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Int. J. Electron. Commun. (AE) 62 (2008) 490 495 www.elsevier.


An RF-LO current-bleeding doubly balanced mixer for IEEE 802.15.3a UWB MB-OFDM standard receivers
Skandar Doussa , , Farid Touatib , Mourad Louloua
a Laboratoire dElectronique et des Technologies de lInformation, National School of Engineering of Sfax, B.P. 3038 Sfax Tunisia b Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Sultan Qaboos University, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

Received 7 March 2007; accepted 16 June 2007

Abstract A new design of active mixers intended for the Mode 1 of ultra wideband multi-band OFDM receivers is presented. It is based on a doubly balanced Gilbert cell type in which bleeding current sources are added in both the RF and LO stages in order to improve further linearity and gain. Using an L-input matching and optimized device size, it was possible to obtain a good operation of the proposed mixer all over the 3.14.8 GHz band with AMS 0.35 m CMOS process parameters. The simulated conversion gain is 12.013.5 dBm, noise gure less than 8.8 dB, input IP3 above 0 dBm and a higher than 4 dB of input return loss, when the power consumption is 18 mW under 3 V supply voltage. 2007 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
Keywords: UWB transceiver; Down-conversion mixer; Gilbert cell; Current-bleeding

1. Introduction
The IEEE 802.15 task Group 3a has discussed the use of the ultra wideband multi-band orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (UWB MB-OFDM) and direct-sequence spread-spectrum for high-data-rate PHY layer [1]. Recently, there has been an increasing interest in the Mode 1 band (3.14.8 GHz) of the UWB MB-OFDM standard in particular [24]. A major proposal in this standard promises that data rates of up to 400480 Mb/s can be obtained using this low-frequency band alone. This band has been allocated for the development of the rst-generation UWB systems (> 100 Mb/s) targeting low-power wireless multimedia applications and high-performance PC peripherals over a short distance up to 10 m. OFDM already enjoys an outstanding
Corresponding author. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Sultan Qaboos Univeristy, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman. Tel.: +968 24142535; fax: +968 24413454. E-mail addresses: (S. Douss), (F. Touati), (M. Loulou).

record with other standards organizations, such as asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL), IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11g, and IEEE 802.16a. Recently, several key organizations (MBOA, WiMedia, Wireless USB) have selected this design for their applications [5]. The maximum transmitted power allowed by the FCC in this band is around 41.3 dBm/MHz (i.e. 75 nW/MHz), which is similar to the power from unintentional radiators (TV, PC monitors, etc.). For this reason, receiver blocks need to have high signal amplication. In a UWB MB-OFDM receiver, a lot of trade-offs are posed in a mixer design. Firstly, the mixer has to meet wideband requirements over the Mode 1 band. An adequate input matching is then required. The basic trade-off is between gain and linearity. For a high gain, the linearity is less and vice versa. The current-bleeding technique, rstly proposed by Lee and Choi [6], allows improving simultaneously gain and linearity in the case of narrow band (fRF = 900 MHz) single balanced mixers. The same technique was then used in [7] with the doubly balanced mixer topology for an operation from 1.056 to 1.584 GHz only.

1434-8411/$ - see front matter 2007 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.aeue.2007.06.007

S. Douss et al. / Int. J. Electron. Commun. (AE) 62 (2008) 490 495


In this work, we adopt the same technique to design a UWB doubly balanced Gilbert cell mixer operating all over the Mode 1 band from 3.1 to 4.8 GHz and using the AMS CMOS 0.35 m process parameters. Also, we propose an improved topology which allows a higher achievable gain.

follows the LNA. Here, the LNA and mixer must show wideband characteristics over the band of interest. In fact, these blocks dominate the system linearity, noise performance and determine performance requirements of their adjacent blocks. The variable-gain amplier (VGA) is connected to the mixer to adjust the signal magnitude [4].

2. UWB MB-OFDM transceiver architecture 3. Down-conversion mixer design

In a UWB MB-OFDM standard, the band spectrum from 3.168 to 10.560 GHz is partitioned to 14 sub-bands of 528 MHz band-width as illustrated in Fig. 1. Each band consists of 128 sub-channels of 4.125 MHz. The OFDM technique is employed in each band to transmit data rates as high as 480 Mb/s. In contrast to IEEE 802.11a/g, UWB MB-OFDM employs only QPSK modulation in each subchannel to allow low resolution in the baseband analog-todigital (A/D) and digital-to-analog (D/A) converters (15 bits) [8,9]. Fig. 2 shows the main blocks of a conventional UWBOFDM transceiver. The local oscillator (LO) is center in the desired bands. The quadrature down-conversion mixer In this section, a down-conversion mixer intended for the Mode 1 of UWB MB-OFDM receiver will be studied.

