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Measurement and control of current/voltage waveforms of microwave transistors using a harmonic load-pull system for the optimum design of high efficiency power amplifiers

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9 Author(s)

One of the most important requirements that RF and microwave power amplifiers designed for radiocommunication systems must meet is an optimum power added efficiency (PAE) or an optimal combination of PAE and linearity. A harmonic active load-pull system which allows the control of the first three harmonic frequencies of the signal coming out of the transistor under test is a very useful tool to aid in designing optimized power amplifiers. In this paper, we present an active load-pull system coupled to a vectorial “nonlinear network” analyzer. For the first time, optimized current/voltage waveforms for maximum PAE of microwave field effect transistors (FET's) have been measured. They confirm the theory on high efficiency microwave power amplifiers. The proposed load-pull setup is based on the use of three separated active loops to synthesize load impedances at harmonics. The measurement of absolute complex power waves is performed with a broadband data acquisition unit. A specific phase calibration of the set-up allows the determination of the phase relationships between harmonic components. Therefore, voltage and current waveforms can be extracted. The measurement results of a 600 gate periphery GaAs FET (Thomson Foundry) exhibiting a PAE of 84% at 1.8 GHz are given. Such results were obtained by optimizing the load impedances at the first three harmonic components of the signal coming out of the transistor. Optimum conditions correspond to a class F operation mode of the FET (i.e., square wave output voltage and pulse shaped output current). A comparison between measured and simulated current/voltage waveforms is also presented

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Instrumentation and Measurement, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 4 )