Components and circuits for tunneling diode based high frequency sources

Ofiare, Afesomeh (2016) Components and circuits for tunneling diode based high frequency sources. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Terahertz (THz) technology has been generating a lot of interest because of the potential applications for systems working in this frequency range. However, to fully achieve this potential, effective and efficient ways of generating controlled signals in the terahertz range
are required. Devices that exhibit negative differential resistance (NDR) in a region of their current-voltage (I-V ) characteristics have been used in circuits for the generation of radio frequency signals. Of all of these NDR devices, resonant tunneling diode (RTD)
oscillators, with their ability to oscillate in the THz range are considered as one of the most promising solid-state sources for terahertz signal generation at room temperature. There are however limitations and challenges with these devices, from inherent low output power
usually in the range of micro-watts (uW) for RTD oscillators when milli-watts (mW) are desired. At device level, parasitic oscillations caused by the biasing line inductance when the device is biased in the NDR region prevent accurate device characterisation, which in turn
prevents device modelling for computer simulations.
This thesis describes work on I-V characterisation of tunnel diode (TD) and RTD (fabricated by Dr. Jue Wang) devices, and the radio frequency (RF) characterisation and small signal modelling of RTDs. The thesis also describes the design and measurement of hybrid TD
oscillators for higher output power and the design and measurement of a planar Yagi antenna (fabricated by Khalid Alharbi) for THz applications.

To enable oscillation free current-voltage characterisation of tunnel diodes, a commonly employed method is the use of a suitable resistor connected across the device to make the total differential resistance in the NDR region positive. However, this approach is not without
problems as the value of the resistor has to satisfy certain conditions or else bias oscillations would still be present in the NDR region of the measured I-V characteristics. This method is difficult to use for RTDs which are fabricated on wafer due to the discrepancies in designed and actual resistance values of fabricated resistors using thin film technology. In this work, using pulsed DC rather than static DC measurements during device characterisation were shown to give accurate characteristics in the NDR region without the need for a stabilisation resistor. This approach allows for direct oscillation free characterisation for devices.
Experimental results show that the I-V characterisation of tunnel diodes and RTD devices free of bias oscillations in the NDR region can be made.
In this work, a new power-combining topology to address the limitations of low output power of TD and RTD oscillators is presented. The design employs the use of two oscillators biased separately, but with the combined output power from both collected at a single load. Compared to previous approaches, this method keeps the frequency of oscillation of the combined oscillators the same as for one of the oscillators. Experimental results with a hybrid circuit using two tunnel diode oscillators compared with a single oscillator design with similar values shows that the coupled oscillators produce double the output RF power of the single oscillator. This topology can be scaled for higher (up to terahertz) frequencies in the future by using RTD oscillators.
Finally, a broadband Yagi antenna suitable for wireless communication at terahertz frequencies is presented in this thesis. The return loss of the antenna showed that the bandwidth is larger than the measured range (140-220 GHz). A new method was used to characterise the radiation pattern of the antenna in the E-plane. This was carried out on-wafer and the measured radiation pattern showed good agreement with the simulated pattern. In summary, this work makes important contributions to the accurate characterisation and modelling of TDs and RTDs, circuit-based techniques for power combining of high frequency TD or RTD oscillators, and to antennas suitable for on chip integration with high frequency oscillators.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: High frequency, solid state sources, device characterisation, tunnel diodes and Resonant tunneling diodes (RTD).
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
Supervisor's Name: Wasige, Dr. Edward
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Mr Afesomeh Ofiare
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7511
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2016 10:14
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2016 13:14

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