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A MEMS-Based Reconfigurable RF Receiver Front-End Utilizing Multi-Port Technology

A Thesis Submitted to the Technical Faculty of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree

DOKTOR-INGENIEUR

by

Torsten Mack

Erlangen 2005

Rekonfigurierbarer Hochfrequenz-Empf¨anger mit Mikro-Elektromechanischen Systemen auf Basis von Multi-Tor-Technologie

Der Technischen Fakultat¨

der

Universitat¨

Erlangen-Nurnberg ¨

zur Erlangung des Grades

DOKTOR-INGENIEUR

vorgelegt von

Torsten Mack

Erlangen 2005

Als Dissertation genehmigt von

der Technischen Fakult¨at der

Friedrich-Alexander Universit¨at Erlangen-Nurnberg ¨

Tag der Einreichung:

Tag der Promotion:

Dekan:

Berichterstatter:

15. Juni 2005

11. August 2005

Prof. Dr. Albrecht Winnacker

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. habil. Robert Weigel

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Franz X. K¨artner (MIT)

Acknowledgements

This work was conducted at the DaimlerChrysler Research Facility in Ulm, Germany, Department of Vehicle Sensing and Communications Microwave, and at the Massa- chusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, USA, between November 2001 and March 2005.

  • I would like to thank Prof. Robert Weigel from the Friedrich-Alexander-University

Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Technical Electronics, and Prof. Franz K¨artner from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Research Laboratory of Electronics for their

involvement and the supervision of this work.

  • I would especially like to thank Prof. Franz K¨artner for embracing me as a member of his research group during my research period in the United States.

  • I would like to gratefully acknowledge the enthusiastic supervision of Dr. Johann-

Friedrich Luy from DaimlerChrysler Research and Technology. His knowledge and expertise helped guide me through this work.

  • I want to sincerely thank Dr. Bernd Schauwecker and Dr. Karl Strohm for numerous

discussions and countless hours of technical support during the design phase and fab-

rication of the MEMS.

  • I want to thank Dietrich Eisbrenner for his generosity in taking the extra time in the clean-room and assisting me during the fabrication process of the MEMS.

Many thanks to Dr. Thomas M¨uller for his inspiration in the field of SDR and for helping the thesis take shape and progress forward.

Many thanks also to Thomas Eireiner and Dr. Konrad B¨ohm for their intellectual support and for the various fruitful discussions that were essential for the success of this work.

Furthermore, I want to thank Winfried Simon from IMST GmbH and Dr. Jan Mehner from FEMWARE GmbH for supporting the development process of the MEMS with their simulations.

Thanks also to Francois Deborgies and Laurent Marchand from ESA for their support and suggestions in the development of the MEMS.

Many thanks to all my interns and Master Thesis students, especially to Alexander Honold.

Last but not least, I would like to thank my parents, Inge and Eugen, and my girlfriend Annie Seapan. Without their encouragement and support, this work would not have been possible. Many thanks also to my sincere friends Micky, Andrea, and Annie for making me dinner and proofreading this thesis.

Abstract

The aim of this work is the design and evaluation of a reconfigurable, universal, multi- band, multi-standard receiver front-end. This front-end is based on software defined radio (SDR) which leads to a significant reduction of hardware circuit complexity. For down conversion, the multi-port receiver principle has been chosen as it is a very promising candidate to cope with the large frequency ranges needed for receiving mul- tiple standards.

The original multi-port (or six-port) theory applies only to alternative network analyz- ers. Since the late 1990s, the six-port principle has also been used for radio frequency (RF) communications receivers, but the principle of the frequency conversion process was never thoroughly described. Therefore, an accurate mathematical description of the frequency conversion and demodulation processes in multi-port receivers needs to become established. With this detailed understanding of the multi-port theory, the six-port receiver can then be evaluated and its performance can be compared to that of conventional architectures.

To integrate present and future frequency bands from 1 GHz through 40 GHz into a single receiver, the hardware of the multi-port interferometer itself needs to be re- configurable. Hardware reconfigurability in the analog front-end necessitates multi- ple routing structures, i.e. receive/ transmit (RX/TX) switches or front-end selector switches. It is obvious that these switches must have a very low loss so as not to degrade the signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio. On the other hand, RX/TX switches must support very high powers. As we will see, these two requirements, namely low loss and high power, cannot be achieved sufficiently with conventional PIN diode switches. The new and upcoming micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology offers an elegant way to accomplish these specifications. As low loss, high power switches are the key element for future multi-band multi-standard transceivers, much effort has been put in the design, simulation, fabrication, and evaluation of new suitable radio frequency (RF) MEMS switches – in particular, a single pole double throw (SPDT) switch. RF MEMS switches designed with this new technology can cover a frequency range from DC to 40 GHz with an insertion loss below 1 dB and can handle several watts of power.

When the performance of the new MEMS switches is known, they can be applied and evaluated in the context of the six-port receiver. For an accurate evaluation of the reconfigurable six-port interferometer, S-parameter measurements need to be analyzed in respect to signal attenuation and phase relations. A detailed analysis of these pa- rameters will further improve the understanding of the multi-port principle, especially the requirements for covering a large frequency range.

In the context of communications the meaningful physical entity is the symbol er- ror rate. The multi-band, multi-standard six-port receiver front-end must meet the requirements of today’s communication standards. This implies a good noise per- formance which can be characterized by the symbol error rate of the demodulated symbols with respect to the bit energy over noise (E b /N 0 ) ratio.

Contents

  • 1 Introduction

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  • 1.1 Motivation and State of the Art Technology

 

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  • 1.2 Contribution and Outline

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  • 2 Theoretical Background of Multi-Port Receivers

 

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  • 2.1 The Software Defined Radio Concept

 

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  • 2.1.1 Introduction to Software Defined Radio

 

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  • 2.1.2 Software Defined Radio Architectures

 

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  • 2.2 The Theory of Diode Detectors

 

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  • 2.2.1 Semiconductor Diode Circuit Model

 

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  • 2.2.2 Diode Detectors in Multi-Port Applications

 

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  • 2.3 Simple Description of Multi-Port Receivers

 

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  • 2.4 Mathematical Description of the Multi-Port Receiver

 

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  • 2.4.1 Theory of Additive Mixing .

 

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  • 2.4.2 The Multi-Port Theory .

 

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  • 2.4.3 Calibration Method and IQ Calculation

 

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  • 2.5 Frequency Conversion in Multi-Port Receivers

 

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  • 3 RF MEMS For Signal Routing

 

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  • 3.1 Motivation and Introduction to RF MEMS

 

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  • 3.1.1 Typical Applications of RF MEMS

 

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  • 3.2 Overview of the RF MEMS Under Investigation

 

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  • 3.3 Theoretical Background of the Simulations

 

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  • 3.3.1 Mechanical Domain Simulations

 

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  • 3.3.2 Electrostatic Domain Simulations

 

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  • 3.3.3 Fluid Domain and Transient Response Simulations

 

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  • 3.3.4 Electromagnetic Domain Simulations

 

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  • 3.4 Design, Layout, and Simulation Results

 

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  • 3.4.1 Shunt Airbridge Switch .

