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A CMOS Gyrator Low-IF Filter for a Dual-Mode

Bluetooth/ZigBee Transceiver
Brian Guthrie, John Hughes, Tony Sayers, and Adrian Spencer

AbstractA low-IF polyphase channel filter for a dual-mode

Bluetooth/Zigbee transceiver is described. Implemented in a
standard 0.18- m CMOS process, the filter has a fifth-order
0.5-dB equiripple bandpass response and employs novel transcon1 mW and
ductor and preamplifier designs. It consumes
achieves image band rejection 44 dB, input referred noise of
52 2 Vrms and input referred third-order intermodulation
intercept of 20 dBVp, which gives a spurious-free dynamic range
of 68.4 dB. Chip area including its tuning circuit is 0.23 mm2 .
Index TermsChannel filter, CMOS,

- , transceiver, gy-


HIS PAPER describes a dual-mode filter intended to meet

specifications for the Bluetooth [1] and ZigBee [2] systems. The circuit should enable ZigBee capability to be added
to mobile phones, where Bluetooth is already becoming an established feature. Bluetooth applications are well known and
include wireless headsets, file sharing, and printing. ZigBee is
based on the 802.15.4 specification [2] recently ratified by the
IEEE and is used for very simple wireless connectivity. The addition of ZigBee capability to a phone could enable the control
of devices such as lights, electronic devices and central heating
using the mobile handset.
A dual-mode solution is being developed because, in the
price-sensitive market for mobile devices, it is essential that this
capability be added for minimal extra cost. It is also unlikely
that handset manufacturers would welcome a third radio transceiver in the handset (in addition to the mobile and Bluetooth
transceivers). Fig. 1 shows the context of the dual-mode filter.
The signal from the antenna is amplified and split into and
paths, followed by downconversion and filtering. The and
signals are fed into two demodulators, only one of which will
be operating at a time. As ZigBee operates in the same radio
band as Bluetooth, it is envisaged that the addition of this capability would require very little change to LNAs, mixers, and
synthesizers designed for single-mode Bluetooth. A ZigBee
demodulator can be added at little extra cost. However, the
signal bandwidth for ZigBee is twice that of Bluetooth and thus
a dual-mode channel filter is required which, for consistency
with single-mode Bluetooth, should be a low-IF filter. The filter
Manuscript received December 3, 2004; revised February 24, 2005.
B. Guthrie is with Lifespan Scotland Ltd., Inverness, Scotland, IV2 3ED U.K.
J. Hughes and T. Sayers are with Philips Research Laboratories, Redhill RH1
5HA, U.K.
A. Spencer is with TRL Technology, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, GL20
8ND U.K.
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/JSSC.2005.848146

Fig. 1.

Dual-mode receiver architecture.

to be described is switchable between a center frequency of

1 MHz with a bandwidth of 1.2 MHz in the Bluetooth mode
and a center frequency of 2 MHz with a bandwidth of 2.4 MHz
in the ZigBee mode.
In Section II, we review the principles of complex filters and
describe the filter synthesis procedure. This is followed in Section III by a description of the practical filter and the development of the circuit blocks that it employs. Measured results are
presented in Section IV, and the conclusion is given in Section V.
The function of the channel filter in a low-IF receiver is to
pass the selected channel while rejecting neighboring channel
interferers. As these interferers occur at frequencies on either
side of the passband, image responses must be suppressed,
and this requires using a bandpass filter with an asymmetric
. Filters of this
amplitude response i.e.,
type require complex coefficients, and these can be created by
polyphase networks employing two paths driven by signals
which are identical but in exact phase quadrature as supplied in
the down-converted - and -channels of a low-IF transceiver.
A. Complex Filters
The principle of the complex filter is illustrated in Fig. 2.
Starting with a real low-pass filter (i.e., with real coefficients),
the transformation
is applied. This shifts the poles
and transforms the low-pass reup the imaginary axis by
) into
sponse (actually a bandpass response centered at
[3]. The
an identical bandpass response centered at
transformation preserves both amplitude and phase characteristics and produces the required feature of having no image response at negative frequency.
Synthesis of complex filters follows similar procedures to
those for real filters except that it makes use of complex integrators such as those shown in Fig. 3. The real integrator has an

0018-9200/$20.00 2005 IEEE



Fig. 2. Complex filter basics.

Fig. 3.


