Characterization and Linearization of Multi-channel RF Power Amplifiers

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: The demands for high data rates and broadband wireless access require the development of wireless systems that can support wide and multi-band signals. To deploy these signals, new radio frequency (RF) front-ends are required which impose new challenges in terms of power consumption efficiency and sources of distortion e.g., nonlinearity. These challenges are more pronounced in power amplifiers (PAs) that degrade the overall performance of the RF transmitter. Since it is difficult to optimize the linearity and efficiency characteristics of a PA simultaneously, a trade-off is needed. At high input power, a PA exhibits high efficiency at the expense of linearity. On the other hand, at low input power, a PA is linear at the expense of the efficiency. To achieve linearity and efficiency at the same time, digital pre-distortion (DPD) is often used to compensate for the PA nonlinearity at high input power. In case of multi-channel PAs, input and output signals of different channels interact with each other due to cross-talk. Therefore, these PAs exhibit different nonlinear behavior than the single-input single-output (SISO) PAs. The DPD techniques developed for SISO PAs do not result in adequate performance when used for multi-channel PAs. Hence, an accurate behavioral modeling is essential for the development of DPD for multi-channel RF PAs. In this thesis, we propose three novel behavioral models and DPD schemes for nonlinear multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) transmitters in presence of cross-talk. A study of the source of cross-talk in MIMO transmitters have been investigated to derive simple and powerful modeling schemes. These models are extensions of a SISO generalized memory polynomial model. A comparative study with a previously published MIMO model is also presented. The effect of coherent and partially non-coherent signal generationon DPD performance is also highlighted. It is shown experimentally that with partially non-coherent signal generation, the performance of the DPD degrades compared to coherent signal generation. In context of multi-channel RF transmitters, PA behavioral models and DPD schemes suffer from a large number of model parameters with the increase in nonlinear order and memory depth. This growth leads to high complexity model identification and implementation. We have designed a DPD scheme for MIMO PAs using a sparse estimation technique for reducing model complexity. This technique also increases the numerical stability when linear least square estimation model identification is used. A method to characterize the memory effects in a nonlinear concurrent dual-band PAs is also presented. Compared to the SISO PAs, concurrent dual-band PAs are not only affected by intermodulation distortions but also by cross-modulation distortions. The characterization of memory effects inconcurrent dual-band transmitter is performed by injecting a two-tone test signal in each input channel of the transmitter. Asymmetric energy surfaces are introduced for the intermodulation and cross-modulation products, which can be used to identify the power and frequency regions where the memory effects are dominant.