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Analysis and design of a gated envelope feedback technique for automatic hardware reconfiguration of RFIC power amplifiers, with full on-chip implementation in gallium arsenide heterojunction bipolar transistor technology

By 1964- Nicolas Constantin


In this doctoral dissertation, the author presents the theoretical foundation, the analysis and design of analog and RF circuits, the chip level implementation, and the experimental validation pertaining to a new radio frequency integrated circuit (RFIC) power amplifier (PA) architecture that is intended for wireless portable transceivers.A method called Gated Envelope Feedback is proposed to allow the automatic hardware reconfiguration of a stand-alone RFIC PA in multiple states for power efficiency improvement purposes. The method uses self-operating and fully integrated circuitry comprising RF power detection, switching and sequential logic, and RF envelope feedback in conjunction with a hardware gating function for triggering and activating current reduction mechanisms as a function of the transmitted RF power level. Because of the critical role that RFIC PA components occupy in modern wireless transceivers, and given the major impact that these components have on the overall RF performances and energy consumption in wireless transceivers, very significant benefits stem from the underlying innovations.The method has been validated through the successful design of a 1.88GHz COMA RFIC PA with automatic hardware reconfiguration capability, using an industry renowned state-of-the-art GaAs HBT semiconductor process developed and owned by Skyworks Solutions, Inc., USA. The circuit techniques that have enabled the successful and full on-chip embodiment of the technique are analyzed in details. The IC implementation is discussed, and experimental results showing significant current reduction upon automatic hardware reconfiguration, gain regulation performances, and compliance with the stringent linearity requirements for COMA transmission demonstrate that the gated envelope feedback method is a viable and promising approach to automatic hardware reconfiguration of RFIC PA's for current reduction purposes. Moreover, in regard to on-chip integration of advanced PA control functions, it is demonstrated that the method is better positioning GaAs HBT technologies, which are known to offer very competitive RF performances but inherently have limited integration capabilities.Finally, an analytical approach for the evaluation of inter-modulation distortion (IMD) in envelope feedback architectures is introduced, and the proposed design equations and methodology for IMD analysis may prove very helpful for theoretical analyses, for simulation tasks, and for experimental work

Topics: Radio frequency integrated circuits -- Design and construction., Power amplifiers -- Design and construction., Code division multiple access., Gallium arsenide semiconductors -- Design and construction., Bipolar transistors -- Design and construction.
Publisher: McGill University
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:
Provided by: eScholarship@McGill
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