Current-mode integrators. (a) Real. (b) Complex.

, an output

, and a transfer characteristic described

where is the integrator time constant.
and two
The complex integrator has two inputs
. The cross-branch transconductors
produce feedback currents which are proportional to
the outputs and which sum with the input currents. It is readily
shown that the transfer characteristic is described by
where the frequency shift

is given by

This demonstrates that the transformation

being performed as required by the complex integrator.


B. Complex Bandpass Synthesis

The synthesis starts with the low-pass LCR prototype shown
in Fig. 4(a). Using traditional state-variable methods, the
leapfrog filter structure shown in Fig. 4(b) is constructed that

Fig. 4. Channel filter architecture. (a) Fifth-order low-pass prototype.

(b) Gyrator low-pass filter. (c) Gyrator complex bandpass filter.

simulates the nodal equations of the prototype using state-variables , , , , and . The specific real current integrators
are shown boxed. It can be seen that the forward and backward
connection of the integrators have formed a series of
transconductor loops which are in fact gyrators.
Translating this low-pass design into its complex bandpass
counterpart involves providing two paths, each containing the
low-pass filter, and then replacing the real integrator pairs with
complex integrators. This results in the architecture shown in
transconFig. 4(c). It can be seen that, as well as the
ductor loops, the cross-branch transconductor loops form a further set of gyrators.
The design values for a fifth-order 0.5-dB equiripple ChebyMHz,
chev dual-mode filter with Bluetooth (
MHz) and ZigBee (
MHz) responses are given in Table I. The design uses a common set of
transconductors, and the dual response is implemented simply
by switching the values of the capacitors.
The practical implementation of this filter uses balanced
CMOS transconductors and floating antiparallel pairs of
Nwell-polysilicon capacitor arrays with the extra capacitors for




Fig. 5. Practical channel filter.


Fig. 6. Class-AB CMOS transconductors [6]. (a) Single-ended. (b)

Differential. (c) Balanced.

A. Balanced Transconductor

Bluetooth switched in using simple nMOS switches. Note that

the design values of its balanced transconductors and floating
capacitors are half of those of the single-ended design given in
Table I.
The practical filter is shown in Fig. 5. The required passband
voltage gain of 20 dB is achieved by adding CMOS amplifiers before and after the filter block. Splitting the gain in this
way enables the intermodulation and noise performances to be
traded optimally. The automatic tuning control reduces the frequency response spreads which result from variations in processing, temperature, and supply voltage to the required value
6%. The requirements for the channel filter are summaof
rized in Table II.
In the rest of this section, we look in detail at the principal
circuit blocks used by the practical filter; the balanced transconductor, the pre- and post-amplifiers, and the frequency tuning

One promising approach which uses the PMOS/NMOS transistor pair proposed by Nauta [6] for mainly high-frequency
filters and employed recently by Andreani [7] at lower frequencies is shown in Fig. 6(a). If the pMOS and nMOS
have identical parameters (this is an untransistors and
necessary constraint but one which simplifies the description),
and the overall transconductance of
. Biasing the
this single-ended cell is
produces equal drain
input at the midrail voltage
and the output current is zero.
currents in both
When the input voltage changes by
, the drain currents of
are unbalanced as given by
and a linearly related current,
, flows at
the output. Thus, the transconductor is inherently linear despite
the square law relationships determining the individual currents.
Furthermore, the transconductor is exceptionally efficient because it operates in class AB for peak output currents as high as



One feature of this transconductor is that

is influenced
which is strongly determined by the
by the bias current
, and this allows a very simple means for
supply voltage
tuning the filter. It also carries a penalty for power supply noise
feedthrough. Assuming square-law saturated MOS behavior,
the transconductance is given by
lated by a signal

, then

. If now the value of

is also modulated

is modu-


Fig. 7. Balanced gyrator loop of two transconductors with feedthrough

capacitance (common-mode networks not shown for clarity).

