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Nonlinear VNA for high-power amp characterisation

Posted: 13 Dec 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:High-power RF amplifiers  vector network analyzer  simulator 

High-power RF amplifiers are employed in telecommunications, biomedical, and military systems. With output power levels ranging up to 1 kW, these amplifiers are typically designed to operate near or into compression in order to provide the maximum output power possible.

This may result in the generation of harmonics, intermodulation distortion, and gain compression which are often undesirable byproducts. As a result, designing high-power amplifiers requires a detailed analysis of its nonlinear behavior.

In the past, when designing systems with high-power amplifiers, the designer would measure the S-parameters of the amplifier using a vector network analyzer, load the results into an RF simulator, add other measured or modeled circuit elements, and then run a simulation to predict system performance such as gain and loading effects.

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