 

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Toggle Switch

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  • 3.4.3 Single Pole Double Throw (SPDT) Switch

 

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  • 3.4.4 RF Cross

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  • 3.5 Process Flow and Fabrication

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  • 3.6 SEM Micrographs and Experimental RF Measurement Results

 

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Contents

  • 3.6.1 Experimental Results of the Shunt Airbridge Switch

 

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  • 3.6.2 Experimental Results of the Toggle Switch

 

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  • 3.6.3 Experimental Results of the SPDT Switch

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  • 3.6.4 Experimental Results of the RF Cross

 

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  • 3.7 Additional Measurements and Reliability Results

 

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  • 3.7.1 Switching Time Measurement Results

 

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  • 3.7.2 RF Power Measurement

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  • 3.7.3 Switch Cycle Measurement Results

 

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  • 3.7.4 DC Contact Resistance .

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  • 3.7.5 Temperature Dependency and Reliability

 

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  • 4 The MEMS-Based Multi-Band Six-Port Circuit

 

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  • 4.1 Introduction to Passive RF Multi-Port Interferometers

 

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  • 4.2 Options for the Multi-Port Architecture

 

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  • 4.2.1 The N-Port Interferometer

 

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  • 4.2.2 Five-Port and Six-Port Interferometers

 

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  • 4.3 Design and Analysis of a 1.5 GHz Six-Port Interferometer (SP1500)

 

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  • 4.3.1 Theoretical Background of the Electromagnetic Simulations

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  • 4.3.2 Substrate and Microstrip Lines

 

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  • 4.3.3 Design and Simulation Results of the Power Divider

 

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  • 4.3.4 Design and Simulation Results of the Quadrature Hybrid

 

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  • 4.3.5 Simulation and Measurement Results of SP1500

 

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  • 4.4 Analysis of the 2 GHz to 25 GHz Six-Port Interferometer (SP40)

 

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  • 4.4.1 Guidelines for Broadband Power Divider Design

 

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  • 4.4.2 Measurement Results of a Broadband Power Divider

 

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  • 4.4.3 Guidelines for Broadband Quadrature Hybrid Design

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  • 4.4.4 Measurement Results of a Broadband Quadrature Hybrid

 

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  • 4.4.5 Measurement Results of the SP40

 

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  • 4.5 The Reconfigurable MEMS-Based Multi-Band Front-End

 

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  • 4.5.1 Targeted Applications of RF MEMS in Receiver Front-Ends

 

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  • 4.5.2 The MEMS-Based Reconfigurable Six-Port Front-End

 

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  • 4.5.3 Results of the MEMS-Based Reconfigurable Six-Port Front-End 94

  • 4.5.4 The RF MEMS SPDT Antenna Switch

 

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  • 5 Performance of the Multi-Band Six-Port Receiver

 

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  • 5.1 Simulation Environment

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  • 5.1.1 Functional Principle of the Simulation Program CppSim

 

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  • 5.1.2 Simulation Set Up

 

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  • 5.1.3 Simulation Run

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  • 5.2 Simulation of the Six-Port Receiver

 

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  • 5.2.1 Influence of Channel Noise .

 

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  • 5.2.2 Frequency Offset and Phase Noise Dependency

 

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  • 5.3 Characterization of the Schottky Diode Detectors

 

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  • 5.4 Measurement Results of the Multi-Band Six-port Receiver

 

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Contents

 
  • 5.4.1 Measurement Set Up and Run

 

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  • 5.4.2 General Dependency of RF and LO Power on Reception

 

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  • 5.4.3 General Noise Behavior .

 

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  • 5.4.4 General Phase Behavior

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  • 5.4.5 Influences of In-Band Interferers

 

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  • 5.4.6 Frequency Dependent SER Performance of Multi-Band Receiver 121

  • 5.5 Alternative Applications of the Multi-Port Principle

 

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6

Conclusion and Perspectives

 

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  • 6.1 Summary

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  • 6.2 Main Achievements and Outlook

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Table of Figures

 

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Abbreviations:

IQ

in-phase/ quadrature

RF

radio frequency

MEMS

micro electro-mechanical systems

SDR

software defined radio

SPDT

single pole double throw

SEM

scanning electron microscope

DC

direct current

GHz

gigahertz

SER

symbol error rate

SP1500

six-port interferometer with a center frequency of 1.5 GHz

SP20

six-port interferometer for frequencies from 2 GHz through 25 GHz

QPSK

quadrature phase shift keying

Contents

1 Introduction

1.1 Motivation and State of the Art Technology

Today, the communications industry faces the challenge of integrating an increasing number of radio communications systems. Especially in automotive applications, a vast amount of different receivers ranging from below one megahertz (amplitude mod- ulation (AM) radio) to electronic toll collect systems at 5.7 GHz or even radar systems at 79 GHz. Future communications systems with higher data rates are envisaged to employ the 17 GHz, 24 GHz, or 60 GHz bands. The state-of-the-art technology is the use of hardware that is limited to cover one frequency band only. This becomes very complex, ineffective, and expensive as modern transceivers need to handle more and more standards in a single, compact device.

Therefore, it is of great interest to design a single transceiver that can handle multi- ple frequency bands, understand different standards, and is easily reconfigurable and upgradeable. These requirements can be met by shifting traditional hardware com- ponents into the digital domain. This type of radio is called software defined radio (SDR) [1]. With the advances in complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology, analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), programmable digital signal proces- sors (DSP), and high speed data transfer, the SDR principle becomes feasible from the digital point of view and much effort is undertaken to implement SDR radios. How- ever, great effort also needs to be applied to the analog front-end, meaning anything from the antenna(s) to the ADCs. An effective and well rounded principle needs to be discovered and developed for universal frequency conversion processes over a large fre- quency range that allows high freedom and is independent of the baseband modulation.

The motivation of this work is the design of a broadband receiver for a frequency range from 1 GHz to 40 GHz with reduced hardware requirements. Hardware archi- tectures for SDR applications that cover such a large frequency range have not yet been reported. To achieve this goal, different SDR hardware architectures [2][3] have been reviewed and the most promising, the multi-port principle, was applied [4]. The reported multi-port architectures differ in the number of output ports: Five-port re- ceivers [5][6][7] and six-port receivers [8][9][10][11][12][13].

1

Introduction

The six-port receiver under investigation in this work uses a local oscillator (LO) and broadband matched power detectors for frequency conversion. The SDR principle is employed for demodulation. To cover the aforementioned frequency range, the six- port architecture needs the ability to route signals to different antennas and to switch between different interferometer circuits. This feature was implemented with radio frequency (RF) switches that consist of micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) [14]. As the realization of such new type of switches requires an enormous amount of effort, the RF MEMS switching structures were developed in a joint project with the European Space Agency (ESA) called “Microwave Electrostatic Micro-Machined Devices For On-Board ApplicationS” (MEMOS).

1.2 Contribution and Outline

This work is organized as a step by step approach from the theoretical background of multi-port receivers to the final performance evaluation of the designed reconfigurable,

multi-band, multi-standard six-port receiver platform. The highlight lies in the devel- opment of the low loss, high power RF MEMS switches to be demonstrated in Chap.

