IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTT-S)
The 16th High Efficiency Power Amplifier Student Design Competition (HEPA-SDC)
Live Stream from Keysight’s Microwave Measurements Lab on October 16th, 2020
The 1st Place Winner:
Haifeng Lyu and Yuchen Cao
University of Central Florida
Advisor: Professor Kenle Chen
The 2nd Place Winner:
William Sear, Devon Donahue, and Michelle Pirrone
University of Colorado Boulder
Advisor: Professor Taylor Barton
The IEEE MTT-S Microwave High Power Techniques Committee (MTT-12), in collaboration with Keysight Technologies, is pleased to announce that the 16th High Efficiency Power Amplifier (HEPA) Student Design Competition (SDC) will take place on Friday October 16th, 2020. The competition will be held virtually. Live measurements of the contestant’s PAs will be streamed online in real-time. The contestants will be able to participate virtually during the live event.
This competition is open to all students, both undergraduates and graduates, who are registered at a recognized educational institution around the globe. The participating teams will need to register and then will be given information on where to send their PAs. The measurements will be performed at the Keysight Labs and streamed live with the participants and the judges’ virtual presence. The information for the live teleconference event will be sent to the participants in advance.
The contest will focus on PAs having both high efficiency and high linearity over a relatively broad bandwidth. The contestants are required to design and construct a highly efficient, linear PA at a frequency of their choice between 1 GHz and 10 GHz. To qualify for the linearity test, the PA must produce an output power of at least 4 watts, but no more than 40 watts, when excited by a single carrier at the frequency of test. All linearity testing will be conducted using two equal amplitude carriers spaced 20 MHz apart. To qualify for the linearity measurement, with 0 dBm per tone input, carrier-to-intermodulation ratio (C/I) must be greater than 30 dB*.
The winner will be the PA that demonstrates the highest power added efficiency (PAE) when producing a two-tone carrier-to-intermodulation ratio (C/I) of 30 dB*.
*[C/I is based on the ratio expressed in dB between the amplitude of either carrier and the highest intermodulation product. PAE will be measured at the first output power with increasing Pin from 0 dBm where this ratio falls below 30 dB*].
Detailed Competition Rules
- The PA design may use any type of technology, but must be the result of new effort, both in the amplifier design and fabrication.
- The PA mechanical design should allow for internal inspection of all relevant components and circuit elements. The RF ports should be SMA female connectors. Bias connections should be banana plugs.
- The PA should require a maximum of two dc supply voltages for operation.
- The PA must operate at a frequency in the range of 1 GHz to 10 GHz and have an output power level when excited by a single carrier of at least 4 watts, but no more than 40 watts at the frequency of test.
- All PAs should require less than 24 dBm of input power to reach the minimum 4 watt output power when excited with a single carrier.
- All linearity measurements will be performed under CW two-tone operation with two equal amplitude carriers spaced 20 MHz apart at room ambient conditions into a 50 ohm load. Only the power at the two fundamental carrier frequencies will be included in the measurement of output.
- Linearity measurements will be conducted with a maximum of 21 dBm input power per tone. The tone power will be swept from 0 dBm to 21 dBm and the C/I ratio measured.
- The winner will be based on the amplifier’s PAE measured during official test at the lowest power level for which the C/I ratio* equals 30 dB. If the C/I ratio is better than 30 dB over the entire testing range, the measurement at 21 dBm input power per tone will be used. The figure of merit for scoring will be the PAE multiplied by a frequency weighting factor having the form (GHz)^0.25.
- A student group may enter a maximum of two PAs, but can receive an award for only one PA.
- Team size will be up to four students maximum.
- The measurements will be conducted by Keysight expert engineers. The team will be allowed to ask for a trial test before the competition to make sure there is no damage caused by the post.
- At least one team member or team representative must be present virtually via the video conference during the test to provide information for the measurements.
- The measurements for the competition will be contacted at the PA biasing points specified by the students.
- The measurement results will be evaluated by the judges and the decision of the judges will be final.
- The team with the winning PA design, as measured live at Keysight’s Microwave Measurements Lab and determined by the judges, will receive a prize of US $2,000, sponsored by Keysight.
- The winning team will also be invited to submit a paper describing their design to IEEE Microwave Magazine.
- Modelithics will award their high precision PA model software to the top three (3) PA teams.
- Cadence will award 1-year complimentary licenses of its AWR Design Environment software to the top three (3) PA teams.
How to Participate
- The contestants must notify the MTT-S committee by e-mailing to Dr.Kiki Ikossi <firstname.lastname@example.org> of their intention to compete in the contest by the end of day of Tuesday September 1, 2020. This notification must include information on the University or educational affiliation of the entry, the name and contact information of the group’s adviser, and the PA’s approximate output power level, dc voltage requirements and frequency of operation. Teams that already registered for the 16th HEPA-SDC at the IMS2020 site do not need to register again but should send an email to Dr. Kiki Ikossi to confirm your participation.
- Deadline to ship your PA for safe arrival is Thursday October 1st, 2020. The shipping information will be provided after registration.
Student Eligibility Criteria
- This competition is open to all students, both undergraduates and graduates, who are registered at a recognized educational institution around the globe.
- Students may enter as individuals or as a team. There shall no more than four students on a team. Each student shall be a member of only one team. A student group may enter a maximum of 2 PAs, but can receive an award for only one PA.
- To enter a competition, the student(s) must have been full-time student(s) during the time the work was performed. There is no restriction on age.
- The student(s) must have a signed statement from their academic advisor that the work is principally the effort of the student(s).
- At least one of the students on a team must be present virtually via the video conference during the test to provide information for the measurements on the contest day.
- The students should use the email address issued by their respective institutions for all communication regarding the competitions, rather than their personal emails (e.g., Gmail, Hotmail).