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Title:
ARRANGEMENT AND METHOD FOR RF HIGH POWER GENERATION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/099560
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to an arrangement (1) and a method for RF high power generation comprising a power combiner (2) with RF inputs (3) and an RF output (4), and at least two power amplifier modules (5), respectively electrically connected by a transmission line (6) to an input (3) of the power combiner (3). A directional coupler (8) is electrically connected to the RF output (4) of the power combiner (2) and every transmission line comprising an RF switch (7). The Method includes the measuring and determining of values of the power amplifier modules (5), storing the values and applying the values as a correction to the input signal of the power amplifier modules (5).

Inventors:
IVANOV EVGENY VALERYEVICH (RU)
KRASNOV ANDREY ALEKSANDROVICH (RU)
NIKOLSKIY KONSTANTIN IGOREVICH (RU)
POLIKHOV STEPAN ALEXANDROVICH (RU)
SHARKOV GEORGY BORISOVICH (RU)
SMIRNOV ALEXANDER YOURIEVICH (RU)
Application Number:
RU2013/001164
Publication Date:
July 02, 2015
Filing Date:
December 24, 2013
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SIEMENS RES CT LTD LIABILITY COMPANY (RU)
International Classes:
H03F3/60
Domestic Patent References:
WO1998029941A11998-07-09
WO2001028029A12001-04-19
Foreign References:
US4780685A1988-10-25
US20040228422A12004-11-18
US20050270095A12005-12-08
US20130170512A12013-07-04
US20130051416A12013-02-28
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAW FIRM "GORODISSKY & PARTNERS " LTD (Alexander VladimirovichB. Spasskaya str., 25, bldg., Moscow 0, RU)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Arrangement (1) for RF high power generation comprising at least one power combiner (2) with RF inputs (3) and at least one RF output (4), and at least two power amplifier modules (5) , respectively electrically connected by at least one transmission line (6) to an input (3) of the at least one power combiner (3),

characterized in that at least one RF switch (7) is comprised by the at least one transmission line (6) and at least one directional coupler (8) is electrically connected to the at least one RF output (4) of the at least one power combiner (2) . 2. Arrangement (1) according to claim 1, characterized in that the RF switches (7) are externally controlled RF switches (7), particularly of the kind of a pin-diode or mechanical switch, particularly with an Ohmic resistance in a switched off state in the range of 50 OHM.

3. Arrangement (1) according to any one of claims 1 or 2, characterized in that at least one load (11) is comprised, electrically connected to the at least one RF output (4) of the at least one power combiner (2) via the at least one directional coupler (8), particularly comprised by at least one output transmission line (6') .

4. Arrangement (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 3, characterized in that a device for storing measured values from the at least one directional coupler (8) is comprised, particularly a control (9) unit with EPROM.

5. Arrangement (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 4, characterized in that a amplitude ADC and phase ΨΏΖ detector is comprised, particularly by a control unit (9) electrically connected to the at least one directional coupler (8), particularly connected to the forward signal output of the at least one directional coupler (8) .

6. Method for RF high power generation, particularly with an arrangement (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 5, comprising the steps measuring and determining with at least one device (8, 9) values for correction for power amplifier modules (5) electrically connected to at least one power combiner (2) via at least one RF switch. (7) respectively, storing the values and applying the values as a correction to the input signal to the power amplifier modules (5) .

7. Method according to claim 6, characterized in that the determined and/or applied values comprise amplitude decay ΔΑί and phase shift ΔΨί respectively for every power amplifier module (5) compared to a reference module r.

8. Method according to any one of claims 6 or 7, characterized in that the step measuring values for correction comprises for N power amplifier modules (5) respectively

- a module number k is switched on generating a RF signal with amplitude Ak and phase k with a corresponding RF switch number k switched in pass through state, all other modules are in a turned off state and/or corresponding RF switches are in load state, in which no signal from the corresponding module passes through,

- measuring amplitude Ak and phase ¾>k with a amplitude and phase detector (9).

9. Method according to claim 8, characterized in that the values amplitude Ak and phase k are measured for all modules and respectively stored, the values of one module r are chosen as reference values, for all other modules a amplitude attenuation ΔΑί and phase shift ΔΨί are determined as difference values to the values of the reference module r.

