A wholly owned subsidiary of Benchmark, Lark RF technology is a leader in RF and high-speed solutions for aerospace and defense, next-gen telco, medical, industrial and compute applications. With its newly designed RF and High-Speed Design Center of Innovation in Phoenix, Lark has established itself as a world-class innovator of product design, engineering services and advanced manufacturing for partners seeking to go to market faster with less risk. The company’s most recent significant achievement is the development of a proprietary manufacturing method for advanced liquid crystal polymer (LCP) used in the miniaturization of printed circuit boards.
If you look at history, innovation doesn’t come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.- Steven Johnson, American Popular Science Writer
Established in 1986, Lark RF Technology (Lark), a Benchmark company, has established a legacy as a leading designer and manufacturer of radio frequency (RF) solutions for the next-gen telco, medical, HPC, industrial and aerospace and defense markets. The company has established wireless design and test system development groups co-located with manufacturing in major geographical regions. Over Lark’s more than 25 years in business, it has become a trusted international supplier of RF and microwave filters, multiplexers and multi-function assemblies.
Lark’s products are used in major digital and analog wireless applications, ranging from communication systems and military electronics to test equipment. During the past 40 years, RF, baseband and high-speed compute designs became stale and uninventive. There wasn’t a push for innovation, and conventional technology was no longer getting customers where they needed to be on their product roadmaps. In response to this stagnation in the industry, Lark decided to put all its advanced disciplines and capabilities together in one location to expand the limits of what is possible in electronics.
To redefine the RF and high-speed industry, Benchmark established its RF and High-Speed Design Center in Phoenix at Lark’s headquarters for integrated electronics solutions. These solutions include RF and high-speed system and circuit design, high-density interconnect circuit fabrication and mixed microelectronics assemblies, as well as manufacturing and testing. The 35,000 square-foot design center is outfitted with top-of-the-line microelectronics equipment for its 10,000-class clean room.
Lark’s crowning achievement in the Phoenix facility has been the development of its proprietary, next-gen manufacturing methods for advanced liquid crystal polymer (LCP) used in the miniaturization of printed circuit boards. Using LCP and Lark’s breakthrough high-speed processes, the company offers a revolutionary dimensional board space reduction average of 60 percent, a maximum board reduction of 1/10th the original size and performance up to 110 GHz. These methods also accomplish 15-plus layers of LCP (other manufacturers max out at five) and one mil lines and spaces in-circuit traces, allowing Lark to support higher speeds and a significant reduction in size, weight, and power (SWaP) while enabling new electronics designs in military, commercial and medical markets.
To Lark’s knowledge, no other company can compete with or attain the advanced LCP manufacturing milestones that have defined the company’s work in Phoenix. This innovation is allowing Lark to become the U.S. leader in the development and manufacturing of high-speed circuits for the needs of a wide range of next-gen telco, 5G, IoT and edge device designs. Lark has already begun designing and building state-of-the-art LCP printed circuit boards for several Fortune 500 international technology companies, as well as engaging with government research agencies on special next-gen electronics projects.
Lark’s LCP innovation is especially significant because of its impact on the development of devices operating on 5G, the next-generation wireless network. Advanced 5G speeds in connected devices, smart city infrastructure, and autonomous vehicles will change the technology landscape. According to National Geographic, the advent of 5G technology is unequivocally good news. As it develops and grows, 5G networks have the potential to create millions of jobs, drive growth and enable a host of new technologies, from smart appliances on “The Internet of Everything” to autonomous vehicles and nearly instantaneous downloads of even the most epic movies and games.
The push for SWaP reduction in electronic devices and 5G networks is the future of the technology industry, and Lark is leading the way as an enabler of next-generation electronics. The continued growth of its LCP innovation in Phoenix will be a defining accomplishment of the state’s technology sector as a whole.
Phoenix provides an advantage to Lark RF Technology (Lark) because engineering talent produced at Arizona State University tops the nation. The region’s minimal living expenses also make recruitment advantageous in comparison to markets like Silicon Valley. Lark also finds Arizona’s budding technology community provides a growing landscape to collaborate with others in design and electronics manufacturing.
The Future of Innovation
The future of innovation in the electronics industry is miniaturization and 5G. From smartphones to industrial networks, the technology landscape is moving rapidly towards smaller devices and blazing fast network speeds. One of the obstacles the industry will need to overcome to make 5G a reality is installing the necessary infrastructure to accommodate these speeds.\
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