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AR313

WIDEBAND
RF POWER
AMPLIFIER

PrepanedBy
H.O. Granberg
MotonolaSemiconductorPnoductsSector

Reprintedwith permissionof R.F.Design


Feb.1988issue.@1988
Co.All RightsReserved.
CardiffPublishing

ncvnaRoLA
Semlconductor Productslnc.
WidebandRF PowerAmplifier
This Amplitier OperatesOver A Wide Range Of
Supply Voltages.

By H.O.Granberg
Motorola Semiconductor Produ cts
A singleamplifiercoveringfrequencies
from HF to VHFat a poweroutputlevel
of 300 wattswouldhavebeenconsidered
impossibleor impracticala fewyearsago.
This wouldstiilbe true if not for the ad-
vancesin power FET technology.
Thisarticlecoversthe designaspects
of a 300 wattunit witha frequencyrange
of 10to 150MHz.
f he MRF141G, usedin thisdesign,is
I housedin a specialpush-pull header
commonlyknownas "Gemini"(twins),
meaningthattherearetwoidentical tran-
sistorsmountednextto eachotheron a
commoncarrieror a flange.Thereare
transistors (mainlyFETs)available in the
Geminitypepackages ratedfrom20watts
to 300watts.The lowerpowerunitscan
be usedto frequencies of 1 GHz and
higher,whilethe 100-150 wattunitsare Figure1. Overallview of the 300 watt, 10-150MHzamplifier.Separate
designedto operateup to 500-600MHz. circuit boards arc used for the input (left) and the output.
Theadvantages of a push-pull package
suchas theGeminibecomeapparent at and fowerpowerversionswith the T0-220 of thegateperiphery to thechannelarea)
higherfrequencies, wherethe normal plasticunits.With a given die geometry, thanin the switching powerFETs.This
push-pullconfiguration with discrete a FET has approximatelyfour times reducesthe devicecapacitances auto-
devices wouldbe impractical. Inthepush- higherunitygain frequencythan a bipolar matically.Furtherreductionisachievedby
pullcircuitconfiguration the criticalfac- transistor.This explainsthe fact that even splittingthe die intoa multipleof cells
tor is themutualinductance between the the largerlow frequencypowerFETsmay (groupsof sourcesitesandgatefingers)
twopush-pullhalves,and notthe device have 10 dB or more power gain at 30 wherethe gatesand sourcesare con-
to groundinductance, as is the casein MHz,wherea similarbipolarcounterpart nectedin groupsof two or four by in-
singleendeddesigns. TheGeminior any wouldbe totallyunusable.The difference dividualbondingwiresto the common
otherpush-pull transistor housingpermits is mostlyin the figureof meritof the die packageterminals.For example,in the
theminimization ofthemutualinductance itself,which is the ratioof feedbackcapa- MRF141G oneof thetwodie consists of
to a levelthatapproaches the ultimatein citanceto the input capacitanceor im- 36 cellseachhavingaround70individual
physicalterms. pedance.(This should not be confused smallFETs,makingthetoJalabout2,500.
Therearea coupleof penalties wemust with the morecommonbasearea/emitter In switchingpowerFETs,the connec-
payfor all this.One is a slightlyhigher peripheryfigureof merit die designfor- tionsto the numerous sourcesitesand
costwhencompared to twodiscrete units mula.)With bipolartransistorsthe feed- gatesaremadewithmetalpatternon the
dueto matching procedures involved and back capacitance(collectorto base)is not diesurfacewhichallowstheuseof single
lower productionyields resultingfrom usuallyspecified,but it is 15-20times large diameterbondingwires for the
doublethe possiblerejectrate.Another higherthan the drainto gatecapacitance sourceandgatecontacts. Theincreased
one is the reducedthermalcharacteris- of a comparableFET,whilethe base/gate metal area resultsin increasedMOS
tics.Twiceas muchdissipatedpoweris inputimpedancesbecomeaboutequalat capacitance andreflects to thedevicein-
concentrated virtuallyin thesameareaas increasedfrequencies.This feedback put (CrsJ,feedback(C6sj and output
in the caseof a discretedesign,leading capacitancenormallyproducesfeedback (CesJ capacitances. The transconduc-
to specialcoolingrequirements. within the device itself, whose exact tanceof a MOSFETgo is a measureof
phaseangledependson the capacitance size.Thus,a goodindication
itselectrical
About Power FETs values and other parameters. ofthehighfrequency performance canbe
Therehavebeendesignsof highpower In FETsdesignedspecificallyfor RF,the obtainedby comparingthe capacitance
HF amplifiersusingthe T0-3packages, die geometryis usuallyfiner (largerratio values(especially Cssj of deviceswith
back to the gate through Cqss in
amplitudesthat can rupture the gate-
sourceoxide layer.The rupturewill first
occurin the far end of the die,awayfrom
the gate terminal.Since the gate resis-
tanceis internalto the FET die, external
limitingor clampingcircuitsat the gateare
of no help.The gateof a MOSFETis the
most sensitivepart of the device,which
can be permanentlydamagedeven by
static charges during the handling.

