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AlGaN/GaN HFET power amplifier integrated with microstrip antenna for RF front-end applications

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7 Author(s)
Younkyu Chung ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA ; Hang, Cynthia Y. ; Cai, S. ; Yongxi Qian
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A high-efficiency and compact AlGaN/GaN heterojunction field-effect transistor (HFET) power amplifier integrated with a microstrip antenna at 7.25 GHz is presented for RF front-end circuit applications. A microstrip circular sector antenna is employed as both a radiator and frequency-dependent output load. Higher order harmonics from the HFET in nonlinear operation are reactively terminated because of the harmonic termination characteristic of the antenna. Based on the optimum load impedance measured by a load-pull measurement setup, the AlGaN/GaN HFET power amplifier has been designed and fabricated at 7.25 GHz using the active integrated antenna concept. In this design approach, the measured antenna impedance is directly transformed to the optimum load impedance for maximum efficiency. The power amplifier with 1-mm gate periphery shows 42% peak power-added efficiency and 30.3-dBm saturated output power with a linear gain of 8 dB, which is in reasonably good agreement with measured discrete HFET load-pull data. Due to the antenna's characteristics, better than 30-dB harmonic suppression has been achieved at both the second and third harmonic frequencies in both the E- and H-planes. To the authors' best knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a high-frequency AlGaN/GaN HFET power amplifier integrated with an antenna.

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Microwave Theory and Techniques, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:51 ,  Issue: 2 )