Analysis and Design of CMOS Radio-Frequency Power Amplifiers
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The continuous advancement of semiconductor technologies, especially CMOS technology, has enabled exponential growth of the wireless communication industry. This explosive growth in turn has completely changed people’s lives. The CMOS feature size scale down greatly benefits digital logic integrations, which result in more powerful, versatile, and economical digital signal processing. Further research and development has pushed analog, mixed-signal, and even radio-frequency (RF) circuit blocks to be implemented and integrated in CMOS. Future generations of wireless communication call for even further level of integration, and as of now, the only circuit block that is rarely integrated in CMOS along with other parts of the system is the power amplifier (PA). Due to the fact that the PA in a wireless communication system is the most power-hungry circuit block, the integration of RF PA in CMOS would potentially not only save the cost of the wireless communication system real estate, but also reduce power consumption since die-to-die connection loss can be eliminated. RF PA design involves handling large amounts of voltage and current at the radio frequencies, which in the present wireless communication standards are in the range of giga-hertz. Therefore, a good understanding of many aspects related to RF PA design is necessary. Theoretical analysis of the communication system, nonlinear effects of the PA, as well as the impedance matching network is systematically presented. The analysis of the nonlinear effects proposes a formal mathematical description of the multitone nonlinearity, and through its relationship with two-tone test, the proposed PA design methodology would greatly reduce the design time while improving the design accuracy. A thorough analysis of the available architecture and design techniques for efficiency and linearity enhancement of RF PA shows that despite tremendous amounts of research and development into this topic, the fundamental tradeoff between the two still limits the RF PA implementation largely within SiGe, GaAs, and InP technologies. A RF PA for Wideband Code-Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) application standard is proposed, designed, and implemented in CMOS that demonstrates the proposed segmentation technique that resolved the main tradeoff between power efficiency and linearity. The innovative architecture developed in this work is not limited to applications in the WCDMA communication protocol or the CMOS technology, although CMOS implementation would take advantage of the readily available digital resources.
Qian, Haoyu (2017). Analysis and Design of CMOS Radio-Frequency Power Amplifiers. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from