I'I
Althoughthe largerFETs(100-150 W), due
to their highergate capacitance, are not
as vulnerable as the smallerones,proper
orecautionsshould be exercised.
Rl - 1Kv2W Ll - l0 Turns AWG #16 EnameledWire. 5mm lO
A2 - lOKvrW L2 - Fe(ile Eeads over AWG #16 Wire, 1 5 uH
83 - 330 Ohms/2w lotal Designand Construction
R4 - lK T.impot L3. L4 - Lead Lengths ol RO and R9, 20mm lolal
R5 - 6Bl(YrW FET - i/BF14IG As discussed earlier, the common
R6 - Thermislor, 10K at 25'Cl2 5K at 75'C T1 - 9:1 RF Translorm€r(rl5-25Ohm, I 2-16mm modeinductancein a push-pullcircuitis
R7 - ZKVzW O D semi rigid coax ) Magnetic Cor€ Re.
R8, R9 - EMC Technology Type 5310 or KOI Pyrofilm quired: FairRils Producls Corp not critical,and the groundpath is only
Type PPR 515-20.3 Power Resistors, 25 #94610120029351021002 E and | (2 ea )
Ohms Types, Bespeclively, or Equivalsnt usedfor DC feedto the amplifier. The in-
Cl, C9 - ARCO 402, 1 5-2OpF Compression Mica ol T2 - 1:9 RF Translormer(15-25Ohm. I 8.2 3mm put and outputimpedancelevelsare es-
equivalenl OO semi ngid coax ) For Magnetic Core
C2 - 2O09F Ceramic Chip See Texl tablishedfrom gate to gate and drain to
C3 - 0luF Ce.amic Chip
C4, C5, C12 - 1000pFCeramic Chip Note: All chip caoacitorsof 001uF and less in drainrespectively. This allowsthe circuit
C6, C7 - 001uF Ceramic Chip vatue are ATC type 100 or equivalent board,whichis madeof the standard1.6
C8 - 0 47uF Ceramic Chip or lower values in
pa.allel lor lhe value indicaled mm G10material,to be splitintotwo sec-
C13 - 300pF,2x15OpFor 100pF and 200pF
Ceramic Chips in parallel tions.One carriesthe inputmatchingnet-
workand part of the bias circuit,whilethe
secondsectionholdsthe outputmatching
Figure2. Schematicof the amplifier. network,the biasset and the drainvoltage
similartransconductances. imately0.1ohms.In the switchingpower feed and filteringcircuitry.(See Figures
Another fact to mention is the gate FETS,the polycrystal siliconis appliedin 1 and 2). In additionto allowingwider
resistance.Most modernpowerFETsuse a sheet form in a separatelayer,but the designflexibility,this arrangementalso
a gate structureof polycrystalsilicon, distancebetweenthe metallization and simplifiesthe repairand maintenance of
which can have a bulk resistancecom- the farthestgate still resultsin at least the unit, if required.
parableto carbon.lt is also usedas a con- 30-40times highergate resistancewith The two circuit boards includingthe
ductor beiween the metal pattern and a die of comparablesize. space betweenthem for the FET meas-
each individualgate. In the RF power In highfrequencyapplications the high ures 115x 75 mm. Theyare mountedon
FETs,eachgate is fed througha separate gateresistancepermitsa partof the drain- a copperplatewiththe samedimensions
contact having a resistanceof approx- sourceRF voltageor transientsto be fed havinga thicknessof 6 mm. The input
and output connectors (SMA) are
mountedto the edgesof the copperplate.
Theycan also be placedat a remoteloca-
tionwith coaxconnectionsto the amplifier
utilizingany connectorsthat have good
RF characteristics such as BNC.
Due to the large amount of heat con-
centratedin a small area in the form of
dissipatedpower,it is importantthat the
copper plate be employed as a heat
spreaderunless the heat sink itself is
made of copper.The heat spreadercan
then be boltedto a pieceof aluminumex-
trusionwith thermalresistanceof 1oCAff
or less for normal intermittentoperation
without forced air cooling. The heat
spreader and the extrusion surfaces
should be flat without any burrs, and
siliconethermalcompoundmust be ap-
pliedto the interface.The same practices
shouldbe followedin mountingthe FET
Figure3. The componentlayoutdiagram.The only critical component intothe heatspreader.lf the FET gate and
locationsarc those ol C2 and C13.They must be solderedin place(Vz drain leadsare bent sharplyup alongthe
of C13)beforethe mountingof the input-outputtransformers. packagesides,they will be alignedalong
I

