Broadband Low-Noise CMOS Mixers For Wireless Communications
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In this thesis, three broadband low-noise mixing circuits which use CMOS 130 nm technology are presented. As one of the first few stages in a receiving front-end, stringent requirements are posted on mixer performance. The Gilbert cell mixers have presented excellent properties and achieved wide applications. However, the noise of a conventional active Gilbert cell mixer is high. This thesis demonstrates both passive and active mixing circuits with improved noise performance while maintaining the advantages of the Gilbert cell-based mixing core. Furthermore, wide bandwidth and variable gain are implemented, making the designed mixers multi-functional, yet with compact sizes and low power consumptions. The first circuit is a passive 2x subharmonic mixer that works from 4.5 GHz to 8.5 GHz. The subharmonic mixing core is a two-stage passive Gilbert cell driven by a quadrature LO signal. Together with a noise-cancelling transconductor and an inverter-based TIA, this subharmonic mixer possesses an excellent broadband conversion gain and a low noise figure. Measurement results show a high conversion gain of 16 dB and a low average DSB NF of 9 dB. The second design is a broadband low-noise variable gain mixer which operates between 1 and 6 GHz. The transconductor stage is implemented with noise cancellation and current bleeding techniques. Series inductive peaking is used to extend the bandwidth. Gain variation is achieved by a current-steering IF stage. Measurements show a wide gain control range of 13 dB and a low noise performance over the entire frequency and gain range. The lowest DSB NF is 3.8 dB and the highest DSB NF is 14.2 dB. The Third design is a broadband low-noise mixer with linear-in-dB gain control scheme. Using the same transconductance stage with the second circuit, this design also works from 1 to 6 GHz. A 10 dB linear-in-dB gain control range is achieved using an R-r load network with a linear-in-dB error less than $\pm$ 0.5 dB. Low noise performance is achieved. For different frequencies and conversion gains, the lowest DSB NF is 3.8 dB and the highest DSB NF is 12 dB.