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Paper No. 1139 RADIO SECTION

By D. G. TUCKER, D.Sc, Associate Member.
{The paper was first received 25th October, 1950, and in final form 20th February, 1951.)

SUMMARY In the calculation of the performance of modulators, frequency changers, and detectors it is found difficult to allow for any frequency dependence of the resistance characteristic of the rectifier, although when copper-oxide rectifiers are used, such dependence is very severe. An approximate method of allowing for such an effect is described in the paper, and it can be applied easily to the analysis of circuits where the terminating impedances are finite only at a finite number of modulation-product frequencies and zero at all other such frequencies. In particular, the case where either the input or the output frequency is low, the carrier frequency is high and only one sideband is accepted is considered in some detail, and the results are illustrated by numerical examples based on copper-oxide modulators working at frequencies up to 6 Mc/s. It is also shown how the conversion insertion-loss can be stabilized against temperature variation by a suitable choice of terminating resistance. The working and results are the same for shunt, series and ring modulators, for conditions of low input frequency with high output frequency and vice versa. LIST OF SYMBOLS = Sending (i.e. signal-source) impedance. = Receiving (i.e. load) impedance. = Carrier-controlled rectifier resistance at low frequency. = Frequency-dependent, but linear, parallel component of rectifier resistance. = Effective modulator load (i.e. ZR in parallel with the linear components of the rectifier impedance). = Constant term of the Fourier expansion of l/r(t). = Fundamental-frequency term of the Fourier expansion of 1//(/). = Angular frequency of carrier. = Angular frequency of input signal. = Input current. = Output current. Potential difference across modulator itself. = E.M.F. of input signal. = Z'JZ when Zo = Zff = Z. Forward resistance of rectifier at low frequency. = Back resistance of rectifier at low frequency. = Value of Z giving minimum value of L. Ratio of temperature coefficients of r(a>) and /y. = Conversion-loss ratio, defined as the ratio of the signalfrequency voltage in the output circuit when the modulator is removed to the wanted-sideband voltage when the modulator is inserted.

telephony systemone does not know whether to consider the resistance-characteristic of the rectifier at audio or at output frequencies. The difficulty is severe, since at 100 kc/s or so the back resistance may drop to 0 05 of its value at audio frequencies, and the forward resistance may fall by several per cent. At higher frequencies the effect becomes increasingly severe. Table 1 shows a typical frequency characteristic of the back resistance of a small copper-oxide rectifier at 1 volt bias. Table 1

Frequency, kc/s .. Resistance, ohms..



2000 4 000 6 000 300 150 100

100 000 5 000 2000

The forward resistance would be between, say, 80 and 200 ohms at 1 volt bias, and would fall slowly over the whole frequency range. The rectification efficiency at the higher frequencies is evidently very poor. These are purely resistance effects; there is also a shunt capacitance (typically about 1 000 /x/xF) which is dependent upon both bias and frequency. For most practical purposes, however, the capacitance may be considered constant, since it varies only over a small range compared with the resistance. The difficulty of allowing for the frequency-dependent rectifier resistance in calculations can often be overcome by considering the rectifier as having its low-frequency characteristic shunted by a resistance which is independent of bias (and therefore linear), but which is frequency dependent. (2) EQUIVALENT CIRCUIT OF RECTIFIER Consider a rectifier with a back resistance, rb, of 50 000 ohms at low frequencies and of 5 000 ohms at 100 kc/s; the forward resistance, ^y, is 250 ohms at low frequencies, falling to 240 ohms at 100 kc/s. This can then be represented as a rectifier of rb = 50 000 ohms and / y = 250 ohms in parallel with a linear resistance which is 5 555 ohms at 100 kc/s but infinite at low frequencies. If the back resistance were to fall to 500 ohms at 1 Mc/s, the parallel linear resistance would obviously have to be about 505 ohms at 1 Mc/s, corresponding to a forward resistance of about 170 ohms. This device of a parallel linear resistance will not, in general, be a perfect representation of the rectifier, but it should be near enough, and it permits calculation of performance in some cases which would otherwise be very intractable. The full equivalent circuit of a rectifier is therefore of the form shown in Fig. 1. (3) APPLICATION TO BALANCED SHUNT-MODULATOR The shunt modulator is effectively of the form shown in Fig. 2, where the rectifier is carrier controlled at frequency a>p. In 394]

(1) INTRODUCTION The calculation of the performance of modulators using copper-oxide rectifiers is complicated by the fact that the resistance characteristic of the rectifiers varies with frequency. For instance, when the input signal is of audio frequency, the carrier frequency is, say, 108 kc/s and the wanted lower sideband is 104108 kc/sas in a channel modulator for a multi-channel carrierWritten contributions on papers published without being read at meetings are invited for consideration with a view to publication. Dr. Tucker is in the Royal Naval Scientific Service, and was formerly at the Post Office Research Station, Dollis Hill.



