Design of SIGE BICMOS RF building blocks for extreme-environment applications
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The objective of this research is to understand the behavior of radio-frequency (RF) circuits under extreme-environment condition and to investigate the potential mitigation solution for single-event effects (SEEs). In this work, silicon-germanium (SiGe) heterojunction-bipolar-transistor (HBT) technology has been utilized for the design of SEE-hardened RF switches, low-noise amplifiers (LNAs), and mixers. For SEE-hardened RF circuits, the use of inverse-mode SiGe HBTs has been studied in terms of both RF performance and SEE sensitivity. With the SEE-mitigated RF building blocks, the integrated receivers have been designed and characterized in order to confirm function-level mitigation. The impact of technology scaling on the applicable SEE-mitigation techniques has been addressed in this work. The inverse-mode SiGe HBTs have exhibited significantly improved RF performance, broadening their use to active RF gain stages. In addition, cryogenic operations of the SEE-hardened LNA have been characterized for a wider range of extreme-environment applications. High-performance RF building blocks for wideband transceivers and phased-array radar systems have been also proposed in this work. An active wideband power divider/combiner supporting bi-directional operation has been implemented in SiGe BiCMOS platform. And a low-loss wideband digital-step attenuator has been demonstrated with low phase/amplitude imbalance.