A linearized, low-phase-noise VCO-based 25-GHz PLL with autonomic biasing

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This paper describes a new approach to low-phase-noise LC VCO design based on transconductance linearization of the active devices. A prototype 25 GHz VCO based on this linearization approach is integrated in a dual-path PLL and achieves superior performance compared to the state of the art. The design is implemented in 32 nm SOI CMOS technology and achieves a phase noise of -130 dBc/Hz at a 10 MHz offset from a 22 GHz carrier. Additionally, the paper introduces a new layout approach for switched capacitor arrays that enables a wide tuning range of 23%. More than 1500 measurements of the PLL across PVT variations were taken, further validating the proposed design. Phase noise variation across 55 dies for four different frequencies is σ < 0.6 dB. Also, phase noise variation across supply voltages of 0.7-1.5 V is 2 dB and across 60°C temperature variation is 3 dB. At the 25 GHz center frequency, the VCOT is 188 dBc/Hz. Additionally, a digitally assisted autonomic biasing technique is implemented in the PLL to provide a phase noise and power optimized VCO bias across frequency and process. Measurement results indicate the efficacy of the autonomic biasing scheme. © 2013 IEEE.