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Evaluation and characterization of Silicon MESFETs in low dropout regulators

Description

The partially-depleted (PD) silicon Metal Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MESFET) is becoming more and more attractive for analog and RF applications due to its high breakdown voltage. Compared to conventional CMOS high voltage transistors, the silicon MESFET can be fabricated

The partially-depleted (PD) silicon Metal Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MESFET) is becoming more and more attractive for analog and RF applications due to its high breakdown voltage. Compared to conventional CMOS high voltage transistors, the silicon MESFET can be fabricated in commercial standard Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) CMOS foundries without any change to the process. The transition frequency of the device is demonstrated to be 45GHz, which makes the MESFET suitable for applications in high power RF power amplifier designs. Also, high breakdown voltage and low turn-on resistance make it the ideal choice for switches in the switching regulator designs. One of the anticipated applications of the MESFET is for the pass device for a low dropout linear regulator. Conventional NMOS and PMOS linear regulators suffer from high dropout voltage, low bandwidth and poor stability issues. In contrast, the N-MESFET pass transistor can provide an ultra-low dropout voltage and high bandwidth without the need for an external compensation capacitor to ensure stability. In this thesis, the design theory and problems of the conventional linear regulators are discussed. N-MESFET low dropout regulators are evaluated and characterized. The error amplifier used a folded cascode architecture with gain boosting. The source follower topology is utilized as the buffer to sink the gate leakage current from the MESFET. A shunt-feedback transistor is added to reduce the output impedance and provide the current adaptively. Measurement results show that the dropout voltage is less than 150 mV for a 1A load current at 1.8V output. Radiation measurements were done for discrete MESFET and fully integrated LDO regulators, which demonstrate their radiation tolerance ability for aerospace applications.

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Date Created
2013

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Wide input common-mode range fully integrated low-dropout voltage regulators

Description

The modern era of consumer electronics is dominated by compact, portable, affordable smartphones and wearable computing devices. Power management integrated circuits (PMICs) play a crucial role in on-chip power management, extending battery life and efficiency of integrated analog, radio-frequency (RF),

The modern era of consumer electronics is dominated by compact, portable, affordable smartphones and wearable computing devices. Power management integrated circuits (PMICs) play a crucial role in on-chip power management, extending battery life and efficiency of integrated analog, radio-frequency (RF), and mixed-signal cores. Low-dropout (LDO) regulators are commonly used to provide clean supply for low voltage integrated circuits, where point-of-load regulation is important. In System-On-Chip (SoC) applications, digital circuits can change their mode of operation regularly at a very high speed, imposing various load transient conditions for the regulator. These quick changes of load create a glitch in LDO output voltage, which hamper performance of the digital circuits unfavorably. For an LDO designer, minimizing output voltage variation and speeding up voltage glitch settling is an important task.

The presented research introduces two fully integrated LDO voltage regulators for SoC applications. N-type Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (NMOS) power transistor based operation achieves high bandwidth owing to the source follower configuration of the regulation loop. A low input impedance and high output impedance error amplifier ensures wide regulation loop bandwidth and high gain. Current-reused dynamic biasing technique has been employed to increase slew-rate at the gate of power transistor during full-load variations, by a factor of two. Three design variations for a 1-1.8 V, 50 mA NMOS LDO voltage regulator have been implemented in a 180 nm Mixed-mode/RF process. The whole LDO core consumes 0.130 mA of nominal quiescent ground current at 50 mA load and occupies 0.21 mm x mm. LDO has a dropout voltage of 200 mV and is able to recover in 30 ns from a 65 mV of undershoot for 0-50 pF of on-chip load capacitance.

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Date Created
2016

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Extraction of RF transceiver system parameters and impairments through detailed analytical modeling combined with a genetic algorithm approach

Description

ABSTRACT To meet stringent market demands, manufacturers must produce Radio Frequency (RF) transceivers that provide wireless communication between electronic components used in consumer products at extremely low cost. Semiconductor manufacturers are in a steady race to increase integration levels through

ABSTRACT To meet stringent market demands, manufacturers must produce Radio Frequency (RF) transceivers that provide wireless communication between electronic components used in consumer products at extremely low cost. Semiconductor manufacturers are in a steady race to increase integration levels through advanced system-on-chip (SoC) technology. The testing costs of these devices tend to increase with higher integration levels. As the integration levels increase and the devices get faster, the need for high-calibre low cost test equipment become highly dominant. However testing the overall system becomes harder and more expensive. Traditionally, the transceiver system is tested in two steps utilizing high-calibre RF instrumentation and mixed-signal testers, with separate measurement setups for transmitter and receiver paths. Impairments in the RF front-end, such as the I/Q gain and phase imbalance and nonlinearity, severely affect the performance of the device. The transceiver needs to be characterized in terms of these impairments in order to guarantee good performance and specification requirements. The motivation factor for this thesis is to come up with a low cost and computationally simple extraction technique of these impairments. In the proposed extraction technique, the mapping between transmitter input signals and receiver output signals are used to extract the impairment and nonlinearity parameters. This is done with the help of detailed mathematical modeling of the transceiver. While the overall behavior is nonlinear, both linear and nonlinear models to be used under different test setups are developed. A two step extraction technique has been proposed in this work. The extraction of system parameters is performed by using the mathematical model developed along with a genetic algorithm implemented in MATLAB. The technique yields good extraction results with reasonable error. It uses simple mathematical operation which makes the extraction fast and computationally simple when compared to other existing techniques such as traditional two step dedicated approach, Nonlinear Solver (NLS) approach, etc. It employs frequency domain analysis of low frequency input and output signals, over cumbersome time domain computations. Thus a test method, including detailed behavioral modeling of the transceiver, appropriate test signal design along with a simple algorithm for extraction is presented.

