Design methodologies of microwawe integrated circuits for satellite telecommunications

Scappaviva, Francesco (2009) Design methodologies of microwawe integrated circuits for satellite telecommunications, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Ingegneria elettronica, informatica e delle telecomunicazioni, 21 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/1578.
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The running innovation processes of the microwave transistor technologies, used in the implementation of microwave circuits, have to be supported by the study and development of proper design methodologies which, depending on the applications, will fully exploit the technology potentialities. After the choice of the technology to be used in the particular application, the circuit designer has few degrees of freedom when carrying out his design; in the most cases, due to the technological constrains, all the foundries develop and provide customized processes optimized for a specific performance such as power, low-noise, linearity, broadband etc. For these reasons circuit design is always a “compromise”, an investigation for the best solution to reach a trade off between the desired performances. This approach becomes crucial in the design of microwave systems to be used in satellite applications; the tight space constraints impose to reach the best performances under proper electrical and thermal de-rated conditions, respect to the maximum ratings provided by the used technology, in order to ensure adequate levels of reliability. In particular this work is about one of the most critical components in the front-end of a satellite antenna, the High Power Amplifier (HPA). The HPA is the main power dissipation source and so the element which mostly engrave on space, weight and cost of telecommunication apparatus; it is clear from the above reasons that design strategies addressing optimization of power density, efficiency and reliability are of major concern. Many transactions and publications demonstrate different methods for the design of power amplifiers, highlighting the availability to obtain very good levels of output power, efficiency and gain. Starting from existing knowledge, the target of the research activities summarized in this dissertation was to develop a design methodology capable optimize power amplifier performances complying all the constraints imposed by the space applications, tacking into account the thermal behaviour in the same manner of the power and the efficiency. After a reminder of the existing theories about the power amplifier design, in the first section of this work, the effectiveness of the methodology based on the accurate control of the dynamic Load Line and her shaping will be described, explaining all steps in the design of two different kinds of high power amplifiers. Considering the trade-off between the main performances and reliability issues as the target of the design activity, we will demonstrate that the expected results could be obtained working on the characteristics of the Load Line at the intrinsic terminals of the selected active device. The methodology proposed in this first part is based on the assumption that designer has the availability of an accurate electrical model of the device; the variety of publications about this argument demonstrates that it is so difficult to carry out a CAD model capable to taking into account all the non-ideal phenomena which occur when the amplifier operates at such high frequency and power levels. For that, especially for the emerging technology of Gallium Nitride (GaN), in the second section a new approach for power amplifier design will be described, basing on the experimental characterization of the intrinsic Load Line by means of a low frequency high power measurements bench. Thanks to the possibility to develop my Ph.D. in an academic spin-off, MEC – Microwave Electronics for Communications, the results of this activity has been applied to important research programs requested by space agencies, with the aim support the technological transfer from universities to industrial world and to promote a science-based entrepreneurship. For these reasons the proposed design methodology will be explained basing on many experimental results.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Scappaviva, Francesco
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze e ingegneria dell'informazione
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Power Amplifier, Integrated Circuit Design, Space Applications
Data di discussione
25 Maggio 2009

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