10. Method according to claim 9, characterized in that the first measured module is chosen as reference module and/or values of all other modules are compared to the values of the first measured module, particularly determining and storing amplitude difference ΔΑί and phase difference ΔΨί after every measurement of a module k, particularly without storing amplitude Ak and phase k except for the reference module r.

11. Method according to claim 9, characterized in that for all modules (5) one after another amplitude Ak and phase k are measured respectively and stored, a reference module r is chosen, particularly the module with values nearest to the average value of all modules (5), and amplitude attenuation ΔΑί and phase shift ΔΨί are determined for every module k relative to the values of the reference module r and stored.

12. Method according to any one of claims 6 to 11, characterized in that the method is an automatic method, particularly controlled by a computer, and/or a manual method, particularly during production or maintenance.

13. Method according to any one of claims 6 to 12, characterized in that the method is repeated after a period of time, particularly regularly.

Description:
ARRANGEMENT AND METHOD FOR RF HIGH POWER GENERATION

DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to an arrangement and a method for RF high power generation comprising at least one power combiner with RF inputs and at least one RF output, and at least two power amplifier modules, respectively electrically connected by at least one transmission line to an input of the at least one power combiner .

Radio-Frequency RF and/or microwave power is produced with appropriate generators. RF power generators for high power applications are based on tubes, for example klystrons, inductive output tubes or magnetrons. Alternatively solid state technology is used for RF power generators, particularly transistor technology. With solid state RF power generators a reliable RF power production with small dimensions and high efficiency is possible. Disadvantage of transistor technology is a low RF power output per transistor chip, in the range of up to 1.5 kW power output at 500 MHz frequency. For comparison, with klystrons as an example for tube technology, up to some Megawatt RF power output is possible .

To generate high amounts of power with for example transistor based RF generators an aggregation of RF generators is necessary. An aggregation of transistors in a single power amplifier PA, based for example on push- pull or a balanced kind of topology, can increase the complexity of the system and increases the risk of failure. If single transistors fail, the whole device has to be exchanged. An alternative way is to use a number of power amplifier modules with a common, particularly single power combiner. In a modular arrangement, RF power from the power amplifier modules, connected via transmission lines to the common power combiner, is aggregated in the power combiner to a high RF power. For example coaxial cables and/or strip-lines are used as transmission lines. Due to different length and properties, each of the transmission lines introduces an individual power loss and signal phase shift to the arrangement. This leads to the appearance of back reflected power from the power combiner input, which can be unequally divided between power amplifiers, i.e. RF modules. It causes additional power losses, reduces the overall output RF power and can lead to overheating of amplifiers.

To reduce or prevent losses, each RF module has to be configured separately to generate an individual signal with certain amplitude and certain phase, to provide equal signals to the power combiner. In the state of the art, see for example US20130170512A1 and US20130051416A1, the adjustment of RF modules is performed manually. All RF modules are fed in-phase by a single pre-amplified oscillator, and amplitude as well as phase of each RF module connected to the power combiner is manually adjusted, using selectively variable impedance circuits connected to a respective input of each RF module. The described method can only be applied, if the length of the transmission line is permanent. Changes in length make a new adjustment necessary. After the system is once assembled, it can hardly be adjusted. Deviations of electronic components, for example by aging can not be compensated and increase losses.

Alternatively, amplitudes and phases of RF module signals can be continuously monitored and adjusted during amplifier operation. Additional devices, as for example numerous directional couplers are necessary and have to be installed in each RF module output branch, increasing costs and complexity.

The object of the present invention is to present an arrangement and a method for RF high power generation to overcome the above mentioned problems. Particularly an object of the present invention is to provide a cost effective, easy to handle assembly, which can be adjusted automatically, even after assembling. A reduction of RF output power loss, arising from for example aging of components and/or changes in connection lines length, should be prevented and a maximum output power from the power combiner should be reachable. The presented arrangement and method should provide the ability to adjust components output signals, particularly after assembling of components, flexible, at any time, easy and without much effort, to reduce power losses at the output of a power combiner.

The above objects are achieved by an arrangement for RF high power generation according to claim 1 and a method for RF high power generation according to claim 6.

Advantageous embodiments of the present invention are given in dependent claims, Features of the main claims can be combined with each other and with features of dependent claims, and features of dependent claims can be combined together.

