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Design and model studies for solid-state power amplification at 210 GHz

: Diebold, S.; Kallfass, I.; Massler, H.; Seelmann-Eggebert, M.; Leuther, A.; Tessmann, A.; Pahl, P.; Koch, S.; Ambacher, O.


International journal of microwave and wireless technologies 3 (2011), Nr.3, S.339-346
ISSN: 1759-0795
ISSN: 1759-0787
Fraunhofer IAF ()
modelling; simulation; characterization of devices; circuits power amplifiers; linearizers

The high millimeter-wave (mmW) frequency range offers new possibilities for high-resolution imaging and sensing as well as for high data rate wireless communication systems. The use of power amplifiers of such systems boosts the performance in terms of operating range and/or data rate. To date, however, the design of solid-state power amplifiers at frequencies about 210 GHz suffers from limited transistor model accuracy, resulting in significant deviation of simulation and measurement. This causes cost and time consuming re-design iterations, and it obstructs the possibility of design optimization ultimately leading to moderate results. For verification of the small-signal behavior of our in-house large-signal transistor model, S-parameter measurements were taken from DC to 220 GHz on pre-matched transistors. The large-signal behavior of the transistor models was verified by power measurements at 210 GHz. After model modification, based on process control monitor (PCM) measurement data, the large-signal model was found to match the measurements well. A transistor model was designed containing the statistical information of the PCM data. This allows for non-linear spread analysis and reliable load-pull simulations for obtaining the highest available circuit performance. An experimental determination of the most suitable transistor geometry (i.e. number of gate fingers and gate width) and transistor bias was taken on 100 nm gate length metamorphic high electron mobility transistor (mHEMT) transistors. The most suitable combination of number of fingers, gate width and bias for obtaining maximum gain, maximum output power, and maximum power added efficiency (PAE) at a given frequency was determined.