Low-cost specification based testing of RF amplifier circuits using oscillation principles

Abhilash Goyal, Madhavan Swaminathan, Abhijit Chatterjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In this paper, we propose a low-cost approach for testing GHz RF amplifiers. It is demonstrated for the first time that GHz RF amplifiers can be tested for their specifications using oscillation principles. In the test mode, the RF test signal is "self generated" by the amplifier with the help of additional external circuitry which forces the amplifier to oscillate (Barkhausen criterion) around its characteristic frequency. The RF sinusoidal output from the oscillating RF amplifier is down-converted to a lower frequency enabling low frequency test response analysis as well as increased sensitivity to parametric deviations. In addition to the detection of catastrophic failures, it is shown that multiple RF specifications (Gain, P1dB, and Noise Figure) can be predicted via analysis of the frequency of the down-converted response. To account for RF parasitics on the production floor, a calibration technique is proposed in the test-setup. Thus, the proposed method reduces test cost significantly by reducing the cost of test setup (by as much as 80%) and significantly reducing test time. The viability of the proposed test method is demonstrated both by simulation experiments and measurement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-24
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Electronic Testing: Theory and Applications (JETTA)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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