Silicon-based RF/mm-wave power amplifiers and transmitters for future energy-efficient and broadband communication systems
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Power amplifier (PA) often governs the energy efficiency of a wireless transceiver. Its linearity is also of paramount importance to ensure the signal fidelity. Moreover, its broadband operation is highly desired for high-speed wireless communication. However, integrating a PA in silicon entails challenges due to the PA’s nature of large-signal and highly dynamic operation. This research exploits the mixed-signal computation and novel on-chip electromagnetic networks to enable intelligent RF/millimeter-wave large-signal operation in silicon. This research demonstrates the introduced design methodologies by silicon implementations. In a multiband millimeter-wave PA in silicon, mixed-signal reconfiguration and a novel on-chip power combiner enable broadband operation for fifth-generation (5G) communication. In a digital Doherty PA in silicon, flexible and precise digital control optimizes in-field Doherty efficiency enhancement and enables robustness against antenna mismatch. In addition, this research demonstrates two hybrid PA efficiency enhancement techniques that leverage digital-intensive architectures in silicon. Mixed-signal linearization is introduced in these architectures to eliminate the trade-off between efficiency and linearity.