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Theory of Nonlinear Reactance Amplifiers

Abstract-A class of power amplifiers exists that uses a combinaas the basis for tion of an ac source and anonlinearreactance amplification. Included in this class arethe varactorparametric amplifiers, the so-called dielectric amplifiers, and the magnetic amplifiers. The 3-frequency parametric amplifier is often compared to the maser amplifier since both operate on the 3-frequency principle and both are usedfor the same application, i.e., low noise front end in microwave receivers. From a circuit point of view, however, theyare quite different. The paper develops atheory of a class of amplifiers termed nonlinear reactance amplifiers, and establishes gain-bandwidth limitationsby means of Bodes[*]integral constraints . and Mason~[~l unilateral gain quantity U

CONDITIONS FOR P O W E R AMPLIFICATION RTAIN necessa,ry conditionsfor a nonlinear net,work to be active, i.e., possess power gain, can be deduced from a result due t,o Du&n.[31 He considered a gen-


eralinterconnection of linear and nonlinetlr passive resistors, capacitors, and induct,ors and proved that such an interconnection is passive if dc sources only are present. Thus it is impossible to convert dc t o ac power or to construct anamplifier by : minterconncction of such elements. The following condition follows imnlediately from this result:

Pig. 2.

Basic amplifier elornenI.

Condition 1: A necessary condition for power amplification in a nonlinear networlr whose individual elements are passive is the presence of st least one nonlinea,r reactive element and one ac power source.
Fromparametricand magnetic amplifier theory it is known that the use of an ac source (the pump) and one nonlinear capacitor or inductor, logether with other linear passive elements, can provide amplification. I n view of Condition 1, however, one might ask whether the linear psssive elemenk arenecessary or whether one can achieve power amplification from an int,crconnection o f a single nonlinearreactiveelement and an ac power source. To this end a general 3-terminal network composed o f a nonlinearreactiveelement andan ac power source is considered,asshowninFig. 1. This network may he connected between a single source and a load as shown in Fig. 2. There are other ways in which a signal source and a load can be connected to the 3-terminal network; however, t8he othcr configurations yield no additional insight andtherefore will not be discussed.

Manuscript, received March 1, 1967. P. Johannessen a,nd W. KII are with the Applied Research Laboratory, Sylvania Electronic Systems, Waltham, Mass. J. Andersen is with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Mass., and is a consultant to the Applied Research LaboratTory,Sylvania EIectronic Systems, Waltham, Mass.

A simple qualitative way of viewing p o \ v c ~ nnq)lificatiotl of the amplifier of Fig. 2 is t o consider t.he nonlinear element as a variable impedance wl~osc nmgnitutlc is controlled by dhe s i g r d source. Thus, n wwinblc: amount of power is made t o flow from t,he pump source to t8heload. If the total change in load power is great,cr t h m trhc avaihble signal source power, power anlplificat.ion is obtained.When a general nonlinearreactiveclement is considered, there is no evidence leading t,o t>he belief that power amplification is possible. A dctjailetl discussion of these considerations is beyond the scope o f this paper. For a quantitative evaluation of the amplifier shown in Fig. 2, a part,icular type of elenlent rlordirlexriij?; m d



mode of operation is considered. The particular element nonlinearity does not limit the generality of the result, obt'ained; in fact,it renders the amplifier linear and gives maximumdynamicrange. The nonlinearelementcharacteristic is shown in Fig. 3. It consists of two regions: alinear region of infinitepermeability and 1 : nonlinear region of arbitrary permeability. It should be emphasized that the analysis t o bepresentedhere is validfor any type of charact'eristic in the nonlinear region, t,hus making the analysis quite general. First, the operating mode of the nonlinear element during steady-state operat,ion is esta,blished by assuming that the operation is periodic such that the nonlinear element returns to state 1 in Fig. 3, periodically, a t times nT, where n = 0, 1, 2, . . . . Time nT has been selected as the time of transitmion from the nonlinear to the linear region of t,heinductorcharacteristic.Second, it isassumed that duringa period of operat'ion [a period of operation is defined as the interval between nT and (n 1 ) T ] there exists oniy one linear a.nd one nonlinear interva.1,as shown in Fig. 3. The operatingmodejust described canbe physically realized using voltage (or current') waveforms t.hat satisfy certain resDrictions. A detailed discussion of these restrictions is given by Johannessen.[41~[51 As shown in these references, linear equations in terms of half-period average voltages andcurrentscan be written for the basic amplifier element shown in Fig. 2. For convenience, the resistance of the signal source R, is included i n the basic model of Fig. 2 . Thus, the power gain is equal t o the ratio of the output power -e2& divided by the available signal power e12/4R,.1 From Johannessen[51 the relationbetween half-period averagevoltages and currents is given by the matrix equation

