Depletion Mode pHEMT Bias Networks

APPLICATION NOTE
Depletion Mode pHEMT Bias Networks
Introduction
60
0V
50
–0.1 V
40
IDS (mA)
Skyworks provides standalone GaAs pHEMTs that require external
bias and RF matching networks to realize their best performance.
Parameters such as gain, Noise Figure (NF), and linearity are
controlled by the pHEMT’s bias point. This Application Note
describes the many ways to properly bias a pHEMT and outlines
the performance characteristics for each circuit.
–0.2 V
30
–0.3 V
–0.4 V
20
–0.5 V
10
pHEMT Bias Conditions
–0.6 V
–0.7 V
0
0
Both the gate and drain of a pHEMT must meet bias conditions to
function properly. The drain voltage relative to the source (VDS)
should be ≥ 2 V, while the gate voltage relative to the source (VGS)
is used to set the current flow from the drain to the source (IDD).
Figure 1 shows the basic circuit representation of a pHEMT.
Source
With VGS = 0 V and VDS ≥ 2 V, the FET is in its saturated state (IDSS)
and draws the maximum amount of current. The value of IDSS is
determined by the overall geometry and size of the pHEMT.
Lowering VGS to approximately –0.7 V, the device enters its
pinchoff state and turns off. Typical IV characteristics of a
Skyworks 200 μm FET is illustrated in Figure 2.
Performance Considerations
4
5
Figure 2. Typical IV Characteristics for a 200 μm pHEMT
2.0
25.0
1.8
22.5
1.6
20.0
1.4
17.5
1.2
15.0
1.0
12.5
0.8
10.0
0.6
7.5
0.4
5.0
0.2
2.5
0
Figure 1. Basic pHEMT Circuit Representation
3
Associated Gain (dB)
Gate
2
VDS (V)
Minimum Noise Figure (dB)
Drain
1
0
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
IDD (mA)
Figure 3. Minimum NF and Associated Gain vs IDD
for a 200 μm pHEMT
A 200 μm pHEMT such as the SKY65050-372LF is ideal for low
power and low noise applications in which linearity is not a critical
specification. If the NF and linearity are both important, a larger
device such as the SKY65053-377LF should be considered. This
400 μm device has an IDSS of 100 mA, which allows it to be
biased at a higher IDD point and still maintain a low NF
performance.
The bias point chosen for a pHEMT largely controls the
performance parameters such as NF, gain, and linearity. Figure 3
illustrates how noise and gain are affected by the IDD. For
applications in which noise is the most important specification,
the pHEMT should be biased around 20 percent of the IDSS value
or, in this case, 10 mA. Increasing IDD increases gain and linearity,
but at the expense of an increased NF.
Skyworks Solutions, Inc. • Phone [781] 376-3000 • Fax [781] 376-3100 • sales@skyworksinc.com • www.skyworksinc.com
201119A • Skyworks Proprietary and Confidential information • Products and Product Information are Subject to Change Without Notice • July 28, 2009
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APPLICATION NOTE • DEPLETION MODE pHEMT BIAS NETWORKS
Bias Circuits
The bias networks shown in Figures 4 and 5 illustrate the two
most common ways to bias pHEMTs. Circuit A uses a positive
drain voltage (VD) and a negative gate voltage (VG) to set the
quiescent point of the device. This circuit provides low noise, high
gain, and high efficiency. The circuit offers the best performance,
but requires a negative voltage supply, which can increase overall
component cost and layout area.
To eliminate the need for a negative voltage supply, a self-biasing
resistor is placed between the source of the device and ground.
The source is floated above ground when current flows through
the resistor. The source resistor simplifies the bias network
design, but also has a few caveats. The resistor slightly degrades
NF performance and the added source bypass capacitor can
cause oscillations. The characteristics of both circuits are
summarized in Table 1.
RF Output
VD
VG
S1599
Figure 4. pHEMT Circuit A: Gate and Drain Biased Separately
RF Output
RF Input
VD
S1600
Figure 5. pHEMT Circuit B: Single DC Supply Operation
Table 1. pHEMT Circuit Summary
Circuit
(See Figures 4 and 5)
Circuit Characteristics
Power Supply
A
Low noise
High gain
High efficiency
Positive and negative supply
B
Low noise
High gain
Lower efficiency
Gain and current are adjusted with external resistor
Positive supply
Skyworks Solutions, Inc. • Phone [781] 376-3000 • Fax [781] 376-3100 • sales@skyworksinc.com • www.skyworksinc.com
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July 28, 2009 • Skyworks Proprietary and Confidential information • Products and Product Information are Subject to Change Without Notice • 201119A
APPLICATION NOTE • DEPLETION MODE pHEMT BIAS NETWORKS
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Skyworks Solutions, Inc. • Phone [781] 376-3000 • Fax [781] 376-3100 • sales@skyworksinc.com • www.skyworksinc.com
201119A • Skyworks Proprietary and Confidential information • Products and Product Information are Subject to Change Without Notice • July 28, 2009
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