Microwave Journal

Liquid Cooled, Hot-Swappable Solid-State PAs Replace TubesĀ 

May 13, 2020

Empower RF Systems is introducing a technologically advanced, liquid cooled, scalable, solid-state power amplifier (PA) architecture. This solid-state design replaces tube technology, bringing new capabilities to applications needing tens to hundreds of kilowatts of CW and pulsed power. Empower RF’s architecture combines four technology advancements.

First, fully digital peak and RMS detection, which provides waveform flexibility and accurate metering to enable asymmetrical and random pulse width and duty cycle operation on pulsed PAs. The short and long pulse capabilities of Empower RF’s PAs are from 100 ns to greater than 500 μsec pulse widths with up to 500 kHz pulse repetition frequency and 20 percent duty cycle. Empower RF’s CW PAs have the same pulse performance as pulsed amplifiers, with no limit on duty cycle, while the pulsed amplifiers are de-rated for CW operation.

The second advancement combines embedded firmware, software and real time processing and control, bringing multi-use flexibility to any application. Multimode operation, which is user selectable, can be dynamically configured.

Third, the PA design has no single point of RF failure. The layout consists of a system controller in a 3U drawer and up to 16 hot-swappable 2U PA drawers, with each amplifier drawer containing an integrated power supply - with no high voltage power supply in the transmitter. In case of a failure, the output power reduces by only a fractional amount, and the system remains transmitting. The 2U PA drawers are hot-swappable, so a PA can be replaced without turning off the entire rack.

The fourth design element is scalability, which creates an affordable upgrade path to higher power. Hardware is easily added to an existing system: for racks not fully populated, 2U amplifier drawers can be added without tuning, since each PA drawer and the full system rack is digitally controlled to set the phase and gain. For full racks, racks can be added and combined.

Empower RF Systems
Inglewood, Calif.