  • 3 and their application in the six-port receiver context. To name a few, new scientific contributions of the performed MEMS research are:

Stable fabrication processes for new types of MEMS: an ohmic contact switch, an SPDT switch, and an RF cross. All devices can be fabricated on standard Si wafers with standard Si processes (CMOS compatibility).

The increased handling and decreased insertion loss from the capacitive mem- brane switch, the toggle switch, and the SPDT switches make RF MEMS switches superior in their performance when compared to state of the art positive/ intrin- sic/ negative (PIN) diode switches.

The MEMS RF cross offers low attenuation when signal lines need to lead over each other.

Detailed reliability and performance analysis of the toggle and capacitive shunt airbridge switch covering RF power, total number of switch cycles, direct current (DC) contact resistance, and temperature dependency.

Besides, there are several new achievements that are related to multi-port receivers. The most prominent are:

A comprehensive and better to understand theoretical description that applies the concept of additive mixing to multi-port receivers and gives insight into the frequency conversion processes

1.2 Contribution and Outline

A six-port front-end that covers a very large bandwidth

A better description of phase relations that further improve the understanding of multi-port theory

Symbol error rate (SER) measurements at different signal-to-noise (SNR) ratios (more precisely E b /N 0 ) over a frequency range from 1.075 GHz to 40 GHz (at selected frequencies). SER measurements covering such a large frequency range in a single receiver have not been published before.

The scientific content of this work starts off in the next chapter, “Theoretical Back- ground of Multi-Port Receivers” (Chap. 2), with a short introduction to SDRs in the context of multi-port receivers. From this, follows a description of the semiconductor diode detector as it is identified as the key component of multi-port receivers and the place where the frequency conversion process takes place. A thorough elaboration and application of the diode theory is of great importance in understanding the functional principle of multi-port receivers. The theory focuses on the multi-port principle in the context of communications receivers which is somehow detached from the original de- scription of six-port reflectometers found in the early work of Cohn [15], Engen [4][16], and Hoer [17][18]. This is necessary because in comparison to Engen’s work, we face a dynamic system which has different properties and requirements than quasi-static six-port reflectometers. This new approach to multi-port theory allows deep insight into the functional principle and sheds light onto the “black box,” an expression for the six-port interferometer found in a scientific article [19].

Operating the six-port receiver over a large frequency range requires a low loss, high power switch in the analog front-end. For this reason, Chap. 3, “RF MEMS Switches for Signal Routing,” shows the possibility to realize such routing structures with the new upcoming MEMS technology. The chapter begins with an introduction to RF MEMS with their typical applications and state-of-the-art technological possibilities. An overview illuminates the principle of the single pole double throw (SPDT) switch; namely that it is composed of two different RF MEMS switches, a capacitive shunt airbridge switch and an ohmic contact switch called a “toggle” switch [20]. In ad- dition, an RF cross is designed. To understand the design issues for all RF MEMS switches, mechanical, electrostatic, and electromagnetic simulations are performed and will be explained before presenting the simulation results achieved from the different structures. As the MEMS technology involves moving parts, it is highly sophisticated and the design requires feedback from the advanced fabrication processes. Several redesigns were necessary to achieve the measurement and reliability results that are presented. Scattering (S) parameters and power handling are the main parameters that were improved. Additional simulation and measurement results give insight into switching time, reliability, contact resistance, and temperature dependency.

1

Introduction

Once the results from the new RF MEMS switches are available, they can be used for the design of the reconfigurable multi-band six-port circuit that is investigated in de- tail in Chap. 4, “The MEMS Based Multi-Band Six-port Circuit.” The chapter begins with an introduction to various RF interferometers and design guidelines. To evaluate the MEMS in the multi-port context, a 1.5 GHz six-port interferometer was designed, simulated, fabricated, measured, and thoroughly evaluated. It is organized in a way to understand the function of all single components, three quadrature hybrids and a power divider, as well as their arrangement in the final interferometer. As multi-port receivers are based on the superposition of electromagnetic waves under different phase angles, this chapter aims to convey these phase relations in an accuracy and depth that has never been described before. Commercial components are used for the second broadband six-port interferometer, that covers a notable frequency range from 2 GHz to 25 GHz (experimental receiver measurements are performed up to 40 GHz)[21]. Fi- nally, S-parameter simulation results are presented for both six-port circuits including the RF MEMS switches and RF MEMS cross that serve to route the signal to the dif- ferent interferometers. For this purpose, real S-parameter measurement results from the RF MEMS components, as well as from the six-port interferometers, are included in the system simulation.

In Chap. 5, “Performance of the Reconfigurable Six-port Receiver,” the multi-standard receiver is evaluated over the designated frequency range from 1 GHz to 40 GHz. This evaluation is done by analyzing the SER in demodulated quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK) signals that is caused by noise, specified by the E b /N 0 ratio. Schottky diode detectors (characterized in the beginning of the chapter) are applied to detect the power of the signal. Simulations are performed that include influences of channel noise and the phase noise of the LO on reception. For the time domain simulation of the SER, a new and rapid C++ based computer simulation program called CppSim (developed by M. Perrott from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)[22]) is used. Measurements at selected frequencies between 1 GHz and 40 GHz are performed and compared with their simulation results and theory.

Eventually, the work ends with a conclusion and outlook giving a short summary of the achieved results and discussing the maturation of this new technology.

2 Theoretical Background of Multi-Port Receivers

This chapter will focus on the theoretical background and functional principle of the multi-port receiver. The beginning of the chapter will discuss various SDR archi- tectures and indicate why the six-port receiver is chosen to be the most promising candidate for a multi-band, multi-standard SDR platform for the frequency range from 1 GHz through 40 GHz. The main focus in the multi-port theory is on the diode detectors and the principle of additive mixing. This is essential in understanding the frequency conversion processes which is the basis of multi-port theory.

2.1 The Software Defined Radio Concept

2.1.1 Introduction to Software Defined Radio

Radio communication is based on modifying the amplitude, the phase, and/or the frequency of a carrier wave. In today’s radio transceivers, the frequency conversion from RF to baseband and vice versa is done with a hardware modulator that is solely designed for a single standard. During use, the radio receiver selects only the specific signal type and filters out all other signals. Such transceivers are not flexible; systems become complex and expensive when hardware for several standards has to be included in one device. The solution is the SDR concept. SDRs distinguish themselves from their conventional counterparts by shifting typical hardware related tasks into the dig- ital domain [1]. In other words, an SDR is a radio with a generic hardware based on analog circuitry under a flexible software architecture. This includes reconfigurable radios, software-based radios, and SDRs based on digital signal processing technol- ogy. Although these concepts have been around for awhile, their practical designs have only now become feasible due to advances in many technologies such as: CMOS, silicon germanium (SiGe), MEMS, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA), powerful and cost-effective programmable DSPs, high-performance ADCs, and ultra-fast data transfer interfaces [23].

