A 3GHz to 7GHz Fast-Hopping Frequency Synthesizer for UWB

Christoph Sandner, Andreas Wiesbauer Infmeon Technologies AG, Development Center Villach, Austria Christian Grewing, KayWinterberg, Stefan van Waasen, Martin Friedrich, Giuseppe Li Puma Infineon Technologies AG, Development Center Diisseldorf, Germany

A 3 to 7GHz fast-hopping frequency synthesizer for ultra-widehand (UWB) applications, realized in a standard digital 0 . 1 3 p CMOS copper technology is presented. The synthesizer is based on single-sideband (SSB) up or downconversion of a low frequency (LF) input by means of an integrated LC-VCO used as local oscillator (LO). Two LOS are selectable to achieve the large output frequency range with reduced LF bandwidth requirements. This select multiplexer can also be used to pulse the output frequency of the synthesizer with switching times less than Insec. Operating from a 1.SV supply the LO leakage and sideband suppression is better than -2SdBc for downconversion and <-l(ldBc for upconversion, which is sumcient for UWB applications. Measured output frequency range is 3.3 to 6.1GHz, limited by measurement equipment. Power consumption is 95mW and module area 0.7mm’ including pads.

1. Introduction
UWB is an upcoming standard for short-range, high-

rate data communications link. In contrast to current standards like Wireless-LAN the signal spectrum is much wider, at reduced total signal power. Currently there is no agreement on a final standard for UWB in the 3 to IOGHz band. But regardless of the final UWB standard a frequency synthesizer will always be required. The synthesizer presented in this paper is suitable for multi-band OFDM (orthogonal eeqnency division multiplexing), as well as DS-CDMA (direct sequence code division multiple access) approaches, both currently under discussion for standardization in the IEEE workgroup 802.15 [2]. Both concepts require a synthesizer with wide range in output frequency, covering basically the whole frequency band of the UWB transceiver. In contrast to classical synthesizer design, most UWB concepts require a very fast-hopping output frequency. Hop-time may be quite stringent, especially for non-OFDM based systems it must he in the nsec-range. With classical PLL stroctures such fast hop-times are impossible to achieve. With a mixer it is basically possible to implement fasthopping operation by switching one of the frequency inputs




LF-Q Figure 1: Fast-hopping Wideband Synthesizer Block Diagram

0-7803-8373-7/04/$20.00 02004 IEEE

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of the mixer. Well known structures from mnsceiver design like direct upconversion can be applied to solve this problem [ 11. What is different to the current state-ofthe-art is the wideband characteristic of LO, LF input and RF output paths, which is required for generating all needed frequencies for UWB. Especially the wideband LF path poses a challenge to the suppression of spurious falling into the RF output signal band. With the concept described in this paper both requirements, wideband operation as well as fast hopping, can be fulfilled. The next chapter gives an overview about the synthesizer topology. Next we present circuit details, followed by measurement results of a testchip implemented in a 0 . 1 3 ~ digital CMOS technology with copper metallization and no special RF features.

2. Fast-Hopping Synthesizer Concept
The basic concept of the fast-hopping synthesizer is shown in Figure 1. Core of the synthesizer is a mixer with low frequency (LF) and local oscillator (LO) inputs. Since one sideband must be suppressed a single-sideband (SSB) mixer topology is chosen. Therefore both LF and LO inputs consist of I and Q (0 and 90deg) signal components. The desired sideband (upper or lower) can be selected e.g. by switching polarity on one LF input. Basic source for the LF signal can be a rectangular signal or clock, as proposed in [2]. Advantage is the simple generation of multiple fixed LF frequencies by dividing down from the LO clock source. However, there are two major drawbacks with this solution. First is the restriction to fixed frequency ratios, leading to an inflexible clock generation system. Secondly the rectangular waveform shows large harmonics (-10.5dBc for the 3'' hannonic of an ideal rectangular signal), which exceeds even the relaxed requirements for UWB and must be reduced by means of additional adaptive lowpass filtering in the LF path. An alternative to rectangular signals for the LF path is to apply a sinewave signal for improved spurious performance. In case of a digitally generated sinewave combined with digital-analog converters (DAC) again a lowpass filter is required to filter out DAC images, but with relaxed requirements. This will be investigated on a future testchip. On the LO side two LC-VCOs are used to split the whole frequency band into 2 parts. Compared to using only one LO the required bandwidth of the LF path is halved, leading to much relaxed design and power constraints for the LF part, at the cost of additional power for the second LO. It also gives the choice to add some oversampling if a DAC is used as LF source, in order to ease filtering of the DAC image. For a final implementation the LOS must be locked to some reference phase, e.g. by means of a phase locked loop.