3.1. Active doubly-balanced topology

Because of the low power of the received signal, LNA and mixer must produce a lot of gain all over the 3.14.8 GHz band. For this reason, an active mixer is generally adopted. Fig. 3 shows a conventional doubly-balanced mixer based on the Gilbert cell. This is one of the most used active mixes in bipolar, SiGe and CMOS process [10].

3.2. Input matching

This work

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
















The key to use such a kind of mixers in UWB applications is to have a good input impedance matching for the whole band of interest and to use optimized device size for the switching and RF stages. In Fig. 3, an L-matching type is used at the input of the RF stage and insured by Lm and the gate-source capacitance Cgs of the RF transistors MRF1 and MRF2 . Theoretically,

528 MHz

128 subchannels





Fig. 1. The band plan for the UWB multiband OFDM.

Down-conversion Antenna LNA





Switching stage

Q Receiver
RF stage

90 0

m (3.5nH)

UP-conversion Mixer



Input matching

Ls Ibias



Q Emitter

Fig. 2. UWB-OFDM transceiver.

Fig. 3. Conventional doubly-balanced Gilbert cell mixer with L-input matching.


S. Douss et al. / Int. J. Electron. Commun. (AE) 62 (2008) 490 495


Lm and Cgs are given by: Lm Cgs Q Rs , w0 Q , Rs .w0 (1)


IF + IF -


where Rs (=50 ) is the source resistance, w0 = 2 fc and Q = fc /BW is the quality factor with BW the band-width and fc ( = 4 GHz) is the central frequency of the band of interest. This leads to Cgs 1.5 pf and Lm 3.7 nH, which is realizable monolithically. The value of Cgs is essentially depending on geometric size of the RF stage transistors [11].




3.3. Current-bleeding features

With the conventional Gilbert Cell mixer shown in Fig. 3, it was impossible to improve simultaneously the conversion gain and IIP3. Additive circuits and new techniques such as current bleeding can be envisaged to surmount this drawback. The current bleeding technique can be explained more easily using a single-balanced mixer topology shown in Fig. 4. This will help understanding what we are proposing as an improved version of this technique in next section. Since the RF devices operate in the saturation region, the conversion gain (CG) and IIP3 can be approximated by: CG = 2 RL KnRF IdsRF , 2 IdsRF , 3 Kn (3) (4)


Fig. 4. Single balanced mixer with current-bleeding source.

IIP3 = 4

with RL is the load resistance, IdsRF is the drain current of the RF stage transistors, KnRF = 2 n Cox W/L, where Cox is to gate oxide capacitance, W and L are, respectively, the width and length of the RF transistors. Therefore, the IIP3 and the conversion gain are proportional to the square root of the bias current. Consequently, it appears that the mixer performance in terms of linearity and gain can be simply improved by increasing the bias current. Practically, this hypothesis is not exact. Increasing the bias current will automatically increase the voltage-drop across RL , which would affect the good operation of the switching transistors by disturbing voltages V1 and V1 . Therefore, for a xed supply voltage VDD , increasing the bias current dictates decreasing the load in order to preserve bias conditions of the switching devices. According to Eq. (1), this will decrease the conversion gain. It follows that to enhance both gain and linearity it will be better to increase IdsRF without varying the drain-source current of the switching transistors. This can be achieved using the current bleeding technique. In Fig. 4, a bleeding current source (IBLD ) is added to the basic core of the single-balanced mixer. Without IBLD , the total bias current is: IdsRF = ID1 + ID2 , (5)

Fig. 5. The UWB doubly-balanced mixer with current-bleeding technique.

with IBLD , it becomes possible to increase Ibias without varying ID1 or ID2 : IdsRF = ID1 + ID2 + IBLD . (6)

This would improve linearity and conversion gain at the same time. Fig. 5 shows the proposed double-balanced Gilbert-type mixer with bleeding technique. The p-channel transistors MBLD1 and MBLD2 are used as bleeding current sources. The

S. Douss et al. / Int. J. Electron. Commun. (AE) 62 (2008) 490 495

3.1 GHz

4.8 GHz

12 10 IIP3 (dBm) conv_ gain (dBm) 8 6 4 2 0 -2 2.5




4.0 4.5 RF_freq (GHz)



Fig. 6. Simulated mixer output spectrum.

Fig. 8. Simulated conversion gain and IIP3.

-2 -4 dB ( S ( 1,1) ) -6 -8 -10 -12 -14 -16 3.0 3.2 3.4 3.6 3.8 4.0 4.2 4.4 4.6 freq, GHz 4.8 5.0

As compared to the conventional doubly-balanced mixer in Fig. 3, simulations showed that the bleeding technique allowed an increase of about 2 dBm in the power conversion gain and more than 4 dBm in the IIP3, without degrading the other performances. This topology resolves well the tradeoff between gain and linearity.

