Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Lawrence P. Dunleavy, Ph.D.


Microwave, Load pull, Algorithm, Steepest ascent, Large-signal, Temperature, Thermal, Trapping, Pulsed, Static, Quiescent, Bias, Model, Thermal resistance, Thermal capacitance, Gallium nitride, S-parameters, Bias tee, Infrared


Accurate transistor models are important in wireless and microwave circuit design. Large-signal field-effect transistor (FET) models are generally extracted from current-voltage (IV) characteristics, small-signal S-parameters, and large-signal measurements. This dissertation describes improved characterization and measurement validation techniques for FET models that correctly account for thermal and trapping effects. Demonstration of a customized pulsed-bias, pulsed-RF S-parameter system constructed by the author using a traditional vector network analyzer is presented, along with the design of special bias tees to allow pulsing of the bias voltages. Pulsed IV and pulsed-bias S-parameter measurements can provide results that are electrodynamically accurate; that is, thermal and trapping effects in the measurements are similar to those of radio-frequency or microwave operation at a desired quiescent bias point. The custom pulsed S-parameter system is benchmarked using

passive devices and advantages and tradeoffs of pulsed S-parameter measurements are explored. Pulsed- and continuous-bias measurement results for a high-power transistor are used to validate thermal S-parameter correction procedures. A new implementation of the steepest-ascent search algorithm for load-pull is presented. This algorithm provides for high-resolution determination of the maximum power and associated load impedance using a small number of measured or simulated reflection-coefficient states. To perform a more thorough nonlinear model validation, it is often desired to find the impedance providing maximum output power or efficiency over variations of a parameter such as drain voltage, input power, or process variation. The new algorithm enables this type of validation that is otherwise extremely tedious or impractical with traditional load-pull. A modified nonlinear FET model is presented in this work that allows characterization of both thermal and trapping effects. New

parameters and equation terms providing a trapping-related quiescent-bias dependence have been added to a popular nonlinear ("Angelov") model. A systematic method for fitting the quiescent-dependence parameters, temperature coefficients, and thermal resistance is presented, using a GaN high electron-mobility transistor as an example. The thermal resistance providing a good fit in the modeling procedure is shown to correspond well with infrared measurement results.