With this concept a multiplexer is needed to switch between the two LO frequencies. This multiplexer mainly determines the fast hopping properties, i.e. the switching speed of the synthesizer. In addition it can easily be extended by a third input that can be set to a DC value. When selecting this DC value the LO is switched off. If the DC value is zero the output of an ideal mixer is zero as well, thus enabling a pulsed operation of the synthesizer. Since the LO path has very wide bandwidth the pulse switching can be performed very fast. Another advantage of this concept is that LO leakage is drastically reduced during off-time of the pulses. Figure 2 shows an example for a pulsed synthesizer output waveform, as it is required for DS-CDMA. During time Tp a frequency fI is transmitted. Next the LO is switched off for a given time before switching to another fiequency $ , and so on. The different frequencies are 2 generated by changing LF frequency and/or LO frequency during the pulse break.



Figure 2 : Pulsed Synthesizer Output Waveform Figure 3 shows an example frequency spectrum, which corresponds to the waveform given above. With each LO four sub-band frequencies can be generated by applying the correct LF frequency to the mixer. For this example LF frequencies are 125OMHz and zk750MHz. The RF output center frequency then yields


To achieve SOOMHz bandwidth for each sub-band the pulse width is around 4nsec, with pulse breaks of 6nsec.

4 GHz

6 GHz

Figure 3: Multiband Frequency Spectrum The next chapter focuses on the most important design blocks of the synthesizer.

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3. Design
As core for the mixer stage a classical Gilbert cell [3] was chosen, as shown in Figure 4.

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For the testchip implementation an additional differential pair is needed on the LF inputs to be able to connect 50ohm voltage sources. This again causes additional distortion. depending on the LF input signal level. In Figure 5 the output cwents of two mixer stages are combined to get a SSB mixer shucture with I and Q mixet stages. A resistor combined wt inductive peaking for ih bandwidth enhancement acts as load to the mixer. A similar load is used for the testchip output buffer, formed by a simple differential pair. As LO source there are two LC-VCOs implemented on this testchip, combined with 2:l CML prescalers they generate the required 4 clock phases for IQ operation on the SSB mixer. The VCO structure is shown in Figure 6 and described inmore detail in [4].


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Figure 4: Simplified Mixer Circuit with Predistortion
The large signal behavior of the LF input differential stage of the Gilbert cell is given by the NMOS operating in strong inversion, so the drain output current is in first order proportional to the square-root of the input voltage. This nonlinearity leads to distortion in the output signal of the mixer. To compensate for that an NMOS diode is used, having a square relationship fiom input current to output voltage. In ideal case this compensation works fine. o Unfortunately it is quite sensitive t mismatch between the two diodes, finally causing additional LO leakage on the mixer output. For that reason a resistor was put in parallel to the diode. By choosing the resistance a tradeoff between 31d order distortion and LO leakage is possible.

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Figure 6 Differentially Tuned LC-VCO Structure

Figure 5: SSB Mixer with output Buffer

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The center frequency of the VCOs was designed for 8GHz and lZGHz respectively. Due to layout parasitics not taken into account in simulations the 12GHz VCO shows a max. frequency of llGHz on Silicon. As a consequence all measurements were done with this VCO tuned to 10.8GHz. The LO multiplexer consists of PMOS switch transistors, selecting one of the inputs and connecting it to a current mode logic (CML) buffer stage with resistive load only. Figure 7 shows a layout plot of the testchip. on the left side there are the two coils for the LC-VCOs. On the right side one can identify the coils for the SSB mixer as well as the output buffer.

hand is selected in SSB mixer). LO leakage is at -36dBc, upper sideband suppression is -34dBc. As can be expected with a rectangular signal source the dominant spur is the 3d harmonic of the LF mixed to 5.7GHz, yielding -10.5dBc only. Since this is too large spurious power even for UWB application, additional measures are needed for an integrated solution, either filtering in the LF part, or different LF signal generation, e.g. by using a sinewave generated by DAC.