3.4. An improved topology: RF-LO current bleeding doubly-balanced mixer

Using the conventional bleeding technique in Fig. 5, the conversion gain can be increased by increasing the load RL (see Eq. (3)) when a part of the RF stage current is being steered from the switching transistors. Here RL is given by RL = VDD V 3 . IDSswitch (7)

Fig. 7. Simulated S11 trace.

inductance L1 is used to increase linearity and decrease the 1/f noise [7,12]. To verify that the circuit in Fig. 5 is operating as expected, simulations are performed using ADS software. Fig. 6 shows the output signal spectral, where fRF = 3.100 GHz, fLO = 3.055 GHz. This should result in a down-converted signal at 45 MHz. As can be seen, two frequencies are obtained: Up-conversion m2 (undesired signal): fUP = fRF + fLO = 6.155 GHz. Down-conversion m1 (desired signal): fDOWN = fRF fLO = 45 MHz. Consistent results are obtained for the entire band, which is in line with the theory. Fig. 7 shows the simulated S11 (dB) parameter. The circuit is optimized to provide an input return less greater than 4 dB. A better input return loss could be achieved with the used L-matching. However, this was at the expense of other performances such as noise gure and vice-versa. Fig. 8 shows the simulation results of the conversion gain and the IIP3 for fDOWN = 45 MHz. A conversion gain above 10 dBm and an IIP3 of about 0 dBm are obtained for the whole band of interest from 3.1 to 4.8 GHz.

For a xed supply voltage and bias current, the maximum value of RL is limited by the minimum value of the voltage V 3 and the current IDSswitch needed by the switching transistors (MLO14 ) to turn them on and off. To surmount this limitation, we propose in Fig. 9 an enhanced version of the topology in Fig. 5, hereby called the RFLO current bleeding doubly-balanced mixer (RFLO CBDB mixer). Here, the transistors MBLD3 and MBLD4 were added to increase the conversion gain by increasing the load resistance RL without changing neither the drain current of the switching transistors (IDSswitch ) nor the drain voltage V 3. In this case, IDSswitch and V 3 are given by: IDSswitch = IBLD + IDSswitch , V3 = VDD (RL IRL ). (8) (9)

By adding the second current bleeding sources (MBLD3 and MBLD4 ) we could, without bias perturbation, increase RL while maintaining IDSswitch and V 3 constant. Accordingly, the conversion gain would increase. The rst bleeding source bleeds the RF stage current to improve gain and linearity as discussed in the previous section (Fig. 5). The second bleeding source bleeds the


S. Douss et al. / Int. J. Electron. Commun. (AE) 62 (2008) 490 495

Fig. 9. The proposed RFLO current bleeding doubly-balanced Gilbert cell mixer.

LO-switching stage current to increase the load resistance (here from 600 to 800 ) and then to improve further the conversion gain. The RF and LO bleeding sources are biased with the same bias voltage VBLDdc and then, no additional bias source is required. The bleeding currents IBLD1 and IBLD2 are determined by the bias voltage VBLDdc and the aspect ratio (W/L) of the bleeding transistors MBLD1-4 . Simulations of the enhanced architecture are shown in Fig. 10. We notice that the conversion gain is now above 12 dBm and the IIP3 is still around 0 dBm. The effects on other parameters (e.g. noise gure, S -parameters) were insignicant. To highlight the benet of the newly proposed topology the doubly-balanced mixers, with and without current bleeding (Fig. 3 and Fig. 5), and the proposed RFLO CBDB mixer (Fig. 9) are simulated under the same bias conditions. Simulation results are summarized in Table 1. Compared to the doubly-balanced mixer with currentbleeding technique, the new topology allowed an increase of at least 2 dBm in the power conversion gain with insignificant effect on other characteristics. The obtained results compare well with recent publications using the 0.18 m technology optimized over 3.14.8 GHz [12,13]. The proposed design optimizes the overall performance within the 0.35 m technology limits. Lower-feature technologies (e.g. 0.18 or 0.09 m) would lead to better performance over the whole UWB band from 3.1 to 10.6 GHz. Nevertheless, these technologies are at the moment costly.

3.1 GHz 14 12 IIP3 (dBm) conv_gain (dBm) 10 8 6 4 2 0 -2 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0
IIP3 conv_gain

4.8 GHz

4. Conclusion
A new active mixer topology optimized for the Mode 1 of UWB multi-band OFDM systems was designed. Currentbleeding sources, added simultaneously in the RF and LO stages, improved the conversion gain and linearity of the circuit. By optimizing device size and bias conditions of the different blocks, it was possible to achieve a good operation in the desired band. The simulation results using the 0.35 m CMOS process parameters showed a power conversion gain above 12 dBm, a noise gure less than 8.8 dB, an input IP3 above 0 dBm and an input return loss greater than 4 dB. The circuit consumes 18 mW under 3 V supply voltage.




