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Bias Design - RF Cafe Forums

Because of the high maintenance needed to monitor and filter spammers from the RF Cafe Forums, I decided that it would be best to just archive the pages to make all the good information posted in the past available for review. It is unfortunate that the scumbags of the world ruin an otherwise useful venue for people wanting to exchanged useful ideas and views. It seems that the more formal social media like Facebook pretty much dominate this kind of venue anymore anyway, so if you would like to post something on RF Cafe's Facebook page, please do.

Below are all of the forum threads, including all the responses to the original posts.

Post subject: Bias Design Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 6:58 pm


Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2006 6:28 pm
Posts: 2
Location: UK

I`m currently designing a balanced low noise amplifier using microstrip lines at 2GHz. Can someone explain how i determine the capacitance i need for the DC block and also the RF Choke(Inductance)? I`ve read some articles but i just don't get it. I`d appreciate any help. Thanks!


Post subject: Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 11:47 pm


Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2006 8:33 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Queen Creek, Arizona
I am going to take a stab at this one, but to be honest, more information from you would be helpful as your question is broad and could be referencing any number of design configurations and uses.

RF chokes: The typical use for RF chokes is to support the biasing network. Ideally you have some resistor feeding the DC bias to your output or input, and then in some applications an RF choke is used to further isolate the Biasing circuitry from the RF signals. In such conditions, you are better off choosing an inductor that is actually rated for RF choke applications, the size would not matter as much as your frequency band of interest for isolation. The low frequency effectiveness of the choke is typically realized by the simple inductance size, while the high end is limited by the inductors series resonance. Basic answer, find an inductor that isolates the frequency range you want by the necessary impedance, and ensure that the self-resonance is high enough to meet your needs. When I state isolation, what I really mean is that the impedance seen from your output/input to the biasing network does not load down your circuit creating insertion loss, power loss, gain loss, etc.

As for DC blocking cap, my only comment is to choose a size that does two things. Is appropriate for your impedance matching network and couples enough of the signal of interest (low insertion loss) without ovcercoupling (if it is a narrowband design). the impedance matching network is what is most important here.

I wish I could give you magical equations or something that would help, but your question is too broad for me to attempt that. Someone else may have better insight.

CMOS RF and Analog ESD Specialist!


Post subject: Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 6:08 am


Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2006 6:28 pm
Posts: 2
Location: UK
Thank you for your great insight. Yes i agree i haven't given enough information on the design. It`s a narrowband (1.9-2Ghz) balanced amplifier using 3dB branch line couplers with open circuit stubs for input and output matching to a (BFG425W) BJT Philips Transistor. The circuit is to be manufactured on RT/Duroid 5880 with copper conductor. The DC block capacitors will be used so as not to affect the 50 Ohm chip loads. The biasing will be done by using a quarter wave length high impedance line with a bypass capacitor to ground to prevent the short circuit from appearing at the biasing network. Now, I just want to work out some values for these capacitors to put into my simulation to get an idea of the overall performance. I`m also toying with the idea of introcuding biasing just using an inductor as there may be one commercially available that's suitable. Hope that clears up things a bit.


Post subject: Bias DesignPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:22 am


Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:07 pm
Posts: 218
Location: London UK
Hi Kilax
Choice of inductors and capacitors for bias circuits should be focussed more on parasitic resonances due to the presence of cap in an inductor and lead inductance in the bypass cap.

Generally if the reactance of the nominal value is about ten times the circuit impedance that is OK (often around 15 to 20 ohms on the output side before the 50 ohm transformer).

The choke and cap manufacturer data sheets should quote the parasitics or the main parasitic resonant frequency. This should be just above the max frequency of operation if possible, or if not then use a damping resitor to reduce the Q.

As an example, for your application and assuming a stray parasitic capacitance of 1pF for the choke, and a circuit Z of 13 ohms, a choke of 2 turns of 3mm diameter 3mm long gives about 10nH, which will resonate at about 1560MHz. That is a rough order of magnitude.

I do not have details of capacitor lead inductances however.


Post subject: Bias DesignPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:41 am


Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:07 pm
Posts: 218
Location: London UK
Amplifying a little on that previous post of mine, the choke example give will have a reactance of about 130 ohms at 2GHz, so 10 times the circuit impedance of 13 ohms.

So why not increase the inductance value? Well, a 6 turn choke of 4mm diameter 6mm long will have an inductance about 93 nH, a reactance of 1170 ohms at 2GHz, but with the 1pF stray capacitance assumed, would resonate at 520MHz. Bad news. Above this frequency the bypass would look more and more like a capacitor in parallel with the existing one, but with no inductance to act as a choke. At resonance it would look like a high impedance to ground, which is the opposite of what you really need.

Hope that helps.


Post subject: Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:43 pm

Site Admin

Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 2:02 pm
Posts: 373
Location: Germany

What I am usually doing is to follow a simple rule of thumb for inductors: 10*Zo (Or your load impedance) in the lowest frequency. Of course that by choosing this value of inductor you should pay attention to the rated SRF and make sure that it is well above your highest frequency. How well above? In your case I would say at least 2.4GHz.

For Capacitors as mentioned in the previous posts this shouldn't affect your matching network and cause to insertion loss, so what I usually do is to choose a coupling capacitor that will cause an impedance of bwtween 3-5 ohm in the lowest frequency of the band (As the reactance decreases as frequency becomes higher).

It is a well-known idea to use quarter wavelength with a bypass capacitor for forming a narrow-band bypass network, you have to choose the SRF of the capacitor to match this network.

Hope I helped.[/b]

Best regards,

- IR

Posted  11/12/2012

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