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Amplifier Linear and Gain Compression Measurements with PNA

Application Notes

This application note covers testing of an amplifier’s linear S-parameters and gain compression using Keysight Technologies, Inc. microwave (MW) PNA Series of vector network analyzers. The MW PNA Series can also be used for testing amplifier nonlinear parameters such as harmonics and intermodulation distortion. Keysight Application Notes 1408-8 and 1408-9 cover the topics of harmonics and intermodulation distortion testing respectively.

Amplifiers are a fundamental building block of microwave systems, and characterizing the performance of amplifiers is a critical factor in the design process. Network analyzers are traditionally used for linear amplifer measurements, while spectrum analyzers are used for nonlinear measurements such as harmonics and intermodulation distortion. However, many of the modern network analyzers, including the Keysight MW PNA Series, can be used for nonlinear measurements as well, by enabling the frequency-offset functionality.

Note: The step-by-step procedures in this application note were written for PNA (836xA/B) and PNA-L (N5230A) network analyzers with firmware revision A.04.06. If you have a PNA or PNA-L with a different firmware revision, the step-by-step procedures or screenshots may vary. The concepts and general guidelines still apply.


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