During the last decades the development of the transistor and its continuous down-scaling allowed the appearance of cost effective wireless communication systems. New generation wideband wireless mobile systems demand high linearity, low power consumption and the low cost devices. Traditional RF systems are mainly analog-based circuitry. Contrary to digital circuits, the technology scaling results in reduction on the maximum voltage swing which makes RF design very challenging. Pushing the interface between the digital and analog boundary of the RF systems closer to the antenna becomes an attractive trend for modern RF devices. In order to take full advantages of the deep submicron CMOS technologies and digital signal processing (DSP), there is a strong trend towards the development of digital transmitter where the RF upconversion is part of the digital-to-analog conversion (DAC). This thesis presents a new digital intermediate frequency (IF) to RF transmitter for 2GHz wideband code division multiple access (W-CDMA). The proposed transmitter integrates a 3-level digital IF current-steering cell, an up-conversion mixer with a tuned load and an RF variable gain amplifier (RF VGA) with an embedded finite impulse response (FIR) reconstruction filter in the up-conversion path. A 4th-order 1.5-bit IF bandpass sigma delta modulator (BP SDM) is designed to support in-band SNR while the out-of-band quantization noise due to the noise shaping is suppressed by the embedded reconstruction filter to meet spectrum emission mask and ACPR requirements. The RF VGA provides 50dB power scaling in 10-dB steps with less than 1dB gain error. The design is fabricated in a 0.18um CMOS technology with a total core area of 0.8 x 1.6 mm2. The IC delivers 0dBm output power at 2GHz and it draws approximately 120mA from a 1.8V DC supply at the maximum output power. The measurement results proved that a digital-intensive digital IF to RF converter architecture can be successfully employed for WCDMA transmitter application.
- A CMOS sigma-delta digital intermediate frequency to radio frequency transmitter