Microwave materials are to the high-frequency industry what lumber and drywall are to the residential construction industry. They are fundamental to the industry's growth, let alone its survival. Materials such as ceramic and plastic printed-circuit boards (PCBs), laminate materials, shielding gaskets, and absorbing materials keep high-frequency signals separated and moving towards their ultimate destinations, with minimal disruption from other signals in the area.

In spite of the essential nature of microwave materials, suppliers of such products as PCBs, laminates, and shielding materials will rarely rest on their laurels. In fact, research and development is ongoing at materials manufacturers, as they seek to find improved recipes or enhance their existing formulae. Recent visits to a few leading materials suppliers, including WL Gore (www.gore.com) and Dielectric Laboratories (www.dilabs.com), included tours of their processes and brief seminars on the painstaking attention to detail and the pursuit of improved performance that take place on a daily basis at these companies.

Readers of the print or online Microwaves & RF who would like to learn more about recent developments at these and other leading microwave materials suppliers will find a brief but informative report in the March issue.