SiGe Circuits for Microwave Radio Applications

Thomas Lewin, Harald Jacobsson, Bertil Hansson, Yinggang Li, Spartak Gevorgian Microwave and High Speed Electronics Research Centre Ericsson Microwave Systems AB

Market aspects The market for microwave communication links has been growing almost exponentially for a number of years. If the cost level for microwave links in the future can be substantially reduced a number of new applications could be possible to be introduced on the market, such as MVDS systems for residential customers or WLAN systems at 60 GHz. Another area in which microwave and millimetre wave systems will also play a major role is in transportation. This will provide functions such as traffic control, collision avoidance, active cruise control, and car to car communication as well as automatic toll collection. Frequency bands are allocated for these applications raging from 5.8 GHz to 77 GHz. Low cost is the dominating driving force for the technical development for all of these systems. To meet this requirement Ericsson has introduced GaAs MMIC technology in the MINILINK system [1]. GaAs will however probably not meet the cost levels needed for the future massmarket systems. SiGe can provide the high frequency operation, low cost and high performance required for many of these applications. System on a chip The trend towards one chip solutions will also be seen in future microwave communication systems for mass market applications since highly integrated circuit technology is necessary to meet the die cost requirements needed. Another important factor is to reduce the complexity of production processes. In this context Si/SiGe technology has many advantages since the silicon material is much easier to handle in a production process. SiGe vs. silicon and GaAs SiGe HBTs have shown noise and power-consumption characteristics superior to conventional silicon bipolar transistors and comparable or superior characteristics to those of GaAs at a much lower cost than for GaAs. SiGe can be manufactured in wafer sizes as large as 200 mm to maximise production efficiency. The manufacturing costs of SiGe are comparable to those for conventional silicon and are substantially lower than those for GaAs devices. Part from the cost aspect the possibility to make highly integrated circuits, including CMOS logics, is an important aspect of the Si/SiGe technology. Fully integrated subsystems have been published for the lower part of the microwave frequency range but the number of publications of fully monolithic circuits for frequencies above 5 GHz are not so common in the literature. Circuit performance Inductors VCO operation often requires an inductor with a Q factor above 10. Due to the low resistivities of silicon used in standard technology passive components e.g. lumped inductors can limit the

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Among the SiGe circuits we have designed and evaluated the following circuits will be mentioned • • • • A integrated 7-8 GHz image reject receiver Voltage controlled oscillators in the frequency range 5 to 10 GHz Low noise amplifiers for 23 GHz 7/14 GHz Microwave synthesiser 2 . Noise performance SiGe HBTs show excellent low frequency noise performance due to vertical current transport in the transistor and high quality interfaces. In Figure 1 is shown phase noise performance for VCO circuits for a number of different semiconductor technologies.performance of Si MMICs. -60 Phase Noise at 100kHz (dBc/Hz) -70 -80 -90 -100 -110 1 10 Frequency (GHz) 100 CMOS Si BJT SiGe HBT SiGe this work III-V HBT GaAs FET III-V HEMT Leeson fit Figure 1. Philips and Hitachi [3]. Phase noise performance for a number of technologies Examples of Microwave circuits designed in SiGe at Ericsson At Ericsson we have designed and evaluated SiGe circuits in processes from a number of different semiconductor companies. Infineon. depositing BCB on top of the silicon structure. By optimising the form of the inductance it is possible to increase the Q-value [2]. TEMIC. It is also possible to reduce microwave losses without introducing process steps that are not compatible with standard technology e. The low base resistance of the SiGe transistor.g. the high current amplification factor β and the high transition frequency f t will result in an excellent phase noise performance.

9 mm . 7-8 GHz receiver. A process from Temic was used for this circuit. Figure 3. Low noise amplifiers for 23 GHz [4] The noise figure and the Gain of a 23 GHz amplifier is shown in Figure 4 and 5. It consists of a LNA. A SiGe process from Hitachi was used for this circuit. 2 The receiver circuit is shown in Figure 3. RF in 7-8 GHz Mixer 90° LNA 90° VCO IF out 140 MHz 360° Mixer Figure 2. The mismatch between simulation and measurement can be attributed to uncertainties in process parameters. a VCO and an image rejection mixer configuration.Integrated receiver The block diagram of the 7-8 GHz receiver is shown below in Figure 2. 3 . Block diagram of 7-8 GHz receiver. The dimensions of the chip are 3.6 x 1.

The power consumption was 30 mW. 5.8 GHz Voltage controlled oscillator The VCO was measured in a shielded environment and the phase noise performance at 100 kHz from the carrier was -107 dBc/Hz with a continuous tuning of 250 MHz. Measured and simulated noise figure.0 Gain (dB) Sim. Infineon has manufactured this circuit. 5. a low pass filter. Meas. Measured and simulated gain.0 23. Meas. A process from IBM has been used for this circuit.5 23. 3 22.0 22. The block diagram is shown in Figure 7. 22.0 23. 4 .0 Frequency (GHz) Figure 4. a prescaler and a X2.5 23. The synthesiser contains a phase/frequency detector.8 GHz Voltage controlled oscillators The layout of the circuit is shown in Figure 6. a VCO.5 24.5 24. Figure 5.0 29 27 25 23 21 19 17 15 22.5 Noise Figure (dB) 4 Sim. Figure 6. Microwave synthesiser A single-chip microwave synthesiser has been designed operating at 7/14 GHz.

2001. Hansson. VCO 7 GHz 14 GHz 1/128 x2 Figure 7. References 1. 2000. Aval. Today. Y. 2. "New Technologies for future microwave communication". Block diagram of 7/14 GHz frequency synthesiser Conclusions SiGe has the potential for making low cost circuits at microwave frequencies. commercial SiGe processes are available for applications up to 20 GHz. Schuppener.78 MHz X L. China 4. Lewin. IEEE MTT-S 3. H. B. No 3. G. " A 23 GHz Low-Noise Amplifier in SiGe Heterojunction Bipolar Technolog". Harada. USA 5 . The advantage to use Si/Ge compared to pure Si technology is more pronounced at higher frequencies and SiGe is a good candidate to be the preferred semiconductor technology to be used in future cost-driven microwave systems. O. Phoenix. Li. Lewin. M. B. Gevorgyan. S. Y. May 20-22. "Loss consideration for lumped inductors in silicon MMICs". Li. September 14-16. and T. International Conference on Microwave and Millimeter Wave Technology. Jacobsson. Hansson. SiGe has the potential to meet the linearity and noise performance requirements needed in microwave communication products up to at least 20 GHz.P. High integration of sub-circuits has been demonstrated for microwave applications. T. " SiGe analog ICs for Applkcations up to 60 GHz". 1997. H. Jacobsson. Beijing. IEEE Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits Symposium. Mokhtari and T. Ericsson Review.

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