A 3.5-GHz-Band GaAs HBT Stage-Bypass-Type Step-Gain Amplifier Using Base-Collector Diode Switches and Its Application to a WiMAX HBT MMIC Power Amplifier Module

Kazuya YAMAMOTO  Miyo MIYASHITA  Hitoshi KURUSU  Yoshinobu SASAKI  Satoshi SUZUKI  Hiroaki SEKI  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Electronics   Vol.E98-C   No.7   pp.716-728
Publication Date: 2015/07/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1353
DOI: 10.1587/transele.E98.C.716
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Microwaves, Millimeter-Waves
step gain control,  diode switches,  heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBTs),  WiMAX,  MMIC,  

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This paper describes circuit design and measurement results of a newly proposed GaAs-HBT step-gain amplifier configuration and its application to a 3.3-3.6 GHz WiMAX power amplifier module for use in customer premises equipment. The step-gain amplifier implemented using only a usual HBT process is based on a current-mirror-based, base-collector diode switches and a passive attenuator core for the purpose of bypassing a power-gain stage. The stage allows an individual design approach in terms of gain and attenuation levels as well as large operating current reduction in the attenuation state. To confirm the effectiveness of the proposed step-gain amplifier, a prototype of the amplifier was designed and fabricated, and then a WiMAX power amplifier module was also designed and fabricated as an application example of the proposed configuration to an amplifier product. Measurements are as follows. For a 3.5-V power supply and a 3.5-GHz non-modulated signal, the step-gain amplifier delivers 23.7 dBm of 1-dB gain compressed output power and 10.7 dB of linear gain in the amplification state. In the attenuation state, the amplifier exhibits 21 dBm of 1-dB gain expanded input power, -9.7 dB of gain, and 15 mA of current dissipation while keeping the gain stage switched off and maintaining input and output return loss of less than -10 dB at a 3.5-GHz band. The WiMAX amplifier operating with a 5-V supply voltage and a 64-QAM modulated signal is capable of delivering a 28.5-dBm linear output power, a 37-39 dB gain, and 15% of PAE over a wide frequency range from 3.3 to 3.6 GHz in the high-gain state while keeping error vector magnitude as low as 2.5%. This amplifier, which incorporates the proposed step-gain configuration into its interstage, enables a 24-dB gain reduction and a 45-mA large quiescent current reduction in the low-gain state.