RF power-amplifier test reference setup heads family of T&M solutions

April 17, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Agilent Technologies has announced its Reference Solutions, a combination of hardware, software and measurement expertise that delivers the essential components of electronic test systems. The first system focuses on test of RF power amplifiers.

Reference Solutions also include utilities such as example program source code—highly optimised for specific applications—which show users how to get the most out of their test system. Agilent has shown that Reference Solutions not only enable quick evaluation of a test solution for specific applications but also dramatically reduce the time it takes to integrate a new test system into a test environment.

The first Reference Solution is an RF power amplifier (PA) manufacturing test solution with envelope tracking capability. It includes a graphical user interface program for easy solution evaluation, example source code optimised for speed, extremely fast modulation analysis, and excellent accuracy and measurement repeatability.

“Power amplifier manufacturers seldom have exactly the same test requirements, but they all want to quickly and easily bring their devices to production when developing a new test system,” notes Mario Narduzzi, marketing manager, Modular Solutions Division, Agilent. “This Reference Solution for RF PA manufacturing test meets these needs by providing the essential components of a power amplifier test system.”

The RF PA Reference Solution is built around the Agilent M9391A PXIe VSA and the M9381A PXIe VSG. It uses Agilent measurement software that provides consistency with Agilent benchtop signal generation and analysis instruments. The solution delivers high test throughput, reduces cost, and allows for rapid integration into a PA test environment. It supports the testing of devices that use envelope tracking for improved power efficiency by including the Agilent E33522B waveform generator, which is synchronised to the M9381A VSG.

The M9391A VSA and the M9381A VSG use hardware-accelerated measurements, combined with Agilent’s fast baseband tuning technology, to provide unprecedented servo-loop test times through rapid frequency and amplitude adjustments, enabling test times of less than 300 msec for complete test programs. Exploiting the same user interface and measurement IP of the X-Series measurement applications ensures high confidence in measurement results through the entire design and production life cycle. It also allows reuse of