the edges of the circuit boards.This


makes the board spacing from the heat t0
spreaderlesscritical,whichthen can be 9
anywherefrom 1 to 3 mm. The FET lead
lengthsto the boardconnectionpointsare I
variableby the same amount,but they 7
o
havea minimaleffecton the impedance
(!
matching and performance at these 3 6
frequencies. o 5
Detailsof the electricaldesignconcepts 3
of a similar amplifierare given in I 4
t
reference 1. The inputoutput trans- cl
3
formersrequirea speciallow impedance I
o
semi-rigidcoax cable makingconstruc- 2
tion difficultin singlequantities. The out- 1
put transformer only requiresa magnetic
coreif operationbelow75 MHz is desired. 0
In contrast,the input transformeralways
requiresone regardless of the frequency
of operation.In a push-pullFETamplifier
design the gates of the two halves must Fgure4. Amplifier power output vercusthe supply voltage at various
be isolatedby sufficientinductanceor input levels.Solid lines represent150MHzand dashedlines 10 MHz.
resistance(28). In order to prevent in-
stabilitieswhichwill occur at the resonant havemounting lugswhichareterminally fessionalit works rather well. lf the
frequencyof the devicecapacitances, the connected to the copperheatspreader unit is usedfor otherthan intermittent
internalwire bond inductancesand the through5 mm highspacers. modesof operationsuchas voicecom-
externalinductances,sufficientisolation Thesearemounted on topof theends munication, (R6)canbe used
a thermistor
is requiredbetweenthe two gateswhich of the FETflange,allowingthe use of Withoutit thedrain
for biasstabilization.
the magneticcore will provide.Without commonscrewsforfastening theresistors idlecurrentwillapproximately tripleif the
this,the two FETsof the push-pullcircuit and the FET.The spacersmust be of FETcasetemperature is doubled,and
would see a parallelconnectionat some materialwithlowterminalresistance like wouldresultin decreased efficiency.The
resonantfrequency,which wouldresultin aluminum,brassor copper,and must thermistorcanbeaftached to a solderlug,
seriousinstabilityproblems. havea largersurfaceareathanthinwall whichis fastened withoneof theresistor-
The importanceof the negativefeed- tubing.A coupleof stackedbrassnuts, FETmountingscrews.
back (L3, L4-R8,R9-C10,C11)must be onesizelargerthanthemounting screws The input and output impedance
emphasized.Without it the powergain Althoughnotverypro-
is a goodsolution. matching is achievedwithuniquewide-
would exceed30 dB at low frequencies,
resultingin increasedconditionsfor in- 22.53 7I91
5 6
stabilities.The feedbackis designedto
lowerthe low frequencypowergain close
to the 150 MHz level it is at. L3 and L4,
which consist of the lead lengths of R8
and R9 representa reactanceof 20 ohms
each at 150 MHz. lt also controlsthe
frequency-amplitude slope.This in series 2c aaG
with the 25 ohm resistorvalueslowersthe
powergain by one dB at 150MHz but in- EE
()E
creasesto as much as 15 dB at 10 MHz.
C10and C11are only usedfor DC block- Efi
ing and theirvaluesare notcriticalas long Ee
as their reactancesare less than 10-15
percent of R8+R9. C10 and C11 are TE
ceramicchip capacitorthat are mounted EI
-ao
verticallyon the circuitboard(Figure1). ttt
Althoughunusual,it allowsthe feedback
resistorleadsto be soldereddirectlyto the
capacitortop terminals.This providesa
much lowerinductancepaththanthe con-
ventionalmountingtechniqueand saves
board space. Since R8 and R9 must be
able to dissipate up to 15 Watts each Figure5. Output harmoniccontentsversusfrequency.(Vos= 28V,Pegl=
dependingon the frequencyof operation, 300W.)The benefitof the push-pullconfigurationcan be seenin the sup-
they must be of a type that can be easily pressedevenorder products.The datadoes not changeconsiderablywith
heatsunk. The type resistorsdesignated varyingthe supply voltageor poweroutput.
-
I

poweroutputat 12 and 28 V supplies


would be only 5 0 a n d 265 watts
Manufacturerand Drain Eff. respectively.
Low Frequency U1
end MHz type # at 300 w, 2V29g - Vpgo*
7 5 - 1 0 0M H z Po=
50/9

