A 26 GHz Phase-Locked Loop Frequency Multiplier in 0.18-um CMOS
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This thesis presents the analysis, design and characterization of an integrated high-frequency phase-locked loop (PLL) frequency multiplier. The frequency multiplier is novel in its use of a low multiplication factor of 4 and a fully differential topology for rejection of common mode interference signals. The PLL is composed of a voltage controlled oscillator (VCO), injection-locked frequency divider (ILFD) for the first divide-by-two stage, a static master-slave flip-flop (MSFF) divider for the second divide-by-two stage and a Gilbert cell mixer phase detector (PD). The circuit has been fabricated using a standard CMOS 0.18-um process based on its relatively low cost and ready availability. The PLL frequency multiplier generates an output signal at 26 GHz and is the highest operational frequency PLL in the technology node reported to date. Time domain phase plane analysis is used for prediction of PLL locking range based on initial conditions of phase and frequency offsets. Tracking range of the PLL is limited by the inherent narrow locking range of the ILFD, and is confirmed via experimental results. The performance benefits of the fully differential PLL are experimentally confirmed by the injection of differential- and common-mode interfering signals at the VCO control lines. A comparison of the common- and differential-mode modulation indices reveals that a common mode rejection ratio (CMRR) of greater than 20 dB is possible for carrier offset frequencies of less than 1 MHz. Closed-loop frequency domain transfer functions are used for prediction of the PLL phase noise response, with the PLL being dominated by the reference and VCO phase noise contributions. Regions of dominant phase noise contributions are presented and correlated to the overall PLL phase noise performance. Experimental verifications display good agreement and confirm the usefulness of the techniques for PLL performance prediction. The PLL clock multiplier has an operational output frequency of 26.204 to 26.796 GHz and a maximum output frequency step of 16 MHz. Measured phase noise at 1 MHz offset from the carrier is -103.9 dBc/Hz. The PLL clock multiplier core circuit (VCO/ILFD/MSFF Divider/PD) consumes 186 mW of combined power from 2.8 and 4.3 V DC rails.
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