SDRs have several advantages over today’s hard-wired radios. The most obvious ad- vantage is the flexibility under a multi-standard environment. SDRs can be repro-

2

Theoretical Background of Multi-Port Receivers

grammed and reconfigured on the fly to adopt to the different standards even in different frequency bands. Furthermore, SDRs can also be configured to handle mul- tiple communications protocols. An agile SDR can handle various popular standards and protocols from a single design implementation such as: 802.11a, 802.11b, Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), analog (FM) and Digital Audio and Video Broadcast (DAB, DVB), satellite radio (Satellite Digital Audio Radio Services – SDARS), Global Positioning System (GPS), and, in the future, the European Global Satellite Navigation System (GALILEO). In fact, some of these standards (i.e. frequency modulation (FM) radio and GSM) use sometimes slightly different frequencies and channel spacings in different countries. This becomes challenging and expensive for manufacturers to handle all the possible variants. In a global market and with increasing internationalization, there is a de- mand for inexpensive flexible hardware. For the automotive industry, it would be of great ease to have one single platform that can be configured by software depending upon which country it will be shipped to.

2.1.2 Software Defined Radio Architectures

With a generic hardware base, radio functionalities such as signal generation, waveform modulation and demodulation, baseband digital signal processing, use of intermediate frequency (IF), and use of multiple link-layer protocols that have traditionally been handled by hardware can now be defined by software. The focus of this work, however, is to provide the hardware front-end for multi-band, multi-frequency SDRs. The hard- ware modules for an SDR include antennas, analog front-ends (which convert the RF signal into IF signals or baseband signals), and digital baseband modules. Different SDR receiver front-end architectures will be discussed in the following.

Fig. 2.1 shows idealized block diagrams of possible RF front-ends. The ideal SDR receiver hardware includes direct sampling of the signal at the antenna, even without the use of any filter as shown in Fig. 2.1(a). Filtering, frequency conversion to base- band, and demodulation are then performed with appropriate software algorithms in the digital domain. The concept is called direct sampling. In this case, according to the Nyquist Theorem, the sampling rate of the ADC ω s must be greater than or equal to twice the RF frequency ω RF . With the latest achievements in ADC technology, this can be done with great success for FM radio where the carrier frequency is around 100 MHz [24].

However, for larger carrier frequencies at 1 GHz or 2 GHz, today’s mass market ADCs are not fast enough to meet the Nyquist criteria. In this case, one possible architec- ture is based on bandpass limited sub-sampling as illustrated in Fig. 2.1(b). Instead of sampling the entire spectrum, only the modulated RF bandpass signal is sampled. This is an interesting approach that requires very sharp, high Q, RF filters and a

2.1 The Software Defined Radio Concept

RF RF ADC s
RF
RF
ADC
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(a) Direct digital (ω s 2 · ω RF )

RF RF ADC BPF LO s
RF
RF
ADC
BPF
LO
s

(c) Heterodyne: IF/ low IF (ω LO < ω RF )

RF RF ADC BPF s
RF
RF
ADC
BPF
s

(b) Bandpass-limited subsampling (ω s > 2 · bandwidth)

RF RF ADC LPF LO s
RF
RF
ADC
LPF
LO
s

(d) Homodyne: zero IF/ direct conversion (ω LO = ω RF )

Fig. 2.1: Different RF front-ends for SDR platforms.

sampling rate greater than twice the filter bandwidth B BP F . For frequencies above 10 GHz, such filters could become available in MEMS technology. Promising results can be found in the article describing MEMS filters [14]. Another issue with sub-sampling architectures is the disadvantageous mapping of noise onto the baseband signal whose magnitude depends on the RF to sampling rate ratio.

The remaining two architectures are heterodyne (Fig. 2.1(c)) and homodyne (Fig. 2.1(d)). Sampling of the intermediate frequency (IF) in a heterodyne architecture is advantageous, as the IF filters can be designed with sharp flanks. Filter banks for different standards can be implemented at the IF level. Channel filtering, as well as down conversion to baseband, can easily be done in the digital domain. The IF depends on the ratio of the RF and LO frequency. As the LO frequency gets closer to RF, the IF becomes smaller and the signal can be filtered with a low pass filter (LPF). For IF greater than zero, the architecture is called low IF. If the RF equals the LO frequency, the architecture is called homodyne (this is also called zero-IF or direct conversion). It should be mentioned that the ideal direct conversion requires hardware based complex down conversion as found in today’s in-phase quadrature (IQ) receivers (see Fig. 2.8). This will be discussed in detail in Chap. 2.5.

The more RF blocks introduced into the front-end, the less flexible it is. For the architectures in Fig. 2.1(b) to (d), low loss signal routing elements are needed to switch to different antennas, bandpass filters, and down converter architectures. In a real architecture, high Q RF filters and low noise amplifiers (LNA) are additionally needed before down conversion. In this work, the main focus lies in the design of a broadband frequency down-converter that can handle a large frequency range. This

2

Theoretical Background of Multi-Port Receivers

frequency down conversion process can be realized in multi-port technology covering a much higher bandwidth and much higher maximum frequency when compared to state-of-the art mixer concepts (i.e. multiplicative Gilbert cell mixers) [21][25][26][108].

2.2 The Theory of Diode Detectors

In a multi-port receiver, the extremely large bandwidth and the very high maximum frequency is achieved by using semiconductor diodes in a power detector configuration. Cut-off frequencies of Schottky diodes can reach terahertz frequencies [27]. In fact, the diode based power detector can be regarded as a diode mixer with an LPF at the output. Fig. 2.2(a) shows the process of conventional multiplicative mixing where transistors are used for frequency conversion (i.e. in a Gilbert cell) with subsequent low pass filtering.

RF

LO

2 Theoretical Background of Multi-Port Receivers frequency down conversion process can be realized in multi-port technology

(a) Multiplicative mixing

LO RF i (b) Additive mixing (multi-port down con- version)
LO
RF
i
(b) Additive mixing (multi-port down con-
version)

Fig. 2.2: Multiplicative versus additive mixing. The additive mixing process is the basis of the multi-port theory.

The new concept that is used in multi-port receivers is based on additive mixing as shown in Fig. 2.2(b). The issues with additive mixing will be thoroughly discussed in Chap. 2.4.1. In a multi-port receiver (a six-port receiver is shown in Fig. 2.5), each of the four output ports is connected to a power detector. The signal addition itself takes place in the interferometer circuit which superposes the RF and LO signals under different phase angles Φ i . It is possible to make such interferometers very broadband [21]. In comparison to conventional IQ mixers with two output ports, the signals at the output ports of the power detectors must be processed further. The baseband IQ signals are calculated from the four power readings after a calibration process. Before the multi-port theory is covered in detail, the functional principle of the diode detectors (as they are one of the key elements in the architectures of the receiver) will be described in the following.

2.2 The Theory of Diode Detectors

2.2.1 Semiconductor Diode Circuit Model

In order to understand the diode power detector, it is necessary to have a circuit model for the Schottky diode. This model has to be valid for both the large signal, nonlinear case as well as for the small signal case [28]. Since the Schottky diode is largely immune to minority carrier effects, the junction capacitance

and diode current

C(V ) =

  • C j0

1 V/φ bi

I d (V ) = I s e αV 1 ,

(2.1)

(2.2)

where α = e 0 V/nk B T, change almost instantaneously with junction voltage V (C j0 is the junction capacitance at zero bias, φ bi is the built-in potential from Schottky con- tact, I s is the reverse saturation current, e 0 is the charge of an electron, n is the diode ideality factor, k B is the Boltzmann constant (1.37×10 23 J/K), T is the absolute temperature in Kelvin. I s is typically between 10 6 and 10 15 A, and at T=290 K, α 28 mV). Therefore, the DC expression for these quantities are valid to very high frequencies in the hundreds of GHz. In the large signal diode model, it is assumed that the capacitance and current are functions of the junction voltage alone. This is valid up to at least 250 GHz [28].

