Solid state power amplifiers utilize a solid state component, a transistor, to magnify the power of weak signals. This boosts the signal’s strength when it is overcome by noise or interference and provides a mock signal for predictions as to how the RF emissions will affect a device in the real world. Solid state power amplifiers, or SSPAs, are the most common amplifiers used for testing applications which call for a narrow bandwidth and require less voltage to power. Solid state power amplifiers are used for EMC testing in the communications, radar, aerospace, defense, medical technology, and other fields.
Solid state technology amplifies RF signals with the help of a series of combined field effect transmitters, or FETs. FETs are composed of semiconductor materials. Laterally diffused metal oxide semiconductors (LDMOS) are a common form of FET for a range of AB and pulsed applications including base station, broadcast and microwave testing. Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) are preferable for high-frequency use due to their electron mobility and high band gaps.
GaAs amplifiers replaced silicon-based semiconductors like bipolar transistors and metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFETs) and have grown in popularity for RF/microwave applications. GaN solid state amplifiers were initially designed for low frequency L, S and C-band communications tests, but have since been developed to operate at higher frequency X, Ku and Ka-bands.