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23 December 2008


Agilent launches X-Parameter nonlinear modeling for wireless and aerospace defense components

Agilent Technologies Inc of Santa Clara, CA, USA has announced a nonlinear modeling technique for components such as amplifiers and transistors used in the wireless and aerospace defense industries. The X-parameters can be generated either from simulation with the firm's Advanced Design System (ADS) EDA software or from its test & measurement instruments, for faster communications-product development.

Previously, designers could not accurately measure, display and simulate the full amplitude and phase information of each spectral component in nonlinear designs, and did not have access to a highly accurate nonlinear behavioral model that fully characterizes and describes the nonlinear behavior of their devices. Now, X-parameters make it simple to capture nonlinear behavior with the same ease and accuracy as measuring or simulating linear S-parameters, the firm says. Agilent’s patent-pending X-parameter technology allows designers to capture the nonlinear behavior of active components such as amplifiers and transistors and save them in transportable RF intellectual property for use in RF system or circuit designs in ADS.

“In five minutes, you can generate a nonlinear X-parameter model from an off-the-shelf amplifier by measuring it with Agilent’s Nonlinear Vector Network Analyzer (NVNA), and you can start doing nonlinear designs with it in ADS immediately,” says Jason Horn, R&D engineer with Agilent’s High-Frequency Technology Center, and one of the inventors of X-parameter technology.

Advanced Design System enables X-parameter nonlinear model generation from simulation, allowing design houses to create nonlinear X-parameter models of their RFIC and MMIC; power amplifier modules (PAMs); front-end modules (FEMs); and multiport devices such as mixers. This allows RF and microwave system designers to fully characterize systems early in the design cycle and before the hardware is fabricated. X-parameter models protect the intellectual property from which they are generated while retaining the full nonlinear characteristics to share with circuit and system design partners. Agilent adds that the technology helps to save time and speed products to market all along the design chain.

“System integrators can quickly simulate X-parameter RF modules and provide fast feedback to component suppliers before hardware is committed,” says Jack Sifri, product marketing manager with Agilent’s EEsof EDA division, which provides RF mixed-signal circuit and system-design software. “This represents potential design-house savings of at least $1m in reduced IC foundry turns and development costs, along with months of savings in development cycle time,” he adds. “Early beta customers representing key IC design houses and handset manufacturers are enthusiastically embracing X-parameters,” he claims. “The X-parameters provide a compact language with which to communicate and simulate nonlinear characteristics accurately with full IP protection.”

Users can also generate X-parameter models with load pull characteristics - for accuracy over a wide range of terminating impedances - from ADS simulation or from measurement on an Agilent NVNA using the load-pull system from Maury Microwave Corp. With load-pull X-parameter models, designers can accurately simulate and optimize critical transceiver and power amplifier specifications such as cascaded output power, power added efficiency, error vector magnitude, and adjacent channel power ratio, eliminating months of prototype iterations with off-the-shelf components.

See related item:

Agilent announces 10x faster planar 3D EM simulation

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