Broadband and Low-Power Signal Generation Techniques for Multi-Band Reconfigurable Radios in Silicon-based Technologies
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Wireless communication is witnessing tremendous growth with the proliferation of various standards covering wide, local, and personal area networks, which operate at different frequency bands. Future wireless terminals will not only need to support multiple standards, but also need to be multi-functional to keep pace with the demands of the consumers. For such an implementation, the local oscillator (LO) turns out to be the bottleneck, which must exhibit frequency agility by generating a very wide range of carrier frequencies in order to access all the specified communication standards. This dissertation presents various design techniques to realize compact low-cost low-power and broadband oscillators in silicon-based technologies. The two most suitable techniques for broadband signal generation: (1) Use of widely tunable active inductor, and (2) Use of switched resonator have been thoroughly evaluated. A fully reconfigurable active inductor with a widely tunable feedback resistor has been proposed. Using the proposed tunable active inductor in a VCO generates frequency tuning ranges higher than 100%, and helps achieve the highest PFTN Figure-of-Merit among Si-based active inductor VCOs reported in literature till date. The large-signal non-linearity of the active inductor has been utilized to develop the first reported broadband harmonic active inductor-based VCO. The degradation of phase noise due to active inductors is partially solved by a noise optimization guideline for active inductors. Utilizing the low saturation voltage of HBT technologies and high-Q short line inductors seems to be very useful to reduce power consumption of cross-coupled VCOs while achieving low phase noise performance simultaneously.