White Papers

High-accuracy Noise Figure Measurements Using the PNA-X Series Network Analyzer

Noise figure is an important figure-of-merit that describes the amount of excess noise present in a component or system. Minimizing noise figure reduces system impairments that result from noise, such as degraded voice quality of cell-phone calls, or decreased detection range of radar systems. Measurement accuracy is very important, in both R&D and manufacturing environments. In R&D, better noise figure accuracy means that there will be a better correlation between simulations and measurements, helping designers refine circuit models faster. In manufacturing, improved accuracy provides better correlation among multiple test stations, minimizing rework and increasing test throughput. Higher accuracy also allows better device specifications, yielding more competitive products.
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The Advantages of Multi-rate Harmonic Balance (MRHB)

Harmonic balance (HB) analysis is a method used to calculate the nonlinear, steady-state frequency response of electrical circuits. It is extremely well-suited for designs in which transient simulation methods prove acceptable, such as dispersive transmission lines in which circuit time constants are large compared to the period of the simulation frequency, as well as for circuits that have a large number of reactive components. In particular, harmonic balance analysis works extremely well for microwave circuits that are excited with sinusoidal signals, such as mixers and power amplifiers.


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Silicon BiCMOS: The Optimal Technology for RF Power

The debate over GaAs versus CMOS has been reinvigorated by recent industry events. This includes the sale of CMOS cellular power amplifier (PA) house Axiom Microdevices to GaAs cellular PA manufacturer Skyworks as well as the emergence from “stealth mode” of CMOS cellular PA startups Black Sand Technologies and Javelin Semiconductor. In terms of market share, since TRW Semiconductor paired with RF Micro Devices in the mid-­‐ to-­‐late 1990s, the GaAs heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) has been the standard bearer for mobile phone PA performance, cost, and manufacturability. GaAs houses that design, manufacture and package their own PAs and other RF components dominate today’s cellular power amplifier market.


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Automatic Test Procedure for RF Characterization of C-band Rotary Field Phase Shifter

This article presents the concept and methodology for the realization of an automatic test procedure based on LabVIEW for RF characterisation of a C-band rotary field phase shifter. Using this software, all the characteristics of a phase shifter intended for phased array application, such as differential phase shift, insertion loss, return loss, rms phase error, insertion phase etc, are measured and displayed graphically.
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