High speed current-steering DACs with high linearity are needed in today's applications such as wired and wireless communications, instrumentation, radar, and other direct digital synthesis (DDS) applications. However, a trade-off exists between the speed and resolution of Nyquist rate current-steering DACs. As the resolution increases, more transistor area is required to meet matching requirements for optimal linearity and thus, the overall speed of the DAC is limited.
In this thesis work, a 12-bit current-steering DAC was designed with current sources scaled below the required matching size to decrease the area and increase the overall speed of the DAC. By scaling the current sources, however, errors due to random mismatch between current sources will arise and additional calibration hardware is necessary to ensure 12-bit linearity. This work presents how to implement a self-calibration DAC that works to fix amplitude errors while maintaining a lower overall area. Additionally, the DAC designed in this thesis investigates the implementation feasibility of a data-interleaved architecture. Data interleaving can increase the total bandwidth of the DACs by 2 with an increase in SQNR by an additional 3 dB.
The final results show that the calibration method can effectively improve the linearity of the DAC. The DAC is able to run up to 400 MSPS frequencies with a 75 dB SFDR performance and above 87 dB SFDR performance at update rates of 200 MSPS.