Control Interfaces for RF and Microwave Frequency Syntheszers

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  • Author: Alexander Chenakin
Frequency synthesizers come in a variety of forms ranging from tiny PLL chips and moderate-size modules to bench-top signal generators. Single-chip synthesizers are available in a die form or as surface-mount integrated circuits. They include key elements (such as RF and reference dividers, phase detector, lock indicator, etc.) required to build a simple single-loop PLL synthesizer. More complex ICs include a built-in VCO, multiple PLLs, DDS, and other valuable components integrated on a single chip. Such ICs are installed on a printed-circuit board (PCB) with additional circuitry (e.g., loop filter components). The PCB-based modules range from small, surface-mount, “oscillator-like” designs to more complex connectorized assemblies. The level of complexity varies from simple single-loop PLLs to sophisticated multiloop and DDS-based designs. Such PCB assemblies can be packaged into a metal housing and are presented as stand-alone, complete synthesizer modules.