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Title: High efficiency and high frequency resonant tunneling diode sources
Author: Cornescu, Andrei Cătălin
ISNI:       0000 0004 8503 1454
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2019
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Terahertz (THz) technology has been generating a lot of interest due to the numerous potential applications for systems working in this previously unexplored frequency range. THz radiation has unique properties suited for high capacity communication systems and non-invasive, non-ionizing properties that when coupled with a fairly good spatial resolution are unparalleled in its sensing capabilities for use in biomedical, industrial and security fields. However, in order to achieve this potential, effective and efficient ways of generating THz radiation are required. Devices which exhibit negative differential resistance (NDR) in their current-voltage (I - V) characteristics can be used for the generation of these radio frequency (RF) signals. Among them, the resonant tunnelling diode (RTD) is considered to be one of the most promising solid-state sources for millimeter and submillimeter wave radiation, which can operate at room temperature. However, the main limitations of RTD oscillators are producing high output power and increasing the DC-to-RF conversion efficiency. Although oscillation frequencies of up to 1.98 THz have been already reported, the output power is in the range of micro-Watts and conversion efficiencies are under 1 %. This thesis describes the systematic work done on the design, fabrication, and characterization of RTD-based oscillators in monolithic microwave/millimeter-wave integrated circuits (MMIC) that can produce high output power and have a high conversion efficiency at the same time. At the device level, parasitic oscillations caused by the biasing line inductance when the diode is biased in the NDR region prevents accurate characterization and compromises the maximum RF power output. In order to stabilise the NDR devices, a common method is the use of a suitable resistor connected across the device, to make the differential resistance in the NDR region positive. However, this approach severely hinders the diode's performance in terms of DC-to-RF conversion efficiency. In this work, a new DC bias decoupling circuit topology has been developed to enable accurate, direct measurements of the device's NDR characteristic and when implemented in an oscillator design provides over a 10-fold improvement in DC-to-RF conversion efficiency. The proposed method can be adapted for higher frequency and higher power devices and could have a major impact with regards to the adoption of RTD technology, especially for portable devices where power consumption must be taken into consideration. RF and DC characterization of the device were used in the realization on an accurate large-signal model of the RTD. S-parameter measurements were used to determine an accurate small-signal model for the device's capacitance and inductance, while the extracted DC characteristics where used to replicate the I-V characteristics. The model is able to replicate the non-stable behavior of RTD devices when biased in the NDR region and the RF characteristics seen in oscillator circuits. It is expected that the developed model will serve in future optimization processes of RTD devices in millimeter and submillimeter wave applications. Finally, a wireless data transmission link operating in the Ka-band (26.5 GHz - - 40 GHz) using two RTDs operating as a transmitter and receiver is presented in this thesis. Wireless error-free data transfer of up to 2 gigabits per second (Gbit/s) was achieved at a transmission distance of 15 cm. In summary, this work makes important contributions to the accurate characterization, and modeling of RTDs and demonstrates the feasibility of this technology for use in future portable wireless communication systems and imaging setups.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering