RADIO FREQUENCY INTEGRATED CIRCUITS FOR WIRELESS AND
WIRELINE COMMUNICATIONS
Except where reference is made to the work of others, the work described in this
dissertation is my own or was done in collaboration with my advisory committee.
This dissertation does not include proprietary or classified information.
Vasanth Kakani
Certificate of Approval:
Richard C. Jaeger Fa Foster Dai, Chair
Distinguished University Professor Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering Electrical and Computer Engineering
Guofu Niu Charles E. Stroud
Alumni Professor Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering Electrical and Computer Engineering
George T. Flowers
Interim Dean
Graduate School
RADIO FREQUENCY INTEGRATED CIRCUITS FOR WIRELESS AND
WIRELINE COMMUNICATIONS
Vasanth Kakani
A Dissertation
Submitted to
the Graduate Faculty of
Auburn University
in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the
Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Auburn, Alabama
December 17, 2007
iii
RADIO FREQUENCY INTEGRATED CIRCUITS FOR WIRELESS AND
WIRELINE COMMUNICATIONS
Vasanth Kakani
Permission is granted to Auburn University to make copies of this dissertation at its
discretion, upon request of individuals or institutions at their expense.
The author reserves all publication rights.
______________________________
Signature of Author
______________________________
Date of Graduation
iv
DISSERTATION ABSTRACT
RADIO FREQUENCY INTEGRATED CIRCUITS FOR WIRELESS AND
WIRELINE COMMUNICATIONS
Vasanth Kakani
Doctor of Philosophy, December 17, 2007
(M.S., University of Texas at Arlington, 2002)
(B.E., Osmania University, 1998)
146 Typed Pages
Directed by Fa Foster Dai
This dissertation presents my studies in design of high frequency circuits for wireless
and wireline communication systems.
As a part of this effort a seven tap transversal filter has been designed using
broadband amplifiers. The use of active devices instead of passive inductors to
implement delay stages greatly reduces the required die area and also makes the filter
more adaptive in nature. The designed chip is capable of adapting zeros at various
frequencies up to 3.5 GHz, implementing various filter characteristics.
A detailed study of delay through Current Mode Logic (CML) gate operating at the
GHz range has been done and optimal and novel biasing strategies have been
v
investigated to achieve higher operational speeds. ?Keep alive? biasing technique has
been proposed to reduce delay in CML latches. The optimal biasing strategy for CML
circuits is obtained considering the circuit speed and power consumption.
Design challenges in the design of high frequency single phase and multiphase
oscillators have been investigated followed by prototype designs. A novel Quadrature
VCO (QVCO) is implemented in a 47 GHz SiGe technology. The QVCO is a serially
coupled LC VCO that utilizes Silicon Germanium (SiGe) Hetero-junction Bipolar
Transistors (HBT) for oscillation and Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect
Transistors (MOSFET) for coupling, resulting in 14% wide tuning range. Design of high
frequency 25 GHz oscillator is also presented. The 25 GHz oscillator achieves phase
noise of -82 dBc/Hz @ 500 KHz offset.
Design of a 1.2 V, 3.7 mW 8-bit LC tuned Digitally Controlled Oscillator (DCO)
implemented in a 120 nm BiCMOS technology is presented. The varactor bank in the
oscillator consists of eight binary weighted capacitors controlled by rail-to-rail CMOS
logic values. The DCO oscillation frequency can be tuned from 4.2-4.7 GHz with 11.2%
tuning range and an average frequency resolution of 2 MHz/bit. The DCO has phase
noise of -103 dBc/Hz @ 500 KHz offset and exhibits -177 dBc/Hz figure of merit.
Design of 1.5 V second order phase locked loop is presented. The loop exhibits an in-
band phase noise of -70 dBc/Hz @ 10 KHz offset and out-band phase noise of -110
dBc/Hz @ 3 MHz offset frequency from a 5 GHz carrier frequency.
vi
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to express my appreciation for professor Foster Dai for his guidance and
encouragement during my graduate study at Auburn.
I would like to thank professor?s Richard. C. Jaeger, Guofu Niu and Charles. E.
Stroud for their advice. I also thank professor Sushil Bhavnani for his comments and
being an external reader for this dissertation.
Many thanks to my team members, Dayu Yang, Xuefeng Yu, Yuan Yao, Wenting
Deng and Xueyang Geng for their help and assistance during my course of study.
Finally I would like to thank my parents for their encouragement and support through
out this work.
vii
Style manual: Guide to Preparation and Submission of Thesis and Dissertations.
Auburn University, 2005.
Computer software: MS Word 2003, MS Visio 2003.
viii
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF FIGURES ............................................................................................................X
LIST OF TABLES............................................................................................................XV
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................... 1
1.1 Dissertation Organization ................................................................................... 6
CHAPTER 2: INTEGRATED TRANSVERSAL FILTER............................................... 8
2.1 Introduction......................................................................................................... 8
2.2 Transversal filter design...................................................................................... 9
2.2.1 Delay stage................................................................................................ 11
2.2.2 Gain stage.................................................................................................. 17
2.3 Biasing blocks................................................................................................... 19
2.4 Prototype design and measured results............................................................. 22
2.5 Conclusions....................................................................................................... 26
CHAPTER 3: DELAY ANALYSIS AND OPTIMAL BIASING FOR CURRENT
MODE LOGIC CIRCUITS .............................................................................................. 28
3.1. Introduction....................................................................................................... 28
3.2 Current mode logic: operation .......................................................................... 30
3.3 Series gated CML topologies............................................................................ 32
3.4 Delay analysis of CML gate ............................................................................. 33
3.5 Optimum biasing for CML circuits................................................................... 37
3.6 ?Keep alive? biasing technique......................................................................... 39
3.7 Simulation results.............................................................................................. 41
3.8 Conclusion ........................................................................................................ 43
CHAPTER 4: VOLTAGE CONTROLLED LC OSCILLATORS.................................. 44
4.1 Oscillator basics................................................................................................ 44
4.1.1 Integrated inductors .................................................................................. 47
4.1.2 Frequency and tuning range...................................................................... 49
4.1.3 Power dissipation...................................................................................... 50
4.1.4 Phase ......................................................................................................... 51
ix
4.1.5 Phase noise................................................................................................ 51
4.2 Review of phase noise models.......................................................................... 52
4.2.1 Leeson?s phase noise model...................................................................... 53
4.2.2 Rael and Abidi phase noise model [33] .................................................... 54
4.2.3 Hajmiri?s phase noise model [38-40]........................................................ 56
4.3 A 25 GHz oscillator in SiGe BiCMOS technology .......................................... 58
4.4 A 1.5 GHz cryogenic oscillator in SiGe BiCMOS technology ........................ 63
4.5 Conclusions....................................................................................................... 66
CHAPTER 5: MULTIPLE PHASE LC OSCILLATORS............................................... 67
5.1 Introduction....................................................................................................... 67
5.2 A 5 GHz low power series coupled BiCMOS quadrature VCO with wide tuning
range...................................................................................................................... 70
5.3 A 3.5 GHz multiphase oscillator in SOI technology ........................................ 79
5.4 Conclusions....................................................................................................... 83
CHAPTER 6: DIGITAL CONTROLLED OSCILLATOR............................................. 84
6.1 Introduction....................................................................................................... 84
6.2 Binary weighted varactor bank ......................................................................... 85
6.3 DCO circuit design ........................................................................................... 92
6.4 Measured results ............................................................................................... 94
6.5 Conclusions....................................................................................................... 98
CHAPTER 7: PHASE LOCKED LOOP DESIGN......................................................... 99
7.1 Introduction....................................................................................................... 99
7.2 Charge pump PLL........................................................................................... 101
7.3 Phase frequency detector ................................................................................ 104
7.4 Charge pump and loop filter ........................................................................... 106
7.5 Oscillator and frequency dividers ................................................................... 112
7.6 Measured results ............................................................................................. 116
7.7 Conclusion ...................................................................................................... 119
CHAPTER 8: CONCLUSION....................................................................................... 120
ABBREVIATIONS ........................................................................................................ 122
BIBLIOGRAPHY........................................................................................................... 124
x
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 2.1 Block diagram of the transversal filter. T denotes the delay and ? denotes tap
weights. ............................................................................................................................. 11
Figure 2.2 Series?shunt broadband amplifier. .................................................................. 13
Figure 2.3 Cherry?Hooper amplifier used to implement delay stages. ............................ 15
Figure 2.4 Block diagram of the amplifier cell................................................................. 15
Figure 2.5 Magnitude response of the delay amplifier ..................................................... 16
Figure 2.6 Tap weights implemented using Gilbert variable gain amplifier. ................... 18
Figure 2.7 Small signal model of the gain control circuit................................................. 19
Figure 2.8 Magnitude response of the Gilbert variable gain amplifier............................. 19
Figure 2.9 First order band gap circuit used to drive the amplifiers on the chip.............. 21
Figure 2.10 Single ended to differential converter for the tap weights. ........................... 22
Figure 2.11 Block diagram of the transversal filter. ......................................................... 22
Figure 2.12 Fabricated transversal filter chip. .................................................................. 23
Figure 2.13 Filter transfer function with notches at 2.3 GHz and 3.3 GHz...................... 24
Figure 2.14 Measured filter transfer function with notch at 2 GHz.................................. 24
Figure 2.15 Filter transfer function with band rejection from 2 to 2.7 GHz..................... 25
Figure 2.16 Measured filter transfer function with notch at 2.3 GHz............................... 25
Figure 2.17 Filter transfer function with notches at 1.7 GHz and 2.9 GHz...................... 26
Figure 3.1 Current mode logic gate. ................................................................................. 30
xi
Figure 3.2 AND/NAND/OR/NOR and MUX CML gates................................................ 33
Figure 3.3 Schematic diagram of CML D-Latch.............................................................. 34
Figure 3.4 Small signal half circuit model of CML D-Latch. .......................................... 35
Figure 3.5 CML D-latch delay versus normalized bias current........................................ 38
Figure 3.6 CML latch delays versus bias current. ............................................................ 40
Figure 3.7 "Keep alive" biasing technique for CML D-latch. .......................................... 41
Figure 3.8 Propagation delay without "Keep alive" biasing............................................. 42
Figure 3.9 Propagation delay with "Keep alive" biasing.................................................. 43
Figure 4.1 Feedback model for analyzing oscillator start up conditions. ......................... 44
Figure 4.2 Linear feedback model of an oscillator. .......................................................... 46
Figure 4.3 pi model of the inductor.................................................................................. 48
Figure 4.4 C-V characteristics of junction diode and MOS varactors.............................. 49
Figure 4.5 Phase noise in practical oscillators.................................................................. 52
Figure 4.6 Phase noise spectrum....................................................................................... 53
Figure 4.7 (a) minimum ISF ( ? ) (b) maximum ISF ( ? )............................................... 57
Figure 4.8 25 GHz oscillator circuit diagram. .................................................................. 60
Figure 4.9 25 GHz oscillator die photo............................................................................. 61
Figure 4.10 Oscillator phase noise plot from 23.8 GHz carrier........................................ 62
Figure 4.11 Oscillator phase noise plot from 25 GHz carrier........................................... 62
Figure 4.12 Die photo of the 1.5 GHz oscillator............................................................... 64
Figure 4.13 Output frequency at room temperature is 1.4 GHz, tuning voltage is 3 V.... 64
Figure 4.14 Output frequency of divide-by-64 is 21.88 MHz. ......................................... 65
Figure 4.15 Frequency versus tuning voltage at different temperatures........................... 65
xii
Figure 5.1 Direct conversion receiver architecture........................................................... 67
Figure 5.2 Image reject receiver architecture. .................................................................. 67
Figure 5.3 Parallel coupled quadrature oscillator. ............................................................ 69
Figure 5.4 Proposed S-QVCO circuit schematic using NPN for oscillation and NMOS for
coupling............................................................................................................................. 72
Figure 5.5 Layout diagram of the oscillator...................................................................... 76
Figure 5.6 Measured QVCO output spectrum. ................................................................. 77
Figure 5.7 Phase noise versus offset frequency................................................................ 77
Figure 5.8 Oscillation frequency versus the reverse bias voltage across the varactor...... 78
Figure 5.9 Phase Noise versus tuning voltage. ................................................................. 78
Figure 5.10 Single core of the multiphase oscillator. ....................................................... 80
Figure 5.11 Die photo of the oscillator. ............................................................................ 81
Figure 5.12 Phase noise at 2 MHz offset from 3.64 GHz carrier is -104.7 dBc/Hz. ........ 82
Figure 5.13 Oscillator tuning curve. ................................................................................. 82
Figure 6.1 Typical C-V characteristic of a MOS capacitor. ............................................. 85
Figure 6.2 A MOS capacitor realized by connecting drain source bulk terminals together
as one terminal and gate as the other terminal.................................................................. 86
Figure 6.3 Small signal equivalent of the MOS capacitor shown in figure 6.2................ 86
Figure 6.4 Inversion mode PMOS capacitor..................................................................... 87
Figure 6.5 Multi-finger layout for RF MOS varactor....................................................... 88
Figure 6.6 Schematic diagram for simulating C-V characteristic..................................... 89
Figure 6.7 Simulated C-V curve of the LSB varactor with S=D...................................... 90
Figure 6.8 Simulated C-V curve of the LSB varactor with S=D=B connection. ............. 90
xiii
Figure 6.9 Binary weighted varactor bank........................................................................ 91
Figure 6.10 Simulated maximum and minimum capacitance values provided by the
varactor bank..................................................................................................................... 92
Figure 6.11 DCO design schematic. ................................................................................. 93
Figure 6.12 Output frequency of the oscillator versus tuning code.................................. 95
Figure 6.13 Output spectrum of the oscillator. ................................................................. 96
Figure 6.14 Phase noise vs. offset frequency of the oscillator. ........................................ 96
Figure 6.15 Die Photo of the Oscillator............................................................................ 97
Figure 7.1 Block diagram of a PLL. ................................................................................. 99
Figure 7.2 Linear model of a PLL. ................................................................................. 100
Figure 7.3 Type II charge pump PLL. ............................................................................ 102
Figure 7.4 Phase frequency detector block diagram....................................................... 106
Figure 7.5 PFD simulation result.................................................................................... 106
Figure 7.6 Charge pump schematic. ............................................................................... 109
Figure 7.7 Charge pump simulation result while sinking current in to the loop filter.... 111
Figure 7.8 Charge pump simulation result, while sourcing current from the loop filter.111
Figure 7.9 Simulated output noise current of the charge pump...................................... 112
Figure 7.10 Oscillator schematic diagram. ..................................................................... 113
Figure 7.11 Schematic diagram of the D-Latch.............................................................. 114
Figure 7.12 Periodic time domain noise of the divider................................................... 115
Figure 7.13 Divider output noise spectrum..................................................................... 115
Figure 7.14 Layout diagram of the PLL chip. ................................................................ 116
Figure 7.15 Oscillator output spectrum. ......................................................................... 117
xiv
Figure 7.16 Measured divider output.............................................................................. 117
Figure 7.17 PLL output phase noise. .............................................................................. 118
xv
LIST OF TABLES
Table 4.1 Measured performance of the 25 GHz Oscillator............................................. 61
Table 4.2 Measured performance of the 1.5 GHz Oscillator............................................ 66
Table 5.1 Measured performance of the LC-QVCO. ....................................................... 75
Table 5.2 Performance comparison of Quadrature oscillators.......................................... 76
Table 5.3 Measured performance. .................................................................................... 81
Table 6.1 Measured performance of the DCO.................................................................. 97
Table 6.2 Comparison with other DCO designs. .............................................................. 98
Table 7. 1 Measured performance of the PLL. ............................................................... 118
1
Chapter 1: Introduction
This dissertation covers the design of Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits (RFIC) for
wireless and wireline communications focusing mainly on programmable filters, phase
lock loop circuits, oscillators and current mode logic circuits. Recently there has been an
increased interest in the design of programmable RF filters using broadband amplifiers
[7, 8, 9, and 10]. Programmable RF filters find numerous applications in communication
systems. Inter Symbol Interference (ISI) coupled with noise is a fundamental problem in
communication systems and sets the limit for an acceptable Bit Error Rate (BER). In
electrical domain this problem can be solved by integrating the programmable filter at the
receiver. In wireless domain for multiband wireless transceiver designs, programmable
RF notch filters are needed to selectively reject the bands based on various wireless
standards. RF notch filters are critical for removing unwanted signals such as images and
interferers. Continuous time filters based on mg -C ladder and switch capacitor filters
have been explored previously for high speed applications, inherent problems like offset,
charge leakage and mismatch in analog implementations have been tackled using circuit,
layout and improved fabrication techniques. As the signal speed advances into gigahertz
range these analog techniques are also ineffective calling for RF or microwave solutions.
