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The MMIC ACA0861 family of surface-mount GaAs linear amplifiers features the lowest distortion available for CATV applications

Improving the performance of cable television (CATV) systems is a key issue for service providers as they strive to keep pace with customer demand for new services and technology. New high-performance distribution amplifiers are needed to minimize distortion in order to handle the bandwidth that today's CATV service requires. As a result, ANADIGICS has developed the ACA0861 series of GaAs line amplifier ICs, which features the lowest distortion available for CATV applications.

Because MMICs (also known as a monolithic microwave integrated circuit) are monolithic solutions, the ACA0861 amplifiers offer high performance and affordability. "We believe that GaAs MESFET technology is the best fit for this application and that providing the amplifier in a small surface-mount package provides the best performance and lowest total cost," observes Ron Michels, Director of CATV Products. In fact, since they are housed in a surface-mount package, the devices reduce overall system manufacturing costs by enabling fully automated assembly. Additionally, the ACA0861 amplifiers can deliver higher output power than hybrid solutions, allowing CATV service providers to use fewer amplifiers in the overall distribution stream.

"The ACA0861 family of CATV amplifiers offers improved linearity, higher overall gain, flatter frequency response, lower noise figure, and lower power consumption than the hybrid solution. And, they do it at a competitive price," notes Doug Johnson, Design Manager for Line Amplifier products. For example, the ACA0861D input stage amplifier delivers 12.1 dB gain with 18-dB minimum return loss and a 6-dB maximum noise figure, with a typical supply current of 480 mA@12VDC. For a 128-channel system specified at 44dBmV flat output, the device delivers the following typical distortion characteristics: composite triple beat (CTB) of -67 dBc; composite second order (CSO) of -70 dBc, and cross modulation (XMOD) of -66 dBc. By minimizing distortion, the ACA0861 amplifiers allow improved signal quality and more channels through the CATV system.

The MMIC series consists of four devices. The ACA0861A and ACA0861C are designed as input stages and can be used alone for low gain, low output level applications or can be cascaded with one of the output stages for higher gain and output signal drive level. The ACA0861B and ACA0861D are designed as output stages and can be used alone for low gain, high output level applications or can be cascaded with one of the input stages. Typical cascading applications include a ACA0861A with a ACA0861B for a push-pull amplifier or a ACA0861C with a ACA0861D for a power doubler amplifier.