Frequency synthesis applications of SiGe BiCMOS processes
Horst, Stephen J.
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Silicon Germanium BiCMOS technology has been demonstrated as an ideal platform for highly integrated systems requiring both high performance analog and RF circuits as well as large-scale digital functionality. Frequency synthesizers are ideal candidates for this technology because the mixed-signal nature of modern frequency synthesis designs fundamentally requires both digital and analog signal processing. This research targets three areas to improve SiGe frequency synthesizers. A majority of this work focuses on applying SiGe frequency synthesizers to extreme environment applications such as space, where low temperatures and ionizing radiation are significant design issues to contend with. A second focus area involves using SiGe HBTs to minimize noise in frequency synthesizer circuits. Improved low frequency "pink" noise in SiGe HBTs provide a significant advantage over CMOS devices, and frequency synthesis circuits are significantly affected by this type of noise. However, improving thermal "white" noise is also considered. Finally, an analysis of AM-PM distortion is considered for SiGe HBTs. The studies presented focus on identifying the physical mechanisms of observed phenomena, such as single event transients or phase noise characteristics in oscillators. The ultimate goal of this research is to provide a reference of effective design parameters for circuit and system designers seeking to take advantage of the properties of SiGe device physics.