I d (V) C(V) g d (V) V R S (a) Simple equivalent circuit for Schottky
I
d (V)
C(V)
g d (V)
V
R S
(a) Simple equivalent circuit for
Schottky diode
20 (iv) 15 10 (i) (ii) (iii) 5 0 −5 −0.2 −0.1 0 0.1 0.2 0.3
20
(iv)
15
10
(i)
(ii)
(iii)
5
0
−5
−0.2 −0.1
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
voltage V [V]
current I d (V) [mA]

(b) DC characteristics of Schottky diode with typical regions (i) through (iv)

Fig. 2.3: Equivalent circuit of Schottky diode and its DC characteristics

A circuit model for the Schottky diode is shown in Fig. 2.3(a). It consists of a voltage- variable resistance (or conductance g d (V )) and capacitance for the junction C(V ), and a fixed series resistance R S . Other elements that describe packaging are not included. It is important to differentiate between large signal and small signal diode parame- ters. For large signal circuits such as the six-port receiver with only a large LO signal

2 Theoretical Background of Multi-Port Receivers

applied, the junction current and capacitance have a non-linear dependence on the instantaneous junction voltage (C(V ) and I d (V ) are given in Eq. 2.1 and 2.2, where V represents the instantaneous voltage of the time varying voltage).

In the small signal case, it is assumed that the magnitude of the AC junction voltage is very small. There may also be a larger junction voltage component, such as a DC bias or a larger LO signal. If the alternating current (AC) voltage is small enough, the capacitance and junction resistance may be treated as linear quantities, although they may vary as the larger applied voltage is varied. The small signal junction conductance g d (V ) is the derivative of the diode current

g d (V ) =

  • dI d

  • dV = αI s e αV = α(I d (V ) + I s ),

(2.3)

which result in the junction conductance being proportional to its current. I s is very small compared to I(V ) for forward conduction and can be ignored.

A linear plot of the DC characteristics of a Schottky diode is shown in Fig. 2.3(b) (different regions are marked). For very small applied voltages V , the current response of the diode can be approximated with its quadratic term from a Taylor expansion of Eqn. 2.2 (between (i) and (ii)). Higher order terms appear between (ii) and (iii). For higher voltages, the limit for the current is given by the series resistance R S which leads to a linear dependence beyond point (iv). For power detection, the input voltage should stay in the quadratic region of the diode, where the output current I d is proportional to the square of the input voltage and, therefore, proportional to the input power:

I d V 2 P in .

(2.4)

2.2.2 Diode Detectors in Multi-Port Applications

The properties of a semiconductor diode (described in Chap. 2.2) are well suited for multi-port applications. What is needed is the quadratic relationship between RF input power and baseband output voltages. Fig. 2.4(a) shows a simple power detector as it is used in multi-port applications.

For broadband RF matching, the input impedance Z 0 should equal the line impedance, which is 50 Ω in most applications. The input power generates an AC voltage V d across the diode. This AC voltage generates the diode current which is low pass filtered at the output by a capacitance C LP . The load at the output is in the order of MΩ. The detector output voltage V RL is the voltage across the load resistance. In the picture of a power detector, a single sine wave signal generates a DC offset voltage at the output

2.2 The Theory of Diode Detectors

V d V in Z 0 C LP R L
V
d
V
in
Z 0
C LP
R L

(a) Simple power detector

0 10 −2 10 (ii) −4 10 (i) −6 10 −60 −40 −20 0 20 input
0
10
−2
10
(ii)
−4
10
(i)
−6
10
−60
−40
−20
0
20
input power [dBm]
detector output voltage [V]

(b) Characteristics of a simple power detector

Fig. 2.4: Characteristic response to RF power of a simple power detector.

port which, in the quadratic region of the diode, is proportional to the input power. Fig. 2.4(b) shows the characteristic input power to detector output power relation- ship. For most semiconductor diodes, the quadratic region goes up to approximately -20 dBm in a 50 Ω environment generating an output voltage in the order of mV [29].

For even larger input powers, the diode does not operate any longer in its quadratic region and power is lost to higher order terms (transition region between (i) and (ii)). These higher order terms do not contribute to the DC offset and are filtered by C LP . Due to this, the detector output voltage does not increase linearly with input power. For even larger input voltages V in , the diode operates in rectification mode where the detector output voltage V RL is proportional to the amplitude of the RF input signal P in (in other words, proportional to the square root of the input power):

V RL V in P in .

(2.5)

However, this model of the working principle of the diode detector in a multi-port ap- plication is not very accurate. In fact, in multi-port applications, there is not only one single sine wave signal to be detected, but the sum of the RF and LO signal. There- fore, the operation mode of the diode detectors in multi-port applications is rather a mixing of two signals on a non-linearity. This non-linearity is given by the quadratic region of the diode. The superposition, or the addition of the two signals RF and LO, is accomplished by the interferometer circuit. The mathematical background for this additive mixing that takes place in multi-port receivers is thoroughly described in Chap. 2.4.1

2 Theoretical Background of Multi-Port Receivers

2.3 Simple Description of Multi-Port Receivers

Before proceeding to the mathematical background of the additive mixing and multi- port theory, the functional principle of the multi-port receiver will be explained. We will see that the diode detector output voltages, when operating the diode in its quadratic region, have a linear dependence on the RF signal amplitude. In this case, the power of the LO signal has to be constant.

The six-port interferometer as shown in Fig. 2.5(a) superposes the RF and LO signals under different phase angles. Now, consider only the output voltage at port 5. In this case, the superposition of LO and RF signal is given by j/2 · (LO + RF) (the signal amplitudes are halved and the signals have a phase difference of 0 ). If the amplitudes of the RF and LO signals are equal, this superposition of the two waves leads to twice the amplitude. Now, when sweeping the RF phase from 0 to 360 , the detector output voltage produces one full circle sine function as plotted in Fig. 2.5(b). With an initial phase offset that is given by the interferometer circuit, the output voltages at the other ports start with a different initial voltage but show the exact same behavior (sine function with a different phase offset). Using simple linear relations, these detector output voltages can be used to calculate the amplitude and phase of any RF signal. How this can be done is described in the following Chapter in conjunction with a much more detailed mathematical approach of the functional principle of multi-port receivers.

port 3 port 4 port 5 port 6 1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 detector output
port 3
port 4
port 5
port 6
1
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
detector output voltage [V]
  • phase difference between LO and RF signal [degrees]

0

90

180

270

360

(a) Six-port interferometer circuit

(b) Output voltages of the detector

Fig. 2.5: Functional principle of the multi-port receiver (six-port circuit shown). When sweeping the RF phase from 0 to 360 , the output ports show the voltage waveforms given in (b).