Microwave solutions incorporating delay lines made up of inductors and capacitors are
bulky occupying large die size. Moreover, passive delay networks are always narrowband
and are not tunable on the fly and consume large area on the die. Instead of using passive
2
delay stages, we can use active delay stages to overcome the above mentioned drawbacks
of using passive delay lines. This dissertation presents design and analysis of
programmable transversal filters that use amplifiers for implementing delay stages.
As communication systems use oscillators for frequency translation, the stringent
signal to noise ratio requirements of the transceivers depend heavily on the phase noise
performance of oscillators. The need for low power is also important as wireless
communication devices are battery operated. Many modern transceiver architectures also
require multiphase signals. There are various ways to generate quadrature signals: (i) a
divide-by-two frequency divider following the oscillator running at the double the
required Local Oscillator (LO) frequency. This approach generally shows poor phase
noise and quadrature accuracy, as it requires 50% duty cycle Voltage Controlled
Oscillator (VCO). (ii) A VCO followed by a passive polyphase RC complex filter. An
integrated polyphase network is narrowband with poor quadrature accuracy. It also
suffers from process variation on the RC time constants that lead to amplitude imbalance
between the quadrature signals. (iii) Two oscillators are forced to run in quadrature using
transistor or transformer coupling. This technique provides wideband quadrature
accuracy and superior phase noise performance with a tradeoff of increased power,
silicon area and reduced tuning range. By coupling two symmetric oscillators with each
other, a Quadrature VCO (QVCO) generates wideband quadrature signals at high
frequency. There are various ways to couple the two oscillators and inject-lock their
oscillation frequency. The most common coupling mechanism is the parallel coupling
proposed by Rofougaran et al. [42], where each oscillator consists of a cross-coupled
feedback circuit and each oscillator output is connected to another oscillator using
3
transistors in parallel to the cross-coupled transistors. Oscillators can also be serially
coupled by placing the coupling transistors in series with the oscillation transistors [44].
The proposed oscillator in this dissertation is a serially coupled VCO that utilizes Silicon
Germanium (SiGe) transistors for oscillation and Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field
Effect Transistors (MOSFETs) for coupling, enabling it to have a wide tuning range.
Arguably the oscillator and its following divider is the most challenging block of a
frequency synthesizer design. The growing trend to move to higher oscillation
frequencies to occupy the unlicensed bands has presented new design challenges to both
oscillator and its following dividers design. Challenges involved in the design of high
speed oscillators are discussed followed by implementation of a 25 GHz oscillator and a
1.5 GHz cryogenic oscillator.
High speed digital circuits have moved into the analog/RF domain and can no longer
be treated as simple binary logic gates. Current Mode Logic (CML) has become the
preferred logic style for implementing high speed digital gates in mixed signal
environments. The maximum speed of CML circuits is limited by the RC open circuit
time constants associated with the latches and gates. The time constants associated with
each level of CML gates have been derived and their impact on overall delay of the gate
has been investigated. Study of energy consumption and delay of current mode logic gate
has been done and optimal biasing points for high speed and low power consumption
have been identified. A novel biasing strategy for CML topology is proposed to achieve
improved performance in terms of speed when the circuit is biased at 10% to 30% of the
peak Tf current.
4
Recently there have been efforts to digitize the Phase Lock Loop (PLL) synthesizer
design process [48] i.e. to synthesize the PLL on silicon using a hardware description
language. As a part of this effort, designing and modeling Digital Controlled Oscillators
(DCO), whose oscillation frequency is determined by a binary code is the main design
bottle neck. Issues favoring the design of digitally controlled varactors as an alternative to
analog controlled varactors which require continuous tuning are studied. Digitally
controlled oscillators use a digital approach to frequency tuning by switching the varactor
to one of the two distinct capacitance values that can correspond to ?on? and ?off? states
of binary logic. The DCO topology is that of a differential LC oscillator and the digital
frequency tuning is achieved by individually switching an array of capacitances. Design
and layout issues involved in the design of 1.2 V, eight bit oscillator and its binary
controlled varactor bank in a 0.12 m? Bipolar-CMOS (BiCMOS) technology is presented
followed by a prototype design and its measured results.
Eight chips have been fabricated during this course of study, some individually and
some as a part of team effort. A list of those chips and their brief descriptions are listed
below. More in-depth details of the design and results of these chips are illustrated in the
following chapters.
? A 3.5 GHz analog FIR filter in SiGe 5HP process has been designed and
fabricated. The filter used the structure of an analog tapped delay line. It was a
programmable filter whose transfer function could be tuned to implement
different transfer function by varying the tap weights. The filter consisted of
variable gain amplifiers, delay amplifiers, high impedance current sources,
bandgap circuit and single to differential converters.
5
? A 3.5 GHz charge pump PLL in 90 nm FD-SOI research process was designed as
a part of larger team effort. My responsibility included the design of multiphase
oscillator and charge pump. The main challenge was the lack of RF models during
design phase. The planned target frequency for the oscillator was 5 GHz. Four
stages of single phase oscillator core were coupled to each other in a ring
oscillator fashion to provide multiphase outputs.
? A 1.8 GHz oscillator in 45 GHz SiGe technology was designed as a part of larger
team project involving circuit designs for extremely low temperature
environments. The oscillator was followed by a chain of dividers to provide a 20
MHz clock signal to other blocks on the chip.
? A 20 GHz, 25 dB dynamic range variable gain amplifier in BiCMOS 8HP process
was designed as a part of larger team project involving radio design. The variable
gain amplifier followed a low noise amplifier. The structure of the variable gain
amplifier was a Cherry-Hooper amplifier with source follower feedback.
? A 5 GHz serially coupled quadrature oscillator in 45 GHz SiGe technology was
designed and fabricated. The coupling transistors used for generating quadrature
signals are placed in series with oscillating transistors resulting in power saving.
The oscillator used SiGe transistors for oscillation and MOSFETs for coupling to
achieve wide tuning range.
? A 1.5 V, 8-bit, 5 GHz digital controlled oscillator in 0.12 micron BiCMOS
technology was designed and fabricated. The capacitance values in the oscillator
are binary weighted and can be controlled by binary logic. The output frequency
6
of the oscillator can be controlled using an eight bit code that is fed to the varactor
bank.
? A 25 GHz Oscillator in BiCMOS 8HP technology was designed as a part of larger
team project. This high frequency oscillator used microwave strip lines inductors
instead of octagonal inductors. The 25 GHz signal was divided down to 13.5 GHz
to provide a clock signal to other blocks on the chip.
? A 5 GHz second order charge pump phase lock loop was designed in BiCMOS
8HP technology. The design consisted of an oscillator operating at 5 GHz, an
charge pump configured as an exclusive OR gate, fairly standard three state phase
frequency detector, and a reference frequency of 39 MHz
1.1 Dissertation Organization
Chapter 2 of this dissertation discusses current equalization techniques in electrical
domain. It explores the circuit requirements of the blocks to build a programmable filter
and presents the design and implementation of a high speed analog programmable filter.
The programmable filter presented is a seven tap transversal equalizer with cascaded
Cherry-Hooper amplifiers for delay stages and Gilbert variable gain amplifier as tap
weights. Design and implementation of a 3.5 GHz analog programmable filter RFIC is
presented in detail followed by measured results.
Chapter 3 explores the design issues related to current mode logic topology used in
high speed digital logic design. Detailed study of its delay model and its optimal biasing
points are presented. A biasing scheme is proposed to improve the speed of the CML
gates when they are biased at low currents.
7
Chapter 4 gives a brief introduction of the theory involved in the design of voltage
controlled oscillators and presents a review of various phase noise models. Design and
layout issues of implementing high speed, low phase noise single phase and multiphase
oscillators are also discussed, followed by experimental results of two prototypes
including a 25 GHz oscillator designed in a 120 GHz SiGe technology and exhibiting a
phase noise of -82.5 dBc/Hz @ 500 KHz offset frequency. This is followed by a design
of a 1.5 GHz SiGe oscillator that can operate well down till cryogenic temperatures.
In chapter 5 techniques for quadrature signal generation are discussed followed by a
design of a novel coupling topology for quadrature signal generation with increased
tuning range. Design and implementation of a 5 GHz quadrature oscillator fabricated in a
47 GHz SiGe technology is presented. This oscillator is a serially coupled LC VCO that
utilizes SiGe transistors for oscillation and MOSFETs for coupling enabling it to have a
wide tuning range of 15% and lower power consumption. This is followed by a design of
a 3.5 GHz multiphase oscillator in a FD-SOI research fabrication technology and its
measured results.
In chapter 6 low power, low voltage digital controlled oscillators are presented as an
alternative to conventional analog oscillators which are useful for the digitizing phase
lock loop design. Design and layout issues of implementing the digital varactor and the
1.2 V oscillator with 2 MHz/LSB resolution are discussed. This is followed by its
measured results.
Chapter 7 discusses the theory of phase lock loop design and design of its building
blocks charge pump, phase frequency detector, 5 GHz oscillator and dividers, followed
by its experimental results.
8
Chapter 2: Integrated Transversal Filter
2.1 Introduction
Programmable Radio Frequency (RF) filters find numerous applications in
communication systems. Inter symbol interference coupled with noise is a fundamental
problem in communication systems and set the limits for data rate and transmission
distance while maintaining an acceptable Bit Error Ratio (BER). Light traveling through
a single mode fiber can have two modes of propagation due to cable asymmetry. The
component of the signal traveling through the two modes have different velocities and are
differentially delayed at the output causing pulse broadening, an effect commonly known
as dispersion. In fiber communications, modal, chromatic and polarization mode
dispersions are the major sources of transmission impairments. These transmission
impairments depend on the length of the channel and determine the placing of repeaters
in the communication system. Mechanical or optical solutions like placing dispersion
compensated fibers that have negative dispersion compared to common fibers in long-
haul systems tend to be bulky, costly with high insertion loss and slow tuning speed, if
they are tunable at all.
In electrical domain this problem can be solved by equalization at the receiver. In
communication system equalization is a process of correcting the distortions that the
channel induces to the signal. The equalizers frequency response multiplied with the
frequency response of the dispersive channel yields the actual channel response that was
9
used in the system design. Electronic transversal filters can be used to compensate fiber
dispersions by constructing an inverse transfer function of the dispersive channel [1-4].
Electronic equalizers are much cheaper when mass produced and can also be integrated
on the same die with the receiver. Electronic equalizers have also been popularly used in
telephone systems and disk drives.
In wireless domain for multiband wireless transceiver designs, programmable RF
notch filters are needed to selectively reject the bands based on various wireless
standards. RF notch filters are critical for removing unwanted signals such as images and
interferers.
This chapter discusses the design of transversal filters that can be employed for
equalization techniques to overcome ISI. The design and implementation of a 3.5 GHz
analog programmable filter chip is presented in detail. The RF filter is a seven tap
transversal equalizer with cascaded Cherry-Hooper amplifiers for delay stages and
Gilbert variable gain amplifier as tap weights. The SiGe programmable filter chip
consumes 250 mW of power under 3.3 V supply and occupies 2.16 mm 2 of die area.
2.2 Transversal filter design
The filter is essentially a tapped delay line with the feed forward taps forming a Finite
Impulse Response (FIR) filter. The filter can be implemented in either digital or analog
domain. Digital FIR filters usually employ shift registers to implement the delay cell and
require the data to be sampled and digitized requiring an analog to digital converter
preceding the filter. This greatly increases the circuit complexity and power consumption
at high speeds. On the other hand analog implementations remove the need for power
10
hungry data converters before equalization resulting in power savings. Continuous time
filters based on mg -C ladder and switch capacitor filters have been explored previously
for high speed applications, inherent problems like offset, charge leakage, mismatch in
analog implementations have been tackled using circuit, layout and improved fabrication
techniques [5, 6]. As the signal speed advances in to gigahertz range these analog
techniques are also ineffective calling for RF or microwave solutions. Transversal RF
filters using Silicon Germanium (SiGe) technology have been reported previously [7-9]
but no detailed information is provided about the circuit implementations. In [10] a
fractionally spaced equalizer was designed in a distributed traveling wave fashion using
passive transmission lines as delay elements. This design [59,66] is based upon a
commonly used SiGe technology with Tf =47 GHz using broadband amplifier for
implementing delay blocks and thus has the potential to be integrated in the whole
receiver integrated circuit for cost reduction.
The block diagram of a transversal filter is shown in figure 2.1. The input signal )(ty
is delayed by each delay element as it propagates through the filter. The delayed version
of the signal )( kTty ? (where k =1, 2, 3? are the tap coefficients and T is the period by
which the signal is delayed) are tapped along the delay line and summed to generate the
filter output. The transfer function of the integrated filter can be adaptively adjusted by
changing the tap coefficients (c(0)?c(k)) of its tap weights. Adjusting the tap weights it
is possible to adapt zeros to various frequencies and implement different filter
characteristics like notch, band pass, low pass and band reject. Changing the tap weights
affects only the locations of the zeros, while the poles of the programmable filter are
fixed. Hence, the filter is always stable.
11
? ?? ?c(0)
T T T
s(t) = ?c(k) y(t-kT) = c(t) * y(t)
c(k)c(1)
y(t) y(t-T) y(t-kT)
?
