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RF Power Amplifier


With the explosive growth of RF portable

devices and their increasing functional densities
(data, voice, video), efficient power-saving
techniques are intrinsic in prolonging battery

Consequently, energy-efficient RF power

amplifiers are key components in mobile batteryoperated systems.

RF Power Amplifier


These communications employ digital

modulation such as quadrature phase shift
keying (QPSK).
The modulation format along with the baseband
filtering confines most of the signal energy to the
desired transmit frequency band, thereby
allowing efficient usage of available spectrum.
However, an undesirable consequence of
filtering the pulses to confine spectral energy, is
to impart a time varying amplitude dependence
on the modulated RF signal.
RF Power Amplifier


Hence, the RF power amplifier contained in the

transmitter must faithfully reproduce both the
time varying amplitude and phase
characteristics of the signal.

Since these applications utilize battery powered

mobile radios, maximizing power amplifier
efficiency at all critical power levels is crucial to
achieving extended battery operation.

RF Power Amplifier


General power amplifiers efficiency improves by

operating the amplifier near gain compression.

Doing so causes the envelope of the signal to be

distorted (compressed in amplitude) which
results in spectral regrowth.

There is an inherent trade-off between amplifier

efficiency and spectral linearity in designing
linear power amplifiers.
RF Power Amplifier


As the power amplifier is operated in back-off

away from gain compression, the efficiency
drops rapidly.

There is a need for a linear power amplifier

which efficiently amplifies time varying amplitude
modulated signals over wide dynamic ranges.

One promising method is the envelope

following technique.
RF Power Amplifier

Envelope Following Technique

The envelope following technique combines a high

efficiency envelope amplifier with a highly efficient,
but non-linear RF amplifier, to form a highly
efficient linear RF amplifier.

Operationally, we deploy a drain-bias voltage

(Vdd) to the the RF amplifier, so it is in or near
gain compression.
which results in high efficiency operation.
The overall amplifier is efficient if both the
envelope and RF amplifiers are efficient.

RF Power Amplifier

.Envelope Following Technique

Ein(t) describes envelope properties of the modulation

in(t) describes phase characteristics of the signal
RF Power Amplifier

Envelope Following Technique

The class-S modulator is similar in form to a

buck dc-dc converter.
where output pulses are produced where the
width or duty cycle of the pulse is proportional to
the input voltage.

The low pass filter functions to produce an

average value of the pulse signal.
Since the detected envelope signal is time
varying, the drain supply bias is also time
RF Power Amplifier

Envelope Following Technique

The DC power (into RF PA) is the product of the average

drain supply voltage Vdd(t) and average supply current
Compared to non-drain supply modulated RF amplifiers
operating at a fixed supply voltage Vdc.
Vdd(t) can be significantly less than Vdc especially when
the modulated RF signal exhibits a high dynamic range.

Since Idd(t)*Vdd(t) < Idd(t)*Vdc, the envelope following

amplifier is much more efficient under power back-off for
the same reason.

This can be especially important for battery life in mobile

radios that function for significant periods of time at
reduced transmit power levels.
RF Power Amplifier

.Envelope Following Technique

To achieve spectral linearity, it is imperative that the amplifier

faithfully reproduces at it's output the time varying amplitude
and phase characteristics of the modulated RF input signal.
RF Power Amplifier


Factors for minimizing spectral distortion

bandwidth of the class-S modulator.

time delay differences between the RF and

envelope signal paths (due principally to the
group delay associated with the low pass filter).

am-am and am-pm distortions in the RF amplifier.

developing the proper functional relationship

between Vdd(t) and Ein(t) to satisfy the gain G.
RF Power Amplifier


Using the Feedback

An error signal is developed e(t) = Ein(t) - Eout(t)

and fed back to the class-S modulator.
RF Power Amplifier


Proper drain supply

Developing the proper drain supply signal Vdd(t) is

critical for minimizing spectral distortion.
(Note that the gain G is a function of both Vdd and Ein).
For example, measured
load pull data illustrating
gain, input envelope
voltage, and supply
voltage for a small HEMT
device at particular bias
and source/load

RF Power Amplifier


DC-DC Converter

The class-S modulator is integrating the pulse

width modulation (PWM) circuitry along with
large NMOS and PMOS power FET devices for
switching large currents at high switching
speeds on a single chip.

PWM develops pulses

whose width or duty
cycle is proportional to
the input voltage.
RF Power Amplifier


DC-DC Converter

PWM is accomplished by first generating a

triangle waveform and then comparing that
waveform to the input envelope voltage.

The PWM signal is amplified using a totem pole

arrangement of large P- and N-MOSFET devices.

RF Power Amplifier


DC-DC Converter

Operating the class-S modulator at high

switching speeds offers several advantages:


Increases the bandwidth of the class-S

modulator, thereby improving the linearity of the
RF amplifier.
Provides better suppression of switching
frequency components by the low pass filter.
The value and size of the L/C filter network are
dramatically reduced.


RF Power Amplifier


DC-DC Converter

RF Power Amplifier


RF Power Amp. Output vs. Input

RF Power Amplifier


RF Power Amplifier