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Analysis and Design of Power Efficient RF/ mm-Wave LC-tank Oscillator in 28nm for 5G communication applications

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LC VCO die photo

Short Description

The demand for higher speed in mobile broadband communication drives the research community to seek for new wireless spectrum to support larger capacity beyond 4G standards. Due to congested spectrum below 6 GHz, research works into higher frequency bands are explored in recent years as a hot emerging topic for both academia as well as industry. Among the frequency bands of interests, X-band as well as Ka-band are highly potentially the candidate for 5G standards, which means the high purity frequency carriers are required to be synthesized in the range from 15 GHz to even 60 GHz.

As the foundation for frequency synthesize solution (PLL), VCO is the key part of the whole frequency solution since it in general consumes 70% to even 80% of the full power budget of a PLL as well as determining the out-band phase noise level which should meet the strict requirement of standards. What’s more, as the wavelength comes to mm range, completely different design considerations should be included, regarding the inductor, capacitor as well as frequency tuning techniques.

Therefore, the motivation of this project is to fully leverage the benefit from advanced 28nm process to push the power- performance trade-off of LC-tank VCO at mmWave frequency bands further to be competitive with state-of-art designs as well as to analysis the potential bottleneck of mmWave VCO design and to find out the corresponding solution.

Status: Available

Looking for 1-2 Semester students
Contact: Lianbo Wu, Thomas Burger




30% Theory
70% Circuit Design


Qiuting Huang

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Detailed Task Description


Practical Details



  1. Z. Zong, M. Babaie, and R. B. Staszewski, “A 60 GHz frequency generator based on a 20 GHz oscillator and an implicit multiplier,” IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits (JSSC), vol. 51, no. 5, pp. 1261–1273, May 2016. DOI: 10.1109/JSSC.2016.2528997.↑ top