Design and linearization of an efficient class E power amplifier using a test bench based on development boards
CovenanteeUniversidad de Cantabria
Document typeMaster thesis
Rights accessOpen Access
Nowadays, with the increase in small satellites applications for Earth observation, the need for high efficient transmitters capable of delivering the required power, taking into account not only the power consumption limitations of small satellites (solar powered), but also the required linearity to allow high data rates in the downlink, has fostered the research on alternatives to the classical transmitter amplification. This Master Thesis has the objective to mitigate the inherent trade-off between linearity and efficiency in communication transmitters by addressing the design of an efficient Power Amplifier (PA) combined with the implementation of Crest Factor Reduction (CFR) and Digital Predistortion (DPD) techniques. For this purpose, the deployment of a low-budget test bench based on development boards is proposed to carry out the PA evaluation and linearization avoiding the use of expensive laboratory equipment for signal generation and analysis. The experimental campaign was carried out using CFR technique to limit the Peak to Average Power Ratio (PAPR) in addition to the DPD linearization, this method not only allowed us to reduce spectral regrowth and minimize in-band distortion, but also was a crucial approach to maximize power amplifier efficiency fulfilling the linearity requirement imposed by the communications standards. The evaluation of the class-E PA designed (under the supervision of the Communication Engineering research group of the University of Cantabria) was performed using a LTE-like signal of 20 MHz employing Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) and Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM). The measurements shown that it is possible to achieve an output power of 36,6 dBm with an efficiency about 50% in contrast to the typical class-AB PA efficiency figures ranging from 5-10% when operated with significant back-off levels to avoid saturation. Moreover, the Adjacent Channel Power Ratio (ACPR) is below -45 dB and the Error Vector Magnitude (EVM) is around 1,4% for a 64QAM signal in compliance with the communication standards.