Tech Briefs

Three MMIC Amplifiers for the 120-to-200 GHz Frequency Band

These would complement previously reported MMIC amplifiers designed for overlapping frequency bands.

Closely following the development reported in the article, "Low-Noise MMIC Amplifiers for 120 to 180 GHz" (NPO-42783), three new monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) amplifiers that would operate in the 120-to-200- GHz frequency band have been designed and are under construction at this writing. The active devices in these amplifiers are InP high-electron-mobility transistors (HEMTs). These amplifiers (see figure) are denoted the LSLNA150, the LSA200, and the LSA185, respectively.

altLike the amplifiers reported in the immediately preceding article, the LSLNA150 (1) is intended to be a prototype of low-noise amplifiers (LNAs) to be incorporated into spaceborne instruments for sensing cosmic microwave background radiation and (2) has potential for terrestrial use in electronic test equipment, passive millimeter-wave imaging systems, radar receivers, communication receivers, and systems for detecting hidden weapons. The HEMTs in this amplifier were fabricated according to 0.08-μm design rules of a commercial product line of InP HEMT MMICs at HRL Laboratories, LLC, with a gate geometry of 2 fingers, each 15 μm wide. On the basis of computational simulations, this amplifier is designed to afford at least 15 dB of gain, with a noise figure of no more than about 6 dB, at frequencies from 120 to 160 GHz. The measured results of the amplifier are shown next to the chip photo, with a gain of 16 dB at 150 GHz. Noise figure work is ongoing.

The LSA200 and the LSA185 are intended to be prototypes of transmitting power amplifiers for use at frequencies between about 180 and about 200 GHz. These amplifiers have also been fabricated according to rules of the aforesaid commercial product line of InP HEMT MMICs, except that the HEMTs in these amplifiers are characterized by a gate geometry of 4 fingers, each 37 μm wide. The measured peak performance of the LSA200 is characterized by a gain of about 1.4 dB at a frequency of 190 GHz; the measured peak performance of the LSA185 is characterized by a gain of about 2.7 dB at a frequency of 181 GHz. The measured gain results of each chip are shown next to their respective photos.

This work was done by Lorene Samoska of Caltech and Adele Schmitz of HRL Laboratories, LLC, for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NPO-42846

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