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RESISTIVE DIVIDERS

From December 2010 High Frequency Electronics Copyright © 2010 Summit Technical Media, LLC

Generalized Resistive Power Divider Design

By Greg Adams he resistive twoway power splitter, which divides an RF input signal equally between its two output ports, is well documented. This basic divider uses the topology of Figure 1, with all three resistors having a value of Z0 /3 [1]. The unequal divider of Figure 2 splits the input power unequally between its two output ports. Design equations have been published for this splitter, where ports 1, 2 and 3 are all matched to the same impedance Z0 [2]. A power splitter with the same topology as Figure 2 can be designed so that port 3 is matched to some impedance other than Z0. There are two reasons to design the resistor network for a different impedance at port 3. First, it may be convenient in applications where, for instance, both 50 ohm and 75 ohm outputs are desired. Second, when the resistor network is designed for a port 3 impedance higher than Z0, there will be less attenuation at port 3, resulting in unequal power at the output ports as well as different impedances. For instance, if the splitter is designed for 3 dB loss at port 2, with all ports matched to 50 ohms, the attenuation at port 3 will be 15 dB. If we raise the port 3 impedance to 85 ohms, the attenuation at port 3 will only be 8.5 dB. If extreme bandwidth isn’t needed, a reactive network can be used to transform the port 3 impedance back to 50 ohms if desired. Using the circuit topology of Figure 2, resistor values may be chosen so that port 3 is matched to any impedance up to some maximum value. When the maximum allowable output impedance is chosen, the value of resis-

This article presents a design method to achieve unequal power division at the output ports of a twoway resistive power divider

T

Figure 1 · Resistive power splitter.

Figure 2 · Unequal resistive power splitter.

tor Ru becomes infinite, so that the network degenerates to the topology of Figure 1. Design equations will be presented for an unequal power splitter where the port 3 impedance Z1 takes on any chosen value between zero and the maximum allowable value Zmax.

**Design Procedure Step 1:
**

Choose a value of attenuation, no greater than 6 dB, for output 1, and design the Tee

42

High Frequency Electronics

Z1 will have its maximum allowable value (Zmax) and the attenuation from Port 1 to Port 3 will have its minimum possible value when F2 − 4 ⋅ G = 0 (16) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) Since the variables F and G are functions of A. we see that the expression under the radical F2 – 4 · G must be greater than or equal to zero. we have chosen values Rs. The following procedure will give the values of Rt and Ru. which satisfy the conditions for a desired attenuation value from Port 1 to Port 2. This results in. we need to choose Z0. plus the parallel combination of Ru with the Port 3 load impedance Z1. be equal to Rp. We require that the resistance of this network. knowing only A and E. so we’ll be solving for the maximum value of D. Recall that D = Z1/Z0.High Frequency Design RESISTIVE DIVIDERS attenuator of Figure 3 for that attenuation value.5 < α <1) Given the value of S21(dB). Step 3: Now. we’ll substitute the resistance of Rt. Any value may be chosen up to a maximum. and for all ports to be matched to the desired impedances Z0 and Z1. Zmax. which were determined in step 1. which can now be solved for the two variables Rt and Ru. α is the voltage gain. Rt and Ru. A = Rs / Zo D = Z1 / Zo E = R p / Zo F = E − ( A + 1) / 2 E ⋅ ( D − A − 1) D⋅ A + D G= + 4 2 T= −F + F − 4 ⋅ G 2 2 At this point. the maximum allowable value of Z1. (0. (11) 44 High Frequency Electronics . (2) U= (3) 1 1 1 − E−T D (12) (4) (5) Rs = Zo ⋅ A Rt = Zo ⋅ T Ru = Zo ⋅ U (13) (14) (15) Step 2: At this point. designed according to equations 1-5. we can solve for the resistor values Rs and Rp. D and E alone. From Equation 11. These two conditions are represented by two equations. It remains to solve for Zmax. the resistance seen looking into port 3 be equal to Z1. for Rp. Step 4: It remains to find the maximum allowable value of Z1. We’ll compute Zmax later. from the top of Rt to ground. where Z0 is the characteristic impedance. Z0 = 1 ⎛ S (dB) ⎞ α = A ⋅ Log ⎜ 21 ⎟ ⎝ 20 ⎠ ⎛1− α ⎞ A=⎜ ⎟ ⎝1 + α ⎠ ⎛ 1 − A2 ⎞ E=⎜ ⎟ ⎝ 2⋅ A ⎠ Rs = A ⋅ Zo R p = E ⋅ Zo (1) Figure 3 · Tee attenuator circuit. and to find out what attenuation we are left with from Port 1 to Port 3. and normalizing Z0 to unity. dB21 is the attenuation. the impedance at output port 2. We also require that when ports 1 and 2 are terminated in Z0. we can solve Equation 16 for the value of D. if Rt and Ru are to have real values.

