high frequency EHF Ka, V, W, mm
300 GHz – 3 THz1 mm – 0.1 mm Tremendously high frequency THF N/A

Frequencies of 1 GHz and above are conventionally called microwave, [7] while frequencies of 30 GHz and above are designated millimeter wave. More detailed band designations are given by the standard IEEE letter- band frequency designations [5] and the EU/NATO frequency designations. [8]



Radio frequencies are generated and processed within very many functional units such as transmitters, receivers, computers, televisions, and mobile phones, to name a few. Radio frequencies are also applied in carrier current systems including telephony and control circuits.

RF circuit technology is widely used in wireless telecommunications, such as mobile communication. A typical smartphone contains a number of metal–oxide–semiconductor (MOS) integrated circuit (IC) RF chips, including RF CMOS chips such as a baseband cellular modem, RF transceiver, and wireless communication chips (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS receiver), [9] as well as LDMOS (lateral diffused MOS) RF power amplifiers. [10] [11] [12]


Radio frequency (RF) energy, in the form of radiating waves or electrical currents, has been used in medical treatments for over 75 years, [13] generally for minimally invasive surgeries using radiofrequency ablation including the treatment of sleep apnea. [14]

RF energy

RF energy, also known as solid-state RF energy, is an electronic technology that uses solid-state electronics to provide RF electromagnetic radiation in a controlled manner for a wide range of applications, such as heating and home appliances. RF energy was introduced in the 2010s, as a replacement of traditional cavity magnetron tubes previously used for appliances such as microwave ovens. [15] [16]

The basis for RF energy technology is the LDMOS (laterally-diffused metal–oxide–semiconductor) transistor. [17] [18] [19] Common applications of LDMOS-based RF energy technology include the following.


Test apparatus for radio frequencies can include standard instruments at the lower end of the range, but at higher frequencies the test equipment becomes more specialized.

Mechanical oscillations

While RF usually refers to electrical oscillations, mechanical RF systems are not uncommon: see mechanical filter and RF MEMS.

See also

Related Research Articles

The ISM radio bands are portions of the radio spectrum reserved internationally for industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) purposes other than telecommunications. Examples of applications for the use of radio frequency (RF) energy in these bands include radio-frequency process heating, microwave ovens, and medical diathermy machines. The powerful emissions of these devices can create electromagnetic interference and disrupt radio communication using the same frequency, so these devices are limited to certain bands of frequencies. In general, communications equipment operating in these bands must tolerate any interference generated by ISM applications, and users have no regulatory protection from ISM device operation.

Microwave Form of electromagnetic radiation

Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths ranging from about one meter to one millimeter; with frequencies between 300 MHz (1 m) and 300 GHz (1 mm). Different sources define different frequency ranges as microwaves; the above broad definition includes both UHF and EHF bands. A more common definition in radio-frequency engineering is the range between 1 and 100 GHz. In all cases, microwaves include the entire SHF band at minimum. Frequencies in the microwave range are often referred to by their IEEE radar band designations: S, C, X, Ku, K, or Ka band, or by similar NATO or EU designations.

Electromagnetic compatibility

Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) is the ability of electrical equipment and systems to function acceptably in their electromagnetic environment, by limiting the unintentional generation, propagation and reception of electromagnetic energy which may cause unwanted effects such as electromagnetic interference (EMI) or even physical damage in operational equipment. The goal of EMC is the correct operation of different equipment in a common electromagnetic environment. It is also the name given to the associated branch of electrical engineering.

Microwave oven Kitchen cooking appliance

A microwave oven is an electric oven that heats and cooks food by exposing it to electromagnetic radiation in the microwave frequency range. This induces polar molecules in the food to rotate and produce thermal energy in a process known as dielectric heating. Microwave ovens heat foods quickly and efficiently because excitation is fairly uniform in the outer 25–38 mm(1–1.5 inches) of a homogeneous, high water content food item.

Radio wave type of electromagnetic radiation

Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum longer than infrared light. Radio waves have frequencies as high as 300 gigahertz (GHz) to as low as 30 hertz (Hz). At 300 GHz, the corresponding wavelength is 1 mm, and at 30 Hz is 10,000 km. Like all other electromagnetic waves, radio waves travel at the speed of light in vacuum. They are generated by electric charges undergoing acceleration, such as time varying electric currents. Naturally occurring radio waves are emitted by lightning and astronomical objects.

Wireless kind of telecommunication that does not require the use of physical wires; the transfer of information or power between two or more points that are not connected by an electrical conductor

Wireless communication is the transfer of information or power between two or more points that are not connected by an electrical conductor. The most common wireless technologies use radio waves. With radio waves distances can be short, such as a few meters for Bluetooth or as far as millions of kilometers for deep-space radio communications. It encompasses various types of fixed, mobile, and portable applications, including two-way radios, cellular telephones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and wireless networking. Other examples of applications of radio wireless technology include GPS units, garage door openers, wireless computer mouse, keyboards and headsets, headphones, radio receivers, satellite television, broadcast television and cordless telephones. Somewhat less common methods of achieving wireless communications include the use of other electromagnetic wireless technologies, such as light, magnetic, or electric fields or the use of sound.

Wireless power transfer transmission of electrical energy from a power source to an electrical load (electrical power grid or appliance) without the use of conductors (wires,cables); power transmission technologies (use time-varying electric,magnetic,electromagnetic fields)

Wireless power transfer (WPT), wireless power transmission, wireless energy transmission (WET), or electromagnetic power transfer is the transmission of electrical energy without wires as a physical link. In a wireless power transmission system, a transmitter device, driven by electric power from a power source, generates a time-varying electromagnetic field, which transmits power across space to a receiver device, which extracts power from the field and supplies it to an electrical load. The technology of wireless power transmission can eliminate the use of the wires and batteries, thus increasing the mobility, convenience, and safety of an electronic device for all users. Wireless power transfer is useful to power electrical devices where interconnecting wires are inconvenient, hazardous, or are not possible.