Filter
Input
Filter
Output
Figure 2.1 Block diagram of the transversal filter. T denotes the delay and ? denotes tap
weights.
2.2.1 Delay stage
Passive delay networks have losses associated with them and are bulky. Moreover,
passive delay networks are always narrowband and are not tunable on the fly and
consume large area on the die. Instead of using passive delay stages, active delay stages
can be used to overcome the above mentioned drawbacks of using passive delay lines.
Since a seven tap equalizer would require six delay amplifiers connected in series there is
a requirement for individual delay amplifiers to have broadband characteristics with high
cutoff frequency. As amplifier cells are cascaded, the total bandwidth at the output is
reduced according to the following equation
m n
ctot BWBW 12
1
?= (2.1)
where m is equal to two for first-order stages and four for second order stages and n is the
number of identical stages having bandwidth cBW [11]. For a seven tap equalizer with
12
six delay stages the individual delay stages need to have a bandwidth of at least 10 GHz
for an overall bandwidth of 3.5 GHz. It is helpful to apply the principle of impedance
mismatching between succeeding stages to improve the bandwidth, an example being a
chain of alternating transadmittance stage and transimpedance stages. Series shunt
cascaded Cherry-Hooper amplifier was chosen to implement the filter delay stages. As
shown in figure 2.2, Cherry-Hooper amplifier [12?14] is a cascade of two feedback
amplifiers, where the series feedback stage is a transconductance amplifier and shunt
feedback stage is a transimpedance amplifier. Transistor Q1 and resistor ER forms the
serial feed back stage. Transistor Q3 along with FR forms the shunt feedback stage.
13
Figure 2.2 Series?shunt broadband amplifier.
The input and output resistance of this serial feedback stage can be calculated as
Ebin RrrR ?pi ++= (2.2)
)1( Emoout RgrR += (2.3)
The input and output resistance of this shunt feedback stage can be calculated as
???
?
???
? +
???
?
???
? +=
L
F
m
b
in R
R
g
rR 11
? (2.4)
?
bF
m
out
rR
gR
++= 1 (2.5)
14
where br is the intrinsic base resistance, pir is the small signal resistance between the base
and the emitter and or is the output resistance of the transistor.
By cascading these two stages the high resistive input of the series feedback stage is
driven from a low resistance voltage output obtained from the shunt feedback stage.
Conversely, the low resistive input of the shunt feedback stage is driven from a high
resistance current output obtained from the serial feedback stage. Due to this all the
signal nodes have low resistance values yielding high frequency poles, which improves
the bandwidth of the amplifier, due to the low time constants associated with them. This
arrangement is advantageous since the impedance requirement will be automatically
satisfied at the input and output of the amplifier while cascading several such delay
stages. Emitter followers are used in between the delay stages for level shifting and
creating stronger impedance mismatch between succeeding stages to improve the
bandwidth. Another advantage of this impedance mismatch between succeeding stages is
that it causes all the nodes to have low resistance values and so the influence of parasitic
capacitance at those nodes are reduced. The input and output impedances of the amplifier
stages are frequency dependent and at high frequencies the impedance mismatching can
be degraded. To overcome this, additional elements can be used as shown in figure 2.3
(capacitors EF CC & ) in the feedback path to improve the bandwidth.
The degeneration and feedback capacitors EC and FC introduce zeros in the
frequency response and thereby maximize the amplifier bandwidth. Emitter degeneration
ER and EC at the transconductance pair creates the first zero. The pole caused by FR
15
and FC in the feedback path of the transimpedance pair creates the second zero. These
zeros enhance the bandwidth and eliminate the need for inductors.
Figure 2.3 Cherry?Hooper amplifier used to implement delay stages.
Figure 2.4 Block diagram of the amplifier cell.
16
Referred to figure 2.4, the transfer function of the Cherry?Hooper amplifier can be
approximated as
)1)(1(
)1)(1(
13
31
EmEEFFm
FmFFEEm
in
out
RgRCsRCsg
RgRCsRCsg
V
V
?+??+??+
?+??+??+=
(2.6)
where ER and EC are the degeneration resistance and capacitance respectively, FR and
FC are the shunt feedback resistance and capacitance respectively. Figure 2.3 shows the
simulated magnitude response of the amplifier. As shown in figure 2.5, the 3-dB cutoff
frequency of the amplifier is 10 GHz.
Figure 2.5 Magnitude response of the delay amplifier.
17
2.2.2 Gain stage
The function of the gain stage is to implement tap weight coefficients to adaptively
adjust the transfer function of the transversal filter. The tap weights should be
continuously adjustable between 0 and 1 and also be able to provide a phase shift of pi to
give negative tap coefficients. As shown in figure 2.6, the transversal filter tap with
programmable gain is implemented using the Gilbert variable gain amplifier. The use of
Gilbert cell to implement positive and negative tap coefficients was first reported in [15].
Transistors Q3, Q4, Q5 and Q6 form the gain control circuit. Signal Vagc is the
differential gain control input used to set the tap weights. For large values of Vagc the
entire current is steered to one of the top two differential pairs and the gain is either at its
most maximum or most minimum value. When the differential Vagc signal is zero then
the gain is zero. Tap weights are continuously adjustable between 0 and 1 of the CML
logic level (200 mV differential). Thus the variable gain stage is in fact, a variable loss
stage. Flipping the polarity of the gain control signal Vagc provides a phase shift of pi
that is needed for implementing negative tap coefficients. The degeneration resistors at
the emitters of transistors Q1 and Q2 are used to provide better linear voltage to current
conversion. The differential input signals are buffered with emitter followers biased with
constant currents. Buffers and the gain stage satisfy the impedance mismatching
condition between succeeding stages i.e. the Cherry-Hooper delay amplifiers, emitter
follower buffers and core differential pair of the gain stage.
Figure 2.7 shows the small signal model of the gain control circuit in the Gilbert cell.
The Gilbert cell is a current amplifier with the current gain transfer function given by
equation 2.7.
18
{ }
1
3
4
444
3
33
3443
)1(1)1(1
)1()1()(
?
??
???
??
??? +
???
?
???
? ++++
???
?
???
? ++
?+?+=
bmbm
bmbm
rscrscgrscrscg
rscgrscgsI
pi
pi
pipi
pi
pi
pipi
(2.7)
Finally the summation required in the transversal filter is performed in the current
mode. The output current signals of all the taps are tied together to an external pull up
resistor via a current buffer, which is a common-base amplifier formed by transistors Q7
and Q8 in figure 2.6. Figure 2.8 shows the simulated magnitude response of the Gilbert
variable gain amplifier. The 3-dB cutoff frequency of the amplifier is 14.5 GHz.
Figure 2.6 Tap weights implemented using Gilbert variable gain amplifier.
19
3pir 4pir
3?c 4?c
4pic3pic
33 pivg m 44 pivg m
br
ini
outi outi
br
Figure 2.7 Small signal model of the gain control circuit.
Figure 2.8 Magnitude response of the Gilbert variable gain amplifier.
2.3 Biasing blocks
Figure 2.9 shows the voltage reference bandgap circuit used in the design. The
current flowing through resistor R1 is determined by the beV (base to emitter voltage)
difference of transistors Q1 and Q2. This current has a PTAT (Proportional to Absolute
20
Temperature) dependence. The value of this current is chosen by the ratio of Q1 & Q2
and resistor R1. For this design, current of 100 A? was chosen, smaller current could be
chosen, but it would be more susceptible to noise. Having fixed the current the ratio of
Q1 & Q2 is selected as six. While any ratio could be chosen, it is recommended to keep
this value smaller than ten because the matching capabilities start to degrade as the area
spread becomes large [16].
PTAT
I
RatioTransistorVR T )ln(1 =
(2.8)
The value of R2 is chosen so that the current flowing through it has equal and
opposite temperature coefficient than that of R1 and can be calculated from the following
equation.
dT
VdR
dT
Id bePTAT )()(2/1()( =
(2.9)
)]([)(2/1()( 0 rbego
r
g
PTAT TVV
T
TVR
dT
Id ??=
(2.10)
where 0gV is bandgap voltage at zero Kelvin, )( rbe TV is beV at room temperature.
Having chosen the values of R1 and R2 we find in figure 2.9 that the current flowing
at the collector of Q1 is the sum of PTAT and IPTAT currents, and we have a constant
current at that node, the voltage drop across the resistor connected to the collector of Q1
(VQ1) is also temperature independent. However, Vref = VQ1 + beV (Q3). Assuming that
beV (Q3) and the beV of the bottom current transistors of bipolar CML circuits match,
Vref can be used to drive the base of those current transistors to provide a constant
voltage swing independent of temperature.
21
If we delete R2 then Vref becomes independent of temperature, and when used to
drive the base of the bottom current source transistors of bipolar amplifiers, would
provide constant transconductance.
Figure 2.9 First order band gap circuit used to drive the amplifiers on the chip.
Figure 2.10 shows the single ended to differential converter. The circuit takes a single
ended input and steers the current to one of the two transistors in the differential pair. The
output logic level is given by the product of the current and the load resistor.
22
Figure 2.10 Single ended to differential converter for the tap weights.
2.4 Prototype design and measured results
Figure 2.11 Block diagram of the transversal filter.
23
Figure 2.12 Fabricated transversal filter chip.
The 3.5 GHz transversal filter was implemented in a 45 GHz SiGe technology with a
total 2.16 mm 2 die area including the pads. The chip consumes 250 mW of power. The
filter RFIC includes a bandgap reference to provide temperature independent constant
current sources for the amplifiers. The filter RFIC also includes an input buffer, output
buffer and single ended to differential converter buffers. Figure 2.12 shows the die photo
of the transversal filter chip.
The frequency response of the integrated filter was measured using a vector network
analyzer. The measured filter transfer functions under different tap weights are shown in
figures 2.13 to 2.17. As can be seen from the measured results the transfer function of the
filter can be adaptively tuned by changing the tap weights. It can be noticed that by
changing the tap weights the filter is able to change the location of zeros in its transfer
function to implement different filter characteristics.
24
Figure 2.13 Filter transfer function with notches at 2.3 GHz and 3.3 GHz.
When the tap coefficients are set as -40, 75, -40, 75, -40, 75, 90 [mV], the magnitude
of the notch is -55 dB, which provides -37 dB notch rejection compared to the pass band
magnitude as shown in figure 2.13.
Figure 2.14 Measured filter transfer function with notch at 2 GHz.
25
When the filter coefficients are set as -85, 30, -20, 0, 30, 0, 0 [mV], the magnitude of
the notch is -43 dB, which provides -30 dB notch rejection compared to the pass band
magnitude as shown in figure 2.14.
Figure 2.15 Filter transfer function with band rejection from 2 to 2.7 GHz.
When the coefficients are set as 0, 60, 0, 25, 0, 100, 60 [mV], the filter achieves a
band-rejection of -20 dB from 2 GHz to 2.7 GHz as shown in figure 2.15.
Figure 2.16 Measured filter transfer function with notch at 2.3 GHz.
26
When the filter coefficients are set as 100, -10, -10, 0, 55, 0, 20 [mV], the magnitude
of the notch is -47 dB, which provides -33 dB notch rejection compared to the pass band
magnitude as shown in figure 2.16.
Figure 2.17 Filter transfer function with notches at 1.7 GHz and 2.9 GHz.
When the filter coefficients are set as 70, 0, -40, 0, -40, 35, 30 [mV], the magnitude of
the notch is -45 dB, which provides -35 dB notch rejection comparing to the pass band
magnitude as shown in figure 2.17.
2.5 Conclusions
A low power 3.5 GHz analog transversal filter in a 47 GHz SiGe technology has been
implemented. The RF filter utilizes cascaded Cherry-Hooper amplifiers for delay stages
and Gilbert variable gain amplifier for continuous gain tuning. The delay stage using
active devices greatly reduces the die area compared to passive delay lines. Measured
results show that by adjusting the tap coefficients, the integrated programmable filter chip
27
is capable to adapt zeros at various frequencies up to 3.5 GHz with various filter
characteristics. Thus the integrated transversal filter can be used to mimic the inverse
transfer function of dispersive communication channels for dispersion compensation. The
measured noise figure of the entire filter is 32 dB. It can also be used as a programmable
notch filter in wireless transceiver designs.
28
Chapter 3: Delay Analysis and Optimal Biasing for
Current Mode Logic Circuits
3.1. Introduction
This chapter presents a delay analysis for Current Mode Logic (CML) circuits
operating at the GHz range. The optimal biasing point for CML circuits is obtained
considering the circuit speed and power consumption. In recent years, modern
communication systems demand for high performance circuits has increased. Apart from
the required high frequency of operation, low power consumption has become an
important feature for wireless communication systems. In the design of these high
performance circuits, series gated two level transistor topologies such as current mode
logic and emitter coupled logic are typically used. A novel biasing strategy called ?Keep
alive? for CML topology is proposed to achieve improved performance in terms of speed
when the circuit is biased at 10% to 30% of the peak Tf current. The proposed biasing
scheme utilizes a regular bias that supports the normal CML operation and a small ?Keep
alive? bias that keeps the upper level transistors in ?ON? states for speed improvement.
The maximum speed of CML circuits is limited by the RC open circuit time constants
of the series gated latches and gates. It is therefore imperative to conduct a detailed study
of delay through CML topology and develop techniques to extract its maximum
performance. There are a few propagation delay models available in literature [18, 19,
and 20]. The model presented in [18] is derived using sensitivity analysis and the model
29
presented in [20] is based on linearization of the device which is complex for use during
pencil and paper design. The model presented in [19] has been used to evaluate the
performance of CML gate with ?Keep alive? biasing where the delay has been expressed
as sum of RC time constants derived from the small signal model of the gate.
While CMOS logic circuit still tends to dominate the field of digital integrated
circuits, it is not suitable for high speed designs as the turn on and turn off times limit its
maximum operational speeds. Since the rail-to-rail CMOS voltage swing is large (from
zero to power supply), the time taken to charge and discharge capacitors is also large.
Moreover, the rate of charge and discharge of capacitors in CMOS circuits is not
constant. The power consumption of CMOS circuits increases with frequency. The digital
switching noise associated with the CMOS logic circuit is also much larger than CML
circuits that use constant current sources. A better option for high-speed circuit designs
would be to use CML or ECL topologies. The main advantages of CML logic lies in its
high operation speed, its constant power consumption independent of operation
frequency. The CML voltage swing is small making it suitable for high speed and low
noise applications. Since its operation is normally differential, CML circuits generate less
noise and result in lower dynamic power dissipation. However the main disadvantage of
CML circuits is its static power dissipation. ECL gates consist of differential amplifier,
temperature and voltage compensated bias network, emitter follower output. The
operation of ECL circuits is similar to that of CML circuits. The power consumption in
ECL is larger than that of CML due to the presence of emitter followers at the input and
output.
30
3.2 Current mode logic: operation
A current mode logic gate in general consists of three components: pull up load
resistors, constant current source and logic analyzing Pull Down Network (PDN). Figure
3.1 shows the general diagram of the CML gate.
