Design of RF and microwave parametric amplifiers and power upconverters
Gray, Blake Raymond
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The objective of this research is to develop, characterize, and demonstrate novel parametric architectures capable of wideband operation while maintaining high gain and stability. To begin the study, phase-incoherent upconverting parametric amplifiers will be explored by first developing a set of analytical models describing their achievable gain and efficiency. These models will provide a set of design tools to optimize and evaluate prototype circuit boards. The prototype boards will then be used to demonstrate their achievable gain, bandwidth, efficiency, and stability. Further investigation of the analytical models and data collected from the prototype boards will conclude bandwidth and gain limitations and end the investigation into phase-incoherent upconverting parametric amplifiers in lieu of negative-resistance parametric amplifiers. Traditionally, there were two versions of negative-resistance parametric amplifiers available: degenerate and non-degenerate. Both modes of operation are considered single-frequency amplifiers because both the input and output frequencies occur at the source frequency. Degenerate parametric amplifiers offer more power gain than their non-degenerate counterpart and do not require additional circuitry for idler currents. As a result, a phase-coherent degenerate parametric amplifier printed circuit board prototype will be built to investigate achievable gain, bandwidth, and stability. Analytical models will be developed to describe the gain and efficiency of phase-coherent degenerate parametric amplifiers. The presence of a negative resistance suggests the possibility of instability under certain operating conditions, therefore, an in-depth stability study of phase-coherent degenerate parametric amplifiers will be performed. The observation of upconversion gain in phase-coherent degenerate parametric amplifiers will spark investigation into a previously unknown parametric architecture: phase-coherent upconverting parametric amplifiers. Using the phase-coherent degenerate parametric amplifier prototype board, stable phase-coherent upconversion with gain will be demonstrated from the source input frequency to its third harmonic. An analytical model describing the large-signal transducer gain of phase-coherent upconverting parametric amplifiers from the first to the third harmonic of the source input will be derived and validated using the prototype board and simulations.