SSPA Solid State Power Amplifiers – The Growing Importance and Acceptance

Highly power RF requirements are growing as new areas of usage in a diversity of applications ranging from microwave ovens to particle accelerators and from self-cauterizing scalpels for surgery to very high power TWTA replacement amplifiers for satellite and terrestrial communications. With VED (Vacuum Electronic Devices) historically being the highest level of RF and microwave power, Considering the continuous advancements in technology, one can also find hybrid forms of solid state combined with TWTA (Travelling Wave Tube Amplifiers) in various combinations of standalone and redundant configurations.

The Leading SSPA Suppliers

While considering the suppliers, you need to check the background and history of Raditek, as the leading supplier of Solid state (SSPAs)and TWTA based power amplifiers or BUCs (Block up converters). The bandwidth that a solid state amplifier support keeps getting wider and higher in frequency as the applications grow and operating frequencies keeps advancing. Here is a brief description about the applications of these SSPAs (Solid State Power Amplifier) that can help you gain its better understanding

Space Qualified Applications

Space qualified applications, such as for satellites are growing as the LEO (low earth orbit), MEO (mid Earth orbit) as well as the Geo-stationary satellites grow hugely in number. Microwave amplifiers ranging from L band to 40GHz lead the GaN technology for the SSPA power levels, plus the need for high reliability, radiation hardened forms of he semiconductors, to prevent early failures in the presence of certain radiation levels encountered in space. Power and frequency increases are ongoing. And it is improving/advancing at a fast pace, as new, ever smaller geometry devices keep being developed.The linearity plays a pivotal role for the amplifiers when it comes to communication systems. TWTAs now include linearizers, which makes them perform similar to their SSPA counter parts. SSPAs at very high powers requires the combining of many smaller power amps and pre amps, which take a lot more room and offer special challenges for all outdoor and especially space applications, where size and weight are a premium. The TWTAs are much more compact and efficient at the higher powers, as well as offering much more straight forward architectures for redundancy.

The biggest challenges for the space qualified SSPAs include flexibility in size and physical construction. Although the space industry emerges as inherent conservative in terms of approach, it always tends to often conservatively stick with the well-proven technology instead of risking the processes on latest developments, until fully proven out over time and experience.

Medical and Industrial Applications

Being narrow in bandwidth, these medical applications particularly target the higher power levels up to more than 10 KWs. The SSPAs find their greater preferences in this market due to their instant availability, robustness. Following an upgradable path in power and frequency, the companies use this renewable/upgradable technology to protect their equipment investment for long term.

Broadcast and Communications

With the growing costs and competition of spectrum in this industry, you can experience a great shift towards microwave amplifiers to increase the bandwidth of modulations. With the insatiable demands of high data rates, the industry is looking up for such systems that are efficient in terms of power back-up levels.

Being the most crucial and expensive component of any microwave system, the SSPA solid state power amplifier is gaining huge acceptance in the field of communications, radars, missiles and airborne and space applications.