Theses Doctoral

Voltage and Time-Domain Analog Circuit Techniques for Scaled CMOS Technologies

Kalani, Sarthak

CMOS technology scaling has resulted in reduced supply voltage and intrinsic voltage gain of the transistor. This presents challenges to the analog circuit designers due to lower signal swing and achievable signal to noise ratio (SNR), leading to increased power consumption. At the same time, device speed has increased in lower design nodes, which has not been directly beneficial for analog circuit design. This thesis presents voltage-domain and time-domain circuit scaling friendly circuit architectures that minimize the power consumption and benefit from the increasing transistor speeds.

In the voltage-domain, an on-the-fly gain selection block is demonstrated as an alternative to the traditional MDAC architecture to enhance the input dynamic range of a medium-resolution medium-speed analog-to-digital converter (ADC) at reduced supply voltages. The proposed design also eliminates the need for a reference buffer, thus providing power savings. The measured prototype enhances the input dynamic range of a 12bit, 40MSPS ADC to 80.6dB at 1.2V supply voltage.

In the time-domain, a generic circuit design approach is presented, followed by an in-depth analysis of Voltage-Controlled-Oscillator based Operational Transconductance Amplifiers (VCO-OTAs). A discrete-time-domain small-signal model based on the zero crossings of the internal VCOs is developed to predict the stability, the step response, and the frequency response of the circuit when placed in feedback. The model accurately predicts the circuit behavior for an arbitrary input frequency, even as the VCO free-running frequency approaches the unity-gain bandwidth of the closed-loop system, where other intuitive small-signal models available in the literature fail.

Next, we present an application of VCO-OTA in designing a baseband trans-impedance amplifier (TIA) for current-mode receivers as a scaling-friendly and power-efficient alternative to the inverter-based OTA. We illustrate a design methodology for the choice of the VCO-OTA parameters in the context of a receiver design with an example of a 20MHz RF-channel-bandwidth receiver operating at 2GHz. Receiver simulation results demonstrate an improvement of up to 12dB in blocker 1dB compression point (B1dB) for slightly higher power consumption or up to 2.6x power reduction of the TIA resulting in up to 2x power reduction of the receiver for similar B1dB performance.

Next, we present some examples of VCO-OTAs. We first illustrate the benefit of a VCO-OTA in a low-dropout-voltage regulator to achieve a dropout voltage of only100mV and operating down to 0.8V input supply, compared to the prototype based on traditional OTA with a minimum dropout voltage of 150mV, operating at a minimum of 1.2V supply. Both the capacitor-less prototypes can drive up to 1nF load capacitor and provide a current of 60mA. The next prototype showcases a method to reduce the power consumption of a VCO-OTA and spurs at the VCO frequency, with an application in the design of a fourth-order Butterworth filter at 4MHz. The thesis concludes with a design example of 0.2V VCO-OTA.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Electrical Engineering
Thesis Advisors
Kinget, Peter R.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 5, 2020