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White Papers

RF/Microwave Design for MMICs, MCMs and Hybrid Modules

Miniaturization of consumer products, aerospace and defense systems, medical devices, and LED arrays has spawned the development of a technology known as the multi-chip module (MCM), which combines multiple integrated circuits (ICs), semiconductors dies, and other discrete components within a unifying substrate for use as a single component. This two-part white paper outlines the steps for implementing an integrated design flow within the AWR Microwave Office® design environment for MMICs, MCMs and modules.  Design flow considerations for both a GaAs PHEMT power amplifier design as well as for an MCM microwave monolithic integrated circuit (MMIC) design on a microwave laminate module are discussed. 

Modern VNA Test Solutions Improve On-Wafer Measurement Efficiency

Semiconductor manufacturing test engineers face increased broadband millimeter wave (MMW) on-wafer testing challenges. Developing accurate models often requires measuring frequencies ranging from near DC up to 100+ GHz. Achieving accurate, stable measurements over extended time periods is challenging. This white paper discusses the impact of calibration downtime during on-wafer testing and how to enable longer time periods between calibrations.

Simplifying Power Added Efficiency Testing

In most power added efficiency (PAE) test setups, multiple instruments are used to measure RF, voltage, and current. Measurements may require the use of an RF power meter or digital oscilloscope (DSO) with diode detectors to determine the RF power, while digital multimeters are used to measure voltage and current. The Agilent Technologies 8990B peak power analyzer (PPA) provides an alternative setup which allows power added efficiency testing to be done on a single instrument.

A New Coaxial Flow Calorimeter for Accurate RF Power Measurements up to 100 W and 1 GHz

This white paper describes new methodology and instrumentation for minimizing measurement uncertainty when measuring RF power at power levels of up to 100 W below 1 GHz. The paper discusses two commonly used methods: using low-power sensors traceable through microcalorimeters, and direct measurement of high power using a flow calorimeter that converts the electrical energy from an RF source into thermal energy via a liquid-cooled resistive load. While both methods are functional, the flow calorimeter carries advantages in measurement uncertainties and process automation. The paper outlines a new approach that improves measurement accuracy with greater simplicity.

Resonant Approach to Designing a Band-Pass Filter for High IF, 16-Bit, 250 MSPS Receiver Front End

The advantages of using a differential amplifier to drive a high speed analog-to-digital converter (ADC) include signal gain, isolation, and source impedance matching to the ADC. This paper describes a procedure for designing the required interface circuit and anti-aliasing filter that maintains high performance and minimizes signal loss. A resonant approach is used to design a Butterworth fourth-order band-pass filter with a center frequency of 200 MHz. Some of the important design criteria include properly matching the input and output impedance of the amplifier for minimum signal loss and optimum linearity performance, while considering several possible product lineups.

Best-in-Class WLAN Measurements

The most recent 802.11 standard presents some challenges as discussed in The Next Evolution of Wireless LAN white paper. It is not surprising that test engineers have been scrambling to find the right test equipment to test this standard. Many test engineers have now realized that the old method of finding an expensive boxed instrument with the best performance numbers is now dead. Why, you may ask? The answer is simple: test engineers are getting starved for resources, mainly time, money, and space. The modern breed of test engineers is already using intuitive new technologies to reduce space and decrease test and development time all in a reduced budget. National Instruments is helping test engineers address these challenges with user-programmable FPGA-based instrumentation. This paper discusses the benefits of using an open field-programmable gate array (FPGA) for 802.11ac testing specifically.

Noise Figure Measurements

The Anritsu VectorStar's Noise Figure - Option 041 enables the capability to measure noise figure (NF), which is the degradation of the signal-to-noise ratio caused by components in a signal chain. The NF measurement is based on a cold source technique for improved accuracy. Various levels of match and fixture correction are available for additional enhancement. VectorStar is the only VNA platform offering a Noise Figure option enabling NF measurements from 70 kHz to 125 GHz. It is also the only VNA platform available with an optimized noise receiver for measurements from 30 to 125 GHz.

Master the Basics and Learn Modern Measurement Fundamentals DVD

Today's engineers working in communications, consumer electronics and aerospace/defense are faced with increasingly complex measurement challenges and rapidly changing technology. A strong foundation in basic measurement techniques is essential for success. This complimentary DVD from Agilent Technologies contains material covering a wide variety of topics of applicable to hardware, firmware, test system and system integration engineers. From design simulation, to digital and RF/uW measurement techniques, the knowledge contained on this disc will help you be more efficient and effective, whether you are in R&D or manufacturing.

Normalized Phase Noise in Peregrine's UltraCMOS® Devices

Phase Noise is a measure of the spectral purity of a signal in an oscillator system. It quantifies the short-term random variation of the frequency of the signal. Peregrine Semiconductor uses normalized phase noise in benchmarking its PLL products. By normalizing the phase detector noise floor to 1 Hz, the phase noise within the loop bandwidth can be easily calculated for any comparison frequency and VCO frequency.

Laser Cutting Epoxy Film

The RF Microwave and microelectronics industry has been using epoxy film for circuit board attachment to carriers and housings for years as an effective method to achieve electrical ground plane and mechanical attachment requirements. Historically, the epoxy preforms have been die cut to match the circuit board layout, ensure critical tolerances are met, and aid in the assembly process. In recent years the advantage of laser cutting epoxy film has become widely accepted in the defense electronics, and commercial RF Microwave and microelectronics industries. This paper will discuss the basic fundamentals of laser cutting and the advantages over the die cutting process.


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