This work implements three switched mode power amplifier topologies namely inverse class-D (CMCD), push-pull class-E and inverse push-pull class-E, in a GaN-on-Si process for medium power level (5-10W) femto/pico-cells base-station applications. The presented power amplifiers address practical implementation design constraints and explore the fundamental performance limitations of switched-mode power amplifiers for cellular band. The designs are analyzed and compared with respect to non-idealities like finite on-resistance, finite-Q of inductors, bond-wire effects, input signal duty cycle, and supply and component variations. These architectures are designed for non-constant envelope inputs in the form of digitally modulated signals such as RFPWM, which undergo duty cycle variation. After comparing the three topologies, this work concludes that the inverse push-pull class-E power amplifier shows lower efficiency degradation at reduced duty cycles. For GaN based discrete power amplifiers which have less drain capacitance compared to GaAs or CMOS and where the switch loss is dominated by wire-bonds, an inverse push-pull class-E gives highest output power at highest efficiency. Push-pull class-E can give efficiencies comparable to inverse push-pull class-E in presence of bondwires on tuning the Zero-Voltage Switching (ZVS) network components but at a lower output power. Current-Mode Class-D (CMCD) is affected most by the presence of bondwires and gives least output power and efficiency compared to other two topologies. For systems dominated by drain capacitance loss or which has no bondwires, the CMCD and push-pull class-E gives better output power than inverse push-pull class-E. However, CMCD is more suitable for high breakdown voltage process.
- GaN-on-Si RF switched mode power amplifiers for non-constant envelope signals
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by Shishir Ramasare Shukla