2.4 Mathematical Description of the Multi-Port Receiver

2.4 Mathematical Description of the Multi-Port Receiver

2.4.1 Theory of Additive Mixing

The small signal diode mixer theory accurately describes the behavior of the baseband

output voltages of the diode detectors depending on the magnitude of the LO and RF

signals. In the following, the small signal diode mixer theory from [30] is adapted to

suite its application in a multi-port environment. As we have seen earlier in Eqn. 2.2,

the I-V characteristics of a diode can be written as

I d (V ) = I s (e αV 1).

(2.6)

This I-V response is plotted in Fig. 2.3(b). Now consider the total diode voltage to

consist of a small AC signal

V (t) = V 0 + v(t)

(2.7)

where V 0 is the DC bias voltage and I d (V 0 ) = I 0 is the DC bias current (this DC bias

can also result from a large AC signal). If we assume that v(t) represents only small

deflections around a constant bias term, the expression for the total current at this

point can be represented by a Taylor series as a function of the applied AC signal

voltage

 

I d (V ) = I 0 + G d v(t) +

1

d v 2 (t) +

 

(2.8)

where

  • 2 G

,

G d =

dI d (V )

= αI s e αV 0 = α(I 0 + I s )

V =V 0

(2.9)


dV

is the dynamic conductance and

G d = αG d = α 2 I s e αV 0 = α 2 (I 0 + I s )

(2.10)

is the derivative of the dynamic conductance. The Taylor series in Eqn. 2.8 is the

small signal approximation for a diode. The first two terms are of little interest

as no frequency conversion occurs through them. The third term (containing v 2 (t))

represents the square law response of the diode and is responsible for the dominant

frequency conversion terms. In the following, typical LO and RF signals (as used in

multi-port receivers), are applied to Eqn. 2.8 to derive the multi-port mixer theory.

Fig. 2.6 shows the process of additive mixing that is found in each arm of the multi-port

receiver. The superposition, or addition, of the LO input signal

v LO (t) = V ˆ LO cos(ω LO t + ϕ LO )

(2.11)

2 Theoretical Background of Multi-Port Receivers

LO

RF

[ ] 2 v LO (t) i IF (t) LPF v RF (t)
[ ] 2
v
LO (t)
i
IF (t)
LPF
v
RF (t)

Fig. 2.6: Theory of additive mixing: the RF and LO signals are added and then

squared. This leads to additional terms in the baseband.

and the modulated RF input signal

v RF (t) =

v BP (t)

(2.12)

=

Re v BB (t)e jω RF t

= |v BB (t)| cos(ω RF t + ϕ RF + ϕ BB (t))

= I(t) cos(ω RF t + ϕ RF ) Q(t) sin(ω RF t + ϕ RF )

takes place in the interferometer circuit, where v BP (t) is the complex bandpass signal,

v BB (t) is the complex baseband signal, V ˆ LO is the amplitude of the LO signal, ϕ RF is

the initial phase of the RF signal, and ϕ BB is the modulated phase (containing phase

information from the in-phase component I(t) and quadrature component Q(t)). For

now, let us consider a modulated RF signal without additional phase shifts from the

interferometer as indicated in Eqn. 2.12 (the interferometer circuit will be discussed

later in more detail). This sum of the two signals

v(t) = v LO (t) + v RF (t)

(2.13)

is then applied to the diode equation (Eqn. 2.8). Considering all terms up to v 2 (t) this

results in a diode current

i d (t) = I 0 + G d (v LO (t) + v RF (t))

(i)

+ αG d

2

(v LO (t) + v RF (t)) 2 .

(ii)

(2.14)

Now suppose I 0 = 0 (no DC bias) and i(t) is low pass filtered at the output. Therefore,

G d = I s and the term (i) in Eqn. 2.14 is zero. The remaining term (ii),

i d (t) =

k

  • 2 (v LO (t) + v RF (t)) 2

k

k

= v LO (t) + v RF (t) + kv LO (t)v RF (t) ,

2

(i)

2

(ii)

(ii)

2

2

(2.15)

where k = αI s , is now further evaluated to find the baseband signals. Putting the full

forms of Eqn. 2.11 and Eqn. 2.12 into Eqn. 2.15 with subsequent low pass filtering

leads to:

2.4 Mathematical Description of the Multi-Port Receiver

(i): 2 ˆ 2 LP k v LO (t) = V cos 2 (ω LO t
(i):
2
ˆ
2
LP k
v
LO (t) =
V
cos 2 (ω LO t + ϕ LO )
(2.16)
LP k LO
2
2
1
ˆ
2
=
LP k V
2 (1 + cos(2(ω LO t + ϕ LO ))
LO ·
2
k
ˆ
2
= V
LO
4
(ii):
k
2
ˆ
2
LP
v
RF (t) = LP k LO (I(t) cos(ω RF t
V
+ ϕ RF )
2
2
−Q(t) sin(ω RF t + ϕ RF )) 2
(2.17)
k
=
I 2 (t) + Q 2 (t)
4
k
= |v BB (t)| 2
4
(iii):
ˆ
LP {kv LO (t)v RF (t)} = LP k V LO cos(ω LO t + ϕ LO )(I(t) cos(ω RF t + ϕ RF )
−Q(t) sin(ω RF t + ϕ RF )) 2
(2.18)
k
ˆ
= V LO (I(t) cos(∆ω + ∆ϕ) + Q(t) sin(∆ω + ∆ϕ))
2
where ∆ϕ = ϕ LO − ϕ RF and ∆ω = ω LO − ω RF . It is found from Eqn. 2.18 that for
∆ω = 0 and ∆ϕ = 0 the quadrature component Q(t) = 0, while for ∆ω = 0 and
∆ϕ = 90 ◦ the in-phase component I(t) = 0. However, the resulting expression for the
entire baseband signal for additive mixing also contains the terms from Eqn. 2.16 and
2.17 and can be written in the form:
k
k
ˆ
2
i IF (t) = V
I 2 (t) + Q 2 (t)
LO +
4
4
(2.19)
k
ˆ
+ V LO (I(t) cos(∆ω + ∆ϕ) + Q(t) sin(∆ω + ∆ϕ)) .
2

This detector output current leads to a voltage across the load resistance R L as shown

in Fig. 2.4 (referred to as the detector output voltage). The result states that for a con-

stant LO signal, there is a linear dependence between the detector output voltage and

I(t), Q(t), and I 2 (t) +Q 2 (t). Treating I 2 (t) +Q 2 (t) as a third unknown, at least three

independent voltages at different phase shifts ∆ϕ are needed to linearly solve for the

two unknown baseband signals I(t) and Q(t). This is in agreement with the mismatch

that is found in experimental measurement results of a four-port diode based receiver

with two output ports using QPSK calibration and 64QAM (quadrature amplitude

modulation) modulation [33].

2 Theoretical Background of Multi-Port Receivers

2.4.2 The Multi-Port Theory

The multi-port theory includes the phase shifts from the interferometer circuit. This

process is depicted in an abstract manner in Fig. 2.7

LO

RF

[ ] 2 v LO (t) g BB,i (t) LPF i v (t) RF
[ ] 2
v
LO (t)
g BB,i (t)
LPF
i
v
(t)
RF

Fig. 2.7: Theory of additive mixing in multi-port receivers: in the interferometer

circuit, the phase of the RF signal is shifted by an angle Φ i .