Figure 3.1 Current mode logic gate.
The input and outputs of the gate are differential, true and complement signals of all
logic inputs must be available to the gate. The pull down network then evaluates the logic
function and steers the current DCI to one of the two load resistors. The load resistor LR
connected to the current source through the pull down network then has a voltage drop of
DCL IRV ?=? across it. The other resistor has no current flowing through it and its
output node is held at VCC. The voltage swing seen across the two outputs differentially
is given by the voltage drop V? and is determined solely by the magnitude of the current
31
and the load resistors. This voltage swing is generally 200 to 400 mV. In mixed signal
designs there are many advantages of using CML logic style. Owing to the fact that the
switching takes place in current mode and the output logic levels are in the order of few
hundred millivolts they can achieve very high speeds (GHz range). In mixed signal
environments where analog and digital blocks are placed on the same substrate a constant
current supply from the power supply is highly desirable since substrate noise and dTdI
noise have become a serious issue in today?s chips. Substrate, supply and ground bounce
during switching of digital gates induce noise and can corrupt the single ended inputs as
its reference point changes due to the bounce. These effects are in negligible in CML
circuits in comparison with CMOS circuits since CML is a differential logic and
inherently rejects common mode noise. It has also been shown that for some high speed
applications the CML logic can consume less power than their CMOS counterparts while
maintaining all the benefits of a differential logic style mentioned above [23]. The energy
delay product for both the logic styles has been analyzed in [17, 21, 22, and 23]. The
equation for the energy delay product for CML logic using MOS transistors is reproduced
here [23].
Defining energy as the power delay product, N being the logic depth and C being the
load capacitance on the output node we have
ddCML VINPower ??= (3.1)
I
VCDelay
CML
??= (3.2)
ddCML VVCNEnergy ????= (3.3)
32
I
VVCNED dd
CML
????= 22 (3.4)
An interesting thing to note is that unlike CMOS logic the equation for the energy
delay product of a CML gate ( CMLED ) has no theoretical minimum value [23]. Since
CMLED is proportional to the square of the voltage swing V? and inversely proportional
to the current I, one could keep reducing CMLED by reducing V? or increasing I.
However, in practice the minimum swing required and maximum current allowed is
dictated by reliability and robustness required. Also CMLED is proportional to logic depth
N, and when compared to CMOS its performance degrades with increasing N. Since
CML logic will consume current even when it is not switching, it is not preferred for
gates operating at low frequencies, but for gates with high performance requirements
CML can achieve better energy delay and power delay requirements compared to CMOS.
3.3 Series gated CML topologies
In this section, some common CML gates used in mixed signal designs are presented
along with their advantages and disadvantages. Figure 3.2 shows two input NAND and
MUX gates. All CML logic functions have one current source and two load devices. The
pull down network used to analyze the logic function is designed using sets of differential
pairs.
In figure 3.2 one can see that AND, NAND, OR, NOR gates have the same circuit
structure. It is possible to realize those four gates just by changing the order of its inputs
and outputs. This is advantageous since all the four gates would have the same area,
33
power dissipation and propagation delay. This leads to better estimation of timing issues,
size and power consumption. This also reduces the need for Boolean manipulation to
obtain inverting logic. However, as the logic depth increases the levels of series stacked
differential pairs also increase calling for higher supply voltage and increase in static
power consumption. Hence, it is advisable to reduce the logic depth of the function and
restrict to three levels of logic per current tail.
Figure 3.2 AND/NAND/OR/NOR and MUX CML gates.
3.4 Delay analysis of CML gate
In this section, the delay time constants of a series gated CML D-latch, which is the
common basic building block of many switching circuits have been modeled. Figure 3.3
and figure 3.4 illustrate the circuit schematics of the D-latch and its small signal (half-
circuit) model. For worst case propagation delay, the upper level data inputs are set as
34
constant and a step input is provided at lower level clock transistors [19, 20]. The
analysis of the half circuit is sufficient for differential operations.
Figure 3.3 Schematic diagram of CML D-Latch.
35
3csc
5bcxc
5bcic
Figure 3.4 Small signal half circuit model of CML D-Latch.
The above figure is the small signal half circuit model of the CML D-Latch and the
delay through the gate can be expressed as the sum of RC time constants, assuming
dominant pole behavior. The open circuit time constants associated with various
capacitors can be derived from the equivalent circuit model shown in figure 3.4. The time
constants associated with lower transistors can be derived as
l
l
blel
elml
blel
l C
r
rrrg
rr
pi
pi
pi? +
++
+=
1 (3.5a)
36
bcil
elml
el
cbuu
euclml
bl
cbuu
eucl
bcil C
rg
rRrrrrg
r
Rrrrr
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
??
?
?
?
?
?
??
?
?
?
?
?
+
???
?
???
? +
+
++++
+
+??
?
?
???
?
+
++++
=
1
11
1
?
?
? pi
pi
(3.5b)
bcxl
cbuu
euclbcxl C
Rrrrr
???
?
???
?
+
++++=
1??
pi
(3.5c)
csl
cbuu
euclcsl C
Rrrrr ?
???
?
???
?
+
++++=
1??
pi (3.5d)
The time constants associated upper transistors are listed as
3
3
3
3 1
1
pi
pi
pi? C
rgm
?
???
?
???
? += (3.6a)
( ) 33 2 bcibucucbci CrrR ?++=? (3.6b)
( ) 33 2 bcxcucbcx CrR ?+=? (3.6c)
( ) 55 2 bcibucucbci CrrR ?++=? (3.6d)
( ) 55 2 bcxcucbcx CrR ?+=? (3.6e)
33 )( cscuccs CrR ?+=? (3.6f)
55 )( cscuccs CrR ?+=? (3.6g)
37
( ) 44 2 jeeubucje CrrR ?++=? (3.6h)
loadccload CR ?=? (3.6i)
where subscripts ?u? and ?l? denote upper and lower transistors and ?c?, ?b?, ?e? and ?s?
denote collect, base, emitter and substrate of the corresponding transistors. The delays
associated with upper and lower transistors can be found out by summing all the delays in
equation 3.5 and equation 3.6, respectively.
cslbclbcilllower +++t ???? pi= (3.7a)
cloadjecscs
bcxbcibcxbciupper
++
+t
????
????? pi
++
+++=
453
55333
(3.7b)
( )upperlowertotal ttt +?= 69.0 (3.7c)
The capacitances used in equations 3.5 and 3.6 are assumed to be constants when bias
current varies, which is a good approximation when the swing is restricted to 150 mV.
3.5 Optimum biasing for CML circuits
Figure.3.5 plots the gate propagation delay with respect to the bias current normalized
to the peak Tf current using equations 3.7a, 3.7b and 3.7c. It comes as no surprise that
the optimum biasing current to provide minimum delay is indeed the transistor peak Tf
current. According to figure 3.5, it is obvious that there is not much speed improvement
obtained by increasing the biasing current beyond 60% of the peak Tf current [19].
Biasing the circuit close to the peak Tf current may cause the actual bias current to go
38
beyond the peak Tf current under temperature, supply and process variations, which
leads to speed penalty as the result of current crowding and the conductivity modulation
effects in the base region.
Unless absolutely high speed of operation is required, it is a good practice, to bias the
CML circuit at 60% of the peak Tf current to save unnecessary power consumption.
Figure 3.5 shows that biasing the CML circuits at 40% of the peak Tf current (the circled
region in the figure) can achieve about 80% of the maximum speed that corresponds to
the peak Tf current.
Figure 3.5 CML D-latch delay versus normalized bias current.
Also it can be seen from the above figure that the optimum bias current to give
minimum delay is not the same for both upper and lower level transistors. The lower
transistors have minimum delay at a lower bias current than the upper transistors. This is
39
evident from the fact that the upper transistors have more time constants associated with
it. In the following section, a CML biasing technique is presented. The proposed biasing
scheme utilizes a regular bias that supports the normal CML operation and a small ?Keep
alive? bias that keeps the upper level transistors in ?ON? states for speed improvement
when the circuit is biased at 10% to 30% of the peak Tf current.
3.6 ?Keep alive? biasing technique
The delay model developed in the previous sections can be used to optimize CML
circuit to further improve circuit performance in terms of power consumption and speed
[62].
A dependence of CML latch delays on bias current is illustrated in figure 3.6. It is
evident that the CML latch delay is dominated by the delay associated with the upper
transistors. Note that the delay contributed by the upper level transistors decreases much
faster than that contributed by the lower level transistors when the biasing current
increases. In other words, increasing biasing current can dramatically reduce the delay at
upper level transistors, yet there is not much effect for the delay improvement for lower
level transistors. Hence, reducing the delay due to upper level transistors is critical to
improve CML switching speed.
40
Figure 3.6 CML latch delays versus bias current.
Based on the previous discussion, it is intuitive that there will be a speed
improvement if the circuit is biased in a manner, such that after the clock signal arrives
the upper level transistors have slightly higher bias currents than the lower level
transistors. The total bias current remains the same. The only difference from
conventional CML biasing arrangement is that the biasing currents are split such that the
upper level transistors are biased at slightly higher current than the lower level ones. For
instance, the bias currents can be reduced by about 20% for the lower level clock
transistors and supply the extra current to the upper level data transistors. Figure 3.7
shows a D-flip-flop biased in such a manner. This biasing technique is named as ?Keep
alive? since there will always be a small amount of bias current flowing through the
upper level transistors, keeping them alive in slightly ?turn-ON? states regardless of the
clock and data. The main advantage of this type of biasing arrangement is that the data
41
transistors are always slightly ?ON? independent of clock signal. As a result, the
capacitors associated with the upper level transistors, which are the dominant contributors
to the CML propagation delay, will be charged to a certain level. When the clock signal
arrives, it takes relatively less time for the capacitors to reach their steady state values.
Moreover, optimization can also be performed in terms of transistor sizing for upper and
lower transistors.
Figure 3.7 "Keep alive" biasing technique for CML D-latch.
3.7 Simulation results
The CML circuits with the proposed ?Keep alive? biasing scheme has been simulated
in a 47 GHz SiGe technology. A divided-by-two circuit is chosen to test the performance
of the proposed CML D-latch. The propagation delay through a divide-by-two circuit
42
without a ?Keep alive? is about 96 ps, as shown in the figure 3.8 and the propagation
delay through the circuit with a ?Keep alive? is about 85 ps, as shown in figure 3.9.
Hence, a speed improvement of about 11% is achieved by using the proposed ?Keep
alive? biasing scheme.
Figure 3.8 Propagation delay without "Keep alive" biasing.
43
Figure 3.9 Propagation delay with "Keep alive" biasing.
3.8 Conclusion
The delay of a CML circuit is modeled in terms of its delay elements such as
transistor junction capacitances. The contribution of these individual delay elements to
the final propagation delay is analyzed to explore circuit and device optimization. Also
studied are, optimal biasing and a novel ?Keep alive? biasing scheme for CML circuits to
be used in high speed and low power applications.
44
Chapter 4: Voltage Controlled LC Oscillators
4.1 Oscillator basics
An oscillator is a circuit that takes in DC power and noise as input and generates a
periodic signal as the output.
Based on the implementation, oscillators can be classified as crystal oscillators,
resonator based oscillators, ring oscillators, relaxation oscillator etc. In this chapter, we
will confine ourselves to LC oscillators.
To predict whether the oscillator will start and produce a periodic signal it can be
modeled as linear feedback system as shown below. Even though oscillators operate in
weakly or strongly nonlinear regions linear analysis of the oscillation conditions provides
sufficient design insights for reliable start up.
( )?jH
( )?? j
( )?jX ( )?jY
Figure 4.1 Feedback model for analyzing oscillator start up conditions.
45
The transfer function of the model shown in figure 4.1 is given by equation 4.1.
( )
( )
( )
( ) ( )???
?
?
?
jjH
jH
jX
jY
+= 1 (4.1)
Known as Barkhausen conditions [24], the conditions for steady state oscillations are :
( ) ( ) 1=??? jjH (4.2)
the above equation is known as the gain condition for steady state oscillations to occur.
The above equation states the necessary conditions for steady state self sustaining
oscillation to occur but not for oscillator start up. It is desirable that once powered up the
circuit starts oscillating due to the noise in the circuit. In order to ensure reliable start up
the open loop gain of the feedback system in figure 4.1 must be greater than unity. The
gain condition for reliable start up is given by equation 4.3.
( ) ( ) 1>??? jjH (4.3)
Once the oscillation has started the open loop gain reduces to unity through
mechanisms like self limiting or amplitude control. The other Barkhausen condition is
known as the phase condition and is given as
( ) ( ) ( ) ?+=? 18012mjjH ??? (4.4)
The total open loop phase shift must be (2m+1)180 degrees where m is an integer. An LC
oscillator can be modeled as a linear feedback system as shown in figure 4.2.
46
mg
Figure 4.2 Linear feedback model of an oscillator.
The transfer function ( )?jH is given by the transconductance mg and the feedback
transfer function ( )?? j is given by the tank formed by inductor PL , capacitor PC and
their associated losses PR .
The tank transfer function can be calculated as
( )
P
o
o
P
P
QjR
Rj
???
?
???
?
?
?+=
??
???? 221
(4.5)
where
PP
o CL
1=? is the oscillation frequency and
PQ is the tank quality factor given
by
P
P
PP L
CRQ = (4.6)
at the oscillation frequency the open loop gain is Pm Rg and for reliable start up
P
m Rg
1> at least by factor of three to four.
47
In negative resistance modeling of the LC oscillator the transconductor with positive
feedback is modeled as negative resistance of
mg
1? to compensate the losses in
resonator.
4.1.1 Integrated inductors
The resonator quality factor PQ is a very important physical parameter that greatly
influences the performance of an oscillator. Oscillators with high quality factor resonators
have lower phase noise and lower power consumption and higher tuning range. In most
fabrication processes, below certain oscillation frequency (less than 40 GHz) the quality
factor of the tank is dominated by the inductor quality factor.
During the past decade, implementation of high performance transceivers employed
off chip inductors due their high quality factor. However, with the advancement of
technology it is possible to integrate high Q inductors on chip. Planar inductors are
widely used today because of ease of fabrication despite their large area. Integrated
inductors and its parasitics are modeled as lumped RLC circuit to facilitate simulations
during design. Figure 4.3 shows the lumped pi model of the inductor [25, 26].
48
L
SR
PC
OXC OXC
SUBR SUB
R
SUBC SUBC
Figure 4.3 pi model of the inductor.
L is the series inductance and sR characterizes the series resistance of the metal
caused by finite conductivity, skin effects and current crowding. PC is the capacitive
coupling between turns of the inductor and OXC is the capacitance between the metal and
the substrate. SUBR and SUBC model the ohmic losses and capacitance in the substrate.
