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This paper presents a comprehensive analysis of nonlinear intermodulation distortion (IMD) behavior in RF CMOS power amplifiers (PAs). Separate analyses are presented for small- and large-signal operation regimes. Especially, a new, simple, large-signal behavioral IMD analysis method is presented that allows the mechanisms dominant for IMD generation to be identified and their individual contributions to be studied. By combining these analyses, typical IMD versus input power characteristics of MOSFET PAs can be predicted and understood for different classes of operation. Various measurements made on a 950-MHz RF CMOS PA are used to demonstrate typical behavior and validate the proposed theory. Prediction of IMD using a standard CMOS transistor model is also evaluated and is shown to give good agreement with the measurements.