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The design and implementation of a class-J mode RF power amplifier is described. The experimental results indicate the class-J mode's potential in achieving high efficiency across extensive bandwidth, while maintaining predistortable levels of linearity. A commercially available 10 W GaN (gallium nitride) high electron mobility transistor device was used in this investigation, together with a combination of high power waveform measurements, active harmonic load-pull and theoretical analysis of the class-J mode. Targeting a working bandwidth of 1.5-2.5 GHz an initial power amplifier (PA) design was based on basic class-J theory and computer-aided design simulation. This realized a 50% bandwidth with measured drain efficiency of 60%-70%. A second PA design iteration has realized near-rated output power of 39 dBm and improved efficiency beyond the original 2.5 GHz target, hence extending efficient PA operation across a bandwidth of 1.4-2.6 GHz, centered at 2 GHz. This second iteration made extensive use of active harmonic load-pull and waveform measurements, and incorporated a novel design methodology for achieving predistortable linearity. The class-J amplifier has been found to be more realizable than conventional class-AB modes, with a better compromise between power and efficiency tradeoffs over a substantial RF bandwidth.
Microwave Theory and Techniques, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:57 , Issue: 12 )
Date of Publication: Dec. 2009