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RF Sampling by Low Pass ΣΔ Converter for Flexible Receiver Front End
Linköping University, Department of Electrical Engineering.
2009 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In today’s world the multi-standard wireless receivers are gaining more and more popularity. End-users want to access voice, data and streaming media from a single wireless terminal. An ideal approach for multi-standard receiver front-end is to digitize a wide band RF signal available from the antenna. All radio functions such as downconversion, demodulation and channel selection can be then performed in the digital domain. Analog to Digital Converter in such a case should guarantee very high linearity, speed and bandwidth specifications while consuming a lot of power. Unfortunately an ADC with such stringent requirements cannot be realized in today’s CMOS technology. In a typical receiver a mixer is used to downconvert the RF signal to baseband (or IF) before digitization is performed. A passive mixer is often used in this case to mitigate the effect of the low frequency flicker noise. Specially it can be a sampling mixer which also serves as a S/H circuit usually required for A/D conversion. In this thesis a lowpass sigma-delta converter with RF sampling is presented. The ΣΔ modulator is SC passive circuit plus comparator, so an operational amplifier usually needed to realize the integrator is avoided. To reduce the complexity, the sampling mixer in front of the modulator is merged with the passive loop filter. As a result the sampling mixer is closed in the modulator loop, so the overall linearity of the frontend is improved to some extent. Downconversion is combined with digitization that reduces the circuit complexity as well.The challenges while digitizing high frequency RF signal are discussed in details. Switches required to realize the loop filter are very critical and tend to be nonlinear. Parasitic effects associated with MOS transistors strongly show up at GHz frequencies. Optimized transistor sizes are obtained through simulation while addressing the speed and linearity trade-off. Another major challenge is the kT/C noise that is the real bottleneck in high frequency SC circuit design. A thermal noise model for ΣΔ-modulator with second-order loop filter is presented and it is shown that a passive ΣΔ-modulator is  in fact thermal noise limited rather than quantization noise limited. It is because the capacitor values are limited by the very high sampling frequency used in this case.The downconverting lowpass ΣΔ modulator with second order SC passive loop filter and 1-bit quantizer is simulated at transistor level in 90nm CMOS process. This modulator can operate at very high sampling frequency upto 4GHz and can sample RF signal with carrier of upto 4GHz as well. The designed ΣΔ modulator is flexible and supports sub-sampling by 2 to 8 (fs = 500MHz, ... 2GHz). Besides, the presented design is very power efficient as it does not use OpAmps – which consume most of the power in the typical ΣΔ modulators. From schematic simulation on average, signal-to-noise and distortion ratio (SNDR) of 52 dB is obtained (ENOB = 8.3). SNDR results does not vary much for three different cases of baseband digitalization, RF sampling and RF sub-sampling. This SNDR value seems to be a good number for a passive sigma-delta modulator. The detailed simulation results for the three cases discussed in the thesis work shown that, the modulator performs equally well for a wide range of sampling and RF signal frequencies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , 98 p.
Keyword [en]
RF sampling, Sampling Mixer, Downconversion, Sigma Delta modulator, Low pass Sigma Delta ADC, Passive Sigma Delta ADC, Mixer inside the loop
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-21465ISRN: LiTH-ISY-EX--09/4312--SEOAI: diva2:241407
Algoritmen, Corridor A, Entrance B29, Building B, Campus Valla, Linköping (English)
Available from: 2009-10-08 Created: 2009-10-02 Last updated: 2009-10-08Bibliographically approved

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