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LNA/PA Design
This section encompasses low noise amplifiers (LNAs), and power amplifiers (PAs).

The LNA is the first gain stage in the receiver path. From Friis' equation, we know that its noise figure adds directly to the receiver's overall noise figure. In addition, the noise contributed by t...




Circuit Sage Tools
ACPR Calculator:
Calculates ACPR from IP3 and viceversa for power amplifiers
ACPR tool in .pdf format:
Mathcad script in .pdf format
Class-E PA Mathcad routine:
Calculates matching network elements for a class-E PA using various algorithms
Class-E PA routine in .pdf format:
Mathcad script in .pdf format
LNA noise Mathcad routine 1:
Estimates NF increase due to bias noise mixing with jammer
LNA noise Mathcad routine 1 in .pdf format:
Mathcad script in .pdf format
LNA noise Mathcad routine2:
Estimation of NF increase due to bias noise mixing with jammer
LNA Mathcad noise routine 2 in .pdf format:
Mathcad script in .pdf format
LNA optimum source impedance Mathcad routine:
Mathcad routine estimates optimum source impedance for lowest NF and maximum gain for a given S11 requirement
LNA optimum source impedance Mathcad slideshow:
How to calculate optimum source impedance for LNA's
LNA Mathcad slideshow in .pdf format:
Mathcad script in .pdf format
UHF amplifier design Mathcad routine:
UHF amplifier design using S-parameters
Class A PA Design:
This tool calculates the Quiescent current, optimal output resistance, and efficiency of a Class A PA


Online Tools


MATHCAD/MATLAB
Professor Reinhold Ludwig's MATLAB files:
From his book RF Circuit Design. Great stuff! Smith Charts, noise/gain/stability circles, etc.


SOFTWARE
Class E PA design program (FREE):
Jim Tonne's free software can output a SPICE netlist
HBFree:
Free harmonic balance tool
Puff from Caltech:
Puff is no longer distributed individually, it now comes bundled with this book. Both are very popular.
Class-E PA article and spreadsheet:
Presents design procedure for class-E PA
Microwave Office from AWR:
Includes APLAC HB simulator and other modules
Agilent's EEsof tools:
Various tools for RFIC design including ADS and tools by Eagleware
Multi Match Amplifier Design Wizard:
Commercial Windows software
Nathan Iyer's QuickSmith (FREE!):
You want me on your hard drive, you NEED me on your hard drive! Awesome tool for matching, really useful and elegant, and have we mentioned it's FREE?!


