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RF Multiplier:- About, Types, Application, Design:

RF multipliers, are RF devices that generates an output frequency signal that is a multiple of the (harmonic product) input signal frequency.

  • Frequency multiplication is achieved by using a non-linear component to distort the input RF signal so as to emphasize the required harmonic signal in it.
  • RF and microwave multipliers are generally available in 2X, 3X, 4X and 8x multiplications.

To learn more details about RF and microwave wireless communication systems, we recommend you to check the following book recommendations.

To understand RF multipliers in-depth, we recommend checking more about the following components, which are associated with it in operations.

In this RF multiplier article, we will cover,

  • What is an RF and Microwave multiplier?
  • Types of RF Multiplier?
  • Applications of RF and Microwave multiplier?
  • What are the specifications that need to consider in the selection of an RF multiplier?
  • RF and Microwave multiplier Manufactures.

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Design and Application

What is the RF Multipliers Design concept?

RF Frequency multipliers is a device with an input port for feeding the input frequency signal into it, in a particular specified frequency band and it will generate an output signal whose frequency is a multiple ( 2X, 3X, 4X…) of the input signal.

  • RF Frequency multipliers are mainly used in RF and microwave communication equipment and synthesizers.

An RF Frequency multipliers generally consist of a nonlinear RF circuit that distorts the input fundamental frequency signal and subsequently generates and amplifies the harmonics of the input RF signal at the output port. Suitable bandpass filters and amplifiers are used to tune and amplify the desired harmonic frequency in it and eliminate the unwanted other harmonics and input fundamental signal at the output of the multiplier.

RF multiplier using Diodes:

Non-linear elements such as diodes are used to tune to a harmonic of the input frequency. As tuned circuits have a limited bandwidth these circuits are used for small RF multipliers (2X-twice, 3X-three times). Since the signal power level of the harmonics rapidly decline, RF amplifiers are used in the chain to ensure adequate signal strength at the output.

Microelectromechanical (MEMS) Frequency Multipliers:

Micromechanical cantilever resonators are used for the Frequency doublers, which offer high Q, low-loss and very narrow bandpass filtering functions. The cantilever resonator's capacitive transducer offers a frequency doubling effect with improved circuit performance than using a semiconductor device.

Phase-locked loops Frequency synthesizer:

A phase-locked loop (PLL) synthesizer is used to generate a required frequency (multiple of input) using a voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) which is tuned roughly to the required multiple output frequency band.

The VCO output signal is divided using Radio-frequency dividers and one signal will pass to the output of the synthesizer (Frequency Multiplier) and the other will feedback into a phase comparator. The required signal to multiply will feed to the other input of the phase comparator and the output of the comparator is a proportional voltage to the phase difference between the two signals. This voltage is fed back to the control of the VCO to adjust the required frequency. The VCO output will stabilize at the exact phase and desired multiple frequencies as in a normal frequency synthesizer.

RF and Microwave Frequency Multipliers types:

RF and microwave Multipliers are of two types passive and Active RF multipliers. This classification is based on the components used for the construction of the frequency Multifilers.

Active RF Multipliers:

Active RF Multipliers generate an output Radio-frequency signal with a power level greater than or equal to the RF signal input power level. Active RF multipliers are designed using active components like amplifiers at harmonic frequencies.

  • This increase in RF signal power level at the output is called conversion gain.

Passive RF Multipliers:

Passive RF Multipliers are made of passive components and generate an output RF signal power level less than the input signal power level.

  • This signal power loss in an RF and Microwave multiplier is called conversion loss.

It is economical to manufacture frequency multipliers at a lower frequency with less power output than a multiplier which generates a higher power output in the high-frequency band like millimetre wave range.

Applications of Frequency Multipliers:

The property of RF multipliers is to convert the lower frequencies to higher frequencies at lower cost and size without creating measurable additive phase noise, making it useful for frequency multiple applications in the communication domain.

  • RF multipliers are widely used in the RF signal up-convert in microwave and millimetre bands before transmission in applications like SATCOM, microwave radio, VSAT, radar, electronics countermeasures (ECM), military radios, and for test instrumentation.

RF and Microwave Frequency multipliers are generally used in communication systems and frequency synthesizers. Frequency multipliers are used in modulation schemes like frequency modulations, that are not related to amplitude variations (amplitude independent modulation like Amplitude modulation).

Few of the industrial applications of the RF frequency multipliers are.

  • RF Test and measurement equipment.
  • Fibre optics communication.
  • VSAT, LMDS, and point-to-point radios.
  • Millimetre-wave communications.
  • Automotive and military wave radar systems. 

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Basics & Selection Feature

Main specifications need to consider in the selection of RF Multiplier:

RF and microwave multipliers are primarily characterized on the base of the frequency range, multiplication factor, phase noise characteristics and output spurious signal suppression. RF multipliers are also selected on the base of the level of suppression of the original RF input signal.

RF Frequency Range (MHz): 

RF frequency input range indicates the range of frequency that can be input into the RF multiplier for multiplication. RF Output Frequency in MHz indicates the output frequency range multiplier can generate from the input RF signal. Output frequency range based on the multiplication factor of the RF multiplier.

Multiplying Factor of Multipliers: 

The multiplication factor of the Radio Frequency multiplier indicates the number of times the fundamental input frequency gets multiplied at the output. It is mentioned in the datasheet as 2x, 3x, 4x etc. RF designers can select the multiplier as per the requirements. Now programmable multipliers are available with switching multiplication factors.

Power Handling and Dynamic Range:

The Output Power (dBm) of the RF multiplier indicates the output signal power level from it. High power systems need an additional RF amplifier for the output signal amplification.

  • Active RF multipliers will have equal or higher output power than the input signal power and passive systems will have lower output power levels than the input signal power.

Insertion loss or gain of RF Multipliers: 

Insertion loss or gain of an RF multiplier is the conversion loss or the gain of the signal from the input to the output. If the output signal has higher power output than the input signal it is called the conversion gain and if the signal strength is lower it is called the conversion loss.

Phase noise characteristics:

RF multiplier with lower phase noise is better for the applications. The passive RF and microwave multipliers have the phase noise characteristics better than an active multiplier.

Harmonics and Spurious:

The suppression of spurious is one of the prime characteristics of the RF multiplier. RF multipliers with higher harmonic and spurious rejection are better for the RF and Microwave and millimetre applications.

Return Loss of RF synthesizer:

RF Designers need to select an RF multiplier with higher return loss, in both the input and output ports to avoid the RF signal reflections.

RF connectors:

RF multipliers are available with the most common types of RF and microwave connectors like N-type,  SMA, 3.92 type, etc, and also with the SMD packages. RF Designers can select multiplier on the basis of required connectors to avoid the use of any further connectors.


RF multipliers are passive device or active device that enables to multiply the input signal frequency into the multiples of the fundamental frequency at the output port of it.

Below listed are the top-rated frequency multipliers manufacturers listed in RFMWC. If you would like to add any further details about the RF and microwave multipliers or the respective manufacturer's details to this page, feel free to contact us over the submit article or manufacturer registration button on the top of this page.

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RFMWC :RF & Microwave Community

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