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Evaluation and characterization of Silicon MESFETs in low dropout regulators

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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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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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Fast transient digitally controlled buck regulator with inductor current slew rate boost

Description

Mobile electronic devices such as smart phones, netbooks and tablets have seen increasing demand in recent years, and so has the need for efficient, responsive and small power management solutions that are integrated into these devices. Every thing from the

Mobile electronic devices such as smart phones, netbooks and tablets have seen increasing demand in recent years, and so has the need for efficient, responsive and small power management solutions that are integrated into these devices. Every thing from the battery life to the screen brightness to how warm the device gets depends on the power management solution integrated within the device. Much of the future success of these mobile devices will depend on innovative, reliable and efficient power solutions. Perhaps this is one of the drivers behind the intense research activity seen in the power management field in recent years. The demand for higher accuracy regulation and fast response in switching converters has led to the exploration of digital control techniques as a way to implement more advanced control architectures. In this thesis, a novel digitally controlled step-down (buck) switching converter architecture that makes use of switched capacitors to improve the transient response is presented. Using the proposed architecture, the transient response is improved by a factor of two or more in comparison to the theoretical limits that can be achieved with a basic step down converter control architecture. The architecture presented in this thesis is not limited to digitally controlled topologies but rather can also be used in analog topologies as well. Design and simulation results of a 1.8V, 15W, 1MHz digitally controlled step down converter with a 12mV Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) resolution and a 2ns DPWM (Digital Pulse Width Modulator) resolution are presented.

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Date Created
2013