75 1 No magneticcore 62-660/o At thesepowerlevelsthe lM distortion


is betterthan-30 dB at all frequencies,
25 20 M i c r o m e t a l1s 0 1 - 2 59-630/o theworstcasebeingat 50-100 MHz.From
Figure4 it can be seenthathigherout-
Micrometals101-8 54-590/o put levelsare possiblewith increased
15 35
drivepower, buttheamplifier willbeclose
7.5 125 Fair-RiteProd. Corp. 46-520/o to saturationand can be only usedfor
946101 40021936 1020002 nonlinear applications suchasFMor CW
ForthebestlMD,theidlecurrentshould
2 8s0 Fair-RiteProd. Corp. 36-43o/o be500-800 mAtotal,butdisregarding the
9 44301400219343020002 linearity,
it canbe as lowas 100-200 mA,
Loweridle currentwill resultin loss of
powergainby 0.5-1.0 dB,whileincreas-
ing the efficiency.
Thestabilityof anyRFpoweramplifier
Table 1. Effect of the output transformermagnetic core material on (especially solidstate)undermismatched
amplifier bandwidth and efficiency. loadconditions is alwaysa concern.The
powerMOSFETS havebeenprovensup-
band transformersdescribed in Refer- the outputterminal,and the draincurrent eriorin thisrespectto the BJTs,although
ences 1 and 2. Someof their advantages is equalin eachcase,the resultis lowered the stability is alsocircuitdependent to
are:DC isolationbetweenthe primaryand overallefficiency. a great extend. The stabilityof the
the secondaryautomaticbalancedto un- From the abovewe can concludethat amplifier described herehasbeentested
balancedfunctionand compactsize in the magneticcore materialshould be againstloadmismatches usinga simu-
comparisonto the powerhandlingcapa- selectedaccordingto the lowestdesired latorof 30:1at all phaseanglesand a 3
bility.Theirprincipleis the sameas in or- frequencyof operation.For example,from dB powerattenuator to theamplifierout-
dinarylow frequencytransformers, except 2 to 150 MHz, initialpermeability(u,)of put,whichresultsin approximately 3:1
that tightcouplingbetweenthe windings over 600 and cross sectional area of VSWR.Unconditional wasshown
stability
is achievedthroughthe use of low im- about 1 cmz would be required.Ferrites at a combination of anypoweroutputlevel
pedancetransmissionline, in this case in this categoryhaveCurie temperatures andsupplyvoltage at 10,50and150MHz.
semi+igidcoaxcable.The low impedance of 130-140'C,above which temperature Stabilityintoa 3:1 mismatched loadis
side alwayshas one turn and consistsof they become paramagneticand causes almostconsidered a standardspecifica-
parallelconnectedsegmentsof the coax serious malfunctionsin the operationof tionin theindustrymeaning thatthehar-
outer conductor.The inner conductor at lowerfrequencies.In such casespecial monicfilter-antenna combination (if ap-
formsthe high impedancewinding,where coolingstructureswouldbe required(See plicable)should have its input VSWR
the segmentsare connectedin series. Table1). equalor lower.Normally2:1 is easyto
This arrangementonly permits im- The amplifierdescribedwas originally achieveovera fractionof an octaveband-
pedanceratioswith integerssuchas 1:4, designedfor operationfrom a constant28 width,unlessthe filtersare improperly
9, 16.The magneticcores employedare volt power supply, for which reason designed. Figure5 showsthatat 150MHz
the old E and I types.They can be in- regulationof the gate bias voltage was andbeyond theoutputharmonics arewell
serted around the transformerafter the omitted.lf the supplyvoltageis variedby suppressed to startwith,buta filteris still
windingsare madeup and mountedto the morethan 2 volts,the bias will haveto be requiredto meej the FCC regulations.
board. Rectangularopenings in the reset by R4 for a nominal 400-500 mA Moreelaboratefilteringis necessary at
boardsare requiredto allowthe I section drain idlecurrent.This can be avoidedby lowerfrequencies, wherethe 3rd har-
to be laid againstthe heatspreaderwith connecting a 6.8-8.2 V zener diode monicis only 12-13dB belowthe fun-
thermalcompoundinterface. The E and (1N5921A-1N5923A) trom the junction of damental.For most industrialapplica-
I cores are then cementedtogetherand R3 and R4to ground.The idlecurrentcan tions,however, harmonic filteringmaynot