RF_freq (GHz)

Fig. 10. Simulated conversion gain and IIP3 of the new proposed mixer topology.

Table 1. Simulation results of the three mixer topologies Topology CG (dBm) NF (dB) IIP3 (dBm) Bandwidth Power consumption Process Conventional DB mixer 8 < CG < 10 8.8 > NF > 7.1 6.5 < IIP3 < 3 DB mixer with CB technique 10 < CG < 11.8 8.6 > NF > 7.3 0 < IIP3 < 1 3.15.0 GHz 18 mW (3 V, 6 mA) 0.35 m CMOS New topology RFLO CBDB mixer 12 < CG < 13.5 8.8 > NF > 7.6 0 < IIP3 < 1

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[1] IEEE P802.15 Working Group for Wireless Personal Area Networks. Multi-band ofdm Physical Layer Proposal for IEEE 802.15 Task Group 3a. March 2004. [2] Bergervoet J, Harish K, Van-Der-Weide G, Leenaerts D, Van De Beek R, Waite H et al. An Interference Robust Receive Chain for uwb Radio in SiGe BiCMOS. IEEE international solid-state circuits conference. Digest of technical papers (ISSCC05), Eindhoven, 2005. p. 200593. [3] Razavi B, Aytur T, Yang FR, Yan RH, Kang HC, Hsu CC et al. A 0.13 m cmos uwb transceiver. IEEE international solidstate circuits conference. digest of technical papers, (ISSCC05), Los Angeles, 2005. p. 216594. [4] Sung C, Chou M, Wu C, Chen C, Wen K, Chang, C. Low power cmos wideband receiver design. The 16th international conference on microelectronics, (ICM2004), Tunisia, 2004. p. 287290. [5] Batra A, Balakrishnan J, Aiello GR, Foerster JR, Dabak A. Design of a Multiband ofdm System for Realistic uwb Channel Environments. IEEE Trans Microwave Theory Tech 2004;52(9):212338. [6] Lee S, Choi J. Current-reuse bleeding mixer. Electron Lett 2000;36(8):6967. [7] Phan A, Kim C, Shim Y, Lee SG. A high performance cmos direct down conversion mixer for uwb system. IEICE Trans Electron 2005;88:437280. [8] Nejad M, Shen M, Koivisto T, Peltonen T, Tjukanoff E, Tenhunen H. et al. UWB radio module design for wireless sensor networks. J Analog Integr Circuits Signal Process 2007;50(1):4757. [9] Razavi B, Aytur T, Lam C, Yang FR, Li KY, Yan RH. et al. A uwb cmos transceiver. IEEE J Solid-State Circuits 2005;40(12):255562. [10] Salmeh R, Maundy B, Johnston R. Comparison of bipolar and cmos mixer structures for direct conversion modulation at microwave frequencies. Electrical and computer engineering IEEE (CCECE03), Canada, 2003. p. 858. [11] Touati F, Douss S, Loulou M. A 3.15 GHz cmos active mixer for uwb ieee 802.15.3a standard receivers. International conference on communication, computer and power (ICCCP07), Oman, Muscat, 2007. p. 610. [12] Park J, Lee C, Kim B, Laskar J. Design and analysis of low icker-noise cmos mixers for direct-conversion receivers. IEEE Trans Microw Theory Tech 2006;54(12):437280. [13] Cusmai G, Brandolini M, Rossi P, Svelto F. A 0.18 m cmos selective receiver front-end for uwb applications. IEEE J Solid-State Circuits 2006;41(8):176471.

Skandar Douss was born in Ksar Hellal, Tunisia in 1979. He received the Electrical Engineering Diploma then the Master degree in electronics from the National Engineering School of Sfax ENIS, respectively, in 2003 and 2004. He joined the Electronic and Information Technology Laboratory of Sfax LETI since 2003 and he has been a Ph.D. student at the National Engineering School of Sfax ENIS from 2004. His current research interests are on analogue RF CMOS integrated circuits design. Dr. Farid Touati has over 10 years experience designing electronic systems for conventional and hard-environment applications in communications, telemetry, and signal processing. Following the completion of his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Nagoya Institute of Technology of Japan in 1995, he worked at Universities in Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the US. He is currently employed as a Professor at Sultan Qaboos University of Oman. Dr. Mourad Loulou was born in Sfax, Tunisia in 1968. He received the Engineering Diploma from the National Engineering School of Sfax in 1993. He received his Ph.D. degree in 1998 in electronics system design from the University of Bordeaux France. He joined the electronic and information technology laboratory of Sfax LETI since 1998 and he has been assistant Professor at the National School Engineering of Sfax from 1999. Since 2004 he has been an associate Professor at the same institution. Currently, he supervises the Analog and Mixed Mode Design Group of LETI Laboratory. His current research interests are on analog, mixed and RF CMOS integrated circuits design and automation.