and the output current is given by

, there is
So, in addition to the wanted output signal
which results in intermodulation
an extraneous signal
of signals with supply noise. Consequently, great care must be
taken when designing the tuning control circuit so that both
noise are effectively suppressed.
Our balanced filter requires balanced transconductors so
that inversion of signals can be achieved by simply crossing
over signal pairs. If one attempts to form a balanced arrangement from two single-ended transconductor cells, as shown
in Fig. 6(b), it is found that, when used in feedback networks
such as the transconductor loops occuring in a gyrator filter,
the circuits become unstable. This can be resolved with the
arrangement shown in Fig. 6(c) [6]. It comprises two main
and a common-mode
single-ended transconductors
feedback network between the input ports. This employs four
, each using half
half-size single-ended transconductors (
width transistors and half the bias current) coupled between the
inputs of the main transconductors. It sets the common-mode
input voltage to correctly bias the transconductor transistors
and presents a high impedance to differential input signals.
One problem with using this transconductor in gyrator circuits arises because of feedthrough from input to output via the
gatedrain capacitances. Had these capacitances been reciprocal
), then balanced gyrators (see Fig. 7) would
have equal feedforward and feedback capacitances producing
no resultant feedthrough. Unfortunately, the intrinsic capacitances of a MOS transistor in saturation are nonreciprocal [8], as
shown in Fig. 8. As a saturated MOS transistor is pinched-off
at its drain, voltage disturbances at the drain do not influence
the channel charge (apart from the negligible contribution from
. On the other hand,
the extrinsic capacitance) and so
voltage disturbances at the gate directly influence the channel
charge (to produce a change in the drain current) and so
. In a gyrator loop, the strong feedforward via
is not balanced by an equal feedback via
, and
this can produce filter responses which peak at high frequency.
The solution to this is shown in Fig. 9. The pMOS capaciare connected between each input and a source follower

Fig. 8. Intrinsic capacitances of a MOS transistor in saturation [8].

Fig. 9. Modified transconductor with capacitive feedthrough equalization.

connected to each output. Voltage disturbances at the transconbut the capacitive curductor input produce feedforward via
rent is routed harmlessly via the source follower to
, and
the transconductor experiences no extra feedforward. However,
voltage disturbances at the transconductor outputs do produce
. Clearly,
creates only capacitive feedback
feedback via
while the internal transconductors produce only feedforward. If
, then
we make
the fully differential transconductor has reciprocal feedthrough
capacitance. Now, when the transconductors are connected as
gyrators, the feedforward cancels the feedback and feedthrough
for the
is eliminated. In practice, the values of
transconductor are readily obtained from the transistors opercan be
ating point information and the resulting design of
trimmed to optimize the filters amplitude response.
B. Post- and Pre-Amplifier
A CMOS voltage gain stage can be made simply from a
pair of single-ended transconductors driving a load made from


Fig. 10.


Amplifier circuit. (a) Post-amplifier. (b) Pre-amplifier.

a pair of diode-connected single-ended transconductors. The

post-amplifier [Fig. 10(a)] is implemented this way, and no
common-mode network is required because it is not used in
a feedback loop and its inputs receive a common-mode bias
from the filter output. However, this is not a good solution
for the pre-amplifier because it is required to block dc inputs
from the mixer, and adding a common-mode circuit to bias the
pre-amplifier would be a poor choice for two reasons. First,
the common-mode arrangement produces unacceptable noise.
Second, because random mismatches between common-mode
transconductors would produce randomly varying / path
delay mismatch, which would result in poor image rejection. The
problem can be avoided by using the pre-amplifier arrangement
shown in Fig. 10(b). The common-mode feedback is produced
(in practice, nMOS transistors
by the resistors
operating in the triode region) which produce an effective
feedback resistance for differential signals of
M and
M , the effective feedback
resistor is 11 M . The arrangement produces minimal noise
and no random path delay mismatch, and furthermore the
increased effective resistance of the feedback network permits
the use of smaller input blocking capacitors.
C. Frequency Response Control
The chosen center frequency and bandwidth for ZigBee are
exactly twice those for Bluetooth. This makes switching between the modes a very simple matter. Table I shows that we
have chosen to do this by switching the filters nodal capacitances rather than the transconductance values, which would
have changed the filters power consumption. We have chosen to
use floating capacitors, even though this adds an inevitable contribution of parasitic capacitance, because they occupy a quarter
of the area of the grounded capacitor alternative. Each of these
floating capacitors is made from two arrays of poly-Nwell unit
capacitor pairs connected in anti-parallel. One set of these two
arrays is connected directly to the filters nodes and produces the

Fig. 11.

Tuning control circuit.