Online Articles


LOW NOISE AMPLIFIERS
Chapter 13 of Electromagnetic Waves and Antennas by Sophocles J. Orfanidis (FREE):
S-parameters, stability, noise figure, and power gain circles plotted on the Smith Chart
Wideband LNA's for UWB in 90-nm: thesis from U. of Florida:
3 wideband LNA's demonstrated in TSMC's 90-nm CMOS. Targeting UWB receivers applications
Highly linear 900-MHz LNA presentation from Texas A&M:
Presents modified Derivative Superposition technique to improve the IP3 of an LNA without degrading NF, Gain, or IP2. Demonstrates in 0.35-um CMOS
Hybrid LNA from Texas A&M:
BiCMOS LNA topology to improve linearity, demonstrates in TSMC 0.18-um process, 2.5-GHz operation
Introduction to LNA Design wiki from Queen's University:
Divides LNA design into 4 methods and compares them
Discrete 1.9-GHz LNA design using a Philips RF transistor:
Discusses load-pull technique to trade-off gain for IP3, also presents noise performance optimization using noise circles on the Smith Chart
Bluetooth LNA paper from Fudan Univerisity in Shanghai:
Implements Bluetooth LNA in 0.35-micron CMOS, accounts for ESD and package parasitics. Results underscore the need to accurately account for package parasitics before tapeout.
5.1-5.8 GHz LNA using selectively-etched high-Q inductors:
Enhances inductor Q by selectively etching the silicon from underneath the inductor using standard-CMOS processing techniques. Demonstrates performance in 0.25-micron CMOS.
LNA lecture as part of MIT OCW course:
Very good, goes over iterative process of designing a CMOS LNA in 0.18-micron using process parameters and HSPICE simulations
Linearization technique for CMOS amplifiers operating at GHz frequencies: paper from UNC - Charlotte:
Amplifier consists of an NMOS and a PMOS device in parallel and biased in class AB mode. Configuration allows for improved OIP3 at about half the current of class A bias. Demonstrates in TSMC 0.18-micron.
SiGe wideband LNA thesis from Carnegie Mellon:
Wideband LNA fabricated in IBM's SiGe has 2.8 GHz 3-dB bandwidth, 15 dB of gain, NF < 4.4 dB. Draws 6.4 mA from 2.5 Volts.
Reconfigurable SiGe LNA's paper from National Taiwan University:
Two ways to reconfigure SiGe LNA's for operation in multiple bands are presented and demonstrated in 0.35-micron SiGe BiCMOS, operating in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands.
Noise reduction and linearity improvement technique for cascode LNA's: paper from TAMU:
Cross-couples cascoded transistors using capacitors, connects inductors from gate to Vdd to achieve objectives. Demonstrates with a 2.2-GHz LNA in 0.35-um CMOS.
Agilent's fundamentals of noise figure measurements application note:
App Note 57-1 goes over basic concepts, formulas, and equipment. Good stuff.
Agilent's Y-factor method to measure noise figure: app note:
App Note 57-2 presents Y-factor method, discusses how to avoid making errors and minimizing uncertainties during measurements and also quantifying whatever uncertainties that remain.
3.1-10.6 GHz LNA for UWB paper from from NTHU in Taiwan:
Utilizes current reuse and grounded CPW's, implemented in 0.18-micrn CMOS. Draws 6.6 mA from 1.8-V.
1-V 5-GHz LNA for RFID applications paper from Queen's University in Ontario:
Folded cascode LNA runs from 1-V supply and utilizes stacked spirals to save space. Draws 10 mA. Implemented in 0.18-micron CMOS.
LNA App note and workshop from Cadence:
Join edaboards (free) and download this, which describes small and large signal test benches in Cadence and step by step instructions on setting them up.
How to send Cadence output to MATLAB for post-processing:
If you have a small data set (a few hundred points) then use the "printvs" button in the Cadence calculator. For thousands of points you'd better use ocean (unless you are in the mood to wait a loooong time for your text file)
UC-San Diego RF and microwave lecture notes:
Lecture notes and examples on LNA's, PA's, etc.
Citeseer:
Great research tool


