21 February 2012

Nujira launches handset RF power amplifier characterization system

Fabless semiconductor firm Nujira Ltd of Cambridge, UK has launched the NCT-T9102 handset RF power amplifier (PA) characterization system, targeted at OEMs, chipset suppliers and PA vendors wishing to measure the performance of envelope tracking RF PAs for low-power applications.

The system has been developed specifically for characterizing handset RF PAs under envelope tracking (ET) conditions, overcoming the challenge of characterizing PAs in ET mode using standard test equipment.

Already in use by several major PA vendors and OEMs worldwide, the NCT-T9102 test system can be used to characterize existing PAs and also to develop future ET-optimized PA devices. OEMs and platform chipset vendors wishing to compare and contrast ET PAs from different vendors can also benefit from the capabilities of the characterization system.

“Nujira is working with the world's leading suppliers of RF power amplifiers to enable them to develop and bring to market high-performance handset PAs which take full advantage of the system benefits offered by envelope tracking,” says CEO Tim Haynes. “Providing our partners with this dedicated test equipment is a critical step in our roadmap to enable an industry-wide ET ecosystem for PA vendors and handset OEMs,” he adds.

The NCT-T9102 system features a high-bandwidth, low-impedance dynamic supply modulator with a power supply bandwidth in excess of 60MHz, incorporating accurate measurement of dynamic PA efficiency. The supplied software provides real-time displays of the AM/AM and AM/PM distortions in the amplifier as well as the resultant spectrum and efficiency profile. The hardware includes an IQ modulated transmitter and two complex receivers, covering the 650-2700MHz frequency range. The system includes a selection of pre-defined WCDMA and LTE waveforms, as defined by the OpenET Alliance, and enables development of the shaping table function which maps RF level to PA supply voltage.

Accurately measuring the efficiency of an envelope tracking PA under dynamic supply modulation is one of the most challenging tasks faced by developers of RF power amplifiers. It requires generation of precisely time-aligned envelope and RF signals; a high-bandwidth, high-current, low-impedance power supply modulator; high-bandwidth sensing of instantaneous current and voltage supplied to the PA; and measurement of the instantaneous RF power at input and output of the PA. All of this data must be captured at more than 100 million samples/second, and then correlated to calculate the instantaneous efficiency of the RF PA.

“This combination of dynamic efficiency measurement with instantaneous phase measurement capability puts our characterization system well ahead of any other PA test equipment on the market,” believes chief technology officer Gerard Wimpenny.

The NCT-T9102 also includes comprehensive automation support. A well-documented software API enables users to develop highly automated lab setups using external scripting languages such as LabVIEW, VEE, C# or MATLAB. So, the NCT-T9102 can be combined with other standard lab equipment, and repeatable measurements made, enabling accurate characterization of PAs across frequency, temperature, and load impedance with standard or user-defined waveforms and shaping tables.

The NTC-T9102 handset PA characterization system will be demonstrated on Stand 1C62 in Hall 1.0 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain (27 February - 1 March).

Tags: Nujira

Visit: www.nujira.com

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