Daniel Gordon, Contributor at Large

In the perfect location for talent, logistics, and quality of life, Mini-Circuits’ Carlsbad, California office is becoming a new hub for MMIC design, augmenting the robust MMIC operations of Mini-Circuits Technologies (MCT) in Malaysia with sophisticated designs extending the frequency and power ranges of one of our largest product categories.

Located on the coast just north of San Diego and south of Orange County, close to Los Angeles by car, yet far from it in lifestyle—and seemingly a world away from the epicenter of the tech scene in San Francisco and Silicon Valley—Carlsbad is proving to be the ideal location that MMIC Product Line Engineer Raj Santhakumar had envisioned when he opened the office in 2021.

Aerial view of Carlsbad, CA

Just North of San Diego in Orange County, Carlsbad is proving to be an ideal location for Mini-Circuits’ MMIC R&D in the U.S.

Raj was first introduced to Mini-Circuits in 2019 when the company was onboarding its high-power amplifier design team in Lincoln, Rhode Island. Korné Vennema, who leads the Rhode Island had worked with Raj at a previous company and introduced him to Mini-Circuits President, Ted Heil. Their first meeting was informal, but the overlap between Mini-Circuits’ roadmap for MMIC product development and Raj’s experience was hard to ignore.

About a year later, Ted contacted Raj with an opportunity to open a new office and lead a MMIC design team in the U.S. Raj brought two of his former colleagues, Carlo Poledrelli and Khiem Dinh, to a series of meetings with Ted and the rest of Mini-Circuits leadership team. The potential value Raj, Carlo and Khiem could bring was unmistakable, as was their fit with the culture of the organization. With a green light from the Board, the trio was hired with a charter to expand Mini-Circuits’ MMIC product line with new designs supporting higher frequencies and higher power levels.

Situating the office in a nexus of engineering talent was a strategic priority, and Southern California emerged as the preferred location. Having previously lived in California and earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Raj always considered the possibility of moving back. The group settled on Carlsbad to set up shop.

Exterior photo of office building with garden and palm trees.

Situating the office in a nexus of engineering talent was a strategic priority.

The MMIC design and development process at Mini-Circuits is a collaborative endeavor between multiple teams distributed across the company’s global footprint. The new designs originating in Carlsbad go on a long journey around the world for fabrication, packaging, testing, characterization, and final qualification before being ready to ship.

MMICs, or Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits, are designed and fabricated using semiconductor materials such as Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) and Gallium Nitride (GaN). They are among the most popular RF components because they are extremely small, low-cost to accommodate aggressive price targets in consumer markets, and repeatable, meaning performance is highly consistent from unit to unit and production lot to production lot.

Engineers at design workstations.

The MMIC design and development process is a collaborative endeavor between teams around the world.

With ambitious expansion underway, the Carlsbad office will be increasingly able to support additional aspects of engineering and testing in tune with design. Outside of work, members in Carlsbad enjoy world-class beaches, scenery, golf-courses, restaurants, and craft beer to complement the exciting and rewarding discipline of MMIC design at Mini-Circuits.

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