Design and characterization of BiCMOS mixed-signal circuits and devices for extreme environment applications
Cardoso, Adilson Silva
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State-of-the-art SiGe BiCMOS technologies leverage the maturity of deep-submicron silicon CMOS processing with bandgap-engineered SiGe HBTs in a single platform that is suitable for a wide variety of high performance and highly-integrated applications (e.g., system-on-chip (SOC), system-in-package (SiP)). Due to their bandgap-engineered base, SiGe HBTs are also naturally suited for cryogenic electronics and have the potential to replace the costly de facto technologies of choice (e.g., Gallium-Arsenide (GaAs) and Indium-Phosphide (InP)) in many cryogenic applications such as radio astronomy. This work investigates the response of mixed-signal circuits (both RF and analog circuits) when operating in extreme environments, in particular, at cryogenic temperatures and in radiation-rich environments. The ultimate goal of this work is to attempt to fill the existing gap in knowledge on the cryogenic and radiation response (both single event transients (SETs) and total ionization dose (TID)) of specific RF and analog circuit blocks (i.e., RF switches and voltage references). The design approach for different RF switch topologies and voltage references circuits are presented. Standalone Field Effect Transistors (FET) and SiGe HBTs test structures were also characterized and the results are provided to aid in the analysis and understanding of the underlying mechanisms that impact the circuits' response. Radiation mitigation strategies to counterbalance the damaging effects are investigated. A comprehensive study on the impact of cryogenic temperatures on the RF linearity of SiGe HBTs fabricated in a new 4th-generation, 90 nm SiGe BiCMOS technology is also presented.
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