Fully-integrated DLL/PLL-based CMOS frequency synthesizers for wireless systems
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A frequency synthesizer plays a critical role in defining the performance of wireless systems in terms of measures such as operating frequency range, settling time, phase noise and spur performance, and area/power consumption. As the trend in mobile system design has changed from single-standard systems to multi-standard/multi-application systems, the role of frequency synthesizers has become even more important. As the most popular architecture, a phase-locked loop (PLL)-based frequency synthesizer has been researched over the last several decades; however, many unsolved problems related to the PLL-based synthesizer are still waiting for answers. This dissertation addresses key challenges related to fully integrated PLL-based frequency synthesizers, including the problem of large area consumption of passive components, the inherent reference-spur problem, and the problem of trade-offs between integer-N PLLs and fractional-N PLLs. In this dissertation, new techniques and architectures are presented and developed to address those challenges. First, a low-phase-noise ring oscillator and a capacitor multiplier with a high-multiplication factor efficiently minimize the silicon area of sub-components, and a compact programmable delay-locked loop (DLL)-based frequency multiplier is developed to replace the PLL-based frequency synthesizer. Second, the charge-distribution mechanism for suppressing reference spurs is theoretically analyzed, and an edge interpolation technique for implementing the mechanism is developed. Finally, the concept and the architecture of sub-integer-N PLL is proposed and implemented to remove trade-offs between conventional integer-N PLLs and fractional-N PLLs.