parametric amplifier

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parametric amplifier

(pa-ră-met -rik) A type of negative-resistance amplifier that employs a nonlinear circuit element, such as a varactor diode, to act as a time-varying capacitance. These amplifiers have low noise figures at high frequencies and are useful in radio telescopes in the range 1–30 gigahertz.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Parametric Amplifier


a radio-electronic device in which the power level of a signal is increased by means of energy from an external source—a pump—that periodically varies the capacitance or inductance of a nonlinear reactive element in the electric circuit of the amplifier. Parametric amplifiers are used mainly in radio astronomy, in long-range space and satellite communication, and in radar low-noise amplifiers of weak signals at the input of radio-receiving equipment, principally in the

Figure 1. Equivalent circuits of parametric amplifiers: (a) negative resistance amplifier, (b) amplifying-up converter. Symbols: (uin) input signal at carrier frequency fx; (uin) pump voltage; (uout) output signal at carrier frequency fx; (uout) output signal at carrier frequency (fs+ fp);(Tr1) input transformer; (Tr2) output transformer; (Trp) transformer in the pump circuit; (D) varactor diode; (L) inductance coil in the oscillatory circuit tuned to the frequency (fs + fp); (Φs), (Φsp), and (Φp) electric filters that have low impedance at, respectively, the frequencies fs, (fs + fp), and fo and sufficiently high impedance at all other frequencies.

superhigh-frequency range. The reactive element commonly used in these amplifiers is a varactor diode. In addition, electron-beam parametric amplifiers are used in the superhigh-frequency range, and ferrite, or ferromagnetic, in the low-frequency (audiofrequency) region.

Two-frequency, or two-circuit, parametric amplifiers are the most common. In the centimeter range these are negative resistance amplifiers that maintain the signal frequency (Figure 1,a), and for the decimeter range these are amplifying-up converters (Figure 1,b). The receiving oscillatory circuit and the oscillatory circuit tuned to the auxiliary, or idler, frequency (which is usually equal to the difference or the sum of the signal and pump frequencies) are generally in the form of cavity resonators containing varactor diodes. The pumps use avalanche transit time diodes, Gunn diodes, varactor frequency multipliers, and, more rarely, reflex klystrons. In most cases, the pump and the idler frequencies are chosen close to the critical frequency fcr of the varactor diode—that is, close to the frequency at which the parametric amplifier no longer amplifies; in addition, the signal frequency must be substantially less than fcr. In order to achieve minimal noise temperatures (10°-20°K or less), parametric amplifiers are cooled to the temperature of liquid nitrogen (77°K), the temperature of liquid helium (4.2°K), or intermediate temperatures (usually 15°-20°K). For amplifiers that are not cooled, the noise temperature is 50°-100°K or more. The maximum obtainable gain and bandwidth of a parametric amplifier depend basically on the parameters of the reactive element. Power gains of 10 to 30 decibels and bandwidths of 10 to 20 percent of the signal carrier frequency have been achieved.


Etkin, V. S., and E. M. Gershenzon. Parametricheskie sistemy SVCh na poluprovodnikovykh diodakh. Moscow, 1964.
Lopukhin, V. M., and A. S. Roshal’. Elektronnoluchevye parametricheskie usiliteli. Moscow, 1968.
SVCh—poluprovodnikovye pribory i ikh primenenie. Moscow, 1972. (Translated from English.)
Kopylova K. F., and N. V. Terpugov. Parametricheskie emkostnye usiliteli nizkikh chastot. Moscow, 1973.
Penfield, P., and R. Rafuse. Varactor Applications Cambridge, Mass., 1962.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

parametric amplifier

[¦par·ə¦me·trik ′am·plə‚fī·ər]
A highly sensitive ultra-high-frequency or microwave amplifier having as its basic element an electron tube or solid-state device whose reactance can be varied periodically by an alternating-current voltage at a pumping frequency. Also known as mavar; paramp; reactance amplifier.
A device consisting of an optically nonlinear crystal in which an optical or infrared beam draws power from a laser beam at a higher frequency and is amplified.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Hedekvist, "Fiber-based optical parametric amplifiers and their applications", IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, vol.
The problem with many parametric amplifiers and sensitive devices like it, however, is that they can only amplify a narrow frequency range and often have a poor dynamic range.
Ivanovs, "Investigation of fiber optical parametric amplifier performance in DWDM transmission systems", Elektronika Ir Elektrotechnika, vol.
De Silvestri, "Ultrafast optical parametric amplifiers," Review of Scientific Instruments, vol.
Optical parametric generation based on nonlinear optical principle was known for years [10], and also optical parametric amplifiers [11].
This collection of 12 papers explores the most recent research results and applications and covers both theoretical design principles and experiments, covering passively Q-switched microchip lasers, Yb-doped solid-state lasers and related materials, ZnSe lasers in the mid-infrared, solid-state ultraviolet cerium lasers, eyesafe rare earth solid-state lasers, passively mode-locked solid-state lasers, cavity-dumped femtosecond solid-state lasers, solid-state laser technology for optical frequency metrology, solid-state ultrafast optical parametric amplifiers, and noise in solid-state lasers.
Bahl did research in parametric amplifiers, PIN diode phase shifters, microwave and millimeter-wave integrated circuits, printed antennas, phased array antennas, millimeter-wave antennas, and medical and industrial applications of microwaves.
Readers' eyes glaze over at references to parametric amplifiers, antenna beamwidth, feedline attenuation, impedance matching, and receiver bandwidth.
In communications, for example, the cryocooler could one day be applied to induce superconductivity in switches, transmission lines, filters, and parametric amplifiers. In medicine, it could be used in magnetic resonance imaging equipment that would incorporate superconducting magnets.
And finally, the gain provided by parametric amplifiers is highly polarization dependent.