Operating voltage constraints and dynamic range in advanced silicon-germanium HBTs for high-frequency transceivers
Grens, Curtis Morrow
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This work investigates the fundamental device limits related to operational voltage constraints and linearity in state-of-the-art silicon-germanium (SiGe) heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBTs) in order to support the design of robust next-generation high-frequency transceivers. This objective requires a broad understanding of how much "usable" voltage exists compared to conventionally defined breakdown voltage specifications, so the role of avalanche-induced current-crowding (or "pinch-in") effects on transistor performance and reliability are carefully studied. Also, the effects of intermodulation distortion are examined at the transistor-level for new and better understanding of the limits and trade-offs associated with achieving enhanced dynamic range and linearity performance on existing and future SiGe HBT technology platforms. Based on these investigations, circuits designed for superior dynamic range performance are presented.