High Frequency Design RESISTIVE DIVIDERS S21(dB) 1 2 3 4 5 6 S31(dB) (Z1 = Z0) –24.45451 S31(dB) (Z1 = Zmax) –12.78 dB Rs = 2.3958399 –6. and all ports matched to 50 ohms: Z0 = 50 ohms Z1 = 50 ohms S21 = –1 dB S31 = –24.6125321 –6.3775801 –7. H= 1 1 1 + E A +1 1 1 1 + C D ß= H (18) Dmax = Zmax / Zo = E2 + E ⋅ A + E + ( A + 1) 4 2 J= (17) (19) A +1+ 2⋅ E ( H + A) ⋅ J J +T 2 (20) ⎛ S31 dB = 10 ⋅ log ⎜ ⎝ ⋅ Z1 ⎞ ⎟ Z1 ⎠ (21) A couple of examples will illustrate the results that can be obtained: Example 1: Unequal power splitter with 1 dB loss between ports 1 and 2.60054 67. Z1 = Zmax. This can be used when a limited bandwidth is acceptable at port 3.2482 –9. Z0 = 50 ohms and Z1 = 75 ohms. we solve for dB31.5529 85.0135 –12.12214 50. Notice that the loss at port 3 (–S31) is 2 dB lower than that of Example 1.9209966 –8. the attenuation from Port 1 to Port 3.7758 –18.6824 –15.887 121.646487 –9.87 ohms Rt = 406.74285 57. Figure 4 · Power splitter with an additional matching circuit on port 3.8 ohms Ru = 56.11901 Table 1 · Comparing S31 loss for Z1 = Z0 vs. Step 5: Finally. 46 High Frequency Electronics .0339142 Z0 50 50 50 50 50 50 Zmax 229.80391 –6.52 ohms Example 2: Unequal splitter with 1 dB loss between ports 1 and 2.

highfrequencyelectronics. John Wiley & Sons 1998.” High Frequency Electronics. 2.com. radar and fiber communication systems over the past 30 years. www. a simple L/C matching circuit can be added to the splitter of Example 3. to minimize the loss at port 3.f. Pozar.Z0 = 50 ohms Z1 = 75 ohms S21 = –1 dB S31 = –22. little improvement in S31 can be achieved.adams@gmail. versus a similar network with port 3 matched to the maximum allowable value of Z1. informational columns and editorials are available for download in PDF format at this magazine’s web site.com. satcom.8 ohms S21 = –1 dB S31 = –12.72 dB Rs = 2. He has designed RF hardware for meteorological instruments.flambda. Table 1 compares the port 3 loss of the resistive network with all three ports matched to 50 ohms.56 dB. Note: A convenient “calculator” program can be found online at www. such as incorporation into a paper or presentation.8 ohm impedance down to 50 ohms at port 3. It shows that when the S21 loss is small. “Designing Resistive Unequal Power Dividers. the S31 loss can be reduced dramatically by increasing Z1. Adams. D. and may be used only for the personal use of the user. and let Z1 have the maximum allowable value. Z0 = 50 ohms Z1 = 229. to design power dividers according to the procedure above. Author Information Greg Adams is an RF design engineer at a global security company. To transform 229. but with much less loss at port 3 than the splitter in example 1. telemetry. may only be done with the permission of the publisher. D. He can be reached by e-mail at gregory. the inductor would have a reactance of 95 ohms and the capacitor would have a reactance of 121 ohms at the operating frequency.87 ohms Rt = 203 ohms Ru = Open Circuit As illustrated in Figure 4. Notice that the loss at port 3 now has its lowest possible value at 12.64 dB Rs = 2.87 ohms Rt = 392 ohms Ru = 91. page 361.8 ohms to 50 ohms.com . Any reprint. to transform the 229. References: 1. Articles are copyighted. March 2007. The trade off is that this circuit only works over a limited bandwidth.37 ohms Example 3: Unequal splitter with 1 dB loss between ports 1 and 2. When the S21 loss is close to 6 dB. High Frequency Electronics Online Archives All past technical articles. This results in a splitter with equal impedance outputs. Microwave Engineering.

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