Student blasts away international opposition with 10 watts
Macquarie University electronics PhD student Michael Boers has defeated competitors from universities in the US, Canada and Korea by designing and building an ultra-efficient radio frequency (RF) power amplifier.
Boers won the annual Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE — the world electronic peak body) Microwave Techniques and Technology Society’s (MTT-S) High Efficiency Power Amplifier Design Competition.
Designing better microwave power amplifiers is the focus of much international academic and commercial attention due to our need to more efficiently convert electrical power to the microwave energy required by wireless systems such as satellite transceivers, cellular base stations and most importantly, mobile phones where high efficiency translates directly to battery life.
The IEEE’s MTT-S therefore sponsors an annual competition, open to university students around the globe, to design a power amplifier with the greatest efficiency.
Competitors are required to design, construct and measure a high efficiency power amplifier, at a frequency of their choice above 1 but less than 20 GHz, and having an output power level of at least 5 W, but less than 100 W. The winner is judged on the design which demonstrates the highest power added efficiency.
The amplifier can operate between 1 and 2 GHz, but is most efficient at around 1.2 GHz where its efficiency has been measured at about 80% and where it draws 290 mA from a 29 V supply. It is capable of outputting up to 10 W.
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