The arrangement for RF high power generation according to the present invention comprises at least one power combiner with RF inputs and at least one RF output, and at least two power amplifier modules, respectively electrically connected by at least one transmission line to an input of the at least one power combiner. At least one RF switch is comprised by the at least one transmission line and at least one directional coupler is electrically connected to the at least one RF output of the at least one power combiner. The described arrangement for RF high power generation provides a cost effective, easy to handle assembly, which can be adjusted automatically to optimize the power output, even after assembling. A reduction of RF output power loss, arising from for example aging of components and/or changes in connection lines length, can be prevented and a maximum output power from the power combiner„can be reached using the at least one RF switch and the at least one directional coupler for adjustment of electrical parameters. The output signals of the at least two power amplifier modules can be changed and optimized/synchronized, particularly after assembling of the arrangement, flexible at any time, easy and without much effort. This reduces power losses at the output of the power combiner.

The RF switches can be externally controlled RF switches, particularly of the kind of a pin-diode or mechanical switch. The switch can exhibit an Ohmic resistance in the switched off state in the range of 50 OHM. External control can be provided by a control unit, for example comprising a computer. At least one load can be comprised, electrically connected to the at least one RF output of the at least one power combiner via the at least one directional coupler, particularly comprised by at least one output transmission line. The load can be a defined resistor for measurement reasons, and/or the load can be a device like an electrical acceptor of the RF high power provided by the arrangement .

A device for storing measured values from the at least one directional coupler can be comprised, particularly a control unit with EPROM. Alternatively or additionally a computer can be comprised by the control unit to process the values stored. An amplitude A DC and phase W DC detector can be comprised, particularly by a control unit electrically connected to the at least one directional coupler, particularly connected to the forward signal output of the at least one directional coupler. The detector or other device for measuring amplitude A DC and/or phase Ψ°° can provide, after measurement particularly one after another, the values stored in the device for storing, which are used to determine values for the correction of every single amplifier module.

A method for RF high power generation according to the present invention, particularly with an arrangement as described above, comprises the steps measuring and determining with at least one device values for correction for power amplifier modules electrically connected to at least one power combiner via at least one RF switch respectively, storing the values and applying the values as a correction to the input signal to the power amplifier modules.

The determined and/or applied values can comprise amplitude difference ΔΑί and phase difference ΔΨί respectively for every power amplifier module, particularly compared to a reference module r.

The step measuring values for correction can comprise for N power amplifier modules respectively

- a module number k is switched on generating a RF signal with amplitude Ak and phase k with a corresponding RF switch number k switched in pass through state, all other modules are in a turned off state and/or corresponding RF switches are in load state, in which no signal from the corresponding module passes through,

- measuring amplitude Ak and phase with an amplitude and phase detector.

The values amplitude Ak and phase k can be measured for all modules and respectively stored, the values of one module r can be chosen as reference values, for all other modules a amplitude difference ΔΑί and phase difference ΔΨί can be determined as difference values to the respective values of the reference module r.

The first measured module can be chosen as reference module at the beginning of the measurement, and/or values of all other modules can be compared to the values of the first measured module, particularly determining and storing amplitude difference ΔΑί and phase difference ΔΨί after every measurement of a module k. The storing of amplitude Ak and phase mk except for the reference module r can be avoided or skipped.

Alternatively for all modules one after another amplitude Ak and phase k can be measured respectively and stored, a reference module r can be chosen after the measurement, particularly the module with values nearest to the average value of all modules, and amplitude difference ΔΑί and phase difference ΔΨί can be determined for every module k relative to the values of the reference module r and stored.

The method can be an automatic method, particularly controlled by a computer, and/or a manual method, particularly during production or maintenance. The ability to use the arrangement according to the present invention and the method automated, allows adjustments also during the use of the arrangement, for example necessary due to changes by aging effects of components. It is possible to adjust the arrangement easy and fast after exchanges for example of connection lines during maintenance. The high output RF power of the arrangement can be received all time or preserved with time, and power losses can be avoided or at least reduced.

The method can be repeated after a period of time, particularly regularly.

The advantages in connection with the described method for RF high power generation according to the present invention are similar to the previously, in connection with the arrangement for RF high power generation described advantages and vice versa. The present invention is further described hereinafter with reference to an illustrated embodiment shown in the accompanying drawing, in which:

FIG 1 illustrates an arrangement 1 for RF high power generation according to the present invention.

