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While extremely useful and powerful, S-parameters are only defined for small-signal linear systems. With the communications revolution forcing active components like power amplifiers (PAs) into more and more strongly nonlinear regimes of operation, engineers are now forced to use a new set of patchwork solutions for measuring a component’s nonlinear attributes. Essentially, they make linear assumptions by taking S-parameters and applying nonlinear figures of merit (e.g., ACPR and gain compression). Relying on this incomplete set of information means that the engineer has to perform extensive and costly empirical-based iteration of their designs, adding substantial time and cost to the design process. To quickly, accurately and more deterministically design nonlinear components at high frequencies, today’s engineers require the ability to properly measure nonlinear behavior, as well as a unifying model (similar to an S-parameter, but for nonlinear components) that can take this behavioral information into simulation and design.
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