A document presents data from tests of a low-noise amplifier module operating in the frequency range from 290 to 340 GHz — said to be the highest-frequency low-noise, solid-state amplifier ever developed. The module comprised a three-stage monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) amplifier integrated with radial probe MMIC/waveguide transitions and contained in a compact waveguide package, all according to the concepts described in the immediately preceding article and in the referenced prior article, “Integrated Radial Probe Transition From MMIC to Waveguide” (NPO-43957), NASA Tech Briefs Vol. 31, No. 5 (May 2007), page 38.

The tests included measurements by the Y-factor method, in which noise figures are measured repeatedly with an input noise source alternating between an “on” (hot-load) condition and an “off” (cold-load) condition. (The Y factor is defined as the ratio between the “on” and “off” noise power levels.) The test results showed that, among other things, the module exhibited a minimum noise figure of about 8.7 dB at 325 GHz and that the gain at that frequency under the bias conditions that produced the minimum noise figure was between about 9 and 10 dB.

This work was done by Todd Gaier, Lorene Samoska, and King Man Fung of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and William Deal, Xiaobing Mei, and Richard Lai of Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC). The work was sponsored under the DARPA SWIFT program and the contributors would like to acknowledge the support of Dr. Mark Rosker (DARPA) and Dr. H. Alfred Hung (Army Research Laboratory). NPO-45461

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Tests of Low-Noise MMIC Amplifier Module at 290 to 340 GHz

(reference NPO-45461) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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This article first appeared in the October, 2009 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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