With a 239-year history, a contemporary education environment and impressive academicians, Istanbul Technical University (ITU) has been distinguished in Turkey with its engineering and architecture education. Through a combination of its three core missions of education, research and development, ITU maintains its leadership role as a pioneer in science, technology, and arts and humanities on a national and international scale.
Cem Korkmaz, a student at ITU, wanted to design a low noise power amplifier (LNA) for his 2011 graduation design project. The design required the lowest possible noise figure and power consumption, combined with the highest third order intercept (OIP3) parameters for nonlinearity. Korkmaz also ambitiously planned to enter his design in the Turkey National Chamber of Electrical Engineering (EMO) Graduation Projects Design Competition and the International Microwave Symposium (IMS) Student Design Competition. The specs set out for the challenge included:
• Gain: 15dB (or better)
• Reflections: -10dB (or lower)
• Noise figure: 1dB (or lower)
• 3 volt power supply
• OIP3: 20dB (or better)
In addition, Korkmaz needed to perform EM analysis on the design in order to verify optimal performance.
Korkmaz used AWR’s Microwave Office circuit design software, which enabled him to model the transistor of his choice, the Infineon BFP740F silicon germanium (SiGe) bipolar transistor, perform EM analysis, and get accurate results, all within the Microwave Office circuit design environment. What is typically a complex design flow for even the most experienced designers was made possible for a university student through AWR’s easy-to-use, integrated environment.
When compared with typical market components (see Figure 1), Korkmaz’s LNA had the highest gain with 18.4dB (compared to 11dB—17.4dB), and the lowest noise figure at 0.9dB (compared to 1.4dB—0.87dB). Interestingly, the Korkmaz design delivered both the highest gain and the lowest noise figure, whereas the market components offered either high gain or low noise, but not both in the same component.
The design won first place in the 2011 EMO Graduation Projects Design Competition and was an LNA Design Finalist in the 2011 IMS Student Design Competition.
Because AWR supports RF and microwave education and research by providing universities worldwide with fully functional licenses of its software products, Korkmaz was able to leverage all the advanced features and functionality of Microwave Office though the Istanbul Technical University license. The key reason he chose AWR was its complete software support—with the many AWR LNA design examples, extensive help section, and AWR.TV video demonstrations, Korkmaz was able to easily learn the software and apply the principles needed to design his award-winning LNA. In addition, Korkmaz was impressed with AWR’s reliability and easy integration with third party tools.