Using complementary silicon-germanium transistors for design of high-performance rf front-ends
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The objective of the research presented in this dissertation is to explore the achievable dynamic range limits in high-performance RF front-ends designed using SiGe HBTs, with a focus on complementary (npn + pnp) SiGe technologies. The performance requirements of RF front-ends are high gain, high linearity, low dc power consumption, very low noise figure, and compactness. The research presented in this dissertation shows that all of these requirements can easily be met by using complementary SiGe HBTs. Thus, a strong case is made in favor of using SiGe technologies for designing high dynamic range RF front-ends. The contributions from this research are summarized as follows: 1. The first-ever comparison study and comprehensive analysis of small-signal linearity (IIP3) for npn and pnp SiGe HBTs on SOI. 2. A novel comparison of large-signal robustness of npn and pnp SiGe HBTs for use in high-performance RF front-ends. 3. A systematic and rigorous comparison of SiGe HBT compact models for high-fidelity distortion modeling. 4. The first-ever feasibility study of using weakly-saturated SiGe HBTs for use in severely power constrained RF front-ends. 5. A novel X-band Low Noise Amplifier (LNA) using weakly-saturated SiGe HBTs. 6. Design and comprehensive analysis of RF switches with enhanced large-signal linearity. 7. Development of novel methods to reduce crosstalk noise in mixed-signal circuits and the first-ever analysis of crosstalk noise across temperature. 8. Design of a very high-linearity cellular band quadrature modulator for use in base-station applications using first-generation complementary SiGe HBTs.