, Approx. 1 constant {Frequency dependent ^Voltage dependent Fig. 1.Equivalent circuit of a rectifier. Low-pass filter Band-pass filter

Fig. 4.Practical realization of specified terminating conditions. In accordance with the line taken in previous publications, the carrier voltage is assumed to be large enough to control the rectifier resistance without interference from the signal, so that the rectifier conductance can be expressed as
c o s

c o s 2


Fig. 2.Effective circuit of shunt modulator. practice, to provide the carrier balance, four rectifiers are usually used in bridge formation,6 but for analysis of the carrier-controlled condition, the present effective circuit is an accurate representation. Thus, using the rectifier circuit shown in Fig. 1, the modulator circuit becomes that shown in Fig. 3, where r(t) is the l.f. rectifier 1

and, using subscript 0 for the signal frequency OJQ and subscript 1+ for the sideband frequency cop + ojg, separate equations can be written for the currents through r(t) at these two frequencies, which are the only two frequencies at which any voltage exists, owing to the specified terminating conditions. Thus i0ZS0) and whence the conversion transconductance is -

r(u>) Z c

[d + ^ i + ) 0 + goZso)

EcosaiqL 0\J)

Fig. 3.Circuit of shunt modulator, allowing for frequency-dependent rectifier. resistance varying with time (due to the carrier) and r(co) is the parallel linear resistance varying with frequency. Now the general case appears insoluble, even in numerical terms. For a discussion, of the analysis of modulator circuits with frequency-dependent terminations, we can refer to earlier papers 1 - 2 - 3 and merely quote here that the general case leads to an infinite set of equations. However, if the circuit is so restricted that only a finite number of current or voltage components can exist, a solution is possible. Consider as an example the simplest case, where (a) Zs is a finite impedance at the low signal frequency coq but is infinite at the comparatively high wanted-sideband frequency (say <vp + a>q) and may take any value at all other significant* frequencies. (b) ZR, r(co) and C combined in parallel give an impedance ZR which is finite at (o)p + cog), infinite at uoq and zero at all other significant frequencies. The practical realization of such conditions can be of the form shown in Fig. 4. C1 may be only the rectifier capacitance, or it may be made larger by the addition of an external capacitor. C 2 is intended to meet the condition that Z'R is to be infinite at low frequencies (a>q) and LC2 resonates at a frequency between cog and (cop + ojq).
* Significant frequencies are those of possible modulation products, no>p wg.

From this, any particular case may be calculated. As an illustration, consider the case where ZSQ = ZRl+ and find the minimum conversion loss on this basis. Actually, equality of Zso and ZRl+ is not the optimum condition unless r(a>) is + Let Zso ZR1+ i fi b i i often f the most convenient. i R1+ Z so infinity, but it is a.ndZRl+ = aZ. The conversion-loss ratio is therefore L = gxaZ

. (3)

Now, if we assume square-wave switching by the carrier, i.e. if r(t) and 1/K0 are square-wave functions, then, taking rb as being very much greater than /y and putting a equal to r(oj)/[r(aj) + Z], the conversion-loss ratio can easily be shown to be



By differentiating eqn. (4) and equating to zero it will be found that the minimum loss is obtained with

Q-5rf+ 0-15r(o>)


where r(a>) is, of course, taken at frequency (u)p + ojq). The minimum conversion-loss ratio, now becomes (6) The significance of the assumption that rb is very much greater than /y is that the rectifier ratio at low frequencies is considered to be so high compared with the ratio at high frequencies that the effect of the l.f. value of rb not being infinite can be neglected*