POWER AMPLIFIERS
PA predistortion linearization techniques thesis from Georgia Tech:
Four different PA linearization techniques based on predistortion are presented and applied to commercial PA's.
Characterization of SiGe PA's under mismatch paper from UC-Davis:
Analysis and characterization of P1dB, linearity, and efficiency degradation of a 24-dBm SiGe PA under mismatch conditions.
Linearization techniques for CMOS broadband PA's paper from UC-Davis:
Presents distributed linearization technique for ~15-dBm CMOS broadband PA's operating between 4 and 8 GHz, implements in 0.18-um RF CMOS process,
Agilent's fundamentals of RF Power measurements app note:
80 pages of RF measurement goodness from Agilent
Agilent's AN-1449 RF power measurements fundamentals:
Update to AN-64, split in four parts
PA output power versus load impedance:
14-MHz, 10-W PA using a Motorola transistor
1-W CMOS Class-E PA paper from UC-Berkeley:
Fully differential topology and mode-locking technique approaches to CMOS PA design at 1-2 GHz. Implemented in 0.35-um.
GaN PA's papers and theses from UC-Santa Barbara:
4-Watt PA's and other good stuff in Gallium Nitride
Effects of non-linear capacitance in Class-E PA performance:
Discusses effects of relying on the non-linear, collector-to-substrate capacitance of the active device for your matching network
CMOS PA thesis from UC-Berkeley:
Differential 0.25-W CMOS PA for DECT designed in 0.6-um technology
Distributed Active Transformer (DAT) impedance transformation technique for integrated PA's: thesis from Caltech:
DAT allows for Watt-level fully integrated PA's in CMOS. Demonstrates with 2.4-GHz, 2-W CMOS PA in 0.35-um CMOS. This technique is in production at Axiom Microdevices
Wideband SiGe PA paper from UC - San Diego:
2-V, 22-dBm wideband differential SiGe PA works from 0.5 GHz to 5 GHz, uses integrated BALUN and inductors
ADI Power Amplifier lecture hosted at MIT OCW:
Very good overview of PA's issues and topologies; goes through a 900-MHz 33-dBm PA design example
MIT OCW lecture on power amplifier basics:
Class A through F topologies and key equations
Impedance matching networks for PA's: Motorola Application Note:
Numerical and graphical approaches to design impedance transformers for power amplifiers. Should this link break, google "motorola an721".
Medium and high power CMOS and SiGe PA's thesis from Brandenburg Technical University in Cottbus, Germany:
Very good, implements fully-integrated .13-micron CMOS PA's at 2.4, 17, and 26 GHz and a 32-dBm, 2.1 GHz SiGe PA. Uses integrated matching transformer.
SiGe PA's for mobile WLAN, UMTS, and GSM applications: thesis from University of Erlangen-Nurnberg in Germany:
SiGe PA's designed at Infineon. WLAN PA chip for both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. UMTS (2 GHz) linear PA chip delivers 28 dBm at 52% PAE. 35.5 dBm GSM chip can withstand 6:1 VSWR. Utilizes on-chip microstrip lines for matching. Underscores importance of EM simulation in modern RFIC design. Presents a design methodology in flowchart manner. Good stuff.
CMOS PA 2006 presentation from Paul Gray of UC - Berkeley:
110 slides, a lot of good stuff. Discusses among other topics the importance of integration of PA's into future transceiver chips, PA design criteria, effect of PA non-idealities in transceiver performance, issues with integration in a CMOS transceiver, Class E PA's, Doherty amplifiers, integrated transformers for power combining, etc.. Summarizes CMOS PA achievements up to that point. Projects 5-GHz, 50%-PAE, 2-W CMOS PA realized by 2011 in sub-90 nanometers.
CMOS PA for WCDMA: paper from Aalborg University in Denmark:
Separates grounds of PA stages by 100-micron to achieve stability. Demonstrates technique with 0.25-micron CMOS PA for WCDMA (~2 GHz).
Linearization of PA memory effects: thesis from University of Kassel in Germany:
Proposes a predistorter with memory to compensate for memory effects in PA and lineariza it that way. Demonstrates in GaN PA.
37-W base station WCDMA PA in GaN: paper from UC San Diego:
Two simultaneous pre-distortion approaches utilized to mitigate the PA memory effects, i.e., improve the linearity. Output power of 37.2 Watts with PAE as high as 50%
1-V Class AB PA in 90-nm CMOS paper from UC-Berkeley:
Employs power combining transformer network to deliver 20 dBm (P1dB) from a 1-V supply.
PA App Note and Workshop from Cadence:
Join edaboards (free) and download this, which describes small and large signal test benches in Cadence and step by step instructions on setting them up.


Books
RF Power Amplifiers for Wireless Communications, Second Edition by Steve Cripps:
Seems like anyone who has ever done a PA refers to this book
Advanced Techniques in RF Power Amplifier Design by Steve Cripps:
Follow-up on his classic presents other PA topologies and techniques for linearization
Electromagnetic Waves and Antennas (Chapter 13) by Sophocles J. Orfanidis (FREE):
Pretty much a free EM book. Chapter 13 discusses S-parameters and microwave amplifiers.
RF Circuit Design: Theory and Applications by Reinhold Ludwig:
Includes CD with MATLAB routines, very good.
RF Power Amplifier seminar:
Two-day seminar on various PA types
Mead courses:
Many courses in USA and overseas
RF Power Amplifier Behavioral Modeling by D. Schreurs, et al:
From description:"...this one-stop reference makes power amplifier modeling more accessible by connecting the mathematics with the practicalities of RF power amplifier design. Uniquely, the book explains how systematically to evaluate a model's accuracy and validity, compares model types and offers recommendations as to which model to use in which situation..."
Modeling and Design Techniques for RF Power Amplifiers by J. Laskar:
from description:"...The next-generation technological advances presented in this book are the result of cutting-edge research in the area of large-signal device modeling and RF power amplifier design at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and have the potential to significantly address issues of performance and cost-effectiveness in this area...."
Switchmode RF Power Amplifiers by N. Sokal:
Sokal is an IEEE Fellow and is credited with development of the Class E PA. Bokk is focused on Class D, E, F PA design
High Linearity RF Amplifier Design by P. Kenington:
Drom description:"...this comprehensive guide examines and compares all major RF power amplifier linearization techniques in detail...."