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Date Created
2011

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A 280 mW, 0.07 % THD+N class-D audio amplifier using a frequency-domain quantizer

Description

Pulse Density Modulation- (PDM-) based class-D amplifiers can reduce non-linearity and tonal content due to carrier signal in Pulse Width Modulation - (PWM-) based amplifiers. However, their low-voltage analog implementations also require a linear- loop filter and a quantizer. A

Pulse Density Modulation- (PDM-) based class-D amplifiers can reduce non-linearity and tonal content due to carrier signal in Pulse Width Modulation - (PWM-) based amplifiers. However, their low-voltage analog implementations also require a linear- loop filter and a quantizer. A PDM-based class-D audio amplifier using a frequency-domain quantization is presented in this paper. The digital-intensive frequency domain approach achieves high linearity under low-supply regimes. An analog comparator and a single-bit quantizer are replaced with a Current-Controlled Oscillator- (ICO-) based frequency discriminator. By using the ICO as a phase integrator, a third-order noise shaping is achieved using only two analog integrators. A single-loop, singlebit class-D audio amplifier is presented with an H-bridge switching power stage, which is designed and fabricated on a 0.18 um CMOS process, with 6 layers of metal achieving a total harmonic distortion plus noise (THD+N) of 0.065% and a peak power efficiency of 80% while driving a 4-ohms loudspeaker load. The amplifier can deliver the output power of 280 mW.

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Date Created
2011

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Optimizing the design of partially and fully depleted MESFETs for low dropout regulators

Description

The constant scaling of supply voltages in state-of-the-art CMOS processes has led to severe limitations for many analog circuit applications. Some CMOS processes have addressed this issue by adding high voltage MOSFETs to their process. Although it can be a

The constant scaling of supply voltages in state-of-the-art CMOS processes has led to severe limitations for many analog circuit applications. Some CMOS processes have addressed this issue by adding high voltage MOSFETs to their process. Although it can be a completely viable solution, it usually requires a changing of the process flow or adding additional steps, which in turn, leads to an increase in fabrication costs. Si-MESFETs (silicon-metal-semiconductor-field-effect-transistors) from Arizona State University (ASU) on the other hand, have an inherent high voltage capability and can be added to any silicon-on-insulator (SOI) or silicon-on-sapphire (SOS) CMOS process free of cost. This has been proved at five different commercial foundries on technologies ranging from 0.5 to 0.15 μm. Another critical issue facing CMOS processes on insulated substrates is the scaling of the thin silicon channel. Consequently, the future direction of SOI/SOS CMOS transistors may trend away from partially depleted (PD) transistors and towards fully depleted (FD) devices. FD-CMOS are already being implemented in multiple applications due to their very low power capability. Since the FD-CMOS market only figures to grow, it is appropriate that MESFETs also be developed for these processes. The beginning of this thesis will focus on the device aspects of both PD and FD-MESFETs including their layout structure, DC and RF characteristics, and breakdown voltage. The second half will then shift the focus towards implementing both types of MESFETs in an analog circuit application. Aside from their high breakdown ability, MESFETs also feature depletion mode operation, easy to adjust but well controlled threshold voltages, and fT's up to 45 GHz. Those unique characteristics can allow certain designs that were previously difficult to implement or prohibitively expensive using conventional technologies to now be achieved. One such application which benefits is low dropout regulators (LDO). By utilizing an n-channel MESFET as the pass transistor, a LDO featuring very low dropout voltage, fast transient response, and stable operation can be achieved without an external capacitance. With the focus of this thesis being MESFET based LDOs, the device discussion will be mostly tailored towards optimally designing MESFETs for this particular application.

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Date Created
2010

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Self resonant third harmonic mixer for 60 GHz transmitter

Description

ABSTRACT Ongoing research into wireless transceivers in the 60 GHz band is required to address the demand for high data rate communications systems at a frequency where signal propagation is challenging even over short ranges. This thesis proposes a mixer

ABSTRACT Ongoing research into wireless transceivers in the 60 GHz band is required to address the demand for high data rate communications systems at a frequency where signal propagation is challenging even over short ranges. This thesis proposes a mixer architecture in Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) technology that uses a voltage controlled oscillator (VCO) operating at a fractional multiple of the desired output signal. The proposed topology is different from conventional subharmonic mixing in that the oscillator phase generation circuitry usually required for such a circuit is unnecessary. Analysis and simulations are performed on the proposed mixer circuit in an IBM 90 nm RF process on a 1.2 V supply. A typical RF transmitter system is considered in determining the block requirements needed for the mixer to meet the IEEE 802.11ad 60 GHz Draft Physical Layer Specification. The proposed circuit has a conversion loss of 21 dB at 60 GHz with a 5 dBm LO power at 20 GHz. Input-referred third-order intercept point (IIP3) is 2.93 dBm. The gain and linearity of the proposed mixer are sufficient for Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) modulation at 60 GHz with a transmitted data rate of over 4 Gbps.

