Highly efﬁcient switch-mode class-E power ampliﬁers (PAs) are sensitive to load impedance variations. For voltage standing wave ratios (VSWRs) up to 10:1, the peak switch voltage and the average switch current can increase by a factor of 1.7 and 2.5, respectively, relative to those under nominal load conditions, imposing serious reliability risks. This paper describes a technique to self-protect class-E PAs to decrease their sensitivity to load variations, relying on the tuning of the switch-tank relative-resonance frequency, implemented by an on-chip switched-capacitor bank (SCB). To validate the technique, load-pullmeasurements are conducted on a class-E PA implemented in a standard 65-nm CMOS technology, employing an off-chip matching network, augmented with a fully automated self-protective control loop. Under nominal conditions, the PA provides 17.8dBm at 1.4GHz into 50 from a 1.2-V supply with 67% efﬁciency. The proposed self-protective PA can reduce its peak switch voltage below the technology- and switch designrelated limit for any load with a VSWR up to 19:1 while not considerably impacting output power and efﬁciency, which see a maximum degradation of 1.6dB and 6%, respectively. Furthermore, a class-E PA designed to safely handle 2.5× the nominal average switch current can reliably operate for VSWRs up to 19:1 when protected with our technique.
|Journal||IEEE transactions on circuits and systems I: regular papers|
|Early online date||22 Jul 2019|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Feb 2020|
- CMOS integrated circuits
- load mismatch
- power amplifiers (PAs)
- class-E PA