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What is the use of RF amplifier?

Nov. 24, 2021

A radio frequency power amplifier (RF power amplifier) is a type of electronic amplifier that converts a low-power radio-frequency signal into a higher power signal. Typically, RF power amplifiers drive the antenna of a transmitter. Design goals often include gain, power output, bandwidth, power efficiency, linearity (low signal compression at rated output), input and output impedance matching, and heat dissipation.


Amplifier classes


Many modern RF amplifiers operate in different modes, called "classes", to help achieve different design goals. Some classes are class A, class AB, class B, class C, which are considered the linear amplifier classes. In these classes the active device is used as a controlled current source. The bias at the input determines the class of the amplifier.


A common trade-off in power amplifier design is the trade-off between efficiency and linearity. The previously named classes become more efficient, but less linear, in the order they are listed. Operating the active device as a switch results in higher efficiency, theoretically up to 100%, but lower linearity. Among the switch-mode classes are class D, class F and class E.The class D amplifier is not often used in RF applications because the finite switching speed of the active devices and possible charge storage in saturation could lead to a large I-V product, which deteriorates efficiency.


Applications


The basic applications of the RF power amplifier include driving to another high power source, driving a transmitting antenna and exciting microwave cavity resonators. Among these applications, driving transmitter antennas is most well known. The transmitter–receivers are used not only for voice and data communication but also for weather sensing (in the form of a radar).


RF power amplifiers using LDMOS (laterally diffused MOSFET) are the most widely used power semiconductor devices in wireless telecommunication networks, particularly mobile networks. LDMOS-based RF power amplifiers are widely used in digital mobile networks such as 2G, 3G, and 4G.


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