The purpose of modeling an inductor is to determine how the quality factor changes with
frequency. The inductance L which is the main property of the inductor is determined by
the magnetic field induced when an alternating current flows through the metal layer. The
amount of the magnetic energy stored is determined by the magnetic flux density of the
induced magnetic field. However, part of the transmitted energy is energy lost as heat
caused by the resistance in the metal layer sR . The substrate also presents a major loss
mechanism. The electrical energy stored in the inductor is coupled to the substrate
through the capacitor OXC . The changing magnetic field of the inductor also induces an
49
alternating current in the substrate in the opposite direction, which reduces the effective
inductance and increases the effective series resistance. To overcome these loss
mechanisms modern fabrication processes provide five to six metal layers with thick top
metal layers for inductors. Placing an insulating shield beneath the inductor has been
shown to reduce the substrate losses and improve the quality factor [27, 28].
4.1.2 Frequency and tuning range
The frequency of oscillation can be varied by varying the capacitance PC in the tank
of figure 4.2. Typically varactors are implemented using junction diodes or MOS
transistors. Typical capacitance characteristics of these varactors are shown in figure 4.4
below.
Figure 4.4 C-V characteristics of junction diode and MOS varactors.
The ratio maximal to minimal capacitance is an important parameter while designing
an oscillator. The tank capacitance PC consists of the varactor capacitance varC and
parasitic capacitance parC . The varactor capacitance can be varied by a DC voltage
50
applied across it. The Q of a varactor is also an important part of the resonator and for
MOS varactors Q improves with technology scaling [29, 30]. Technology scaling
however brings in other design constraints like reduced power supply and break down
voltages. This also deteriorates the ratio of maximal to minimal capacitance provided by
the varactor and the linearity of the capacitance versus voltage curve (C-V curve) of the
varactor.
At low supply voltages one of the methods to improve the tuning range and overcome
the non linearity of the C-V curve is to digitally control the varactor. This technique
along with its design complications are discussed in a future chapter.
4.1.3 Power dissipation
The power dissipation in an oscillator is largely influenced by Q of the resonator and
the amplitude of the output swing required. The output swing is proportional to the
impedance offered by the tank and the current generated by the bias circuitry of the
oscillator. The output swing is also determined by the topology of the oscillator and its
amplitude limiting mechanism. This also has strong implications for the phase noise
performance of the oscillator as will be discussed later. In general, it is desirable to have
large amplitude of oscillation to completely switch the LO inputs of up/down conversion
mixer and dividers. In practical designs oscillators are designed to provide a swing
between half and rail to rail. Current needed to generate such amplitude is largely
influenced by the Q of the resonator and the topology of the oscillator.
51
4.1.4 Phase
Many modern transceiver architectures require quadrature signals, while some
requiring more than two phases. Oscillators can provide single phase or multiphase
outputs. There are many ways of generating multiple phase outputs. Multiple phase
outputs are inherently available in ring oscillators but have poor phase noise
performance. LC oscillators have superior phase noise performance compared to ring
oscillators. If accurate multiphase signals with low phase noise are required then LC
oscillators are the best option for a given transceiver design. Theory and circuits for the
design of multiphase LC oscillators are discussed in the next chapter.
4.1.5 Phase noise
Practical oscillators have passive and active devices that generate noise. This noise
can be viewed as an essential component as it serves as the input for the oscillator. In an
ideal oscillator the noise is shaped and amplified at the resonance frequency o? to
generate a periodic signal. However, in a practical oscillator the noise power close to the
resonance frequency is also amplified by the loop gain of the oscillator and the output
signal spectrum has its power distributed around the resonance frequency o? in addition
to the power located at the harmonic frequencies. This undesired shaping and
amplification of noise around the resonance frequency is called phase noise.
52
o? ??
( )?? ?
o?
Figure 4.5 Phase noise in practical oscillators.
Phase noise ( )?? ? is expressed as the ratio of the signal power at a particular offset
frequency ?? from the oscillation frequency o? to the signal power at the oscillation
frequency.
( ) ( )( ) ?
?
?
??
? ?+=?
o
o
P
P
?
???? log10 (4.7)
where ( )?? ?+oP is measured in a 1 Hz bandwidth.
4.2 Review of phase noise models
Modeling phase noise in oscillators has been a subject of theoretical and experimental
research for a long time. Phase noise models can be broadly classified under time variant
and time invariant models. An oscillator spectrum has phase noise side bands with three
major regions as shown in figure 4.6.
53
3
1
f
2
1
f
0
1
f
o? ??ff1
Figure 4.6 Phase noise spectrum.
The dominant part of the phase noise plot is the 21f region with slope of -6
dB/octave and results from the noise shaping of the noise sources in the oscillator. This
region starts at f1 noise corner frequency ff1 and continues till the noise floor. The
3
1
f region is due to the up converted f1 noise of the devices in to phase noise and has
a slope of -9 dB/octave that continues till ff1 [31].
4.2.1 Leeson?s phase noise model [32]
One of the early phase noise models for oscillators was given by Leeson in 1966 [32].
The semi empirical equation set up by Leeson for thermally induced phase noise is given
by the equation 4.8.
54
( ) ??
?
?
???
?
?
?+
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
???
?
???
?
?+=? ?
?
?
??? 312 1
21
2log10 fo
sig QP
FKT
21 f
31 f
(4.8)
Where K is Boltzmann constant, T is the absolute temperature, sigP is the signal power, Q
is tank quality factor, o? is the signal frequency and ?? is the frequency offset. F is an
unspecified noise ?fit? factor that depends on the oscillator topology. 31 f?? is the
flicker noise corner frequency between the regions 31f and 21f shown as ff1 in the
phase noise plot. The above equation shows two important ways to reduce phase noise.
First is to increase the signal power or the oscillation amplitude. For practical oscillators
the maximum allowable amplitude is limited by the power supply voltage or the break
down voltage of the devices. The other more effective way is to increase the tank quality
factor Q. Leeson?s formulae includes many properties of real oscillators like the -6 dB
per octave region of the phase noise. -9 dB per octave region of the phase noise is
described empirically but no insight is provided into the flicker noise up conversion.
Leeson?s model is a linear time invariant model. In practice, bias conditions vary
significantly as the oscillator works in a nonlinear mode and many nonlinear phase noise
generation mechanisms are added to the total phase noise.
4.2.2 Rael and Abidi phase noise model [33]
Rael and Abidi [33] proposed a nonlinear time invariant approach to the analysis of
phase noise of cross-coupled LC oscillators. This model takes into account the resonator
55
noise, tail current noise and the noise of the switching differential pair. In the analysis
they model the switching differential pair as a mixer [34] to explain the up conversion
and down conversion of noise from the tank and active devices into phase noise. The
cross-coupled differential pair is treated like a mixing pair that down converts the noise
from the harmonics and up converts the white noise sources from tank and active devices
to contribute to the phase noise at the fundamental. This analysis leads to Leeson?s like
formulae for the thermally induced phase noise which is given by
( )
2
2 2
4
???
?
???
?
?=? ?
???
QV
kTRF o
o
P (4.9)
where F is the noise factor and is given by
Pmbias
o
biasP Rg
V
IRF ?
pi
?
9
882 ++= (4.10)
where PR is the parallel resistor representing the loss of the resonator, oV is the peak
voltage across the resonator, mbiasg is the transconductance of the tail current source and
? is the thermal noise factor of the MOSFET which is typically 32 . The first term in the
noise factor F arises from the resonator (it is an integer because the total noise has been
normalized to the noise from the resonator), the second term arising from the switching
differential pair and the third term comes from the transistor used to provide the tail
current. At low bias currents the output voltage oV is solely determined by the magnitude
of the tail current and PR and is given by( ) biasP IRpi4 . In this region of operation, known
as current limited region oV increases with biasI and phase noise improves with 2oV as
shown by equation 4.9. After oV is clipped to its maximum value due to any amplitude
56
limiting mechanisms the oscillator enters voltage limited region and further increase in
the bias current biasI does not increase the output amplitude thereby increasing the noise
factor F (equation 4.10) and degrading the phase noise. Assuming that the oscillator is
operating in current limited region and it is biased with an ideal noise less current source,
the noise factor F reaches its theoretical minimum value given by (2+2? ). Also this
theory revealed an interesting fact that the noise factor F is independent of transistor size
or the transconductance of the cross-coupled pair. Besides arriving at the same
conclusions implied by Leeson?s model regarding phase noise improvement, this theory
also provides important design insights between active device dimensions and the noise
factor F and also shows the importance of operating the oscillator, in a current limited
regime rather than a voltage limited regime.
4.2.3 Hajmiri?s phase noise model [38-40]
The main difference between the previous models and this model is that it is time
varying in nature. It also assumes a linear relation as far as noise to phase noise transfer
function is concerned. The basic idea behind this theory is that the noise sources injecting
charge in to the tank have different impact on the out put phase depending on the instant
of the output time period. This is characterized by the Impulse Sensitivity Function ISF
( ? ) which measures the phase sensitivity of each point of the output wave form when
injected by small current impulse as shown in the figure 4.7.
57
Figure 4.7 (a) minimum ISF ( ? ) (b) maximum ISF ( ? ).
Prediction of phase noise using this theory consists of two steps. First is to estimate
the phase shift ?? occurring at the oscillation node when a current impulse is injected.
( ) ( ) qqtVVt ??=??=? ??? (4.11)
where V? and q? are the voltage variation and charge variation on an oscillation node
with initial voltage V and charge q. ? is the impulse sensitivity function. It is frequency
independent, amplitude independent, dimension less quantity and has time period of pi2 .
The second is to include the cyclo-stationary properties of noise sources. This is done by
multiplying ( )t?? with ( )t?? .
( ) ( ) ( )ttteff ???? ?=? (4.12)
where ( )t?? is a dimensionless periodic quantity with maximum value of unity.
Analyzing the impact of noise sources over a time period gives the phase noise
expression as
( ) ? ???=?
n
nrmsn
m
iqf 2 ,22
max
22
1
8
1
pi?? (4.13)
58
where rms? is the RMS value of eff? and can be calculated by the equation 4.14.
( )dxxeffrms ? ?=? pipi 2
0
22
2
1 (4.14)
Accurate determination of 2rms? is necessary for accurate prediction of phase noise in
this model. For design and trade off purposes this model is not very useful as the
determination of rms? is a time consuming process requiring many transient simulations
on a circuit simulator. The advent of RF simulators like Spectre has displaced ISF as a
simulation tool. An important aspect of this theory is its ability to predict the ff1 corner
frequency of the oscillator given the ff1 frequency of the devices. Although a time
varying theory is needed to predict the oscillator phase noise accurately, many design
insights that have been provided by phase noise theories [35-40] using time varying
aspects, have been explained by using the time invariant models proposed by Abidi and
Leeson with reasonable accuracy between phase noise values obtained by time invariant
modeling and measurements.
4.3 A 25 GHz oscillator in SiGe BiCMOS technology
A microwave integrated LC VCO has been designed in IBM BiCMOS 8HP
technology. High Q inductors and varactors are essential at this frequency for reliable
start up and low phase noise. At this frequency previously discussed issues namely skin
effect and current crowding reduces the self resonant frequency and quality factor of the
inductor. The above losses become more significant as the frequency increases. The
losses due to skin effect are proportional to f , the conductance of the parasitic
59
capacitors also increases with f , the quality factor of the inductor given by Q ?LRsub=
also reduces with frequency. The varactor has a Q of around 70 and the overall resonator
Q is mainly limited by the inductor. To address these problems IBM SiGe technology
offers transmission line inductors with thick metallization made of aluminum with two
options: (i) a mesh of deep trench isolation under the inductor metal layer to isolate the
inductor from the substrate and increase subR (ii) a metallic mesh placed beneath the
inductor that serves to reduce the value of subR . It can be shown that the lossy power
dissipation in the substrate subP depends on frequency and reaches a maximum
when ( ) 1?= ?subsub CR . Hence at high operating frequency of 25 GHz it is preferable to
increase the value of subR to minimize the loss mandating for deep trench isolation under
the transmission line.
The circuit diagram of the oscillator is shown in figure 4.8. The oscillator core
consists of cross-coupled transistors Q1 and Q2 to generate a negative resistance of
mg2? . This negative resistance cancels the losses in the resonator and other losses due
to the cascaded buffers. The inductors L1 and L2 are implemented as micro strip lines
made of top level metal which is aluminum with layer thickness of 4 m? . The inductors
have dimension of 350 m? * 25 m? and provide an inductance of 250 pH with a Q of
around 10 at 25 GHz. At low frequencies the Q of the inductor is limited primarily due to
the resistance of the metal layer, at high frequencies, Q degradation is dominated by the
loss mechanisms caused by the substrate [41]. To minimize the Q dependence on the
substrate resistivity, the tank was placed on top of a lattice of high resistance deep trench
isolation to minimize the current injected into the substrate. The varactors used are hyper
60
abrupt junction varactors provided in the design kit and have a capacitance of 115 fF in
the design. The base of the transistors Q1 and Q2 are biased from an external source. DC
block capacitors are placed between the base and the collectors to prevent the transistors
from entering in to deep saturation. The output buffers are terminated with 50 ohm
external resistors. The phase noise was measured using the phase noise utility software in
the Agilent 8563EC spectrum analyzer. The oscillator core consumes 10 mA current and
the buffers consume 8.8 mA current from a 3.3 V supply. The measured phase noise is
around -83 dBc/Hz at 500 KHz offset from 25 GHz carrier. The oscillation frequency can
be tuned from 23.8 GHz to 26.3 GHz. Table 4.1 summarizes the oscillator performance.
Figure 4.9 shows the fabricated die and figures 4.10 and 4.11 show the phase noise plots
of the oscillator.
Figure 4.8 25 GHz oscillator circuit diagram.
61
Supply voltage 3.3 V
Oscillation frequency 25 GHz
Tuning range 10%
Core current 10 mA
Buffer current 8.8 mA
Phase noise @ 500 KHz -82.5 dBc/Hz
Output power -30 dBm
Area 560 m? *205 m?
FOM -162 dBc/Hz
Table 4.1 Measured performance of the 25 GHz Oscillator.
Figure 4.9 25 GHz oscillator die photo.
62
Figure 4.10 Oscillator phase noise plot from 23.8 GHz carrier.
Figure 4.11 Oscillator phase noise plot from 25 GHz carrier.
63
4.4 A 1.5 GHz cryogenic oscillator in SiGe BiCMOS technology
A 1.5 GHz oscillator was designed in SiGe BiCMOS process. It consists of cross-
coupled negative transconductance pair (Q1-Q2) and LC tank. In order for the oscillation
to occur, the VCO has to satisfy the following oscillation condition:
k
oscm Rg
tan
,
?? (4.15)
where kRtan is the effective resistance (loss) of the tank and ? is an empirical parameter
with value from three to five to provide design margin for reliable VCO startup.
The tank consists of 5 nH inductors and junction diode varactors. The simulated Q is
around 18 at room temperature and 1.5 GHz. The oscillator output is fed in to a chain of
CML dividers which divides the signal by 64 to generate a 20 MHz output.