1 2


Previous papers - have shown that, when the frequency dependence is ignored and the ratio is considered constant with frequency and still fairly large, the loss is given by 2-6r 2-8 (7) -Jmin rb which gives the effect of the rectifier ratio on the loss. A numerical example will show the type of discrepancy which can arise through neglecting the frequency dependence of rectifier characteristics. Consider a modulator as discussed above designed on three bases, namely (a) When only the l.f. rectifier characteristics are considered. Here, let r/ = 250 ohms, rt = 125 kilohms. ThenZop/ = 650 ohms on this basis, and we calculate that the loss is 9 0 db [from eqn. (7)]. (b) When only the h.f. rectifier characteristics are considered. Here, let /-/ = 200 ohms, /* = 1 000 ohms* (corresponding to copper oxide at about 200 kc/s). Then Zopt = 370 ohms on this basis, and we calculate the minimum loss to be 12-8 db. (c) By the new method described above. Here we take r/ = 250 ohms, r((o) = 1 000 ohms, whence Zopt = 475 ohms, and we calculate a minimum loss of 11 -2 db. It should be noted that the new method gives a loss intermediate between that given by (a) and (b), which seems a reasonable result. It is easy to see that the optimum value of Z decreases with increasing frequency; this is a well-known practical result. The values of Zso and ZRX+ used in eqn. (2) are not restricted to pure resistance but, for minimum loss, pure resistances are needed. It should also be noted that the results are identical when the modulator is used in the opposite way, i.e. with coq large and the wanted sideband (here a)p ojq) very low. The numerical example can be extended in an interesting manner by comparing the performance of two modulators with filter terminations as before, one having both input and output frequencies high and nearly equal (by means of using a low carrierfrequency) and the other having the input frequency low and the output frequency high (as in the more normal practical arrangement). In the first case, we need not consider the new method of calculation, but merely take rb and rf as having the values obtained by direct measurements at the frequencies concerned, and use them in the ordinary way. In the second case, we use the new method. The following are taken as the rectifier data:



I 10

\ \ "^ \ \

500 /.Resi stance curves /


2 3 4 5 6 Output frequency, Mc/s Fig. 5.Variation of minimum conversion loss and optimum terminating impedance with frequency.
(a) Input frequency high and carrier frequency low. (b) Input frequency low and carrier frequency high.

same results. It should be noted, however, that there is now no need to specify, in the simple case analysed in detail, that the terminating impedances should each be infinite at the operating frequency of the other. The terminations should, in fact, be zero at all but the particular operating frequency, and this requirement is generally rather simpler to realize. Thus, the series modulator is more frequently used in radio work than the shunt circuit.

(5) APPLICATION TO SINGLE-RECTIFIER MODULATORS OR TO DETECTORS Modulators and frequency changers in radio equipment often use only one rectifier, so that the signal and carrier circuits are combined; they are then identical in operation to a detector to which a high carrier level is applied. Such systems have previously been analysed4-5 on the basis of rectifier characteristics which are constant with frequency. When copper-oxide rectifiers are used, the preceding method of analysis can be employed, and L.F. value of // = 250 ohms. the only modification needed is in respect of the d.c. component L.F. value of/-/, = 125 kilohms. produced by rectification of the carrier wave, if this can produce a bias on the rectifier. From the results given in Section 3 it can At 200 kc/s, forward resistance = 200 ohms, back resistance = 1 000 ohms. now be seen why, for h.f. copper-oxide detectors, rectifiers with At 2 Mc/s, forward resistance = 140 ohms, back resistance such a high d.c. or l.f. resistance are used. = 330 ohms. At 6 Mc/s, forward resistance = 81 ohms, back resistance = 120 ohms. r(q)) = infinity at low frequencies. (6) APPLICATION TO THE RING MODULATOR ~ actual back resistance at high frequencies. The method of analysis for the ring modulator is basically the We can then calculate optimum terminating impedances and same as for the shunt modulator, but it is slightly complicated by minimum conversion losses for each frequency, and the results the fact that three circuit meshes have to be considered instead are plotted in Fig. 5. There is a considerable difference in loss of two. It is not proposed to go into the details of analysis between the two cases. It is interesting to compare these results here, but merely to show how the frequency dependence of the with some measured results obtained by Moll7 on a copper-oxide rectifier is allowed for. modulator with terminations which more nearly approached the The carrier-controlled ring modulator is as shown in Fig. 6, constant-resistance case; there is good qualitative agreement. where r+(t) and r_(t) represent the rectifiers switching in opposite phase. By a well-known transformation of lattice networks, this is identical in performance to the circuit of Fig. 7. As with (4) APPLICATION TO BALANCED SERIES-MODULATOR the shunt modulator, this cannot be solved in its general form. The series modulator is basically the same as the shunt However, the capacitances are easily absorbed into filter sections, modulator, and can be analysed in the same way to obtain the and if these are arranged so that Z , r(co) and C in parallel at
When /-ft is so low, eqn. (7) is insufficiently accurate, and we must work from eqn. (3) with a = 1.