Similar to the simple additive mixing process from Fig. 2.6, the LO and the phase

shifted RF signals are added, squared, and finally low pass filtered. With Eqn. 2.19,

the baseband signal at the output of the low pass filter can be written as

g BB,i (t) = LP (v LO (t) + v RF,i (t)) 2

=

k

4

V LO + I 2 (t) + Q 2 (t)

ˆ

2

k

ˆ

+ V LO (I(t) cos(Θ(t) + Φ i ) + Q(t) sin(Θ(t) + Φ i )) ,

2

(2.20)

where Θ(t) = ∆ω+∆ϕ. As mentioned earlier, this equation states a linear dependence

between the detector output signals g BB,i (t) and the complex baseband signals y(t).

Therefore, the multi-port equations can be written in the linear form

y(t) =

n

c i · g BB,i (t)

i=1

=

k

4

·

n

i=1

c i

V LO + I 2 (t) + Q 2 (t)

ˆ

2

+

k

ˆ

V

LO

2

·

n

c i (I(t) cos(Θ(t) + Φ i ) + Q(t) sin(Θ(t) + Φ i )) ,

i=1

(2.21)

where c i = a i + j · b i are the constant complex calibration coefficients or, in terms of

the in-phase and quadrature component, simply as:

I(t) =

n

a i · g BB,i (t)

i=1

Q(t) =

n

b i · g BB,i (t)

i=1

(2.22)

2.4 Mathematical Description of the Multi-Port Receiver

In matrix notation, the general expression for the multi-port receiver is:

c

c 2

.

.

1

y(t) =

.

c

n

T

 

k

2 k
2
k

2

k

2

ˆ

V LO cos(Θ(t) + Φ 1 )

ˆ

V LO cos(Θ(t) + Φ 2 )

V LO cos(Θ(t) + Φ 1 ) k

k

ˆ

2

k

ˆ

V LO cos(Θ(t) + Φ 2 )

2

4

k

4

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

V LO cos(Θ(t) + Φ n ) V LO cos(Θ(t) + Φ n ) k

ˆ

k

ˆ

2

4

·

I(t)

Q(t)

.

.

.

I 2 (t) + Q 2 (t)

k

ˆ

2

+ V

4

LO

  

1

1

.

.

  

.

1

(2.23)

2.4.3 Calibration Method and IQ Calculation

In an optimum six-port interferometer circuit, the phase shifts between the LO and

RF

signals at the four output ports are: Φ i ∈ {0 , 90 , 180 , 270 }. With a constant

RF phase, Θ(t) = 0 at the input of the six-port receiver; this is true if no frequency

offset and no modulation occurs. The six-port equations found from Eqn. 2.21 are:

y(t) =

k

4

·

4

i=1

c i

V LO + I 2 (t) + Q 2 (t)

ˆ

2

(i)

+

k

ˆ

V

LO

2

·

4

c i (I(t) cos(Φ i ) + Q(t) sin(Φ i )) .

i=1

(ii)

(2.24)

The first term (i) can be eliminate by the requirement

4

c i 0.

i=1

(2.25)

Putting the six-port phases Φ i into the second term (ii) we obtain:

y(t) =

=

k

2

k

2

ˆ

· V LO · (c 1 I(t) c 2 Q(t) c 3 I(t) + c 4 Q(t))

ˆ

· V LO · ((c 1 c 3 )I(t) + (c 4 c 2 )Q(t)

(2.26)

(2.27)

This system of linear equations can be solved for known signals. For best calibration

results, the sent IQ signals should be equally distributed in the IQ space. In the case

2 Theoretical Background of Multi-Port Receivers

of six-port calibration, the appropriate IQ signals for calibration are 90 apart: (1,1),

(-1,1), (-1,-1), and (1,-1). For five-port calibration, the sent symbols are 120 apart:

(0, 2), (-1,-1), and (1,-1). Solving the corresponding systems of linear equations for

the unknown calibration coefficients, we obtain for six-port calibration:

c i =

1

k

ˆ

V

LO

1

and for five-port calibration with c 4 = 0:

c i =

1

k

ˆ

V

LO

1

j

1

j

e j 2

3 π e j 4 π .

3

(2.28)

(2.29)

Once the calibration coefficients are known, the baseband IQ signals can be calculated

at each sampling instant from the voltage readings g BB,i of the power detectors with

Eqn. 2.22.

It has been shown how the calibration coefficients can be theoretically derived. How-

ever, in a real multi-port application, the calibration is done by sending a sequence of

known and suitable IQ values, storing the resulting voltages from the detector outputs,

and solving Eqn. 2.22 for the unknow calibration coefficients. This is the experimental

method that is applied in Chap. 5.

The multi-port receiver can easily be calibrated by using its linear relations between

detector output voltages and amplitude of the modulated RF input signal (see Eqn.

2.19). More calibration methods that trace back to six-port reflectometer calibration

can be found in the literature [34][35][36]. An interesting approach is the use of S-

parameter measurements for calibration [37].

2.5 Frequency Conversion in Multi-Port Receivers

The theoretical results found in Chap. 2.4 are now used to depict the frequency con-

version processes in multi-port receivers. To demonstrate this in a clear manner, the

mathematical formulation that includes convolution and Fourier transforms of complex

signals is avoided and the results are graphically explained in the frequency domain.

A similar idea can also be found in the literature [31].

Complex and Real Frequency Conversion

Frequency conversion to an RF carrier is necessary in order to transmit the data (with

a relatively low modulation frequency) over the air interface. At the receiver, this RF

2.5 Frequency Conversion in Multi-Port Receivers

signal needs to be converted to the baseband to retrieve the baseband data.

To illustrate the frequency conversion processes, it is important to differentiate between

complex and real down conversion. In general, the modulated RF signal

s RF (t) = S RF (t) sin(ω RF t + ϕ(t))

(2.30)

= I(t) cos(ω RF t) Q(t) sin(ω RF t)

contains complex information and requires complex down conversion to maintain the

complex baseband signals. During down conversion, the Fourier spectrum S RF (ω)

of the RF signal s RF (t) is shifted by ω LO which results in a new spectrum S RF (ω

ω LO ). From a mathematical point of view, this transformation can be achieved by

multiplication of the RF signal with the complex signal e jω LO t . However, the complex

frequency conversion process is not possible with only one mixer unit. Instead, one

must realize this complex mixing by two separate down conversion paths, one for the

real and the other for the imaginary part.

LPF s RF (t) cos( LO t) LPF sin( LO t) exp(j LO t) (a) Complex
LPF
s RF (t)
cos(
LO t)
LPF
sin(
LO t)
exp(j
LO t)
(a) Complex
s RF (t) LPF cos( LO t)
s RF (t)
LPF
cos(
LO t)

(b) Real

Fig. 2.8: Principle of complex and real frequency conversion.