The die shown in figure 4.12 has been wire-bonded in a 40 pin DIP package and
tested in a cryogenic chamber. Figure 4.13 shows the oscillator output spectrum at 1.4
GHz. The output power delivered to a 50 ohm load is -12 dBm. Figure 4.14 shows the
output of the dividers which divide the oscillator output by 64 to generate 22 MHz
output. The oscillation frequency versus temperature is shown in figure 4.15, the
oscillation frequency increases with decreasing temperature. The measured phase noise at
1 MHz offset is around -124 dBc/Hz from 22 MHz carrier. The die consumes 3 mm 2 of
area.
64
Figure 4.12 Die photo of the 1.5 GHz oscillator.
Figure 4.13 Output frequency at room temperature is 1.4 GHz, tuning voltage is 3 V.
65
Figure 4.14 Output frequency of divide-by-64 is 21.88 MHz.
Figure 4.15 Frequency versus tuning voltage at different temperatures.
66
Supply voltage 3.3 V
Core current at 180 o C 6 mA
Oscillation frequency 1.42 ? 1.58 GHz
Divider range 22.5-24.6 MHz
Phase noise @ 1 MHz -125 dBc/Hz
FOM -139 dBc/Hz
Output power -12 dBm
Table 4.2 Measured performance of the 1.5 GHz Oscillator.
4.5 Conclusions
This chapter presented basic design theory of oscillators and review of popular
phase noise models followed by design of two single phase oscillator designs operating at
high speed of 25 GHz and 1.5 GHz and their measured results.
67
Chapter 5: Multiple Phase LC Oscillators
5.1 Introduction
Many modern transceiver architectures require multiphase signals. Figure 5.1 shows
direct conversion receiver architecture where the signal from the antenna is fed to
quadrature mixer and directly down converted followed by low pass filter.
to?sin
to?cos
Figure 5.1 Direct conversion receiver architecture.
o90
tA RFRF ?cos
tA IMIM ?cos
tLO?sin
tLO?cos
Figure 5.2 Image reject receiver architecture.
68
While implementing phase and frequency modulations the direct conversion receiver
must have quadrature mixing. This is facilitated by quadrature LO signals generated from
the oscillator. Phase and amplitude errors between the quadrature signals set the
acceptable bit error rate by corrupting the down converted signal constellation. In the
image reject receiver shown in figure 5.2 the problem of image suppression is tackled
through signal manipulation unlike filtering technique in heterodyne architectures. There
are mainly two types of image reject receiver architectures namely Hartley (figure 5.2)
and Weaver. In this architecture, perfect canceling of the image requires perfect
quadrature signals. Phase mismatches in the quadrature signals results in incomplete
cancellation of the image and corrupts the down converted signal, which is not entirely
avoidable in reality. The ratio of down converted desired signal to the down converted
image signal is denoted by Image Rejection Ratio (IRR). A formula to calculate the IRR
for a given phase and amplitude mismatches of quadrature signals is given in [57].
There are various ways to generate quadrature signals: (i) a divide-by-two frequency
divider following the VCO running at the double the LO frequency. This approach
generally shows poor phase noise and quadrature accuracy, as it requires 50% duty cycle
VCO. (ii) A VCO followed by a passive polyphase RC complex filter. An integrated
polyphase network is narrowband with poor quadrature accuracy. It suffers from process
variation on the RC time constants that lead to amplitude imbalance between the
quadrature signals. A typical RC phase filter also loads the VCO and has large loss, such
that, a power hungry buffer is needed after the filter. (iii) Two oscillators are forced to
run in quadrature using transistor or transformer coupling. This technique provides
69
wideband quadrature accuracy and superior phase noise performance with tradeoff of
increased power and silicon area.
By coupling two symmetric LC tank oscillators to each other, a quadrature VCO
(QVCO) generates wideband quadrature signals at high frequency. There are various
ways to couple the two oscillators and inject-lock their oscillation frequency. The most
common QVCO topology shown in figure 5.3 which is the parallel coupled topology,
proposed by Rofougaran et al. [42], where each oscillator consists of a cross-coupled
feedback circuit and each oscillator output is connected to another oscillator using
transistors in parallel to the cross-coupled transistors. The Parallel QVCO (P-QVCO)
delivers quadrature signals with low phase and amplitude errors, yet it consumes large
current to bias both the oscillation and coupling transistors.
Figure 5.3 Parallel coupled quadrature oscillator.
Oscillators can also be serially coupled by placing the coupling transistors in series
with the oscillation transistors [43]. By connecting the coupling transistors in series in a
cascode current reuse topology, the Serial QVCO (S-QVCO) reduces the noise from the
70
cascode devices and provides better isolation between the VCO outputs and its current
sources. The two QVCO topologies have been compared in [44]. For the pure MOSFET
S-QVCO, the coupling transistors should be about five times larger than the oscillation
transistors for good phase noise. For optimal coupling, the P-QVCO appears to have
better quadrature amplitude and phase matching. However, under optimal coupling, the
S-QVCO achieves better phase noise. In the P-QVCO and S-QVCO reported so far, the
same types of transistors have been used for oscillation and coupling.
5.2 A 5 GHz low power series coupled BiCMOS quadrature
VCO with wide tuning range
This design [58] presents a QVCO implemented in a 47 GHz SiGe technology. The
proposed QVCO is a serially coupled LC VCO that utilizes SiGe HBTs for oscillation
and MOSFETs for coupling. The oscillation NPN transistors achieve high oscillation
frequency and low phase noise, while the NMOS coupling transistors provide more
headroom, better isolation and increased tuning range.
The S-QVCO circuit is illustrated in figure 5.4, in which the NPN transistors Q1 and
Q2 form a cross-coupled negative transconductance LC VCO and Q3 and Q4 form
another identical LC VCO. The coupling between the two oscillators is realized using
four NMOS transistors M1, M2, M3 and M4. Thus, S-QVCO utilizes different types of
transistors for oscillation and coupling. The advantages of this technique will be
discussed in the coming paragraphs.
Compared to a P-QVCO, the S-QVCO achieves lower current consumption, since the
coupling and oscillation transistors share the same bias current. In a P-QVCO, the
71
coupling pair of transistors usually consumes an additional 25% to 30% of the core
oscillator current for reasonable compromise between phase noise and phase error. In an
S-QVCO, the coupling transistors are in series with the ? mg transistors. Additional
current sources are not required for coupling transistors, resulting in considerable power
saving. Also, the coupling and oscillation transistors are connected in a cascode manner
such that the noise coming from the coupling transistors and current sources are isolated.
The phase noise and phase error are relatively independent of each other in this topology.
However, under the same voltage supply, the S-QVCO has less voltage headroom for
output swing due to the coupling transistors.
Previously, the same types of transistors were used in the S-QVCO topology. As
known, NPN transistors can achieve higher oscillation frequency due to enhanced maxf of
the transistor. On the other hand, NMOS transistors have higher output impedance,
reduced voltage headroom, and much relaxed bias requirements compared to their
Bipolar Junction Transistors (BJT) counterparts. Since both types of transistors are
available in a BiCMOS technology, the advantages of both types can be combined to
achieve better QVCO performance.
72
VCC
Vtune
M1
Q1
M4M3M2
Q4Q3Q2
Ibias Ibias
Vbias
Figure 5.4 Proposed S-QVCO circuit schematic using NPN for oscillation and NMOS for
coupling.
By using NPN transistors for oscillation, high oscillation frequency can be achieved
and by using MOS transistors for coupling, higher voltage headroom can be provided for
output swing due to the reduced headroom required by the MOS transistors. Moreover,
better isolation between the current source and oscillation tank can be achieved due to the
large output impedance of the MOS transistors. In the proposed S-QVCO, the MOS
coupling transistors are directly connected to the VCO output nodes, providing a much
easier biasing scheme.
In the S-QVCO design, the NPN transistor size is chosen for maximum speed and the
bias current is selected to provide the transconductance of
k
oscm Rg
tan
,
?? (5.1)
73
where kRtan is the effective resistance (loss) of the tank and ? is an empirical parameter
with value from three to five to provide design margin for reliable VCO startup. The
oscillation frequency is given by ( ) 12 ?= vosc LCf pi , where vC is the capacitance of the
varactors. The frequency tuning range can be found as
min
max
vp
vp
CC
CC
FTR +
+
=
(5.2)
where PC is the fixed capacitance seen across the tank. This fixed capacitance is made
up of the parasitic capacitance of the inductor, varactor, capacitance contributed by the
coupling transistors and oscillating transistors. At high frequencies this fixed capacitance
can contribute in a large portion to the overall capacitance and limit the tuning range and
maximum attainable oscillation frequency. To first order the fixed capacitance provided
by the oscillating transistor for the P-QVCO is ?pi CC 22 + for the bipolar version and
gd
gs CC 2
2 + for the MOS version.
The total fixed capacitance seen across the LC tank for S-QVCO and P-QVCO shown
in figure 5.4 and figure 5.3 are given by:
)(222 gdgsgsgd
gsgdgs
p CCCCCC
CCCCCC
++++= pipi
pi
?
(5.3)
???
?
???
?
+++= gsgd
gsgd
gsgdp CC
CCCCC
2
12
(5.4)
As can be seen from the above equations the use of MOS transistors for coupling in
serial fashion reduces the fixed parasitic capacitance seen across the tank due to the
74
increased capacitive degeneration ( gsC and gdC ) at the emitter terminals of the mg?
pairs. This enables more tuning range and maximum attainable oscillation frequency. At
high frequencies where the influence of parasitics becomes dominant the S-QVCO
should be a better topology for quadrature signal generation compared to the P-QVCO.
The NMOS coupling transistors are sized such that, they provide about the same mg
as that of the NPN transistors. This balances the load impedance of the tanks, which leads
to smaller quadrature phase/amplitude errors and improves the phase noise as well. While
the above argument would also be valid if bipolar transistors are used for coupling
instead of MOS, the fully bipolar version would require current consuming level shifters
and the power saving advantage of this current reuse S-QVCO topology compared to P-
QVCO would be lost.
The 5 GHz serially coupled quadrature oscillator was implemented in a 47 GHz SiGe
BiCMOS technology with four metal layers. The circuit consumes an area of 0.88 2mm
as shown in figure 5.5. The layout is suboptimal since the long interconnect between the
two corner inductors introduces harmful parasitic resistance. The tank uses a pair of on-
chip inductors with an inductance of 971 pH and a Q of approximately 12 at 5 GHz. The
two varactors are implemented as a collector base diode and exhibit a Q of around 50 at 5
GHz. The VCO core consumes 6 mA of current from 3.3 V supply. As shown in figure
5.6 and 5.7, the quadrature oscillator achieves phase noise of -114.3 dBc/Hz @ 2 MHz
offset from 4.65 GHz carrier frequency. The measured oscillation frequency versus the
reverse bias voltage across the varactor is given in figure 5.7. The tuning range of the
oscillator is from 4.32 to 5 GHz with tuning voltage covering the entire possible range
from 0 V to supply voltage. This high tuning range of 15% is due to coupling MOS
75
transistors in series with mg? pairs. With the wide tuning range, the oscillator also
achieves fairly linear tuning gain ( vcoK ), which is important to avoid VCO chirping and
pulling in PLL synthesizer designs. The measured VCO gain is 206 MHz/V. Figure 5.9
shows the measured oscillator phase noise versus the tuning voltage. The maximum
variation in phase noise at 2 MHz offset over the entire tuning range is 2.3 dBc/Hz. The
VCO achieved better than -113 dBc/Hz phase noise @ 2 MHz offset over the entire
tuning range. Table 5.1 summarizes the oscillator performance and table 5.2 compares it
to other previous designs. Comparing to other 5 GHz QVCO designs, this P-QVCO
design achieves one of the best Figure Of Merit (FOM) defined as
???
?
???
?????
mW
P
f
ffL diss
osc 1
log10))(log(10 2
2
. The proposed S-QVCO also achieved the widest tuning
range at 5 GHz with low power consumption compared to other LC-tuned QVCO
designs. Reference [46] gives a 37% wide tuning range VCO using switch capacitor
topology which is intrinsically noisy.
Supply voltage 3.3 V
Core current 6 mA
Oscillation frequency 4.32 ? 5 GHz
Tuning range 14.6 %
Phase noise @ 2 MHz -114.3 dBc/Hz
Table 5.1 Measured performance of the LC-QVCO.
76
Ref. [42] [43] [45] [46] This work
Topology P-QVCO CMOS S-
QVCO
P-QVCO P-QVCO BiCMOS S-
QVCO
Frequency
(GHz)
0.9 1.8 5 12 5
Tune range 17% 18% 6.4% 37% 14.6%
L (dBc/Hz) -110 -140 -115 -112 -114.3
Offset 1 MHz 3 MHz 2 MHz 10 MHz 2 MHz
Core power 30 mW 50 mW 21mW 39 mW 19.8 mW
FOM 154 178 169 157 169
Table 5.2 Performance comparison of Quadrature oscillators.
Figure 5.5 Layout diagram of the oscillator.
77
Figure 5.6 Measured QVCO output spectrum.
Figure 5.7 Phase noise versus offset frequency.
78
Figure 5.8 Oscillation frequency versus the reverse bias voltage across the varactor.
Figure 5.9 Phase Noise versus tuning voltage.
79
5.3 A 3.5 GHz multiphase oscillator in SOI technology
Silicon On Insulator (SOI) technology provides a promising solution to the ever
increasing demand in low power analog integrated circuits fuelled by the growth in
emerging wireless and wireline systems. SOI technology gains advantage over the silicon
based CMOS due to its excellent RF performance. Compared to conventional bulk
CMOS technology, the implementation of a thin isolation layer between the active
transistor area and the substrate allows a higher substrate resistivity without degrading the
threshold properties of the Field Effect Transistors (FET). As a result, the parasitics of the
transistors are reduced, thereby increasing their Tf and maxf . SOI provides better device
isolation, lower parasitic junction capacitance and increased sub-threshold slope leading
to higher speed and lower power consumption for RF circuits. In addition, passive
components with higher Q factors and operation frequencies can be achieved. These
improvements benefit the RFIC designs.
This design presents a multiphase voltage controlled oscillator design implemented in
a 0.18 micron Fully Depleted SOI (FD-SOI) research process. This technology offers two
levels of metal interconnects with three metal layers. The challenge for design lies upon
the lack of RF models for targeted SOI technology and its devices. The circuit of a single
oscillator core with its coupling transistors is shown in figure 5.10. It consists of four
parts: an NMOS-PMOS core (Q1-Q4) to generate negative transconductance, coupling
transistors to provide a phase shift, current source and LC tank. The transistors Q1-Q4 are
sized to set the output DC level of the oscillator at Vcc/2 with equal transconductance
80
mg . The single oscillator cores are then connected as a ring oscillator fashion with
180 o phase shift between the first and the last core to generate multiphase outputs.