If a load resistor RL is connected across port 2 of the basic amplifier element, one can write

Ezg = -RLIZ'.


Substituting (4) a,nd ( 5 ) in (1) and solvingfor the load current gives

= -

R p

a RL(1 - 6 )


+ aL(l- h ) E,

l - b


The first terms on the right-hand sides of (6) and (7) represent the component of the output, current due to the inputvoltage;the second termsaredue t,o t'hepump voltage. I n a practical circuit, the output component due to the pump voltageis usually cancelled and therefore is not considered when calculating the out'put power. Thus, the output power becomes

Since t'heavaihble inputpower can be writt'ena,s


the power gain in t'erms and curyents

of half-period a,verage voltages


R s

+ R,


This power g.ain is maximum when R p = 0 and R, giving



Superscripts c and g denote half-period average voltages andcurrentsduring t,hehalf-periods nl' to nT T/3 and nT T / 2 to (n l ) T , respectively (see Fig. 3).


This power gain mag be termed the available power gmn and will he designated Kvs.

Thus, we conclude that no power gainis possible in the basicelement of Fig. 2 . It is now trivial to find a sufficient, condition for power amplification. If an inductor is connected in series with port operated 1 at, and is source signal t4he a, frequency







components are separat'ed such that components of frequencies n odd and 'na even flow in t,he control circuit, and n even and I n odd flow in the out'put circuit. Thus, we have demonstrat,ed that the following condition is necessary to provide power amplification:

Condition 2: Some form of isolation, depending on the type of nonlinear element, must exist bet,ween the signal source and the pump source.
Comnmdy used forms of isolation are frequency selective net,n-orks, balanced circuits? and nonlinear resistors (diodes). Conditions 1 and 2 form a set' of necessary and sufficient conditions for power amplification in nonlinear reactance amplifiers.

Fig. 4 . Series-connected saturable inductor.

GAIN-BANDWIDTH LIMITATIOX The input impedance of the series-connect,ed saturable inductor circuit, of Fig. 4 is given by tmhe expression
2 1 = jd,

low compared to the pump frequency, the pump source has been effectively isolated fromthe signal sourcewithout the signal source being isolated from the nonlinear element. Thus,the average impedance of the nonlinearinductor can be controlledwith a small amount of signal power independent of pumpcurrentandvoltage,and power amplificationisobt8ained. It is further evident that, the power gain is proportional to the bandwidt,h,which is inversely proportional to the amount of isolation. Because this type of isolation depends upon frequency separation, the power gain cannot exceed unity when the signal frequency is equaltothepump frequency. Thus,the upper limit to the power gain as a function of frequency appears t,o be of the form





To achieve the maximumgain-ba,ndwidt'hproduct, the ratio of the currents is maximized subject t'o the int,egral by the inductance given in (15). ITsing m a.pproach similar to that employed by Bode,[ll the integral const,raint is given by

