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Merits of PM noise measurement over noise figure: a study at microwave frequencies

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4 Author(s)
Hati, A. ; Nat. Inst. of Stand. & Technol., Boulder, CO ; Howe, D.A. ; Walls, F.L. ; Walker, D.K.

This paper primarily addresses the usefulness of phase-modulation (PM) noise measurements versus noise figure (NF) measurements in characterizing the merit of an amplifier. The residual broadband (white PM) noise is used as the basis for estimating the NF of an amplifier. We have observed experimentally that many amplifiers show an increase in the broadband noise of 1 to 5 dB as the signal level through the amplifier increases. This effect is linked to input power through the amplifier's nonlinear intermodulation distortion. Consequently, this effect is reduced as linearity is increased. We further conclude that, although NF is sometimes used as a selection criteria for an amplifier for low-level signal, NF yields no information about potentially important close-to-carrier 1/f noise of an amplifier nor broadband noise in the presence of a high-level signal, but a PM noise measurements does. We also have verified experimentally that the single-sideband PM noise floor of an amplifier due to thermal noise is -177 dBc/Hz, relative to a carrier input power of 0 dBm

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Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:53 ,  Issue: 10 )