The fabricated SOI oscillator chip was directly wire-bonded to FR4 PCB for
measurement. Under supply voltage of 1.5 V, the measured phase noise of the SOI
oscillator, as shown in figure 5.12 is -104.7 dBc/Hz at 2 MHz offset from the 3.6 GHz
carrier frequency. The oscillator core including its coupling transistors and output buffers
consume total power of 22.5 mW per tank and delivers -12 dBm power to a 50 ohm load.
Figure 5.13 shows the measured oscillation frequency versus tuning voltage. Table 5.3
summarizes the measured SOI oscillator performance. Figure 5.11 gives the die photo of
the SOI VCO chip, occupying an area of 2.16 mm 2 .
Figure 5.10 Single core of the multiphase oscillator.
81
Figure 5.11 Die photo of the oscillator.
Supply voltage 1.5 V
Current 64 mA
Oscillation frequency 3.3 ? 3.65 GHz
Tuning range 10 %
Phase noise @ 2 MHz -104 dBc/Hz
Table 5.3 Measured performance.
82
Figure 5.12 Phase noise at 2 MHz offset from 3.64 GHz carrier is -104.7 dBc/Hz.
Figure 5.13 Oscillator tuning curve.
83
5.4 Conclusions
This chapter presented the design theory of multiphase signal generation using LC
oscillators. A wide tuning range series coupled oscillator was implemented in a 47 GHz
BiCMOS SiGe technology achieving one of the best figure of merit at 5 GHz oscillation
frequency reported so far. This was followed by the implementation of multiphase
oscillator in SOI technology.
84
Chapter 6: Digital Controlled Oscillator
6.1 Introduction
Digital controlled oscillators find wide applications in communication systems
designed in low power CMOS process technologies. The commonly used oscillator
topologies are the controlled delay ring oscillator that fall shy of performance for most
RF applications and the conventional LC oscillators that use analog voltage to achieve
frequency control. In deep submicron CMOS process, as the voltage headroom is reduced
analog tuning for oscillators becomes more difficult. Unlike varactors in conventional
CMOS process the varactors in deep submicron process are highly nonlinear. The linear
region of operation for the varactor is largely reduced leading to an unreliable tuning
curve and poor frequency resolution. Digitally controlled oscillators use a digital
approach to frequency tuning by switching the varactor to one of the two distinct
capacitance values. The DCO topology is that of a differential LC oscillator and the
digital frequency tuning is achieved by individually switching an array of capacitances.
The varactors are designed using the PMOS transistor. The choice of PMOS is
influenced by the fact that it is less susceptible to the noise from the substrate as it is well
shielded by the n-well. The C-V characteristic of the PMOS varactor is shown in figure
6.1. The reduced linear range of the C-V curve in deep submicron process makes the
85
oscillation frequency very susceptible to process variations and noise due to the high
oscillator gain ( vcoK ).
6.2 Binary weighted varactor bank
Figure 6.1 Typical C-V characteristic of a MOS capacitor.
In the C-V curve shown in figure 6.1 three distinct regions of operation for the MOS
capacitor can be identified which are accumulation depletion and inversion [49]. In the
case of PMOS varactor with S=D=B connection shown in figure 6.2, when gate to bulk
voltage Vgb is more positive than flat band voltage, the voltage at the oxide
semiconductor interface is sufficiently positive to enable the electrons to accumulate and
the device is said to be operating in accumulation region. On the other hand, with bulk to
gate voltage Vbg sufficiently larger than the threshold voltage an inversion channel with
mobile holes build up and the MOS capacitor is in inversion mode [50].
86
Figure 6.2 A MOS capacitor realized by connecting drain source bulk terminals together
as one terminal and gate as the other terminal.
Figure 6.3 Small signal equivalent of the MOS capacitor shown in figure 6.2.
Representing the MOS capacitance as show in figure 6.3 where oxC is in series with
parallel combination of bC and iC , gate oxide capacitance is oxC , bC is due to the
depletion region charge and iC is due to inversion layer charge, in both accumulation and
strong inversion the MOS capacitance is approximately equal to the oxide capacitance.
Two other regions of operation that can be seen are the depletion and weak inversion. In
these regions of operation there are nil or very few mobile holes at the oxide
semiconductor interface and the MOS capacitance approaches the value of bC in case of
depletion or small values of iC in case of weak inversion.
87
In order to have two distinct values of capacitance which can be considered as the on
and off states [47] of capacitance the MOS capacitor can be prevented from entering
accumulation by tying the bulk to the highest potential VDD as shown in figure 6.4. In
this way the capacitor always operates in either depletion or strong inversion providing
two distinct capacitance values at two distinct operating regions.
Figure 6.4 Inversion mode PMOS capacitor.
Q of the varactor is strongly dependent on the layout and is given by equation 6.1.
Q var = ( )( )1111ZR ZI
e
m? (6.1)
This quality factor is due to the parasitic resistor in series with the varactor. The series
parasitic resistance is due to the combination of gate resistance, inversion channel
resistance and the contact resistance of polysilicon and diffusion.
To avoid this large undesired resistance the varactors are laid out in a multi-finger
structure as shown in figure 6.5. Using this approach, the gate resistance is considerably
reduced since gate resistance gateR is given by [51]
N
RFR
gate
.? (6.2)
88
where F is the number of squares per finger, R is the square resistance of the polysilicon
and N is the number of fingers.
Figure 6.5 Multi-finger layout for RF MOS varactor.
Further reduction in gate resistance by a factor of 41 is achieved by contacting the gate
at both the ends. In the inversion region the PMOS channel resistance can be
approximated as [53]
)(12 tbgpmos VVWK
LR
????= (6.3)
where pK is the transconductance parameter. The above equation suggests that length L
should be minimized to reduce the series resistance. Although PMOS varactor has higher
parasitic series resistance than the NMOS, the choice of PMOS is influenced by the fact
that it is less susceptible to the noise from the substrate as it is well shielded by the n-
well. The entire structure was placed in a common n-well and +n ohmic bulk contacts
connecting the n-well to the power supply between each finger section of the varactor.
The C-V characteristic of the single unit varactor used in the design was simulated
using the setup shown in figure 6.6. The 0.75 V at the source/drain is the DC operating
point of that node in the oscillator. The AC source represents the magnitude of the swing
89
at that node. Vg is the bias tuning voltage. The simulated C-V curves of the LSB varactor
for S=D connection and S=D=B connection are shown in figures 6.7 and 6.8. The
varactor is implemented in a differential fashion using two inversion mode transistors
such that their drain and source are tied together to the tuning control voltage and the
gates are connected in parallel to the inductor to form the tank. Hence the total
capacitance seen across the tank is half the value provided by the single transistor.
Figure 6.6 Schematic diagram for simulating C-V characteristic.
90
Figure 6.7 Simulated C-V curve of the LSB varactor with S=D.
Figure 6.8 Simulated C-V curve of the LSB varactor with S=D=B connection.
91
Figure 6.9 Binary weighted varactor bank.
The varactor bank consists of eight binary weighted capacitors shown in figure 6.9.
The total varactor capacitance across the tank is controlled by an eight bit control word
(b0-b7). The digital values for the control bits ensure that the varactors are in either
depletion or inversion mode. The basic unit varactor cell controlled by bit b0 consists of a
single MOS transistor with aspect ratio of 20.25/1. The next varactor cell consists of
double the number of unit varactors than the previous one. This is mainly to ensure better
component matching so that the parasitic fringing capacitance is also well ratioed among
the varactors. Figure 6.10 shows the simulated plot of the effective switching capacitance
provided by the varactor bank when all the bits are switched from zero to one. The ?on?
and ?off? capacitances of the tank differ by about 175 fF as shown in figure 6.10.
92
Figure 6.10 Simulated maximum and minimum capacitance values provided by the
varactor bank.
6.3 DCO circuit design
The configuration consists of NMOS and PMOS cross-coupled pair provides a
negative resistance of mg? to overcome the parasitic tank resistance. The transistors are
sized such that each pair provides half the transconductance required to overcome the
tank loss. The choice of NMOS PMOS combination is used because it effectively cuts the
power consumption to provide the same negative resistance as compared to only NMOS
or PMOS topologies. More over this topology has been shown to have reduced f1
upconverterd noise [54]. CMOS inverters are used as buffer, they provide high
impedance to the oscillator output and are biased with current sources to improve their
drive capability. Figure 6.11 shows the oscillator circuit along with its output buffers.
93
Figure 6.11 DCO design schematic.
When all bits are zero the oscillation frequency is given by
off
osc LCF pi2
1= (6.4)
where offC includes the ?off? capacitance of the varactor bank and the junction
capacitances of the NMOS-PMOS pair. When the bits are turned on the oscillation
frequency can be given as
94
?
?
??
?
? ?+
=
?
=
7
0
22
1
n
n
noff
osc
CbCL
F
pi
(6.5)
where C? is the switching capacitance provided by the corresponding bit. The frequency
resolution of the DCO resolutionF is given as
bresolution
FFF
2
minmax ?= (6.6)
where maxF and minF are the maximum and minimum oscillation frequencies and b is the
number of varactor control bits.
6.4 Measured results
The DCO was designed and fabricated in a 0.12 m? BiCMOS process. This design
oscillates from 4.2 to 4.7 GHz (11.2%) providing an average frequency resolution of 2
MHz /LSB. Figure 6.12 shows the DCOK curve. Since the varactors are binary weighted
maximum discontinuities in output frequency can be observed at the periodic intervals of
two?s power when the tuning code changes from 31 to 32 or 63 to 64 since the maximum
number of unit varactors are turned off at that instant.
The die was wire-bonded directly to gold plated printed circuit test board to facilitate
testing. Figure 6.13 shows the output spectrum of the oscillator. The power delivered to
50 ohm load is -7 dBm. The phase noise was measured using the phase noise utility in the
Agilent 8563EC spectrum analyzer. Figure 6.14 shows the phase noise of the oscillator
versus the offset frequency. The measured phase noise is -103 dBc/Hz at 500 KHz offset
95
from 4.7 GHz carrier frequency. This design achieves a high figure of merit of 177
dBc/Hz which is given by [55].
???
?
???
? ????=
mW
P
f
ffLFOM diss
osc 1
log10))(log(10 2
2
(6.7)
The oscillator core consumes a current of 3.5 mA from a 1.2 V supply. Figure 6.15
shows the DCO micrograph. The die area of the chip is 1.7 mm*1.3 mm.
Figure 6.12 Output frequency of the oscillator versus tuning code.
96
Figure 6.13 Output spectrum of the oscillator.
Figure 6.14 Phase noise vs. offset frequency of the oscillator.
97
Figure 6.15 Die photo of the oscillator.
Supply voltage 1.2 V
Oscillation frequency 4.2-4.7 GHz
Resolution 2 MHz/bit
Core current 3.5 mA
Phase noise @ 500 KHz -103 dBc/Hz
Output power -7 dBm
Area 2.2 2mm
FOM -177
Table 6.1 Measured performance of the DCO.
98
Ref. [48] [56] This work
Technology 130 nm
CMOS
65 nm
CMOS
120 nm
BiCMOS
Supply (V) 2.5 1.1 1.2
Frequency 2.4 10 4.5
Tune range 20.8% 10% 11.2%
L (dBc/Hz) -112 -102 -103.17
Offset f 500 KHz 1 MHz 500 KHz
Power 3.4 mW 3.3 mW 3.7 mW
FOM -180 -177 -177
Table 6.2 Comparison with other DCO designs.
6.5 Conclusions
This chapter has presented the design of low voltage and low power 4.5 GHz 8-bit
digitally controlled oscillator fabricated in a 120 nm BiCMOS SiGe technology. The
oscillator operates from 1.2 V supply, takes 8-bit CMOS inputs and provides an average
frequency resolution of around 2 MHz/bit delivering a good FOM of -177 dBc/Hz.
99
Chapter 7: Phase Locked Loop Design
7.1 Introduction
A Phase Lock Loop (PLL) is a feedback system that generates a signal with output
frequency outf from a reference signal of frequency inf while maintaining a constant
phase difference ?? between the input and output frequencies. Figure 7.1 shows the
block diagram of the PLL.
Figure 7.1 Block diagram of a PLL.
The loop starts with a stable crystal oscillator providing a reference frequency ( refF ).
This is one of the inputs to the phase frequency detector. The Phase Frequency Detector
(PFD) gives out a DC current that is proportional to the phase difference between the
100
reference frequency and the output frequency after it is divided by the divider. The PFD
output current multiplied by the impedance of the loop filter forms the tuning input to the
oscillator. When the loop is in locked condition there is a zero or constant phase
difference between the two inputs of the phase detector. Since the frequency is the
differential of phase, it implies that the frequencies are also matched.
PDK ( )sG s
K VCO
N
1
in? out?
div?
Figure 7.2 Linear model of a PLL.
Figure 7.2 shows the linear model of a PLL. PDK is the phase detector and charge
pump gain. The phase frequency detector (PFD) outputs a DC current that is proportional
to ?? , where divin ??? ?=? . The constant of proportionality is given by the amount of
current that the charge pump can source or sink in to the loop filter. PDK is expressed in
the units of pi2mA . ( )sG is the transfer function of the loop filter.
The transfer function of the oscillator can be expressed as
( ) ( )tVKtf tunevcoout ?= (7.1)
where outf is the output frequency of the oscillator, vcoK is the oscillator gain and tuneV is
the tuning input of the oscillator. Integrating the above equation gives
101
( )?= T tunevcoout dttVK
0
? (7.2)
which can be written in s domain as
( ) ( )s sVKs tunevcoout ?=? (7.3)
where sKvco is the transfer function of the oscillator. The transfer function of the closed
loop can be determined as equation 7.3.
( ) ( )( ) ( )( )sGKKNs sGKNKsssH
vcoPD
vcoPD
in
out
+== ?
? (7.4)
The order of the loop filter is determined by the number of poles in the closed loop
and open loop transfer function. The type of the PLL is determined by the number of
poles in the loop filter.
7.2 Charge pump PLL
A type II PLL is the most commonly used topology and is shown in figure 7.3. When
the loop is in the locked state, PFD and charge pump detects any phase difference
between the signals reff and divf . When there is a phase error the phase detector generates
either UP or DN signals that turn on one of the switches of the charge pump to create a
small change on the tuning voltage of the oscillator to compensate for the phase error.
If the period of the input frequency of the PLL is T and ?? is the phase difference
between the signals reff and divf , then the on time of the UP/DN signals is given by the
102
equation 7.5. The current through the charge pump can then be determined by equation
7.6 there by giving the phase detector gain as pi2cpPD IK = .
pi
?
2
Tt
on
??= (7.5)
T
tI on
cp ? = pi
?
2
??
cpI (7.6)
The current through the charge pump is injected in to the loop filter and is converted
as the tuning input to the oscillator. The loop filter shown in figure 7.3 is a second order
loop filter. C1 acts as an integrating capacitor and generates a pole at DC, R2 introduces a
stabilizing zero and C2 is used to reduce the glitches from the tuning line when the
charge pump periodically outputs current every reference cycle [24].
reff
outf
divf
Figure 7.3 Type II charge pump PLL.
