RF energy dev kit eases GaN-based RF power system design

RF energy dev kit eases GaN-based RF power system design

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By Rich Pell

Leveraging solid-state RF energy as a highly efficient and precise energy source, commercial OEMs are poised to achieve new levels of performance and affordability for future product generations.

The RF Energy Toolkit, Beta version currently available, helps system designers simplify and accelerate their product development cycles by making it easy for them to fine tune RF energy output levels to maximize efficiency and performance. Combining the benefits of MACOM’s GaN-on-Si power transistors with intuitive, flexible software and signal control capabilities, the RF Energy Toolkit takes the guesswork out of the RF power source design and enables faster time to market.

The MACOM GaN-on-Si power transistors supplied with the RF Energy Toolkit deliver up to 10% greater power efficiency than comparably priced LDMOS-based transistors –  this is a major benefit for continuous wave RF energy applications, where every incremental gain in power efficiency translates to less power consumption and lower operating costs over sustained usage.

System designers can select from a range of MACOM power transistors to meet power level requirements spanning from 30 W to 1000 W, and the Toolkit supports coherent channel operation allowing multiple RF energy channels to be easily combined, for example 3 x 300-W or 2 x 500-W etc. Supported frequency bands range from 915 MHz to 2.45 GHz.

“Commercial OEMs are eager to seize the massive market opportunity for higher-performing RF energy-based systems enabled by GaN on Si, but they don’t want to invest the resources to architect the RF power elements themselves,” said Mark Murphy, Senior Director, RF Power at MACOM. “The RF Energy Toolkit lifts this design burden from the OEMs, and will help them get to market faster with their RF energy-based systems by providing an affordable, easy to use platform that streamlines system design and lowers development costs.”

“The current RF Energy Toolkit offers the industry ‘a first’ in a number of ways: The kit is an easy-to-use, compact, very flexible controller that can run all alone based on a very fast, hardware based reflection coefficient optimization scheme,” said Klaus Werner, managing director, pinkRF – a MACOM design partner.

“Alternatively, the kit can run complex recipes alone or in conjunction with other controllers, programmed remotely or embedded with any number of RF vectors (power, phase, frequency, time, energy) to control complex or variable processes. The tool hooks up to the power amplifier – no special integration is needed. I view it as an RF Energy engineer’s ‘Swiss army knife’ to master, optimize and industrialize RF energy applications and their associated controllers.”

Beta-version RF Energy Toolkits are available to qualified customers now, with broader availability planned in the Fall of 2017.

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