the sending end give a resultant impedance, Z's, which is



(7) STABILIZATION OF CONVERSION LOSS AGAINST TEMPERATURE CHANGES In a previous paper,6 dealing with modulators having pureresistance terminations and non-reactive rectifiers without frequency dependence, it was shown how the loss could be stabilized against temperature changes by a suitable choice of terminating resistance; it was necessary to know only the ratio of temperature coefficients of the back and forward resistances. A very similar process can be applied to the case of frequency-dependent rectifier resistance if the temperature coefficients of /y and r(co) are known, r(co) being taken at the frequency of the h.f. end of the modulator. Start from the formula for conversion loss given in eqn. (4). Let a given small change in temperature cause a variation A/y in /y and AV(cu) in r(a>). Let AV(a>) _ r(a>) Fig. 6.Ring modulator with frequency-dependent rectifiers. r+(t)
k &f


i.e. A' = &A, and k is thus the ratio of temperature coefficients of r(co) and rf. So the loss at the new temperature is

L + BL = l r
0-5 015

and therefore

r+(t) Fig. 7.Circuit equivalent to that shown in Fig. 6. 2{ Z

- f 4

r(cu) \_r(co) rf finite at the signal frequency but zero at all other significant frequencies, and ZR, r(co) and C in parallel at the receiving end Now we want BL to be zero. This leads to the condition give a resultant impedance, ZR, which is finite at the wantedsideband frequency but zero at all others, we have the simplest Z2[0-5*/y+ 0-15r(co)] + (Jc - V)r}Z - r}r(oj) = 0 possible case to analyse. The whole of the calculation given for Solving this and taking the appropriate sign before the square the shunt modulator applies exactly to this case of the ring, i.e. root gives as the condition for stability of loss from eqns. (1) to (7), and, for the specified terminating conditions, the performances of the two modulator circuits cannot be - (k - \)rf distinguished. The following slight differences in circumstances (8) should, however, be noted: (a) In the ring modulator, Vo is the voltage across the input 20 2-4 terminals of the lattice and Vx + is that across the output terminals. (b) Since, in the ring modulator, the impedances Z's and Z'R are separated by the lattice, there is no need to make the special / 18 2-2 condition (which was necessary for the shunt modulator) that each should be an open-circuit at the operating frequency of the other. This simplifies practical realization and means that both \ / 16 1-6 \ signal and sideband frequencies can be high without introducing difficult filter requirements. In such a case, r(o>) and C must be \ / taken into account at both ends,* and this is why we have used 14 1-2 \ \ Z's above instead of the plain Zs used for the shunt modulator. The e.m.f. used in the equations should then be modified to ", y where E' = Er(oS)l\Zs + r(w)], assuming that C has been 12 0-8 absorbed. (c) When both toq and (ojp + o)q) arc high, as discussed in Loss\ < (b), an alternative way of dealing with the problem is to take 10 0-4 r(t) as the rectifier characteristic at the lower of the frequencies. A new value of r(aS) is then required at the higher-frequency end, but it no longer requires consideration at the lower-frequency end. 10 20 From the circuit shown in Fig. 7, it is easy to see how the Value of k impedance of the modulator must fall with increasing frequency of use, since r{w) is directly shunted across it at both ends. Fig. 8.Curves of terminating resistance and conversion loss plotted against the ratio of temperature coefficients for the condition of * Naturally, r((S) takes the values r(co4) and r(a>p + cos) at the sending and receiving stabilization with respect to temperature. ends, respectively.

