Dissertation: Efficient Solid-State Power Amplifiers for RF Power Source Applications

  • Date: –12:00
  • Location: Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1 Heinz-Otto Kreiss, 101195
  • Doctoral student: Renbin Tong
  • Organiser: Department of Electrical Engineering
  • Contact person: Renbin Tong
  • Disputation

Renbin Tong defends his doctoral thesis "Efficient Solid-State Power Amplifiers for RF Power Source Applications"

Opponent: Distinguished Professor Zoya Popovic
Main supervisor: Associate Professor Dragos Dancila
Radio Frequency (RF) power sources are extensively applied in various fields. Radioisotope production, i.e., the production of short-lived radioactive isotopes, for positron emission tomography (PET) is one of the most important applications in the medical and healthcare domains. Full-time operation and substantial maintenance of such systems lead to high operating expenses. Hence, the development of more efficient and reliable RF power amplifiers, which are the main contributors to the energy consumption and maintenance costs of the RF power sources, is a high priority. Solid-state technology has emerged as a viable alternative to conventional vacuum tube based high-power RF/microwave systems, offering advanced control, reliability, and ease of use. Power amplifiers based on solid-state technology enable dynamic adjustment of power to optimize the transmitted energy. Furthermore, solid-state power amplifiers (SSPA) technology shows a longer lifetime leading to increased uptime and lower maintenance costs. Concisely, with the introduction of solid-state technology in high-power RF sources, RF energy can be generated more efficiently and more controllable in a smaller form factor, allowing for more compact systems with less downtime and less maintenance. This thesis is one step further toward demonstrating the feasibility of such systems.

The thesis first introduces the RF measurement setup. It implements automation for quick measurements and supports the evaluation of the high-power RF performance of the developed SSPA modules. Moreover, a novel thru-only de-embedding approach is developed to address the calibration difficulties under multi-port excitation conditions. The second part of the thesis deals with the development and analysis of efficient kilowatt SSPA modules. A multimode SSPA with quasi-static supply control for power regulation is implemented. It achieves more than 90% efficiency over a 5 dB output power back-off range. Another compact and efficient SSPA, implemented in push-pull architecture, adopts harmonic load-pull integrated with the same quasi-static supply modulation which also achieves 90% efficiency over a 5 dB output power back-off range. The implemented SSPAs improve the state-of-the-art in these frequency bands and power ranges.

This thesis broadens RF SSPA theoretical research to the kilowatt power range and provides a new understanding of high-power SSPAs from circuits, design methodologies, and analytical approaches. And it leads to new methods and tools to improve the energy efficiency of high-power RF sources. The knowledge gained and technology developed is not limited to RF power sources in radioisotope production applications, it can also be applied in the communication industry, such as radar systems, and other RF energy systems in industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) fields, such as particle accelerators, welding, drying, heating, and many more.

Link to the dissertation in Diva