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Date Created
2010

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Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) bio-sensors to detect target molecules in undiluted human serum

Description

Biosensors aiming at detection of target analytes, such as proteins, microbes, virus, and toxins, are widely needed for various applications including detection of chemical and biological warfare (CBW) agents, biomedicine, environmental monitoring, and drug screening. Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR), as

Biosensors aiming at detection of target analytes, such as proteins, microbes, virus, and toxins, are widely needed for various applications including detection of chemical and biological warfare (CBW) agents, biomedicine, environmental monitoring, and drug screening. Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR), as a surface-sensitive analytical tool, can very sensitively respond to minute changes of refractive index occurring adjacent to a metal film, offering detection limits up to a few ppt (pg/mL). Through SPR, the process of protein adsorption may be monitored in real-time, and transduced into an SPR angle shift. This unique technique bypasses the time-consuming, labor-intensive labeling processes, such as radioisotope and fluorescence labeling. More importantly, the method avoids the modification of the biomarker’s characteristics and behaviors by labeling that often occurs in traditional biosensors. While many transducers, including SPR, offer high sensitivity, selectivity is determined by the bio-receptors. In traditional biosensors, the selectivity is provided by bio-receptors possessing highly specific binding affinity to capture target analytes, yet their use in biosensors are often limited by their relatively-weak binding affinity with analyte, non-specific adsorption, need for optimization conditions, low reproducibility, and difficulties integrating onto the surface of transducers. In order to circumvent the use of bio-receptors, the competitive adsorption of proteins, termed the Vroman effect, is utilized in this work. The Vroman effect was first reported by Vroman and Adams in 1969. The competitive adsorption targeted here occurs among different proteins competing to adsorb to a surface, when more than one type of protein is present. When lower-affinity proteins are adsorbed on the surface first, they can be displaced by higher-affinity proteins arriving at the surface at a later point in time. Moreover, only low-affinity proteins can be displaced by high-affinity proteins, typically possessing higher molecular weight, yet the reverse sequence does not occur. The SPR biosensor based on competitive adsorption is successfully demonstrated to detect fibrinogen and thyroglobulin (Tg) in undiluted human serum and copper ions in drinking water through the denatured albumin.

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Date Created
2015

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A Low Cost, High Dynamic Range, Versatile Digital Readout Integrated Circuit Unit Cell Prototype for Infrared Imaging Applications

Description

Readout Integrated Circuits(ROICs) are important components of infrared(IR) imag

ing systems. Performance of ROICs affect the quality of images obtained from IR

imaging systems. Contemporary infrared imaging applications demand ROICs that

can support large dynamic range, high frame rate, high output data rate,

Readout Integrated Circuits(ROICs) are important components of infrared(IR) imag

ing systems. Performance of ROICs affect the quality of images obtained from IR

imaging systems. Contemporary infrared imaging applications demand ROICs that

can support large dynamic range, high frame rate, high output data rate, at low

cost, size and power. Some of these applications are military surveillance, remote

sensing in space and earth science missions and medical diagnosis. This work focuses

on developing a ROIC unit cell prototype for National Aeronautics and Space Ad

ministration(NASA), Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s(JPL’s) space applications. These

space applications also demand high sensitivity, longer integration times(large well

capacity), wide operating temperature range, wide input current range and immunity

to radiation events such as Single Event Latchup(SEL).

This work proposes a digital ROIC(DROIC) unit cell prototype of 30ux30u size,

to be used mainly with NASA JPL’s High Operating Temperature Barrier Infrared

Detectors(HOT BIRDs). Current state of the art DROICs achieve a dynamic range

of 16 bits using advanced 65-90nm CMOS processes which adds a lot of cost overhead.

The DROIC pixel proposed in this work uses a low cost 180nm CMOS process and

supports a dynamic range of 20 bits operating at a low frame rate of 100 frames per

second(fps), and a dynamic range of 12 bits operating at a high frame rate of 5kfps.

The total electron well capacity of this DROIC pixel is 1.27 billion electrons, enabling

integration times as long as 10ms, to achieve better dynamic range. The DROIC unit

cell uses an in-pixel 12-bit coarse ADC and an external 8-bit DAC based fine ADC.

The proposed DROIC uses layout techniques that make it immune to radiation up to

300krad(Si) of total ionizing dose(TID) and single event latch-up(SEL). It also has a

wide input current range from 10pA to 1uA and supports detectors operating from

Short-wave infrared (SWIR) to longwave infrared (LWIR) regions.

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Date Created
2019