Ultra-wideband radial waveguide-to-coaxial combiner

Aggregation of multiple solid-state amplifiers for high-power


One of the most stringent obstacles in the quest for a high-power transmitter is the limitation imposed by the power amplifier. To obtain the high power (wattage) required many transmitters use vacuum tube technology, otherwise known as traveling wave tube amplifiers (TWTs).

While these can generate high power, they have a compromised mean time to failure as well as narrow bandwidth.

As an alternative to vacuum tube technology, solid-state technology has proven to be more reliable and offers broader bandwidth. However, most solid-state technologies are not capable of generating the high-power required for various applications. For example, a TWT amplifier may support 100 watts of power in the Ku-Band (12-18 GHz), whereas a state-of-the-art gallium nitride (GaN) solid state amplifier might only be able to support 20 watts. However, if five GaN amplifiers are used in parallel, the power rating may be increased to support 100 watts. For this reason, low-loss, high-power combining/dividing technologies are required to gang-up numerous solid-state amplifiers to support the high power requirements.

In the microwave and millimeter-wave regime, combiner techniques utilizing printed circuit board transmission lines are not preferred because of the high losses. Waveguide transmission lines are preferable instead since they can handle high-power and have very low-loss. But available waveguide radial combiners lack wideband operation.

Recently, Navy scientists and engineers have developed a wideband radial combiner that efficiently pools multiple solid-state amplifiers to provide high-power output. This novel radial combiner joins upwards of 32 wideband solid-state amplifiers using a waveguide-to-coaxial transition that is not only wider in bandwidth than commercially available technology but also maintains a high level of efficiency.

This ultra-wideband radial waveguide-to-coaxial combiner/divider includes a source, A/D converter, processor, transmitter, radial combiner, and antenna. In operation, a signal is directed from the analog source to the A/D converter. The digital signal is then processed, directed to the transmitter, and passed to the combiner. The combiner amplifies the signal and then passes the signal to an antenna.

This US patent 9,825,349 is related to US application number 9,917,343.

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