Design and Characterization of Power Converters and Amplifiers for Supply-Modulation based Transmitter Architectures

Cappello, Tommaso (2017) Design and Characterization of Power Converters and Amplifiers for Supply-Modulation based Transmitter Architectures, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Ingegneria elettronica, telecomunicazioni e tecnologie dell'informazione, 29 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/7830.
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The rapid evolution of telecommunication systems has strongly influenced our lives, and the way we communicate and exchange information. Nevertheless, much progress is expected to happen in the next years with the introduction of new generations of wireless communications standards, which require signals with large bandwidth and very high Peak-to-Average Power Ratio (PAPR) in order to enhance the spectral efficiency and maximize the data rate. However, such developments can only take place through the evolution of Radio-Frequency (RF) which should be capable of working at higher frequencies, higher bandwidth and with higher efficiencies than before. In order to meet these demanding specifications, transmitter architectures have to evolve from a single linear RF Power-Amplifier (PA) into more complex architectures. Envelope Tracking (ET) is one of the most promising solutions for the efficiency-enhancement of next generation transmitters. The research described in this thesis aims to provide solutions to enhance the efficiency of the RF PA by means of an ET architecture. To this purpose, a novel discrete level supply modulator is investigated, which is based on a direct digital-to-analog power conversion. This supply modulator is capable of synthesizing eight voltage steps by means of three isolated voltage sources, thus behaving like a Power Digital-to-Analog Converter (Power-DAC). A hybrid version of the Power-DAC exploiting very fast GaN devices is developed and tested with an L-band PA achieving efficiency improvement up to 13% with 10 MHz of bandwidth. Furthermore, a monolithic GaN version of the Power-DAC is prototyped and tested with an X-band PA achieving efficiency improvement up to 20% and bandwidth of 20 MHz. This supply modulator is tested with outphasing PAs showing promising results with modulated signals and efficiency improvement up to 9%. Finally, dispersive phenomena, which affect PAs and switches in supply modulators, are investigated, characterized and modeled.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Cappello, Tommaso
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
trasmitter, efficiency, power amplifier, supply modulation, envelope tracking, GaN technology, power-DAC, RF power amplifier, outphasing, radar pulse shaping, dynamic Ron, dispersive phenomena, trapping effects, self-heating, digital predistortion
Data di discussione
8 Maggio 2017

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