Generalized stability criteria for power amplifiers under mismatch effects
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Potential instability of power amplifiers (PAs) under mismatch effects is analyzed, with emphasis on the ease and generality of application of the stability criteria. The methodology is based on the evaluation of a large-signal version of the μ factor, considering mismatch effects in the fundamental frequency and three relevant sidebands: the baseband, the lower sideband and the upper sideband. This requires an outer-tier scattering-type conversion matrix of order 3 × 3 to be obtained, with the rest of sideband equations acting as an inner tier. It is taken into account that the circuit behaves nonlinearly with respect to the termination at the fundamental frequency. The consideration of three sidebands will enable the prediction of the two major forms of large-signal instability: incommensurable oscillations and frequency divisions by two. The analysis is preceded by an evaluation of the circuit own stability properties (proviso) under open and short circuit terminations at the sidebands, for all possible values of the termination at the fundamental frequency. Three different μ factors can be defined between any two ports of the scattering matrix. The analysis of the relationships between these factors and their continuity properties will allow the derivation of a single number able to characterize the PA potential instability for each fundamental-frequency termination. Results have been exhaustively validated with independent circuit-level simulations based on pole-zero identification and with measurements, using a variable output load and loading the PA with an antenna.