Design and fabrication of a high gain, broadband microwave limiting amplifier module

Kılıç, Hasan Hüseyin
Microwave limiting amplifiers are the key components of Instantaneous Frequency Measurement (IFM) systems. Limiting amplifiers provide constant output power level in a wide input dynamic range and over a broad frequency band. Moreover, limiting amplifiers are high gain devices that are used to bring very low input power levels to a constant output power level. Besides, limiting amplifiers are required to provide minimum small signal gain ripple in order not to reduce the sensitivity of the IFM system over the operating frequency band. In this thesis work, a high gain, medium power, 2-18 GHz limiting amplifier module is designed, simulated, fabricated and measured. First, a 3-stage cascaded amplifier with 27 dB small signal gain is designed and fabricated. The 3-stage amplifier is composed of a novel cascaded combination of negative feedback and distributed amplifiers that provides the minimum small signal gain ripple and satisfactory input and output return losses inside 2-18 GHz frequency band. Then, the designed two 3-stage amplifiers and one 4-stage amplifier are cascaded to constitute a limiting amplifier module with minimum 80 dB small signal gain. The designed 10-stage limiting amplifier module also includes an analog voltage controllable attenuator to be used for compensating the gain variations resulting from temperature changes. The fabricated 10-stage limiting amplifier module provides 20 +/- 1.2 dBm output power level and excellent small signal gain flatness, +/- 2.2 dB, over 2-18 GHz frequency range.