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Electrical On-Chip Resonators

Bernhard E. Boser
Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center
Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
University of California, Berkeley

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Outline

• Tunable Capacitors
• 3-Dimensional Inductors
• Application:
Voltage-Controlled Oscillator (VCO)

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Tunable Capacitors
• parallel plate Aluminum
• 200x200 µm2, 1.5 µm gap
• IC compatible processing
• 2pF + 15% for 3V tuning voltage
• Q=60 at 1GHz
Ref: D. Young et al, Hilton-Head 1996.

Comparison with junction capacitors:


+large signal operation (no forward biasing)
+excellent linearity
- special packaging
- Brownian motion noise

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Tuning Range
• Pull-in voltage
t=
X0= – +50% max
8 ρ Al 3 2
VP = x0 tω r
27 ε 0

– Vp = 4V for fr=40kHz
Rtether

C0
• Parasitics
CBP CTP
– CBP = C0
– CTP < 0.1 C0
(larger in this design)

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Fabrication Process
• 1µm sputtered Al
• Sacrificial photoresist
• Tmax = 150oC
(plasma etch)
• Stiction / welding no
problem
(residual resist?)

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Coil Inductors
• Electroplated copper
• 50x5mµ2 traces
• 10Ω-cm Silicon substrate
• Coil: 500 µm
– Increased L, Q
– Reduced substrate loss
– Increased self-resonance 650 µm
– Reduced area

Ref: D. Young et al, IEDM 1997.

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Inductor Fabrication
Passivation oxide

Seed mask

5µm electroplated Cu
for bottom traces
(50µm trace width)

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Fabrication (cont.)
Alumina core
Electroplated photoresist
Laser lithography

Electroplated Cu

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Inductor Performance
Turns Q (1GHz) L fself
1 30 5nH >10GHz
4 16 14nH >5GHz

• low substrate losses


• loss limited by bottom “contact”
(higher Q possible?)

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Voltage-Controlled Oscillator
VDD
Vtune
8.2nH
Rx

50pF Ctune

Ref: Solid-State Sensor and Actuator


Workshop, 1998.
Vbias 1pF

• VCO (136dBc, ∆f=3MHz)


4pF
• Meets GSM noise specs
• MOS Colpitt’s oscillator

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Power versus Q
• Phase noise (relative to carrier):
(Leeson’s Equation - simplified)

2 Fk BT   1 f0  
2

N ( ∆f ) = 1 +   
Psig   2Q ∆f  
 
2
Fk BT 1  f 0 
≈ 
2 

2 PsigQ  ∆f 

• Increased Q <-> Lower Power Psig

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Power versus Q (cont.)
E.g. F=100,
fo=1GHz,
∆f=3MHz,
N(∆f)=136dBc/Hz

Q=16 Psig= 5mW


Q= 4 Psig= 125mW

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Brownian Motion Noise
• Inertial forces compensated by PLL
• Brownian motion displacement noise:
10
4k BTω r
x ( f )n =
2 1 0
mQ    2  2 2 x( f rel, 1)
f 1 f 
1 −    + 2  
  f r   Q  f r  x( f rel, 10)

20

− 30
0 2 4
0 f rel 5

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FM Modulation
• Resonant frequency shift
 ∆x 
 = ω 0 (1 + β )
1
ωr = ≈ ω 0 1 +
LC  2 x0 

• FM Modulation
|Vosc|

ω0-ωnoise ω0 ω0+ωnoise

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Ambient Pressure

Atmospheric pressure Vacuum (20mT)

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Oscillator Phase Noise
Smechanical • Brownian noise
-30dB/dec
insignificant beyond fr
Selectrical
• Increasing Q concentrates
noise at fr

• Increasing mass reduces


-20dB/dec
noise, but increases tuning
voltage
-60dB/dec

• Large Cp reduces noise


f1/f fr ∆f

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Results
∆f Smech [dBc/Hz] Sel [dBc/Hz]
10 kHz -64 -85
100 kHz -105 -105
3 MHz -194 -136

• atmospheric pressure (low Qmech)


• mechanical noise dominates close to carrier
• not significant problem in most applications

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Inductor / Resonator Applications

• Stand-alone components
• Impedance Matching (e.g. LNA)
• “Noise-less” loads
• Transformers, Baluns
• Filters
• Voltage-Controlled Oscillators

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