Aalborg Universitet A CMOS Power Amplifier using Ground

Aalborg Universitet A CMOS Power Amplifier using Ground
Aalborg Universitet
A CMOS Power Amplifier using Ground Separation Technique
Aniktar, Hüseyin; Sjöland, Henrik; Mikkelsen, Jan Hvolgaard; Larsen, Torben
Published in:
Topical Meeting on Silicon Monolithic Integrated Circuits in RF Systems, 2007
Publication date:
2007
Document Version
Publisher's PDF, also known as Version of record
Link to publication from Aalborg University
Citation for published version (APA):
Aniktar, H., Sjöland, H., Mikkelsen, J. H., & Larsen, T. (2007). A CMOS Power Amplifier using Ground
Separation Technique. In Topical Meeting on Silicon Monolithic Integrated Circuits in RF Systems, 2007 (pp.
281-284). IEEE Signal Processing Society.
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,A
wer
mp,nilifier
A
using
Ground
Separation
Technique
Aniktar', Henrik Sj6land2, Jan H. Mikkelsen', and Torben Larsen
'Department of Electronic Systems, Aalborg University, Denmark, E-mail: risc(@kom.aau.dk
Hiiseyin
2Department of Electroscience, Lund University, Sweden, E-mail: Henrik.Sjoland@ es.lth.se
Abstract- This work presents an on-chip ground separation
technique for power amplifiers. The ground separation technique
is based on separating the grounds of the amplifier stages on
the chip and thus any parasitic feedback paths are removed.
Simulation and experimental results show that the technique
makes the amplifier less sensitive to bondwire inductance, and
consequently improves the stability and performance.
A two-stage CMOS RF power amplifier for WCDMA mobile
phones is designed using the proposed on chip ground separation
technique. The power amplifier is fabricated in a 0.25,utm CMOS
process. It has a measured 1-dB compression point between
1920MHz and 1980MHz of 21.3 ±0.5dBm with a maximum PAE
of 24 c. The amplifier has sufficiently low ACLR for WCDMA
(-33 dB) at an output power of 20 dBm.
I. INTRODUCTION
amplifier performance improved with ground separation is also
discussed in this section. Simulation and measurement results
demonstrating the PA performance are offered in Section III.
Section IV describes the chip layout, and Section V concludes.
II. CIRCUIT DESIGN
The reported amplifier is designed as a single-ended two
stage common source amplifier. It is biased in Class-AB
to get high linearity and reasonable efficiency. Simulations
are performed using the 0.25 ,um CMOS process library
components with Agilent-ADS. Figure 1 shows the schematic
of the CMOS PA which is designed to operate from a single
2.5 V supply.
A. Core Amplifier
To achieve about 23dBm output power with a 2.5V supply,
a transistor width of 2870jim was used in the output stage. The
estimation of the required transistor size is an iterative process
using the DC characteristics of the transistor. The length of
the transistor was set to minimum (0.24 jim) to maximize its
high frequency gain. The load impedance for optimum power
output was determined to approximately 10 -ll Q. The gate
bias voltage was set to 0.75 V in the output stage.
The driver stage transistor size is established after simulation of the output stage. To ensure that the driver stage doesn't
enter saturation before the output stage, a transistor width of
1120jm was chosen. The bias voltage for the driver stage was
set to 0.85 V.
The input and output matching networks were designed
using passive network synthesis techniques to achieve optimum VSWR characteristics over the desired frequency band
(1920 -1980 MHz). An output impedance transformation
network including the MOS output capacitance and interconnection elements (bond wires, pad capacitances, and PCB
board traces) is designed to transform the 50 Q load into the
10 -jl I Q optimum load. The network includes the MOS
output capacitance, 6nH off-chip load inductance, 6pF on-
Most modern digital modulation forms with high spectral
efficiency present a varying envelope, which requires RF circuits with high linearity to prevent signal degradation. Efficient
but nonlinear power amplifiers are thus not suitable for such
linear modulations. The use of linearization techniques can
help alleviate this issue, but at the price of high complexity
and additional power consumption which may be critical in
the case of low or medium power amplifiers [1]. In order
to satisfy the linearity requirement for preserving modulation accuracy with minimum spectral regrowth, such power
amplifiers are typically operated in highly linear Class-A or
Class-AB configurations. However, high linearity, particularly
in CMOS technology, comes at the cost of poor efficiency.