ZigBee response; the other set is connected in parallel via simple

nMOS switches to produce the Bluetooth response. During filter
design, the arrays must be trimmed to the filters design values,
making allowance for the N-well-substrate capacitance and the
transconductor input capacitance. In practice, these parasitics
can be kept to a few percent of the required nodal capacitances.
The filters transconductor and capacitor values, and hence
the frequency reponse, are subject to spreads due to process
variation, temperature change, and aging. These spreads may
be tuned out by making a global change to the transconductor
, and
set by an adjustment to the regulated supply voltage
this is the basis of the automatic tuning control used in this design. The usual approach using a phase-locked loop [9] was not
used here because the required tuning accuracy was only 6%,
and so a simpler arrangement was adopted to save power consumption and chip area.
The tuning control loop used in this design is a
masterslave arrangement in which the master tuning loop
adjusts the value of a reference transconductor, by adjusting its
supply voltage, to achieve a pre-defined time constant equal to
with a reference switched capacitor operated at a clock
. The filter, i.e., the slave, has transconductors
and capacitors with similar design and supply voltage to those
of the control loop and the close component tracking produces
a filter with well-defined pole frequencies.
In more detail, the control loop [Fig. 11(a)] comprises a
that generates
skewed diode-connected transconductor
a quiescent voltage that is offset from that of the reference transconductor, a parallel arrangement of the reference
and switched capacitor , an integrator
, and an inverter and a charge
[Fig. 11(b)] for regulating the
supply. In
operation, the reference transconductor and switched capacitor
supply the integrator with opposite polarity currents and ,



Fig. 14. Measured passband response (Bluetooth) with and without

feedthrough equalization.

Fig. 12.

Measurement setup.

Fig. 15.

Measured compression characteristic (Bluetooth).

voltages. They also serve the purpose of transmitting any subrail. With near equal interferstrate interference onto the
rails, very little signal is coupled into
ence on both
the filter.

Fig. 13.

Measured amplitude response of filter. (a) Bluetooth. (b) ZigBee).

which are integrated and amplified and then used to control the
charge pump [10]. With the switched capacitor set to the value
, the loop stabilizes when the integrated currents sum to
zero and
is at the value required to achieve the desired
time constant. When the transconductor or capacitor have nonadjusts to change the transconductance
typical values,
value to restore the time constant to its nominal value.
Necessarily, the loop regulates with a sawtooth ripple on
and so the supply voltage
used by the filter is
. With the source follower
low-pass filtered by
scaled to produce the same
regulating transistors
, the value of
tracks closely the mean value of
and the filters transconductors will closely track the control
loops reference transconductor. The signal handled by the
filter produces almost no ripple current in the
but the mean level of the supply current increases with signal
and some
amplitude, and this causes a mismatch with
detuning of the filter.
, and
were all
The decoupling capacitors
nMOS gate-oxide capacitors connected to minimize their gate

The circuits were designed in a 1.8-V, 0.18- m digital CMOS

process and measured under the control of LabVIEW software
(Fig. 12).
V and
V, the typical measured
amplitude responses for Bluetooth and ZigBee are shown in
Fig. 13(a) and (b). Clearly, the passband responses are nearly
ideal and the image-band rejection at
The zero at dc is produced by the pre-amplifier blocking
capacitors. With the feedthrough equalization disabled, the
passband response (for Bluetooth) is as shown in Fig. 14 with
excessive high-frequency peaking with original transconductors. This demonstrates that the modified transconductor
using feedthrough equalization is performing very effectively.
The Bluetooth signal compression characteristic (similar for
both modes) is shown in Fig. 15 and indicates linear gain
up to an input amplitude of 25 dBVp differential and an
input-referred 1-dB compression point of 23 dBVp (71 mVp)
differential. The Bluetooth output differential noise response
is shown in Fig. 16 and, when integrated over the passband,
gives an input-referred rms noise voltage of 50.4 V and a
signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 60 dB. The ZigBee input-referred
rms noise voltage is 52.2 V and its SNR is 59.6 dB. Fig. 17
shows the Bluetooth third-order intermodulation characteristic
for input tones of 4 and 7 MHz, indicating an input-referred
third-order intercept (IIP3) of 24 dBVp differential. The ZigBee
IIP3 was 20 dBVp. The spurious-free dynamic range (defined
for Bluetooth
here as




Fig. 16.

Measured noise response of filter (Bluetooth).