103
The transfer function of the loop filter is given by equation 7.7, the location of poles
and zeros can be calculated by equations 7.8 and 7.9 respectively.
( )21212
221
2 CCsCCRs
CsR
I
V
cp
tune
++
+= (7.7)
22
1
CRz =? (7.8)
?????? +
==
21
212
1,0
21
CC
CCRpp ?? (7.9)
Computing the open loop transfer function of the PLL, the open loop transfer function
of the PLL is given by the equation 7.10 [63]. The phase margin of the loop can be
calculated from the equation 7.11, where c? is the loop bandwidth.
( ) ( ) ( )( )( )21212 2212 CCsCCRsN CsRKKN KsGKsH vcoPDvcoPDol +++== (7.10)
???
?
???
??
???
?
???
?= ??
2
11 tantan
p
c
z
c
m ?
?
?
?? (7.11)
Calculating the phase margin and maximizing it at the loop bandwidth by solving for
0==
c
dd m ???? gives the solution 2pzc ??? = for maximum phase margin and the
maximum phase margin can be calculated to be [63]
???
?
???
?
???
?
?
?
?
?
?
= ??
2
121 tantan
p
z
z
p
m ?
?
?
??
(7.12)
104
The location of pole and zero as a function of the loop bandwidth are given by
equations 7.13 and 7.14.
1
21
C
C
c
z
+
= ?? (7.13)
1
21
2 C
C
cp += ?? (7.14)
At the maximum phase margin condition, we have ( ) 1=sH ol which gives the
following value for the loop bandwidth.
)21(
22
CCN
CRKI vcocp
c +=? (7.15)
The loop is designed to have a phase margin greater than o45 to ensure stable
operation. A small phase margin results in small damping factor for the PLL causing
large overshoot during the locking process.
7.3 Phase frequency detector
A Phase Frequency Detector (PFD) is used to detect both the frequency and phase
difference between the reference signal and the divided oscillator signal. There are many
types of phase frequency detectors but the most commonly used for phase locked loop
applications is the one shown in figure 7.4. Its structure is that of a typical dead zone free
phase detector with two edge triggered reset able D-flip-flops with their D inputs
connected to logic high. In figure 7.4 signals A and B are the inputs to the phase
frequency detector. UP and DOWN are the outputs. When A leads B rising edge on A
produces a rising edge on UP and it continues to remain high till a rising edge on B
105
occurs. Rising edge on B produces a pulse on DOWN whose width is set by the width of
the reset pulse. The difference between the average values of UP and DOWN signals
represent the phase or the frequency difference of the input signals. Since the PFD has
two outputs, four distinct states are possible. In three of them either UP or DOWN is high
and are encountered during the lock acquisition phase. In locked state both the outputs
react simultaneously to the edges on the inputs and become high, which is the undesired
fourth state. Then the AND gate detects this state and resets both the flip-flops. The width
of the pulses UP and DOWN is determined by the delay through the flip-flop and the
delay through the AND gate. If the phase difference is small, then width of the pulses are
too narrow, and they may not be able to properly activate the charge pump transistors, a
problem commonly referred to as dead zone. When the loop reaches dead zone, the PFD
stops responding to the phase difference between its inputs and the tuning voltage of the
oscillator is no longer controlled by the charge pump, thereby operating the oscillator in
open loop. If their widths are unequal, they will cause mismatch in the currents of the
charge pump leading to ripple on the oscillator tuning line. To avoid the dead zone
problem extra buffers and capacitors are placed in the feedback path of the PFD at the
output of the AND gate. This buffered delay is designed to produce 1 ns wide pulses in
lock condition. This ensures that the output pulses of the PFD are always sufficiently
wide enough to turn on the source/sink transistors of the charge pump. The flip-flops
used in design are constructed with two latches using NOR gates. Figure 7.5 shows the
simulation result of the phase frequency detector.
106
Figure 7.4 Phase frequency detector block diagram.
Figure 7.5 PFD simulation result.
7.4 Charge pump and loop filter
The phase frequency detector is followed by a charge pump having differential input
and single ended output. In general the charge pump consists of two current sources that
107
serve to sink/source charge through the loop filter. These current sources are controlled
by the signals coming from the phase frequency detector. The amount of charge these
current sources sink or source from the charge pump is determined by the time they are
turned on and off to set a proper voltage on the tuning line of the oscillator. Non idealities
in the charge pump is one of the main reasons for the occurrence of spurious tones at the
output of the PLL. There are two main reasons for the non idealities [64]: (i) leakage
currents in the charge pump (ii) mismatch while sinking and sourcing current through the
loop filter. Ideally the charge pump is not supposed to give out any current when the loop
is locked, but when a leakage current is present in the charge pump, it tends to alter the
tuning voltage of the oscillator. The only way to correct this situation then, is for the
charge pump to output a current exactly equal to the leakage current at the next
comparison cycle. As this process keeps repeating at every comparison cycle it leads to a
ripple on the tuning voltage line of the oscillator. The magnitude of the ripple on the
tuning line can be calculated from equation 7.16 [65]. Where mA is the magnitude of the
ripple, leakI is the leakage current and ( )refjZ ? is the impedance of the loop filter at the
reference frequency. The magnitude of the ripple mA does not depend on the bandwidth
of the loop filter or the charge pump. It is solely determined by the leakage current and
the impedance of the loop filter. Given then magnitude of the ripple at the charge pump
output the magnitude of spurious tone spA , with respect to the carrier A , can be
calculated by equation 7.17 [65].
( )refleakm jZIA ?2= (7.16)
108
???
?
???
?=
ref
vcomsp
f
KA
A
A
pi4log20 (7.17)
The other main non ideality is the mismatch between the current sources used in the
charge pump. If unequal currents flow through the current source and the current sink
mirrors of the charge pump, then a net charge injection is performed at every reference
cycle and the loop responds by locking with a non zero phase difference.
Shown in figure 7.6 the designed charge pump circuit has two switching differential
pairs Q1-Q2 and Q3-Q4 which take in the PFD output signals and switch the current
sources sourceI or kIsin to charge or discharge the loop filter.
The ordering of inputs to the switching pairs are placed in a complimentary fashion
and thus during the process of acquiring lock when either the UP or DOWN signal is
high, the actual current flowing through charge pump output is the sum of sourceI and
kIsin . Compared with conventional charge pump circuits where only one of the currents
sourceI or kIsin flows through the charge pump output, this circuit effectively reduces the
power consumption by half and also requires lesser sampling cycles to phase lock.
During lock, the phase frequency detector outputs periodic UP and DOWN pulses during
which both diodes connected transistors M1 and M2 turn on and no current flows in to
the loop filter.
109
Figure 7.6 Charge pump schematic.
The switching time of the differential pairs in the charge pump is an important
parameter and is determined by the load connected to the UP/DOWN pairs. Since both
the switching pairs Q1-Q2 and Q3-Q4 share the same load, which are the diode
connected transistors M1 and M2, the mismatches in the switching time of the differential
pairs is also reduced. To ensure better current copying at the MOS current mirrors and
have increased output resistance at the charge pump output node, large channel length of
2 m? was used for all MOS transistors used on current mirrors. Figures 7.7 and 7.8 show
the simulation results of the charge pump design. When signal A of the phase frequency
110
detector leads B the charge pump sinks current in to the loop filter and when signal B
leads A the charge pump sources current from the loop filter.
When the loop is locked, the noise from the current mirror transistors M3 and M6 are
injected in to the loop filter only when they are on during the periodic pulses generated
by the PFD to avoid dead zone. This entails a tradeoff between the minimization of
charge pump noise and minimization of the dead zone. When the charge pump is on, the
output noise current from the charge pump cpi is given by equation 7.18.
22
ncp ii ?= ? (7.18)
ref
on
T
t=? (7.19)
? is the fraction of the time for which the charge pump is on in between two
comparison cycles, 2ni is the output noise of the current sources. Figure 7.9 shows the
simulated output noise current of the charge pump. The transfer function of this noise
source to the output is given by equation 7.20. Charge pump noise along with the dividers
are the main source of noise with in the loop bandwidth as the noise from the oscillator is
diminished by the gain of the loop.
)(
)()(
sZKKNs
sNZKsH
vcoPD
vco
cp += (7.20)
111
Figure 7.7 Charge pump simulation result while sinking current in to the loop filter.
Figure 7.8 Charge pump simulation result, while sourcing current from the loop filter.
112
Figure 7.9 Simulated output noise current of the charge pump.
7.5 Oscillator and frequency dividers
A standard configuration of NMOS and PMOS cross-coupled pair oscillator was used
in the design. Figure 7.10 shows the schematic of the oscillator. The cross-coupled
transistors are sized such that each pair provides half the trans-conductance required to
overcome the tank loss. The choice of NMOS PMOS combination was used because it
effectively cuts the power consumption to provide the same negative resistance as
compared to only NMOS or PMOS topologies. More over this topology has been shown
to have reduced f1 upconverted noise [54].
113
Figure 7.10 Oscillator schematic diagram.
Frequency dividers used in the design present an integer division ratio of 128. This is
done by cascading a chain of divide-by-two circuits. Figure 7.11 shows the schematic
diagram of the MOS current mode logic latch used in the divider. The latch consists of a
sense pair formed by transistors M1, M2 for sensing the input and a regenerative pair
formed by M3, M4 for storing the state. The clock pair of transistors formed by M5 and
M6 select the sense and store mode of the latch.
114
Figure 7.11 Schematic diagram of the D-Latch.
When clock goes high, the current through the tail transistor is steered to M1 and M2.
When the clock goes low the sense pair is disabled and the store pair is enabled storing
the logic state between its outputs. Figures 7.12 and 7.13 show the time domain periodic
noise of the dividers.
115
Figure 7.12 Periodic time domain noise of the divider.
Figure 7.13 Divider output noise spectrum.
116
7.6 Measured results
The PLL chip was fabricated in 0.18 m? BiCMOS process using only CMOS part of
the technology. It had a reference frequency of 39 MHz. The oscillator frequency is 5
GHz. The loop filter values have been chosen as R2 = 4K ? , C2 = 1 nf, C1 = 59 pf to
provide loop corner frequency of 200 KHz. The entire PLL operates from a 1.5 V supply,
consumes 122 mA of current and occupies 2.5 mm 2 of die area. Figure 7.14 shows the
layout diagram of the PLL chip. The close in-band phase noise which is dominated by the
reference oscillator and charge pump was measured as -71 dBc/Hz @ 10 KHz offset and
out-band phase noise which is dominated by the oscillator was measured to be -110
dBc/Hz @ 3 MHz offset from a 5 GHz carrier.
Figure 7.14 Layout diagram of the PLL chip.
117
Figure 7.15 Oscillator output spectrum.
Figure 7.16 Measured divider output.
118
Figure 7.17 PLL output phase noise.
Supply voltage 1.5 V
Oscillation frequency 5 GHz
Output power -12dBm
In-band noise @ 10 KHz -70 dBc/Hz
Out-band noise @ 3 MHz -110 dBc/Hz
Current 122 mA
Area 2.5 2mm
Divider ratio 128
Table 7.1 Measured performance of the PLL.
119
7.7 Conclusion
This chapter presented the design of 1.5 V second order charge pump phase locked
loop in 0.18 m? BiCMOS technology. A single phase 5 GHz NMOS PMOS LC
oscillator, phase frequency detector, charge pump and divider designs were presented.
The loop exhibits an in-band phase noise of -70 dBc/Hz @ 10 KHz offset and out-band
phase noise of -110 dBc/Hz @ 3 MHz offset frequency from a 5 GHz carrier frequency.
The reference frequency was provided using a signal generator, causing the in-band
phase noise to be slightly high. This chip is due for further testing.
120
Chapter 8: Conclusion
This dissertation has presented my studies on high frequency silicon based integrated
circuits. A 3.5 GHz analog transversal filter was designed in a low cost 47 GHz SiGe
technology using amplifiers as delay stages instead of bulky transmission lines. Measured
results show that by adjusting the tap coefficients it is possible to adapt zeros at various
frequencies up to 3.5 GHz and implement various filter characteristics to mimic the
inverse transfer function of communication channels. In depth study of delay in a CML
gate has been done and a biasing scheme has been proposed to improve the speed of the
CML gate at low bias currents.
Review of phase noise models has been conducted and study of design techniques for
LC oscillators has been done. A high speed single phase 25 GHz oscillator has been
designed using transmission lines as inductors. The oscillator exhibits phase noise of -82
dBc/Hz @ 500 KHz offset with a figure-of-merit of -162 dBc/Hz. A 1.5 GHz oscillator
was implemented for low temperature application and dependence of oscillation
frequency with temperature is investigated.
Review of the theory of quadrature signal generation using coupled LC oscillators is
done. Novel series coupled quadrature oscillator implemented in a 47 GHz BiCMOS
SiGe technology has been presented. The BiCMOS S-QVCO uses NPN for oscillation,
NMOS devices for coupling. The oscillator prototype achieves greater than 14% tuning
range from 4.3 to 5 GHz, the phase noise of the oscillator is measured as -115 dBc/Hz @
121
2 MHz offset from the carrier. A 3.5 GHz multiphase oscillator was implemented in 90
nm SOI technology. A single oscillator core was connected in a ring oscillator fashion
with 180 o phase shift between the first and the last core to generate multiphase outputs.
As an alternative to conventional analog oscillators, a low voltage low power digital
controlled oscillator has been designed. Design of a 4.5 GHz 8-bit digitally controlled
oscillator using binary controlled varactors in a 120 nm BiCMOS SiGe technology has
been presented. The oscillator operates from 1.2 V supply, takes 8-bit CMOS inputs and
provides an average frequency resolution of around 2 MHz/bit delivering a good FOM of
-177 dBc/Hz. Design of 1.5 V second order phase lock loop was presented. The loop
exhibits an in-band phase noise of -70 dBc/Hz @ 10 KHz offset and out-band phase noise
of -110 dBc/Hz @ 3 MHz offset frequency from a 5 GHz carrier.
122
ABBREVIATIONS
BER Bit Error Rate
BiCMOS Bipolar-CMOS
CML Current Mode Logic
CMOS Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor
CP Charge Pump
DC Direct Current
DCO Digital Controlled Oscillator
DIP Dual In-line Package
ECL Emitter Coupled Logic
FD-SOI Fully Depleted Silicon On Insulator
FIR Finite Impulse Response
FOM Figure of Merit
IC Integrated Circuit
IRR Image Rejection Ratio
ISI Inter Symbol Interference
LO Local Oscillator
LSB Least Significant Bit
LTI Linear Time Invariant
123
MOSFET Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor
PFD Phase Detector
PLL Phase Locked Loop
P-QVCO Parallel-Quadrature Voltage Controlled Oscillator
Q Quality Factor
QVCO Quadrature Voltage Controlled Oscillator
RF Radio Frequency
RMS Root Mean Square
SiGe Silicon Germanium
SOI Silicon On Insulator
S-QVCO Serial-Quadrature Voltage Controlled Oscillator
VCO Voltage Controlled Oscillator
124
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