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15 dB Gain Block Delivers High Linearity with Low Noise

26 July 2016

The LTC6433-15 from Linear Technology is a wideband 15 dB gain block amplifier offering linearity of 47 dBm OIP3 (output third order intercept) and 3.22 dB noise figure at 150 MHz. The amplifier has OP1dB (output 1dB compression point) of 19.2 dBm.

LTC6433-15 gain block amplifier. Source: Linear Technology. LTC6433-15 gain block amplifier. Source: Linear Technology.

The LTC6433-15 is different from other gain block amplifiers that are typically built using GaAs or pHEMT processes. These FET technologies have high 1/f noise corners on the order of 20 Hz to 30 MHz, so are prone to high noise floor rise, which renders them unusable at low frequencies. In contrast, the LTC6433-15 amplifier core is built using high frequency SiGe bipolar technology. As a result, the amplifier exhibits much lower 1/f noise corner-- typically below 10 kHz-- making it usable at low frequencies to 100 s highly dependent on their internal FET bias voltage, which can vary widely from part to part.

Moreover, the performance of GaAs and pHEMT type devices is highly dependent on their internal FET bias voltage, which can vary widely from part to part. Not so with the LTC6433-15, whose performance is stable over temperature and from device to device, and is insensitive to power supply voltage variations.

The LTC6433-15’s low frequency capability broadens its use and improves performance in a wide range of amplifier applications, including cable networks, broadband signal sources, radar receiver IF amplifiers, VHF/UHF broadcast radios and RF test instrumentation. The LTC6433-15 offers an alternative to many op amp solutions in amplifier applications that do not require DC coupling.

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