(1% .i\-here Yz1is the short-circuit transfer admittance parmneter. Since Y 2 1 1 z = [IL,/E3!?, we have from (16) that for the case when an inductcr is used to obtain isolation. This result is readily vcriiied experimentally, but is difficult to derive analytically. It has been shown t,hat thc addition of one element to Tbe power gain expression is given by the basic circuit of Fig. 2 makesamplification possible .zn,!I~ j 2 because of the isolation it provides between the control K,, = __ - . (IS) and pump sources. Anothermethod of isolationexists; R, I s namely, the use of balanced circuits, t,he simplest of which is the familiar series-connected saturable inductor I-sing (17) and (18), the gain-bandwidth product becomes shown in Fig. 4. Detailed analysis of this circuit is given K,,. B = 4f,. (19) in Johannessen, ' I 6 ] and it is shown that tjhc upper limit If a simple resistor is used in series with the control to thepower gain is winding, i n accordance with Fig. 5, a gain-bandwidth produc,t o f S f P / ' is ~ obtained. Thus, the use of the optimum ~nut~ching network increases t,he gain-bandwidth product 11)- a factor of T / 2 . a relation similar to that of (12). In the balancedcircuit,isolation is obtainedby freUNILATERAL GAIN quency separation. A detailed discussion of frequent;\* A\.\lason's unilateral gain quantity U has meaning only separation properties of balanced circuits is given by for circuits in which feedback is possible. For the circuit of Helgesson. ['I Because of the nonlinear elements present is different' from the outputmode so in the circuit of Fig. 4, voltage and current components o f Fig. 4 the input mode that feedback is impossible. The use of a resistive (diode) frequencies +nwS +mu, for n, rn = 0, 1, 2, . . ., are the outuut, however, converts the generated.Because of the balanced configurat,ion, these at

Constant .




nificance in a single varactorparametric amplifier. I n this amplifier filters are used to provide the dual function of frequency filtering and impedance matching. To obtain a broadband amplifier the bandwidth of these filters must be extended, but this extension decreases the filtering property which, in turn, decreases the gain. From the discussion given in the foregoing section it was seen that these filters provide the isolation between signal and pump sources required for power amplification. Thus, elimination of thesefilters also eliminates power gain. Helge~son[~1~[~1 showed thatthis contradiction can be overcome by using balanced circuits in which amplification Fig. 5. Low-pass andbandpass frequency response chara,ct.eristic. isobtainedwith norestrictionon the frequency components. Thus, impedance matching, or broadbanding, output mode to t'he input' mode and feedback is possible. can be performed independently of signal and power From R'Iason[21 wehave source isolation. I n a n analysis that limits thenumber of frequency 1x12 - x2112 i-j- = matched become (20j components, the impedances t o be 4(R11R22 - R12R21)' frequency dependent.; and the matching problem is exceedingly difficult to solve. For the noninverting upFrom Johannessenr51 we obtain converters the upper limit is given bg7 the Manley-Rowe x11 = Rs R,(1 power relat'ion x22 = R, R,(1 e-iwT)


+ +

x12 =





+ e-jwT)


where R, is the nmgnetizing impedance of the satura.ble inductor. Use of (21) in (20) gives



+ R,) + (Rs - R p ) R m ~ 0 ~ ~ I T ] '



this relation being very similar to (13). For the negativeimpedance (or reflection) amplifier, I < U derived [ ~ ~ the following upper bound forpower gain

For practica,l circuits

>> R, and R,;

Rs = R,


This expression is a maximum when C,/C,, is maximized. The maximum value of this ratiois obtained from physical considerations. Since

giving we get Since R, is inversely proportional to the loss in the nonlinearinductor, (24) statesthatthe unilateralgain approachesinfinitywhen the nonlinearinductor losses approach zero. Xotethat'the circuit just described is a well-known magnetic amplifier.

C ( t ) = CO

+ 2C1cos ut, and C(t) 2 0

Substituting this value in (26) gives


For wIS0= wp/2

In the foregoing section, amplifiers in which all frequency components were allowed to exist were considered. The parametric amplifier is a limited class of these amplifiers in which only a few (usually three) frequency components arepermitted. I n a paractical circuit. this condition cannot be satisfied, so that an analysis based 011 the existence of exactlythree frequencies is validonly for narrowband parametric amplifiers. Helgesson has pointed out the contradict,ion in attempting to establish a broadband theory of parametric amplificat'ion based on a 3-frequency analysis. The problem is of part,icular sig-

