SMU speeds production test for RF power amplifiers

Posted By : Mick Elliott
SMU speeds production test for RF power amplifiers

A PXI Express source/measurement unit (SMU), the M911A, from Keysight Technologies, is purpose-built for design validation and production test of next-generation power amplifiers and front-end modules supporting cellular and wireless connectivity formats. The high-speed M9111A changes voltage, stabilises and accurately measures micro-Amps, all in less than 1ms.

The PXIe entry achieves speeds 20 times faster than those for previous-generation, stand-alone Keysight SMUs at a fraction of the size.

“In power amplifier automated test environments, speed of test is critical,” said Giampaolo Tradioli, senior director for Chipset Mobile Test, Keysight Technologies. “The M9111A is a welcome addition to the PXI family to address this challenge. Its high-speed output and glitch-free operation, combined with the ability to remain stable, even with capacitances up to 150 µF, make it ideal for power-amplifier test of handsets and cell phones.”

Power amplifiers draw rapid pulses of current, a challenge that the M9111A easily manages with transient performance unmatched in the industry. The SMU dramatically reduces voltage droop due to pulse loading and recovers quickly to its program voltage.

Under extreme, dynamic load conditions, traditional SMUs may prove unstable. The PMU provides oustanding output stability, eliminating worry that the power source will interfere with measurements.

Glitch-free operation ensures safe use with the device under test during output and measurement range changes, even with high capacitances. The output voltage and current remain steady and the DUT undamaged.

The one-slot, two-quadrant PXIe module delivers up to 18W of power at up to 13V, ±1A or up to 6V, ±3A. It combines the capabilities of a voltage source, a current source, an ammeter and a voltmeter.

Measurement capabilities for the M9111A include high-speed changes in voltage with fast settling times, high-speed recovery and low-voltage drop when the DUT pulls pulses of current with sharp edges and high-speed, accurate low-current measurements, such as leakage currents.

The M9111A is part of the Keysight RF power amplifier and front-end module reference solution, which enables rapid, full characterisation of next-generation power amplifier modules, such as power-amplifier devices, including S-parameter, demodulation, power, adjacent channel power and harmonic distortion measurements.

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