3 February 2023
Qorvo introduces three-stage power solution for phased-array radar
Qorvo Inc of Greensboro, NC, USA (which provides core technologies and RF solutions for mobile, infrastructure and defense applications) has announced a compact, three-stage power solution for phased-array commercial and defense radar. The three-chip solution provides configurable gallium nitride (GaN) bias point autocalibration, enabling engineers to maximize system performance for different GaN power amplifiers (PAs) without changing the board design.
The new chipset optimizes one of the largest and most expensive parts of a phased-array system: the pulsed-energy storage capacitors. Through a new architecture, the solution reduces capacitance by up to 90%, shrinking system volume by up to 30% while reducing weight and operating costs.
“This complete radar power solution integrates advanced technologies from across Qorvo, combining an innovative new power conversion architecture, our best-in-class GaN RF power amplifiers and efficient, reliable silicon carbide FETs,” says Philip Chesley, president of Qorvo’s High Performance Analog business.
The new three-stage solution consists of the following:
- ACT43950 is a high-voltage constant-current capacitor charge controller that works with Qorvo’s silicon carbide power switches to provide fully programmable output voltage and current, allowing customers to maximize system performance. This regulator’s architecture, in conjunction with the following stages, minimizes power storage capacitor requirements.
- ACT43850, an RF point-of-load (RFPoL) step-down DC-DC power converter, takes the output from the ACT43950 and steps it down to a well-regulated voltage optimized for Qorvo GaN power amplifiers. Its advanced configuration options allow RF system designers to minimize noise and EMI, maximizing the performance of the radar array.
- ACT43750 is a highly integrated drain switch and negative gate voltage regulator power management integrated circuit (PMIC) that enables ultra-fast RF GaN PA drain switching. By automating gate voltage bias sequencing, autocalibration and dynamic bias recalibration, Qorvo simplifies system manufacturing while mitigating the effects of device aging and temperature on RF performance.
Qorvo offers an evaluation board (CB1-750-850-950) that allows customers to test the performance of this three-stage solution with a wide set of RF GaN PAs. The evaluation board’s intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) allows customers to reconfigure the default settings to optimize performance for their specific PA. It demonstrates the reduced bulk capacitor requirements and gate bias autocalibration. The board’s flexible design can be used to evaluate the individual stages or the entire three-chip solution with an RF PA, enabling faster time to market.