In FIG 1 an arrangement 1 for RF high power generation according to the present invention is shown, comprising a power combiner 2 with RF inputs 3 and with an RF output 4. Power amplifier modules 5 with their output are electrically connected respectively by a transmission line 6 to the respective input 3 of the power combiner 2. An RF switch 7 is comprised by every transmission line 6, arranged in-between output of the respective RF module and the respective input 3 to the power combiner 2. A directional coupler 8 is electrically connected to the RF output 4 of the power combiner 2, in-between the output 4 and a load 11, within an output transmission line 6' . An amplitude A DC and phase Ψ 00 detector is electrically connected to the directional coupler 8-, in the forward signal direction 10.

With a number of N RF module power amplifiers 5, as depicted in FIG 1 by doted points between the second and the number N module 5, a number of N inputs 3 of the power combiner 2 are connected electrically respectively by an input transmission line 6 to the respective power amplifier module 5. Every input transmission line 6 comprises a RF switch 7, i.e. the switch 7 is electrically interconnected in-between output of a respective module 5 and the respective input 3 of the power combiner 2. Each switch 7 can independently from others be switch on or off, externally controlled for example by a control unit particularly comprising a computer. The switch for example can be a mechanical switch or a pin-diode. In a switch off mode it can exhibit for example 50 Ohm resistance, switching off the direct electrical connection between respective module 5 and power combiner 2. Above and in the following' the wording switching on is used in a way that RF signal is passing through and the wording switching off is used in the way that the passing through of RF signals is blocked.

Each RF module 5, for example module k, has an individual low-level RF signal input with its specific amplitude Ak and phase ¥k. The amplitude Ak and phase k can be regulated/changed by the control unit, which is not shown in FIG 1 for simplicity.

The output 4 of power combiner 2 is electrically connected by an output transmission line 6' to for example an external load 11. The external load 11 can be a medical device or other electrical acceptor, using the high RF power provided by the arrangement 1. In-between the load 11 and the output 4 of power combiner 2 a directional coupler 8 is electrically connected and comprised by the output transmission line 6' . The forward signal 10 of the directional coupler 8 is transferred using an electrical connection between directional coupler 8 and an amplitude A DC and/or phase Ψ οε detector 9. The detector measures amplitude A and/or phase Ψ of the RF signal together or separate, where the RF signal is provided as output of the power combiner 2. The value of amplitude A DC and phase Ψ ηα is stored in a device, for example an EPROM comprised by the control unit, and used to correct the values of amplitude Ak and phase Wk of every module 5, to get the maximal RF output power from the power combiner 2 respectively from the arrangement 1. The power combiner 2 acts the way that minimum reflection from the inputs 3 and maximum power at the output 4 is achieved, if all input signals have the same amplitude and phase. The transmission lines 6 coming from different power amplifier modules 5, since they can be arbitrary chosen, can introduce different amplitude attenuation ΔΑί and phase shifts ΔΨί to the respective input signal of the power combiner 2.

With a number j being the number of a reference RF module 5, which is smaller or equal to the total number N of all modules 5 and larger or equal to 1 (l<j<N), and with all other modules 5 with respective number i not equal to j (i≠j), where i is smaller or equal to the total number N of all modules 5 and larger or equal to 1 (l≤i≤N), all modules with number i are subject for amplitude and phase configuration. That means for all other modules 5 than the reference module 5 the amplitude Ak and phase Ψk has to be adjusted/changed. According to the requirement of equality of all signals, i.e. the signals from all modules 5 should be equal in amplitude Ak and phase Vk at the respective input of the power combiner 2, to get maximum power output at the power combiner 2 and/or to get a normal system performance, the amplitudes Ai and phases Ψί of all RF amplifier modules 5 (module i, l≤i≤N, i≠j ) have to be adjusted by the amplitude attenuation ΔΑί and phase shift ΔΨί with respect to the reference RF module 5 (module j ) .

For measurements of amplitude Ak and phase Wk of individual modules 5 with detector 9 at the forward signal output 10 of directional coupler 8, which is electrically connected to the output 4 of the power combiner 2, RF switches 7 are used. By measuring ' the amplitude Ak and phase k of individual modules 5 at the output of the power combiner 2, only one detector 9 is needed. This reduces costs and complexity of the arrangement 1 compared to an arrangement 1 with detectors 9 at every single input 3 of the power combiner 2, to measure amplitude Ak and phase Wk of every individual module 5. An RF signal passes through an RF switch in a first state of the switch 7, the switch acting as an arbitrary load in an other, second state. The switch 7 can act in the two states for example once as open and once as 50 Ohm load. RF switches 7 can be realized for example with pin- diodes or by mechanical means.

