Status and Prospects of High-Power Heterostructure Barrier Varactor Frequency Multipliers
Journal article, 2017
There is a high demand for compact, room-temperature sources operating at millimeter-wave and terahertz (THz) frequencies for space instruments and terrestrial applications. This part of the electromagnetic spectrum is by far the least explored because of the difficulty of generating energy at these frequencies. Continuous-wave oscillators based on either electronics or photonics are limited in output power for fundamental reasons. Varistor and varactor frequency multipliers have shown outstanding performance in terms of output power, but further technical development will be essential to solve the lack of efficient and compact terahertz sources. In this paper, we present the status of heterostructure barrier varactor (HBV) diode frequency multipliers. The performance and prospects for THz applications in which HBV diode technology can offer advantages over conventional solutions are discussed. For instance, such a device can be easily scaled by increasing the number of barriers to produce and handle higher power. The inherent symmetry confines the power generation to odd harmonics, thereby simplifying the design of high-order frequency multipliers. For example, high-power triplers (x3), quintuplers (x5), nonlinear transmission lines (NLTLs) and grid multipliers utilizing HBV diodes are presented. Overall, HBV technology is a natural stepping stone from high-power microwave amplifiers to higher frequencies and can both simplify and improve the performance of terahertz sources.