Stability requirements place restrictions on PA characteristics,
and limitations of CMOS technology such as low breakdown
voltage introduce additional challenges for PA realization.
Stability is a key issue in amplifier design. RF oscillations
are especially common in single-ended multi-stage designs
[2]. The instability occurs when some of the output energy
is fed back to the input port with a phase that makes negative
resistance appear at the output or input of the amplifier [3].
Ground bounce inductance plays an important role on the
amplifier stability. If all stages in a multi-stage amplifier chip DC blocking capacitance, and interconnection elements
share the same on-chip ground, they will also share the same (see Figure 1).
inductance to PCB ground Signal current in the output stage
To improve the stability and performance of the amplifier,
converted to voltage by this inductance will thus be fed back to driver and output stage grounds are separated on the chip. This
the input with a risk of instability. Using the proposed ground is described in miore detail in the following section.
separation technique this feedback path is removed.
The paper is organized as follows In Section II, the brief B. Interconnection Models
In the circuit simulations, two interconnection models are
design procedure of the amplifier is given, and then interconnection models of the amplifier are investigated. How the used, one is from chip signal/bias pad to PCB signal/bias pad,
281
0-7803-9764-9/07/$20.00 ©2007 IEEE
1=~~~~~~I1343
.4
D1 =2.5V
urnN
E
L 0.24pm
W: 11 20prp
15 pF
11
GND2
-i
VG1 =0.
Fig. 1.
Schematic of the CMOS power amplifier.
Fig. 3. Interconnection model for chip ground pad to PCB ground pad.
and the other is from chip ground pad to PCB ground pad.
These models are shown in Figures 2 and 3. The models
are suitable for the chip-on-board technique used in the
measurements.
The inductance value of the bondwires is assumed to equal
approximately 1 nH/mm [4]. Multiple bondwires are used in
order to reduce the bondwire inductance both in output and
ground connections. It is assumed that three parallel connected
bondwires has about 0.4 nH/mm inductance [5].
On the chip, 85 um x 85 um pads are used for all connections. The shunt capacitance of a single pad was found to be
approximately 65 fF in prior measurements. The PCB track
capacitance was roughly estimated to 1.5 pF for simulations.
L
1
2.5
2
1.
0
JAl
LL
-
0..5
a)
Al
0-
cn
K
-0..5
-1. .5
0
R bondwire
0.25 0.5 0.75
1
1.25 1.5 1.75
Frequency [GHz]
PC
C PCB_pad
PCB_GND
Fig. 2.
pad.
(CChip_pad
Chip_GND
Stability with Ground Separation
Stability without Ground Separation
---
2
2.25 2.5 2.75
3
x 109
Simulated stability factor with and without ground separation
Fig. 4.
technique.
as follows [6]:
Interconnection model for chip signal/bias pad to PCB signal/bias
K 1= -S
Figure 3 shows the interconnection model for chip ground
pad to PCB ground pad. Different chip grounds are assigned
for driver and output stages, GND1 and GND2. PCB ground
is assumed to be a perfect ground and is denoted by GND.
Driver and output stage grounds are isolated from each other
by the cubstrate reicstivlity
Investigations showed that when driver and output stage
grounds are separated, the stability and performance were
improved. Figure 4 shows the simulated stability factor of the
amplifier with and without ground separation. As can be seen
the PA with the ground separation technique is stable whereas
without the technique the amplifier is potentially unstable and
1A1
. Stable: K >
I
=
S22 + A 2
(1)
2 S12S211
1SIIS22 - S12S215
(2)
and 1A\ < 1
-Unconditionally stable-
-rs> 1 for S11
cj l- ri > I for: 1S7j1
cs
1
(3)
1
(4)
1
(5)
1
(6)
Conditionally stable:
cs
-
rs| < I for S2
lcj -ril
malfunctioning.
To quantify the stability of the amplifier, the Rollet Stability
criteria is used. The Rollet Stability criteria can be expressed
.
282
U
< I for |S1
nstable (potentially): K > 1 & 1A1 > 1 and K
1A1 < 1,
where c , cl, rs, and rl parameters represent the center and
radius of the source and load stability circles respectively.
