A leader in MMIC design and microwave signal chain optimization, Dr. Charles Trantanella, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at Custom MMIC, took time during EDI-CON Boston 2016 to review his developments in the area of RF GaN mixer MMICs.
In addition to this segment, which can be found on YouTube, RF and Microwave system engineers and designers will find value in downloading Dr. Trantanella's Tech Brief "Reaching New Levels of Linearity in Passive Mixers with GaN Technology".
Thinking that the high linearity performance of GaN power amplifiers would cross-over to passive mixer MMICs utilizing the same GaN processes and foundries, Dr. Trantanella and his team have developed passive GaN mixer designs that now surpass the industry's best gallium arsenide (GaAs) passive mixer MMIC designs in terms of the ratio of third-order intercept point (IP3) to local oscillator (LO) drive. Coined as a MMIC mixer's "Linear Efficiency" by Dr. Trantanella, it is an expression derived from the fact that since GaAs MMIC mixers have a typical linear efficiency of 3 to 8 dB, with no clear dependence on frequency or process, such an expression was neessary to pinpoint the importance of these data points to one another.
"Today, microwave engineers are routinely asking us how to achieve IP3 levels above 30 dBm, if not 40 dBm," said Dr. Trantanella. "This requires extraordinary amounts of LO power, greater than 30 dBm, when starting with a typical GaAs mixer."