To maximize the output RF power of the power combiner 2, i.e. to align all modules 5 in amplitude Ak and phase k, a reference module 5 with number j can be switched on, i.e. it generates a signal. The respective RF switch 7 of this module j is in pass-though state, i.e. open. All other modules 5 (module i, l≤i≤N, i≠j ) are turned off and all respective RF switches 7 are in arbitrary load state, i.e. closed.

The amplitude A DC and phase Ψ 00 detector 9, also called APD, comprised by the control unit not shown in FIG 1 as a whole for reasons of simplicity, measures the amplitude Ak and phase k of the "forward" signal 10 from the directional coupler 5. In this special case it measures amplitude Aj and phase j of the reference module 5 with number j .

The measured value of amplitude Aj and phase <Pj of ' the reference module 5 with number j are stored, for example in an EPROM and/or computer comprised by the control unit .

The same procedure is repeated for all other modules 5. A module 5 with number i can be switched on, i.e. it generates a signal. The respective RF switch 7 of this module i is in pass-though state, i.e. open. All other modules 5 are turned off and all respective RF switches 7 are in arbitrary load state, i.e. closed. The amplitude A DC and phase Ψ°° detector 9 measures the amplitude Ai and phase Ψί of the "forward" signal 10 from the directional coupler 5, i.e. of the module 5 with number i. The measured values of amplitude Ai and phase Ψί of the module 5 with number i are stored.

After the measurement of amplitude Ak and phase fk for all N single modules 5 were performed and all values are stored, values of amplitude attenuation ΔΑί and phase shift ΔΨί are calculated for every single module i except the reference module j . The values are calculated as difference of the value of module j and the value of module i for all RF amplifier modules i (l<i<N, i≠j ) . The amplitude attenuation AAj and phase shift A j for reference module j are set /accounted to be zero. The value of amplitude attenuation ΔΑί and phase shift ΔΨί are applied as a correction signal to the low-level input signal into the relevant RF module i respectively. For the reference module j no correction is necessary. The modules 5 are in use of the arrangement 1 all switched on and all RF switches are in an open state. As a result of the applied correction to the input' of modules 5 the amplitude Ak and phase of signals from all N modules 5 at the input 3 of the power combiner 2 is equal. The output power of the power combiner 2 is maximized by deleting, respectively minimizing differences in signals at the inputs 3 of the power combiner 2. A maximal output power can be used by the electrical acceptor/load 11. The above described features of embodiments according to the present invention can be combined with each other and/or can be combined with embodiments known from the state of the art. For example the described steps of the method to minimize power losses in the power combiner 2 can be applied in the described order or in a different order in time. The calibration of signals at the power combiner 2 inputs 3 can be done with all modules 5 to an arbitrary, pre-defined value of amplitude Ak and phase k by measuring all values for all modules 5, without using the value of a reference module j . For calculation of amplitude attenuation AAk and phase shift A k the pre ¬ defined value of amplitude Ak and phase k is used, and calculation is performed for every modules 5 with the respective measured values.

Different kinds of switches 7 can be used, for example simple electronic or automated mechanic on/off switches. Connection lines 6, 6' can be for example realized in the way of printed circuit board tracks, metal wires and/or coaxial cables. Different lengths and dimensions like thickness can be used for the connection lines. There can be used more than one power combiner 2 and/or more than one output 4, with or without respectively connected detectors 9. The output power can for example be measured as a fraction of the complete output power of a power combiner 2. An advantage of the describe arrangement and method according to the present invention is that the process of amplitude and phase balancing at the power combiner inputs 3 can be fast and easy. Independent transmission line designing, using transmission lines with different properties is possible, particularly with transmission lines which differ in length, conductivity and/or cross- section. The method can be performed automatically or in parts manually. The whole method can also be performed manually for example during maintenance, without any automated step. It can be performed during production of the arrangement, after changes of components like connection lines during maintenance, or after for example regular time periods to adjust for example to component aging .