Ultra-low power radio frequency (RF) transceivers used in short-range application such as wireless sensor networks (WSNs) require efficient, reliable and fully integrated transmitter architectures with minimal building blocks. This paper presents the design, implementation and performance evaluation of single-chip, fully integrated 2.4 GHz and 433 MHz RF transmitters using direct-modulation power voltage-controlled oscillators (PVCOs) in addition to a 2.0 GHz phase-locked loop (PLL) based transmitter. All three RF transmitters have been fabricated in a standard mixed-signal CMOS 0.18 µm technology. Measurement results of the 2.4 GHz transmitter show an improvement in drain efficiency from 27% to 36%. The 2.4 GHz and 433 MHz transmitters deliver an output power of 8 dBm with a phase noise of −122 dBc/Hz at 1 MHz offset, while drawing 15.4 mA of current and an output power of 6.5 dBm with a phase noise of −120 dBc/Hz at 1 MHz offset, while drawing 20.8 mA of current from 1.5 V power supplies, respectively. The PLL transmitter delivers an output power of 9 mW with a locking range of 128 MHz and consumes 26 mA from 1.8 V power supply. The experimental results demonstrate that the RF transmitters can be efficiently used in low power WSN applications
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