RF Generators Information

RF Generators Information

RF generators provide power for thin film processing equipment, semiconductor fabrication systems, plasma generation, induction heating, telecommunications applications, and radar equipment. RF generators are also used to power computers, computer peripherals, medical devices, magnetic devices, and test equipment. Single-phase AC inputs are used with lower voltage applications. Three-phase AC inputs are used with high voltage power supplies. Products that meet U.S. military specifications (MIL-SPEC) accept high frequency inputs, typically in the 400 Hz range. Common AC input voltages include 115, 208, 230, and 480 VAC. Common AC input frequencies are 50 and 60 Hz. Output specifications for RF generators include output frequency, voltage and current; adjustable frequency, voltage, and current; and output power, an amount expressed in watts (W). Automatic frequency tuning (AFT) reduces harmonics, improves speed and reliability, and eliminates the tuning elements found in many traditional networks.

Mounting Styles

There are several mounting styles and form factors for RF generators. Surface mount technology (SMT) adds components to a printed circuit board (PCB) by soldering component leads or terminals to the top surface of the board. By contrast, through hole technology (THT) mounts components by inserting component leads through holes in the board and then soldering the leads in place on the opposite side of the board. Some RF generators are rack-mounted, wall-mounted, chassis-mounted, or designed to sit atop a desktop or shelf. Others have an open frame or mount on a standard DIN rail. DIN is an acronym for Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN), a German national organization for standardization. Some suppliers provide RF generators that enclose the input and output connection, include a floor-standing cabinet, or have a PCB form factor. Modular products are also available.

Selecting RF Generators

Selecting RF generators requires an analysis of special features. Battery backups provide emergency power for continuous outputs. Hot swappable devices can be replaced without shutting down the system. Overcurrent protection limits or shuts down the current output during overcurrent conditions. Similarly, overvoltage protection limits or shuts down the voltage output during overvoltage conditions. Some RF generators are temperature compensated, water cooled, fan cooled, or include an integral heatsink. Others provide DC outputs, a computer interface that can be used for remote monitoring or control, or a remote on/off switch. Power factor correction is used to correct the phase difference between voltage and current in order to optimize power output. Pure sine devices produce very high quality, sine waveform outputs. Weatherproof products can withstand prolonged exposure to outdoor conditions such as rain or snow.