RF Power amplifier design: small signal and large signal s-parameter comparison

Small signal s parameters are a well known set of parameters in small signal RF amplifier design. However, if the amplifier is a RF Power amplifier then small signal s parameters will not accurately reflect its operation. In this case large signal s parameters are required. So what is the difference in values between small signal s parameters and large signal s parameters for a particular circuit? To answer this question we ran a simulation using a well known industry standard simulator to derive both small signal and large signal s parameters at a particular frequency and particular bias conditions. The results are shown below.

The frequency is 2.5 Ghz. The small signal parameters found were: s11=0.184/-45.56, s12=0.019/-37.358, s21=4.306/24.992 and s22=0.465/35.422.

The large signal s parameters at the same frequency were: s11=0.691/13.914, s12=0.148/11.864, s21=0.148/11.864 and s22=0.965/-170.913.


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