Simulations show that 12 Q resistance between GNDI and
GND2 is enough to sufficiently isolate them from each other.
In the 0.25 ,um CMOS process, the substrate resistivity (R)
is 20 Q Jicm and the substrate thickness (T) is 29 mils. The
substrate resistance between GND I and GND2 can be roughly
estimated using the formula:
RSub
=
R[Q -X] Ad[m]
EF
71:1.
0
.-.5
ZF)
E2CZ
t
C)
C:
0
.t11)
z
rr
:51
.a
(7)
-00
C:
2
where the substrate distance (d) between the GNDI and
GND2 is 100 jim (See Figure 3) and the substrate cross-section
area (A) can be found as follow:
A
=
T[m]
x
Wim3
=
C:
0.25
10-9M2,
36 x
CL
where the chip width (W) is 360 ,um. Using Eq. (7),
the resistance (RSulb) between GNDI and GND2 is roughly
estimated to 76 Q, which is much larger than the 12 Q which
is needed. This means that the simple calculation is sufficient
in this case, and that there will be no problem to achieve the
III. SIMULATION AND MEASUREMENT RESULTS
The CMOS power amplifier was tested using chip on
board assembly. Measurements were performed to find the Sparameters, l-dB compression point, power added efficiency
(PAE), third order intercept point (IP3), adjacent channel
leakage ratio (ACLR), and error vector magnitude (EVM).
A. Frequency Response
The measured and simulated forward and reverse gain
characteristics (S21 & SI ) and input and output reflection
characteristics (S 1 & S22 ) of the PA are shown in Figures
5 and 6. In Table I, some measured values in the WCDMA
band are listed.
1~ ~ ~ S21
15
10
°55 - 1
E
7.
-5-
C:
.C15
CD -10
(1)
p -15 l
(1)
(1)
rr
7C3
c
m
7C3
m
0
LL
-20
-25
-30
-35
-40
-45
IS121
-50 A
4
/
---
Simulated Results
Measured Results
2
2.25 2.5 2.75
-55
-60C iN,,
0
Fi
5
0.25 0.5 0.75
1
1.25 1.5 1.75
Frequency [GHz]
0.75
3
x 109
Simulated and measured forward and reverse gain characteristics
1
1.25 1.5 1.75
Frequency [GHz]
2
2.25
2.5
2.75
x
3
lo'
Fig. 6. Simulated and measured input and output reflection characteristics.
TABLE I
MEASURED S PARAMETERS IN THE WCDMA BAND.
Freq. [MHz]
isolation.
20
0.5
(8)
1920
1950
1980
.21
11.8
11.2
10.7
IS111
dB
-10.4
-105
-106
IS2 dB.
-12.7
11 .4
-10
While the simulated gain is 14dB at 1.95GHz, the measured
gain is only 11.2 dB. Differences between simulation and
measurement results are due to imperfections of parasitic
models used in simulations, on-chip and off-chip component
tolerances, and also measurement inaccuracy.
B. Efficiency
The measured I -dB output compression point is 21.8 dBm
with 24% PAE at 1920 MHz, it is 20.8 dBm with 20.4%
PAE at 1950 MHz, and it is 21.4 dBm with 22.4% PAE
at 1980 MHz. At the compression point, the current drawn
from the 2.5 V supply voltage is 232 mA, 216 mA, and
222 mA respectively. The simulated 1 -dB compression point
at 1950 MHz is 22.7 dBm with 32% PAE. The difference
between the simulated and measured results is related to the
measured gain being lower than the simulated one. Simulated
and measured PAE are illustrated in Figure 7.
C Linearity
The linearity performance of the amplifier was analyzed
according to the WCDMA/3GPP user equipment requirements
[7] Third order output intercept point (01P) ACLR, and
EVM measurements are performed.
For two tone measurement the frequencies (tones) are set at
f±H 500 kHz. The measured third order intercept points are
30.9 dBm, 30 dBm, and 30.1 dBm for 1920 MHz, 1950 MHz,
and 1980 MHz center frequencies.
In Figure 8, ACLR measurement is illustrated. The measurement has been performed at 1950 MHz with 20 dBm PA
output power.
