Directional couplers are devices used primarily in the field of radio technology. They couple a defined amount of the electromagnetic power in a transmission line to an additional port(s) enabling the incoming signal to be used in other circuits. An essential feature of directional couplers is that they only transmit power received from the input in one direction. Conversely, power entering any of the output port(s) is coupled to an isolated port, but not to the original input port. A directional coupler designed to split power equally, with equal amplitude and the same phase between the two ports is called a two way power divider. Power dividers when used in reverse, are known as power combiners. The power dividing concept can also be extended to divide power equally into 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 16 or more outputs.
Directional couplers are most frequently constructed from two coupled transmission lines set close enough together such that energy passing through one is coupled to the other. This technique is favored at the microwave frequencies, where transmission line designs are commonly used to implement many circuit elements. However, lumped component devices are also possible at lower frequencies, such as in audio frequencies encountered in telephony.
Also at microwave frequencies, particularly in the higher frequency bands, waveguide designs can be used. Many of these waveguide couplers correspond to one of the conducting transmission line designs, but there are also types that are unique to waveguide.
Directional couplers and power dividers have many applications. These include providing a signal sample for measurement or monitoring purposes, feedback purposes, combining feeds to and from antennas, antenna beam forming, providing taps for cable distributed systems such as cable TV, and separating transmitted and received signals on telephone lines.
Getting Acquainted with Some of the Power Dividers from Synergy Microwave Corporation
Synergy Microwave Corporation (SMC) designs and manufactures a wide range of high-performance models of power divider (splitter / combiner) with a frequency range of up to 16.5 GHz and has been doing so for more than 35 years. Their products incorporate several features, including moderate and high power handling capability suitable for power combining and signal splitting. Many products are available which cover wide frequency bandwidths.
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