Conference paper

Building Blocks for an Ultra Low-Power MEMS-based Radio

The recent advances made in MEMS and particularly in RF MEMS technology are enabling new architectures for the integration of RF transceivers with improved performance and smaller size. Several fundamental building blocks benefit from the availability of high-Q resonators in the RF front-end and the frequency synthesizer to lower power consumption, phase noise and die area. In addition, the compatibility of MEMS with CMOS opens the door to a higher integration level using for example an above-Q approach. This paper presents the recent work made at CSEM in the field of low-power transceiver for wireless sensor network applications. It first presents the high-Q resonators, including the BAW resonators used in the RF front-end and in the RF oscillator together with MEMS used in the low frequency reference oscillators. These MEMS are activated thanks to an AlN piezo layer avoiding the need for high voltage generation which is incompatible with the low-power and low-voltage requirement. These MEMS are also temperature compensated by the combination of additional layers and electronics means. The paper then focuses on the main building blocks that can take advantage of high-Q resonators. The fundamentals of oscillators built around high-Q devices is described, highlighting the basic trade-offs. It is also described how to take advantage of such devices within a receiver front-end.




    • EPFL-CONF-149543

    Record created on 2010-06-24, modified on 2016-08-08


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