283
TABLE II
M1EASUREDI)ERFORMANCE AND WCDMA/3GPP SpvECIFICATIONS.
:i4
32 | ~~ Measured PAE
30 - - - Simulated PAE
28
26
24
22
20
o 18
<
16
0L
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
,
o)
-10 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 2
Parameter
Output Power & PAE
1920 MHz
1950 MHz
1980 MHz
ACLR Performance
1950 D5MHz
1950 ±1OMHz
RMSEVM
Peak EYM
21.8 dBm & 24%
20.8 dBm & 20.4%
21.4 dBmn & 22.4' o
WCDMA/3GPP Specs
Class 3:
23dBrn +1L/ -3dB
Class 4:
21dBn ±2dB
-33.2 dB
-60.7 dB
4
<-33 dB
<-43 dB
< 175 %'
Measured
10
7%
11
4
6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 244
Pout [dBm]
Fig. 7. Silmulated anLd lmeasured power added efficiency.
Max/Ref Lvl
Marker 1
[T1]
RBW
30 kHz
40 dBm
-0.18 dBm
IJBW
300 kHz
20 dBm
1.95000000 GHz
SWT
[
2 s
tI
RF Att
TUnit
Fig. 9. Die photo.
4 0 d:B
d:Bmc
C 0
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~1.95000
area of the chip with 0.036 mm2
V. CONCLUSION
1. RH
1 -~ ~ ~ ~T,.~ AI. 33.
Fig. 8. The ACLR performance of the amplifier output signal.
In Table II, all measured results are listed and compared to
system requirements. In WCDMA 3GPP UE document, transmitter characteristics are specified at the antenna connector of
the UE. There will likely be some devices between the PA
output and the antenna terminals such as circulator, duplex
filter, and switch(es) with several dB of loss. When making
the comparison, these losses also have to be taken into account.
The inductance of the ground bondwires is one of the most
single-ended integrated amplifier design.
The inductance creates parasitic feedback which can cause
the amplifier to self-oscillate. In this work it is demonstrated
that the parasitic feedback path can be broken using a ground
separation technique, and consequently amplifier's stability
and performance can be improved.
To demonstrate the technique, a CMOS RF power amplifier
with ground separation has been realized. With 2.5 V supply
voltage, 21.3 ± 0.5 dBm output power with maximum 24%
PAE, and a good linearity were measured. At 2OdBm it fulfills
the WCDMA/3GPP requirements on ACLR and EVM.
serious problems in
VI. ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The authors would like to thank Peter Boie Jensen for lab
assistance. This work was supported by the Danish Technical
Research Council, project number 26-03-0030.
REFERENCES
[1]
[2]
[3]
IV. CHIP LAYOUT
A microphotograph of the CMOS PA is shown in Figure 9.
The chip was fabricated in a 0.254m 2.5V single poly 5-metal
layer (1P5M) CMOS technology. The chip size is 1343 ,um
x 360 ,m. Driver and output stage layouts are separated with
lOO1/m distance. Each block is connected to PCB ground with
different GND pads. Ground separation increases the overall
[4]
[S]
[6]
[7]
284
A. Giry, J.-M. Fournier, and M. Pons, "A 1.9GHz Low Voltage CMOS
Power Am-plifier for Medium Power RF Applications," IEEE RFIC
Symposium, June 2000, Boston, USA.
M. M. Hella and M. Ismail, RF CMOS Power Amplifiers: TI,eory,
Desnig and Implementation. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Norwell,
Massachusetts, USA, 2002.
S. C. Cripps, RF Power Airiplifiers for Wireless Communication. Artech
House, First Edition, Norwood, Massachusetts, USA, 1999.
T. H. Lee, The Design of CMOS Radio-Frequency Integrated Circuits.
Cambridge University Press, 1998, Caim-bridge, United Kingdom.
P. Howard, "Analysis of Ground Bond Wire Arrays for RFICS," IEEE
RFIC Symposium, June 1997, Denver, USA.
S. Y. Liao, Microwave Circuit Analysis and Amplifier Design. Prentice
Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, USA, 1987.
"User Equipment Radio Transmission and Reception FDD," 3GPP TS
25.J01 v3.17.0, 1999.
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