The radio spectrum is the part of the electromagnetic spectrum with frequencies from 30 hertz to 300 GHz. Electromagnetic waves in this frequency range, called radio waves, are widely used in modern technology, particularly in telecommunication. To prevent interference between different users, the generation and transmission of radio waves is strictly regulated by national laws, coordinated by an international body, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Diathermy is electrically induced heat or the use of high-frequency electromagnetic currents as a form of physical therapy and in surgical procedures. The earliest observations on the reactions of high-frequency electromagnetic currents upon the human organism were made by Jacques Arsene d'Arsonval. The field was pioneered in 1907 by German physician Karl Franz Nagelschmidt, who coined the term diathermy from the Greek words dia and θέρμη therma, literally meaning "heating through".

Electromagnetic interference Disturbance generated in an electrical circuit due to external fields or sources of radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation

Electromagnetic interference (EMI), also called radio-frequency interference (RFI) when in the radio frequency spectrum, is a disturbance generated by an external source that affects an electrical circuit by electromagnetic induction, electrostatic coupling, or conduction. The disturbance may degrade the performance of the circuit or even stop it from functioning. In the case of a data path, these effects can range from an increase in error rate to a total loss of the data. Both man-made and natural sources generate changing electrical currents and voltages that can cause EMI: ignition systems, cellular network of mobile phones, lightning, solar flares, and auroras. EMI frequently affects AM radios. It can also affect mobile phones, FM radios, and televisions, as well as observations for radio astronomy and atmospheric science.

Dielectric heating Heating using radio waves

Dielectric heating, also known as electronic heating, radio frequency heating, and high-frequency heating, is the process in which a radio frequency (RF) alternating electric field, or radio wave or microwave electromagnetic radiation heats a dielectric material. At higher frequencies, this heating is caused by molecular dipole rotation within the dielectric.

RF switch

An RF switch or microwave switch is a device to route high frequency signals through transmission paths. RF and microwave switches are used extensively in microwave test systems for signal routing between instruments and devices under test (DUT). Incorporating a switch into a switch matrix system enables you to route signals from multiple instruments to single or multiple DUTs. This allows multiple tests to be performed with the same setup, eliminating the need for frequent connects and disconnects. The entire testing process can be automated, increasing the throughput in high-volume production environments.

History of telecommunication aspect of history relating to telecommunications

The history of telecommunication began with the use of smoke signals and drums in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. In the 1790s, the first fixed semaphore systems emerged in Europe. However, it was not until the 1830s that electrical telecommunication systems started to appear. This article details the history of telecommunication and the individuals who helped make telecommunication systems what they are today. The history of telecommunication is an important part of the larger history of communication.

Radio-frequency (RF) engineering is a subset of electronic engineering involving the application of transmission line, waveguide, antenna and electromagnetic field principles to the design and application of devices that produce or utilize signals within the radio band, the frequency range of about 20 kHz up to 300 GHz.

LDMOS is a planar double-diffused MOSFET used in amplifiers, including microwave power amplifiers, RF power amplifiers and audio power amplifiers. These transistors are often fabricated on p/p+ silicon epitaxial layers. The fabrication of LDMOS devices mostly involves various ion-implantation and subsequent annealing cycles. As an example, The drift region of this power MOSFET is fabricated using up to three ion implantation sequences in order to achieve the appropriate doping profile needed to withstand high electric fields.

Non-ionizing radiation electromagnetic radiation that does not carry enough energy per quantum to ionize atoms or molecules

Non-ionizingradiation refers to any type of electromagnetic radiation that does not carry enough energy per quantum to ionize atoms or molecules—that is, to completely remove an electron from an atom or molecule. Instead of producing charged ions when passing through matter, non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation has sufficient energy only for excitation, the movement of an electron to a higher energy state. In contrast, ionizing radiation has a higher frequency and shorter wavelength than non-ionizing radiation, and can be a serious health hazard; exposure to it can cause burns, radiation sickness, cancer, and genetic damage. Using ionizing radiation requires elaborate radiological protection measures, which in general are not required with non-ionizing radiation.

Ampleon is a global semiconductor manufacturer headquartered in Nijmegen, Netherlands and founded on December 7, 2015, spun off from the NXP Semiconductors in May 2015, following the acquisition of the NXP Semiconductors RF Power business by the JAC Capital Management for US$1.8 billion. The company employs 1650 people worldwide and manfucatures RF Power transistors for a wide range of applications, such as mobile broadband infrastructure, radio & TV broadcasting, CO2 lasers & plasma, MRI, particle accelerators, radar & air-traffic control, non-cellular communications, RF cooking & defrosting, RF heating and plasma lightfocuses on mobile broadband, multimarket, and RF energy electronic products.

Natalino Camilleri from the Nitero, Inc., Austin, TX was named Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2015 for leadership in radio frequency integrated circuits and systems.

RF CMOS is a metal–oxide–semiconductor (MOS) integrated circuit (IC) technology that integrates radio-frequency (RF), analog and digital electronics on a mixed-signal CMOS RF circuit chip. It is widely used in modern wireless telecommunications, such as cellular networks, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS receivers, broadcasting, vehicular communication systems, and the radio transceivers in all modern mobile phones and wireless networking devices. RF CMOS technology was pioneered by Pakistani engineer Asad Ali Abidi at UCLA during the late 1980s to early 1990s, and helped bring about the wireless revolution with the introduction of digital signal processing in wireless communications.


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