Fig. 2.8(a) shows the basic receiver principle that performs this complex down conver-

sion. The RF signal s RF (t) is multiplied in one arm by cos(ω LO t), and in the other arm,

by its 90 phase shifted counterpart sin(ω LO t). If 90 between the two LO signals are

achieved, no IQ mismatch occurs – only a circular movement of the IQ constellation

around the origin due to an initial phase offset is possible. In fact, each arm carries

out a real down conversion as depicted in Fig. 2.8(b). A single real down conversion

cannot obtain the entire complex baseband information.

The processes for real and complex down conversion in the frequency domain are

depicted in Fig. 2.9. It is indicated that in case of a complex down conversion, the

2 Theoretical Background of Multi-Port Receivers

+ LO LO + RF 0 RF LPF 2 0 +2 RF RF + RF RF
+
LO
LO
+
RF
0
RF
LPF
2
0
+2
RF
RF
+ RF
RF

(a) Complex down conversion

+ LO LO + RF 0 RF LPF 2 0 +2 RF RF + RF RF
+
LO
LO
+
RF
0
RF
LPF
2
0
+2
RF
RF
+ RF
RF

(b) Real down conversion

Fig. 2.9: Spectral properties of complex and real frequency conversion. Real down

conversion to baseband leads to an overlap and information loss.

convolution of the RF frequency ω RF with the LO frequency ω LO shifts the RF signal

into only one direction (Fig. 2.9(a)). When expanding the cosine function with

cos(ω LO t) = 1/2 · e jω LO t + e jω LO t , (2.31)

it can be seen that a real down conversion (as depicted in Fig. 2.9(b)) produces two

frequency shifts of the original spectrum S RF (ω): a positive and a negative shift, which

leads to an overlap in the baseband. From this baseband signal, it is not possible to

retrieve the full complex signal and, therefore, information is lost. The resulting signal

s BB,n (t) is a mixture of the I and Q component:

s BB,m (t) = LP(s RF (t) · cos(ω LO t + ϕ LO,1 ))

(2.32)

= LP(I(t) cos(ω RF t) cos(ω LO t + ϕ LO,1 ) Q(t) sin(ω RF t) cos(ω LO t + ϕ LO,1 ))

= 1 2 (I(t) cos(ω RF t) + Q(t) sin(ω RF t))

Therefore, a second path with another measurement is needed in order to separate the

two components. This is usually done with another real down conversion using the

90 phase shifted version of Eqn. 2.31: cos(ω LO t + ϕ LO,2 ). The general expression for

complex down conversion using multiplicative mixers can be written in the form:

2

s BB,n (t) = 1

s BB,m (t)

cos(ϕ LO,1 ) sin(ϕ LO,1 )

cos(ϕ LO,2 ) sin(ϕ LO,2 )

I(t) Q(t)
I(t)
Q(t)

(2.33)

The in-phase and quadrature components can be calculated from the two measure-

ments if the phase matrix is nonsingular. It is found from Eqn. 2.33 that the require-

ment |ϕ 1 ϕ 2 | = 90 is not necessary to obtain I(t) and Q(t) as long as the phase

matrix can be inverted.

2.5 Frequency Conversion in Multi-Port Receivers

In the case of a real RF bandpass signals, the two sidebands in Fig. 2.9(b) are sym-

metric and this scheme of direct conversion can still be applied successfully if the

phase between RF and LO is constant (phase synchronous, coherent). An additional

requirement is that the phase is chosen carefully so that the two sidebands do not

destructively overlap.

+ LO LO 0 + RF RF BPF RF RF + RF LO RF + LO
+
LO
LO
0
+
RF
RF
BPF
RF
RF +
RF
LO
RF +
LO
LO
LO

(a) Complex down conversion

+ LO LO 0 + RF RF BPF RF RF + RF LO RF + LO
+
LO
LO
0
+
RF
RF
BPF
RF
RF +
RF
LO
RF +
LO
LO
LO

(b) Real down conversion

Fig. 2.10: For a sufficiently large frequency difference between LO and RF there is

no overlap in the IF.

One solution to overcome the overlap problem is to down convert the RF signal to

an IF signal. This is depicted in Fig. 2.10. In this case, it is not required to use

complex down conversion as the spectra from the negative and positive frequencies

(that are convoluted to IF frequency) do not overlap. The IF signal still contains the

entire complex information. However, to demodulate this information it is necessary

to further down convert the IF signal. This can be done very elegantly in the digital

domain after AD conversion of the IF signal. An appropriate receiver architecture is

depicted in Fig. 2.11

Frequency Conversion by Additive Mixing

The issue with additive mixing is that it is not a simple mathematical multiplication

of the two signals, RF and LO, but the baseband spectrum also contains other parts

that originate from Eq. 2.15 [32]. The baseband spectrum after a direct conversion

additive mixing process is depicted in Fig. 2.12.

It can be seen how the content from Eqn. 2.16, Eqn. 2.17, and Eqn. 2.18 are mapped

into the baseband: the desired complex baseband signals I(t) and Q(t) are influ-

enced by the baseband interferers I 2 (t) + Q 2 (t) and a component from the LO signal

s LO (t). Depending on the type of modulation, I 2 (t) + Q 2 (t) is not always constant

2

2 Theoretical Background of Multi-Port Receivers

RF I(t) LPF ADC cos( 2 t) BPF BPF Q(t) cos( LO t) LPF LO ≠
RF
I(t)
LPF
ADC
cos( 2 t)
BPF
BPF
Q(t)
cos(
LO t)
LPF
LO ≠ RF
sin( 2 t)
RF
RF +
0
RF LO
RF +
RF LO + 2
LO
LO
LO
RF LO + 2

Fig. 2.11:

Principle of IF sampling. After a real down conversion to IF, the com-

plex down conversion from IF to baseband can be achieved in the digital

domain.

s 2 LO (t) I(t),Q(t) I 2 (t)+Q 2 (t) 0 + RF LO
s 2 LO (t)
I(t),Q(t)
I
2 (t)+Q 2 (t)
0
+
RF
LO

Fig. 2.12: Baseband spectrum after direct frequency conversion as found in the

multi-port receiver.

( I 2 (t) + Q 2 (t) is the amplitude of the baseband signal and is constant for QPSK

signaling). The broadening of its spectrum comes from real self-mixing of the I- and

Q-component as indicated in Fig. 2.12. In order to remove this baseband interferer,

I 2 (t) + Q 2 (t), a multi-port with additive mixers needs an additional port (altogether,

three output ports).

The additive mixing process in multi-port receivers, which depends on the frequency

difference between the LO and RF signal, is depicted in Fig. 2.13. Overlapping spectra

lead to information loss that can be recovered with an additional arm (detector). In

the case of Fig. 2.13(a), the IF spectra do not overlap and no information is lost with

only one output arm. An example where this principle can be used is a single Schottky

diode for down conversion of extremely high carrier frequencies to IF. The complex

baseband data can then be retrieved with a subsequent conventional IF to baseband

stage (analog or digital). Fig. 2.13(b) and (c) again show the disadvantage of additive

mixers in working with low- or zero-IF that requires an additional arm and digital

2.5 Frequency Conversion in Multi-Port Receivers

+ LO LO 0 + RF RF BPF s 2 LO (t) I 2 (t)+Q 2
+
LO
LO
0