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4. Measurement Results
For measurements a testchip was fabricated in 0 . 1 3 ~ CMOS technology. The testchip is directly mounted on Rogers R04003 substrate (Figure 8). Direct bonding is used to keep bondwire lengths minimum. On the board all RF lines are carried out as single ended or differential 50ohm microstrip lines and connected by SMA plugs. The RF output is measured on a 26GHz Agilent E444A I Spectrum analyzer. Since no wideband 180" hybrid was Figure 9: Wideband Output Spectrum: L02=5.4GHz, available all measurements were camed out on a single LF=lOOMHz, lower sideband, span=lOGHz output only, leading to 3dB loss in signal power compared to differential outputs. LO frequencies are tuned to 4GHz Figure 10 shows the same setup, but with larger LF of and 5.4GHz, respectively. A standard 2 channel Agilent 600MHz. LO leakage as well as sideband suppression are 81110 pattern generator is used as LF signal source, still very good, at -37dBc and -3OdBc, respectively. The 3'' providing IQ rectangular signals. The maximum output harmonic drops to -1ZdBc due to limited bandwidth in the frequency is 660MHz, thus limiting also the synthesizer LF signal path. range to this value.

Figure 10: Wideband Output Spectrum: L02=5.4GHz, LF=600MHz, lower sideband, span=lOGHz Figure 8: Board Photograph Figure 9 shows a wideband output spectrum with span from loMHz to 10GHz. LO frequency is 5.4GHz, LF is IOOMHz, thus the RF output frequency is 5.3GHz (lower In Figure 11 the complete output frequency range of the synthesizer is exploited. A sweep of the LF input frequency is performed, as well as a proper selection of upper or lower sideband and LO1 or LO2. For LF frequencies below 4.66GHz LO14GHz is selected, for all higher frequencies

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L02=5.4GHz. On the x-axis the resulting RF frequency is shown. On the y-axis the RF signal power, as well as spurious power for LO leakage, unwanted sideband (LSB) and 31dorder distortion (HD3) are plotted in dBm. ____________
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Figure 12 shows the spurious power for LOI, Figure 13 for LO2. If taking the lower sideband operation only (left half of diagrams) the spurious performance for LO leakage and unwanted sideband suppression (LSB) is always betta than -25dBc (compared to -18dBc for upper and lower sideband operation), fitting well to UWB requirements. The worse performance for HD3 is due to the use of rectangular LF signal without dedicated filtering.
The last figure shows a time domain measurement of a pulsed RF output signal. Since our fastest oscilloscope has an analog bandwidth of 1.5GH2, the 4.4GHz RF signal was mixed with 3.6GHz down to a band of 800MHz.Even with this non-optimum measurement setup the switching time is less than lnsec.

Figure 11: F power vs. output frequency W
One can see that the (single ended) RF output power vanes from -8 to -17dBm. As conclusion an UWB transceiver will require some kind of adaptive output power regulation loop to compensate for that. For the spurious performance the distance to the

Figure 14: Fast-hopping operation: 4usec on time, 6usec off time. L01=4GHz, LF400MHz

5. Acknowledgements
The authors thank M. Tiebout, C. Kienmayer and P. Schreilechner for support with the board, D. Draxelmayr, F. Kuttner, Y.Rashi, E. Shmon for fruitful discussions, and A. Santner, M. Burian and G. Rauter for layout work.

Figure 12: Spurious power for LO1=4.0GHz

6. References
[I] E. Razavi, "W Microelectronics", PrenticeHall. 1998. p. 151.

[Z] G. Shor et a/, "TG3a-Wisair contribution on multi band
implementation", h ~ : l l ~ u ~ e r . i e e e . o r ~ ~ o u v ~ ~ O 2 l l 5 , May 2003. [3] E. Gilbert, "A precise four-quadrant multiplier with subnanosecondresponse", lEEE Joumal ofSolidState Cimils, Vol. SC-3, No. 4,pp. 365-73, Dec. 1968. 141N. Da Dalt; C. Sandner, "A subpicosecondjitter PLL for clock generation in 0.12 pm d g t l CMOS': IEEE Joumal ofSolid-Sfate iia Circuits,July2003,pp. 1275 -1278.

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Figure 13: Spurious power for L02=5.4GHz

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