Design of a 2.4 Ghz BAW-Based CMOS Transmitter

In recent years, bulk acoustic wave resonators (BAW) in combination with RF circuits have shown a big potential in achieving the low-power consumption and miniaturization level required to address wireless sensor nodes (WSN) applications. A lot of work has been focused on the receiver side, by integrating BAW resonators with low noise amplifiers (LNA) and in frequency synthesis with the design of BAW-based local oscillators, most of them working at fixed frequency due to their limited tuning range. At the architectural level, this has forced the implementation of several single channel transceivers. This thesis aims at exploring the use of BAW resonators in the transmitter, proposing an architecture capable of taking full advantage of them. The main objective is to develop a transmitter for WSN multi-channel applications able to cover the whole 2.4 GHz ISM band and enable the compatibility with wide-spread standards like Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy. Typical transmissions should thus range from low data rates (typically tens of kb/s) to medium data rates (1 Mb/s), with FSK and GFSK modulation schemes, should be centered on any of the channels provided by these standards and cover a maximum transmission range of some tens of meters. To achieve these targets and circumvent the limited tuning range of the BAW oscillator, an up-conversion transmitter using wide IF is used. The typical spurs problems related to this transmitter architecture are addressed by using a combined suppression based on SSB mixing and selective amplification. The latter is achieved by cointegration of a high efficiency power amplifier with BAW resonators, which allows performing spurs filtering while preserving the efficiency. In particular the selective amplifier is designed by including in the PA analysis the BAW resonator parameters, which allows integrating the BAW filter into the passive network loading the amplifier, participating in the drain voltage shaping. Finally, the frequency synthesis section uses a fractional division plus LC PLL filtering and further integer division to generate the IF signals and exploit the very-low BAW oscillator phase noise. The transmitter has been integrated in a 0.18 µm standard digital CMOS technology. It allows addressing the whole 80 MHz wide 2.4 GHz ISM band. The unmodulated RF frequency carrier demonstrates a very-low phase noise of –136 dBc/Hz at 1 MHz offset. The IF spurs are maintained lower than –48 dBc, satisfying the international regulations for output power up to 10 dBm without the use of any quadrature error compensation in the transmitter. This is achieved thanks to the rejection provided by the SSB mixer and the selective amplifier, which can reach drain efficiency of up to 24% with integrated inductances, including the insertion losses of the BAW filter. The transmitter consumes 35.3 mA at the maximum power of 5.4 dBm under 1.6 V (1.2 V for the PA), while transmitting a 1 Mb/s GFSK signal and complying with both Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy relative and absolute spectrum requirements.

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