Design of reconfigurable multi-mode RF circuits

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Yu, Xiaohua
Major Professor
Nathan M. Neihart
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Electrical and Computer Engineering

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) contains two focuses. The focus on Electrical Engineering teaches students in the fields of control systems, electromagnetics and non-destructive evaluation, microelectronics, electric power & energy systems, and the like. The Computer Engineering focus teaches in the fields of software systems, embedded systems, networking, information security, computer architecture, etc.

The Department of Electrical Engineering was formed in 1909 from the division of the Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering. In 1985 its name changed to Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. In 1995 it became the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

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  • Department of Electrical Engineering (1909-1985)
  • Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering (1985-1995)

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Wireless communication systems and devices have been developing at a much faster pace in the past few years. With the introduction of new applications and services and the increasing demand for higher data rate comes the need for new frequency bands and new standards. One critical issue for next generation wireless devices is how to support all of the existing and emerging bands while not increasing the cost and power consumption. A feasible solution is the concept of the software-defined radio where a single receiver can be reconfigured to operate in different modes, each of which supports one or several bands and/or standards. To implement such a reconfigurable receiver, reconfigurable RF building blocks, such as the LNA, mixer, VCO, etc., are required. This dissertation focuses on two key blocks: the low noise amplifier (LNA) and the voltage controlled oscillator (VCO).

First the design, modeling and characterization of a multi-tap transformer are discussed. Simple mathematical calculations are utilized to estimate the inductances and coupling coefficients from the physical parameters of a multi-tap transformer. The design method is verified with several designed multi-tap transformers that are characterized up to 10 GHz using Momentum simulation results. The effect of switch loss on a switched multi-tap transformer is explored and a broadband lumped-element model of the multi-tap transformer is also proposed.

Next a reconfigurable multimode LNA capable of single-band, concurrent dual-band, and ultra-wideband operation is presented. The multimode operation is realized by incorporating a switched multi-tap transformer into the input matching network of an inductively degenerated common source amplifier. The proposed LNA achieves single band matching at 2.8, 3.3, and 4.6 GHz; concurrent dual-band matching at 2.05 and 5.65 GHz; and ultra-wideband matching from 4.3 to 10.8 GHz. The chip was fabricated in a 0.13 m CMOS process, and occupies an area of 0.72 mm2, and has a power dissipation of 6.4 mW from a 1.2-V supply.

Finally, a triple-mode VCO using a transformer-based 4th order tank with tunable transconductance cells coupling the primary and secondary inductor is introduced. The tank impedance can be re-shaped by the transconductance cells through the tuning of their biasing currents. With the control of biasing current, VCO is configured in three modes, capable of generating a single frequency in 3- and 5- GHz bands, respectively, and two frequencies in both 3- and 5- GHz bands simultaneously. The triple-mode VCO was fabricated in a 0.13 μm CMOS process, occupies an area of 0.16 mm2, and dissipates 5.6 mW from a 1.2-V supply.

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Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2013