Navigating Amplifier Thermal Analysis

Navigating Amplifier Thermal Analysis

Mini-Circuits has a longstanding legacy of fully specifying the thermal performance of our amplifiers, with or without a Mini-Circuits-supplied heatsink. Recently, it has become so commonplace for custom heatsinks to be utilized with Mini-Circuits power amplifiers that the power amplifier thermal characteristics are now expressed differently. Although the thermal resistance of the Mini-Circuits-supplied heatsink is no longer explicitly provided for newer models this is easily calculated from the specifications given for any model power amplifier. Basic calculations are all that is needed to arrive at any parameter of interest when analyzing thermal characteristics of any Mini-Circuits power amplifier.

Wideband Connectorized Amplifiers Support Over-The-Air (OTA) Transmitter & Receiver Testing for 5G FR2 Bands

Figure 1: Simplified diagram of a Total Radiated Power (TRP) test setup.

The advent of 5G networks has already begun ushering in a whole new generation of wireless devices and applications, and device manufacturers are racing to be the first to market. In order to meet the 5G standard for commercial wireless communication, device manufacturers need to develop powerful transmitters and receivers that operate in the millimeter wave range. This comes with a number of challenges, one of which is testing and qualification. Due to the wireless nature of these devices, manufacturers need to conduct testing in real-world conditions, which isn’t possible using the conventional approach of connecting devices under test (DUTs) to instruments with coaxial cables. Over-the-air (OTA) testing allows engineers to more realistically simulate real-world device performance in the lab environment.

Choosing an LNA for your Receiver Front End

Choosing an LNA for your Receiver Front End

A low-noise amplifier (LNA), which Mini-Circuits defines as any amplifier with a noise figure (NF) below 3 dB, should usually be used at the front end of an RF or microwave receiver chain for ideal performance. This single component has outsized effects on the rest of the signal chain, and that’s why choosing an LNA is such a critical decision. Mini-Circuits stands ready to help our customers through this process, so let’s take a look at what goes into it.

Wideband Connectorized Amplifiers for mmWave Over-The-Air (OTA) Transmitter & Receiver Testing

Figure 1: Simplified diagram of a total radiated power (TRP) test setup.

The advent of 5G networks has already begun ushering in a whole new generation of wireless devices and applications, and device manufacturers are racing to be the first market. In order to meet the 5G standard for commercial wireless communication, device manufacturers need to develop powerful transmitters and receivers that operate in the millimeter wave range, which comes with a number of challenges, one of which is testing and qualification. Due to the wireless nature of these devices, manufactures need to conduct testing in real-world conditions, which isn’t possible using the conventional approach of connecting devices under test (DUTs) to instruments with coaxial cables. Over-the-air (OTA) allows engineers to more realistically simulate real-world device performance in the lab environment.

Distributed RF Amplifier Designs for Ultra-Wideband Applications

Figure 2: Noise figure and gain circles on the source reflection plane.

Amplifiers are used in RF systems to boost the power level of a signal. Conventional RF amplifiers are designed using reactive elements to achieve matching to the characteristic impedance of a circuit within the specified operating frequency range for a given system. Reactively matched amplifiers allow designers to optimize performance parameters for a broad range of system requirements. Combined with techniques like balancing, using 90˚ hybrids and negative feedback, they can support bandwidths as wide as about 10:1.

MMIC Amplifiers with Shutdown and Bypass Features De-Mystified

Figure 1: Simplified schematic of an RF amplifier with shutdown functionality

Mini-Circuits’ TSS- and TSY-families of MMIC amplifiers feature a versatile combination of performance characteristics including high dynamic range and very low noise figure with wideband frequency coverage from VHF up to mmWave applications. These product families also include additional features of shutdown and bypass functionality. These features often lead to customer questions about the difference between bypass and shutdown, which products have which features, and the benefits of each. This article will explain how these features work, and provide an overview of some of the applications are where shutdown and bypass functions are most commonly used.

MMIC Technologies: Pseudomorphic High Electron Mobility Transistor (pHEMT)

Figure 2: GaAs primitive cell

Pseudomorphic High-Electron-Mobility-Transistor (pHEMT) is one technology Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit (MMIC) designers and fabs use to develop and manufacture microwave integrated circuits. pHEMT has gained popularity as a building block of many MMICs produced by electronics manufacturers like Mini-Circuits due to its superior wideband performance characteristics including low noise figure, high OIP3 and excellent reliability up to 40 GHz and beyond. pHEMT uses heterojunctions between semiconductors of different compositions and bandgaps to achieve outstanding high-frequency performance. This article delves into the physics of pHEMT operation, advantage, and reliability test results. A link to a summary of Mini-Circuits’ pHEMT products is also provided.

Positive Gain Slope Amplifiers Compensate for Gain Roll-Off in Wideband Systems

Figure 1: Effect on overall gain response of negative gain slope of three amplifiers cascaded in a receiver chain.

Meeting gain roll-off and gain flatness requirements over frequency is a common problem in many modern-day discrete RF transceivers. Ideally, the gain in the signal path of an RF transceiver should be flat over frequency in the band of interest. However, each component in the RF line-up has a finite bandwidth, which can cause the overall system gain response to roll-off over frequency. This is seen as negative slope in a graph of gain versus frequency. This behavior makes meeting gain flatness specifications for these transceivers very challenging to achieve, particularly over wide bandwidths.

Best Practices for Additive Phase Noise Measurements in Amplifiers

Figure 1: Complete block diagram and signal flow for phase noise measurement setup.

This article will review the challenges in measuring additive phase noise in Amplifiers and present details of the measurement setup Mini-Circuits uses to perform these measurements accurately and reliably. We will also dive into the specifics of additive phase noise readings and explain how to interpret phase noise values and measurement plots.

A Primer on RF Semiconductors (MMICs)

A Primer on RF Semiconductors (MMICs)

A Primer on RF Semiconductors (MMICs) Radhakrishna Setty, Technical Advisor Introduction Semiconductors are ubiquitous in modern society. In addition to microprocessors for computing technologies, they are used in practically every active wireless communications system including cell phone towers, cell phones, radars and satellites to name a few. Mini-Circuits designs and produces several semiconductor-based (MMIC) components […]