This paper has described a CMOS continuous-time filter

technique giving both high performance and low power consumption. It was used to implement a complex bandpass
channel filter meeting all of the requirements for a dual-mode
Bluetooth/ZigBee receiver. Its high performance was due in
particular to the use of CMOS class AB transconductors, suitably modified to prevent capacitive feedthrough, which resulted
in well-controlled passband responses, low intermodulation,
and low power consumption. It was also due to the use of a
novel pre-amplifier which gave high image-band rejection and
low noise. The channel filters power consumption of 1 mW
is so low as to be insignificant when compared with that of
its companion RF circuits. The technique may be applied to a
wide range of radio systems, either with lower performance for
ultralow-power radio or with higher performance [11] where
lower power consumption might be of benefit.

Fig. 17.

Measured third-order intermodulation characteristic (Bluetooth).


is 71.2 dB and for ZigBee is 68.4 dB. The common-mode

rejection at the center of the passband for Bluetooth was 29 dB
and for ZigBee was 35 dB. The power supply rejection for
both Bluetooth and ZigBee was greater than 50 dB. The typical
performance for both modes is summarized in Table III. Measurement of ten samples gave a tuning error of less than 3%
with a supply voltage
as low as 1.5 V and an output offset
voltage of less than 20 mV.

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Brian Guthrie received the M.Eng. (Hons) degree

in electronic engineering from Aberdeen University,
Aberdeen, Scotland, U.K.
He joined the Wireless Group of Philips Research
Laboratories, Redhill, U.K., in 1999, where he was
involved in defining the ZigBee standard and worked
on early ZigBee prototypes. His work includes
built-in self-testing of single-chip Bluetooth transceivers and, more recently, ultralow-power radio
circuit design and protocols. He is currently with
LifeScan Scotland Ltd., Inverness, Scotland, U.K., a
subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, who make blood glucose meters for diabetes


John Hughes received the B.Sc. (Eng) degree

from Bristol University, Bristol, U.K., in 1960 and
the Ph.D. degree from Southampton University,
Southampton, U.K., in 1992.
He was a Professorial Research Fellow with Imperial College, London, U.K., from 1996 to 2000.
He is currently a consultant to the Wireless Group
at Philips Research Laboratories, Redhill, U.K., and
is a Visiting Professor with Mahanakorn University
of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand. He has worked
at Philips Research Laboratories in the U.K. and on
secondment at Philips Research Laboratories, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and
Signetics Inc., Sunnyvale, CA, on a variety of topics, including television, magnetic thin-film memories, semiconductor memories, gigabit logic for PCM telephone transmission, microprocessors, analog circuits for subscriber loop systems, circuit design and CAD for mixed-signal ICs, switched-current circuits
for filtering and data conversion, and analog circuit design for low-voltage,
low-power radio receivers. He has published about 100 papers and a similar
number of patents. He has coauthored six books and was coeditor of the IEE
Electronic Circuits and Systems series book, Switched-Currents: An Analogue
Technique for Digital Technology (London, U.K., IEE Press).
Dr. Hughes was the recipient of the 1991 IEE Institution Premium and the
1992 Eurel Prize.


Tony Sayers graduated from Cambridge University,

Cambridge, U.K., in 1982.
He has since been with Philips Research Laboratories, Redhill, U.K. Projects he has worked on have
included mixed analog-digital circuits for DECT, a
Cartesian loop amplifier IC for TETRA, and RF circuits for paging receivers including mixers and frequency synthesizers. Most recently, he has worked on
RF CMOS radios for the ZigBee standard, concentrating in particular on dual-mode Bluetooth/ZigBee

Adrian Spencer received the B.Eng. (Hons.) degree

in electronic engineering from Staffordshire University, Staffordshire, U.K.
He was with Philips Research Laboratories, Redhill, U.K., from 1995 to 2004, where he was involved
in early circuit design work in the novel Philips Silicon-On-Anything process, moving into the design
of low-power architectures for paging receivers and
transmitters for GSM and 3G mobile telephony. More
recent work has included single-chip Bluetooth transceiver integration, built-in self-testing of transceivers,
and integration of GPS into GSM transceivers. He holds several patents in the
area of mobile radio. He is currently with TRL Technology, Tewkesbury, U.K., a
radio systems manufacturer which specializes in defense and government applications, working on high-performance ultrawideband frequency synthesizers.