For wp/wo close to unity this expression is also close to unity. Thus, we again find that the gain-bandwidth product is related t o w p / W h . The noninverting upconverter amplifier frequency response is limited by the curve j,/f, in Fig. 5, which is basically a low-pass response. If the lower sideband components are permitted t o flow, then a bandpass response can be obtained as shown in Fig. 5 . The gain-

bandwidt,h product is still limited to j , (or slightly higher if we use opt8imum matchingnetmorlm) ;the gain improvementobtained over the passband is due tothe trade off between low-frequency response and bandpassresponse so as to maintain a constmt gain-bandwidth product. However, if the usc of : t resistive down-converter and a feedbackembeddingnetwork is permitt,ed, any desired gain a t frequencies below f, can be obtained. The main problems with such an implementation are practical ones such as availability of coupling networl<s (transformers) and gain linearity.

Furthernm-e, it is shown that balanced circuits should be used to provide frequency isolation wherever possible, since properties such as linearity and dynamic range are t.hus improved. In high-frequency applications, however, balanced circuits cannot be easily constructed and all components are basically narrowband. Thus, one cannot easily take xdvmtage of performanceimprovements by these techniques in high-frequellcy applications.

Analysis and Peeclbuck ilmpl(fier Design. Princeton. N. J.: Van Sostrand. 1945.
(1 1-1.1 4 . . Bode, !\-elwork

Design and AC Characteristics of Silicon MOS Hall Elements, capacit,ors in a common substrat.e. Complementary stwctures require t,he use of ii.olat,ion techniques, but are also practical. R. C. Gallagher and W . S. Corak, TVestin,ghouse Electric Corporation, Baltimore, M d . References The design and fabrication of silicon MOS Hall elements are I 1 1 C.-T. Rah, Effect of surface recombination and channel on P--V i u n c t i o n described for both p - and n-channel structures. Although studies and transistor elmracteristirs, I R E Trans. electron Deuices. vol. E D 9 . pp. 94-108, Jannarl- 1962. of the fabrication of stable MOS st,rnctures arein the literat~re,[l~[~1 !?I M. H. W h i t e and J. E L . Cricchi, Complementary MOS transistors, Solid the present investigation is concerned with optimization of the Hall State Electronics, TO!. 9, pp. 991-1008. 1966. :31 H. Roth a n d 5 . D. Stranb, .I.A p p l . Phvs., vol. 33, p. 2397, 1962. effect in the inversion layer. A major problem in the fabrication of 1 4 1 J. Fay, BIectro TechnologU, vol. 70, ~ ~ 11962. 2, I: R. C . Gallagherand W . S.Corak, A metal-oxide-semiconductor (AIOS; anyHall element is t,he misalignment and size of the Hall conH a l l element, Solid Stafe Blectronzcs, vol. 9, pp. 571-580, 1966; also presented at tact,s.[31r[41 The use of phot,olithography combined with planar theInternatiConf.on Hall EffectApplications,MassachusettsInstitute of silicon technology allows alignment of theHall contact,s to the Technology. Camhridge, Mass., November 1965. inversion layer to better than 0.1 mils, a reduced size of the Hall element and contacts, and rt device which is fully compatible with monolithic silicon integrated circrlit technology. The transconductances,thresholdvollages, and inversion layer mobilities for p - and,n-chamcl devices are compared andtheir effects on the output Hall voltages are analyzed. While a previolts Magnetic Transducers and Their Applications, paper discussed only the dc characteristics of p-channel devices,[:] Semiconductor this present,ation will be concerned with the ac characteristics of Shoei Kataoka, Elcctrotechnicul Laboratory, Tanashi, ICitatamcc, both p- and n-channel elements. Tokyo, J a p a n . A magnetic field can affect the electrical properties of semiconThe possible applications of the devices as a component in monolithicintegrated circuitry will be considered. Since planar techductors in which the mobility of charge carriers is large enough for nology is used in the fabrication of the elements, theyare fully the carriers to be deflected by the Lorentz force before t,hey collide. compatible with bipolar and MOS transistors, diffused resistors and The Hall effect is typical of these galvanomagnetic effects. Recently,