A CMOS Fractional Frequency Synthesizer for a Fully Integrated S-Band Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Radio Transceiver
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Extravehicular activity (EVA) is an important aspect of space explorations. It enables astronauts carry out tasks outside the protective environment of the spacecraft cabin. The crew requires EVA radio transceivers to transmit and receive information among themselves and with equipment in space. Communication is done through the S frequency band (2GHz to 4GHz). Since the EVA radio transceiver is part of the space suits the astronauts wear for EVA, it is important that lightweight, low power consumption and miniaturized systems are utilized in their design and implementation. This thesis presents the design and implementation of a fully integrated frequency synthesizer for carrier signal generation in the EVA radio transceiver. The transceiver consists of a dual up-conversion transmitter (TX) and a direct conversion receiver (RX) at 2.4GHz. It supports 10 channels spaced at 6MHz for both video and voice communications, covering the frequency band from 2.4GHz to 2.454GHz. Therefore in the TX mode, the frequencies required are 0.8GHz to 0.818GHz (quadrature) and 1.6GHz to 1.636GHz (differential) for dual up-conversion to prevent the pulling problem between the power amplifier (PA) and voltage controlled oscillator (VCO) of the synthesizer. In RX mode, the frequencies from 4.8GHz to 4.908GHz are synthesized with a divide-by-two circuit to generate quadrature signals of 2.4GHz to 2.454GHz. In order to cover the frequency ranges in both TX and RX modes with a small area and low power consumption, a dual-band VCO fractional-N PLL is implemented. The dual-path loop filter topology is utilized to further reduce chip area. The fractional synthesizer is fabricated in 0.18μm CMOS technology and has a loop bandwidth of around 40kHz. It occupies a relatively small area of 1.54mm^(2) and consumes a low power of 22.68mW with a 1 V supply for the VCO and 1.8V supply for the rest of the blocks. The synthesizer achieves a reference spur performance of less than –62.34dBc for the lower band (LB) and less than –68.36dBc for the higher band (HB). The phase noise at 1MHz for the LB ranges from -125.38 to -130.39 dBc/Hz and for the HB -113.12 to -120.16 dBc/Hz. Thus the synthesizer achieves low power consumption with good spectral purity while occupying a small chip area making it suitable for EVA radio applications.
Foli, Eugene B (2014). A CMOS Fractional Frequency Synthesizer for a Fully Integrated S-Band Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Radio Transceiver. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from