\\ A >< -7 -*--



(9) ACKNOWLEDGMENT To see what this means in practice, consider some numerical results. Fig. 8 shows how the impedance required for stability The work discussed was carried out at the Post Office Research (which is a pure resistance, of course) depends on the ratio k Station and the paper is published by permission of the Engineerfor two different values of /(o)//y. No figures of actual values of in-Chief of the Post Office. k are at present available for real copper-oxide rectifiers, but they are unlikely to be outside the range 1-20. Within this range, (10) REFERENCES the impedance required for maximum stability is always less (1) TUCKER, D. G.: "Rectifier Modulators with Frequencythan that for minimum loss. For comparison, the minimum Selective Terminations," Proceedings I.E.E., 1949, 96, loss for r(co)//y = 4 is 11 16 db, and for r(oj)lrf = 10 is 9-92 db. Part III, p. 422. See also the discussion on the Paper, Provided that k is not too large, stability can be obtained at the ibid., 1950, 97, Part III, p. 205. expense of only a small increase in loss. (2) BELEVITCH, V.: "Linear Theory of Bridge and Ring Modulator Circuits," Electrical Communication, 1948, 25, p. 62. (3) KRUSE, S.: "Theory of Rectifier Modulators," Ericsson (8) STABILIZATION OF LOSS IN OTHER RESPECTS Technics (Stockholm), 1939, No. 2, p. 17. The principles set out in Section 7 have further applications. (4) COLEBROOK, F. M., and ASTON, G. H.: "Diode as a FreIt is clear that, if the ratio of changes in r(aj) and rj caused by quency-Changer," Wireless Engineer, 1943, 20, p. 5. a change in carrier voltage is known, then stabilization of loss (5) JAMES, E. G., and HOULDIN, J. E.: "Diode Frequencyagainst carrier variations is possible. Or again, if interest lies Changers," ibid., p. 15. in the making of a large number of modulators, all with as (6) TUCKER, D. G.: "Some Aspects of the Design of Balanced nearly as possible the same loss, then if the ratio of standard Rectifier Modulators for Precision Applications," Journal deviations of r(o) and /y in a manufacturer's batch of rectifiers I.E.E., 1948, 95, Part III, p. 161. (See Section 9.3.) is known, the terminating impedance that will give the smallest (7) MOLL, P.: "fitude des Modulateurs en Anneau . . . ," Cables deviation in the loss can be determined. et Transmission (Paris), 1950, 4, p. 24.

621.3.018.75/.78 Monograph No. 5 RADIO SECTION

S. H. MOSS, B.Sc, B.A.

[DIGEST of a paper (communication from the Staff of the Research Laboratories of the General Electric Co., Ltd., England) published in August, 1951,
as an INSTITUTION MONOGRAPH and to be republished in Part IV of the PROCEEDINGS.]

The behaviour of a linear system is usually described in terms of its steady-state a.c. response. For transient input and output waveforms, the procedure is to resolve the input waveform into steady sinusoidal components, to apply the a.c. response factor appropriate to each, and to sum the results to give the output waveform. An attempt is made here to describe the behaviour of a linear system towards transient waveforms in terms of more direct features of these time waveforms. (Accounts of alternative methods are given in References 1-3.) At the same time it is of interest to relate the new description to the old. For example, for a linear low-pass process, the instant at which the e.g. (centre of gravity) of the output transient occurs always lags behind the corresponding instant for the exciting transient by a constant interval, which is independent of its waveform and of the distortion produced by the system. It is thus an appropriate measure of system delay. Its value is the slope of the phase-change/frequency curve at zero frequency. For a wave packet, considered as a carrier wave modulated by a transient envelope, the e.g. of the envelope is also delayed by a constant time interval after passing through a linear system (provided the system amplitude response is stationary at the carrier frequency), and its value is the slope of the phase-change curve at the carrier frequency, the well-known expression for the group delay. Each of these results is just one of a whole sequence of constants (invariants) of the linear system, which describe its attenuating, delaying and distorting effects of different orders,

on any pulse. In fact, corresponding invariants, content, epoch, spread, skewness,flatness,etc., exist for any input pulse, whose values completely define the pulse shape, and these are always increased by the same constant invariants imposed by the system to yield the invariants of the output waveform. These pulse invariants are closely analogous to the parameters used to describe statistical distributions.

The fundamental properties of a linear process are superposition (i.e. the resultant response to a number of simultaneous excitations is the sum of their individual responses) and invariance (i.e. if two excitations are identical except for a constant time separation, then their responses are also identical except for this same delay). From these it follows that the process may be completely defined by its frequency response factor ifj(jco) at each frequency co, which multiplies each steadystate frequency component g(joi) into which the input waveform may be resolved to give the corresponding component G(jco) of the output waveform. (Fourier analysis and synthesis):
G(joj) = g(joj) x


It follows also that, alternatively, a linear process may be completely defined by its "weighting function," <f)(t), or output waveform when a unit impulse (i.e. an input waveform whose total "area" or "weight" is of unit magnitude and is concentrated into an indefinitely short interval) is applied at the instant