to the edges of the board openings. then be set once, and would not change be necessary. Althoughdatais notshown,
Specialheat conductiveepoxywould be considerablyfrom a supply of 12 to 28 V. theamplifier canbe usedupto 175MHz
preferable,but not mandatory.lf there is The Vos feed circuitry consists of the witha powergainof 10-11 dB.C1should
no air flow on top of the amplifier,the out- standardhigh and low frequencyfiltering be adjustedfor lowestinputVSWRand
put transformercan reach temperatures to preventany RF from feeding back to C9 for the peak poweroutput at the
in excess of 100"C in continuous the powersupply.C5, C6, L1 and C7 han- highestdesiredfrequencyof operation.
operation. dle the highfrequencyend,whilethe low As the MRF 141Gbasicallyoperates
As a rule,the high frequencylossesin frequencies are taken care of by the froma 28 V supply,lowering the voltage
magnetic material such as ferrite or L2-C8 combination. downto 20or belowwouldmakethe unit
powderediron, are more or less directly almost indestructibleagainst load
relatedto its permeability,and appearas Performance mismatches in caseof an opencoaxor
heatgeneratedwithinthe core.Sincethis With the 1:9 impedanceratio output brokenantenna.Figure4 showsthatthe
part of the RF energy is not deliveredto transformer employed, the optimum poweroutputis stillalmost200wattsat
20 V and 150wattsat 16V.Therugged- Refercnces
ness criteriondoes not apply against "Building About the Author
1.H.O.Granberg, Push-Pull,
possible transients to the inputfromthe Multioctave,VHF Power Amplifiers," HelgeGranberg is a memberof the
signalsourceandassumesthatthe FET Microwaves & RE November1987. technicalstatfat MotorolaSemicon-
is properlymountedto the heatsink.A 2. H.O. Granberg,"New MOSFETS ductorProducts,lnc.,PO.Box20912,
normalguidelineis that a transistor SimplifyHigh Power RF Amplifier M/S8320,Phoenix,AZ 85036.Hecan
should have its break down voltage Design,"RF Design,October1986. be reached at (602) 244-4973.
(BVa.r) 2-25timesthe operating voltage. 3. BillOlson,"SolidStateConstruction
Thebreakdownvoltageis set by choos- Practices,Parts 1-3J'OEX A.R.R.L.
ingthestartingmaterial (silicon) withpro- January-March, 1987.
perresistivity or doping.lf thebreakdown 4. H.O.Granberg, "GoodRFConstruc-
voltageis too loq the outputvoltage tion Practicesand Techniques,"FF
swingmayexceedit andcauseanavalan- Design, September-October, 1980 and
che.lf it is too high,the transistor will Motorola, Inc,ReprintAR164.
saturate at a lowpowerlevel,butit willbe 5. MotorolaSemiconductor Products.
harderto blowupsincethedeviceis less Inc.,"RF PowerMOSFETS," Publication
likelyto exceedits dissipation limits.For AR165S.
thesamereason,devicesmadefor 50 V 6. EdwinS.Oxner,"Controlling Oscilla-
operation areoftenusedat 30-40V and tionin ParallelPowerMOSFETSj'Siliconix
at reducedpowerlevelsin applications Technical ArticleTA83-2,
September 1983.
likelaserdriversandmagnetic resonance 7. DavidGiandomenico, et.al.,'Analy-
imaging,wheretheymustmomentarily sis and Prevention of PowerMOSFET
withstand a largeoutputloadmismatch. Anomafous Oscillation,"
Proceedings of
Thecircuitboardsandothercomponents Powerconll, PowerConcepts,Inc.1984.
for this designare availablefromCom- 8. MotorolaSemiconductor Products,
munication Concepts, Inc., 121Brown Inc."RFDeviceData,"Publication DL110,
Street,Dayton,OH 45402. Efl Rev.2.
9. EMC Technology, Inc. "Microwave
Components," Publication
386-15, 1986.

M o t o r o l ar e s e r v e tsh e r i g h tt o m a k ec h a n g e sw t l h o u tf u r l h e rn o t i c et o a n y p r o d u c t sh e r e i nt o i m p r o v er e l i a b i l i t yf .u n c t i o no r d e s i g n M o i o r o l ad o e s
n o t a s s u m ea n y l i a b i l i t ya r i s i n go u t o f t h e a p p l i c a l i o no r u s eo f a n y p r o d u c lo r c i r c u i id e s c r i b e dh e r e i n n
: e i t h e rd o e si l c o n v e ya n y l i c e n s eu n d e ri t s
patentrighls nor the rightsof others Motorolaand
@ are regisleredtrademarksof Motorola,Inc Motorola,Inc rsan EqualEmploymentOpportunify/
A f l i r m a l i v eA c l i o n E m p l o y e r

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