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A 1.2V, 10MHz, low-pass Gm-C filter with Gm-cells based on triode-biased MOS and passive resistor in 0.13μm CMOS technology

Jun-Gi Jo , Changsik Yoo , Chunseok Jeong , Chan-Young Jeong , Mi-Young Lee , and Jong-Kee Kwon §

Department of Electronics and Computer Engineering, Hanyang University, Seoul 133-791, Korea § Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), Daejeon 305-350, Korea

Abstract

A 1.2V 10MHz low-pass Gm-C filter implemented with low-voltage Gm-cell based on passive resistor and triode- region MOSFET is described. The Gm-cell converts the input voltage to the output current by passive resistor for wider signal swing. For low-voltage operation, triode-region MOS transistors are widely used while the output resistance is improved by regulated gate cascode circuit. The 10MHz low- pass Gm-C filter was implemented in a 0.13μm CMOS technology and the measured input third order intercept point is 3dBV and 9.5dBV, respectively for in-band and out-of- band input.

I. Introduction

The scaling of CMOS technology is driven by the requirement of lower price-per-performance for digital circuitry because the area and power consumption of digital circuitry for a given performance can be much smaller with scaled CMOS technology. For low-cost system, analog function would ideally be integrated on the same die as digital circuitry. Analog design, however, becomes much more challenging with scaled technology due to the lowered supply voltage and the decreased allowable signal swing [1]. The performance requirement on analog circuits is ever increasing with the rapidly improving computing power of digital circuitry, aggravating the situation. For these reasons, it is a challenging task to design a low- voltage and high-frequency analog filter with scaled CMOS technology. Although Gm-C filter is considered to be most suited architecture for high-frequency operation among various types of analog filters, the linearity and frequency response of transconductance (Gm) cell becomes poor very rapidly with lowered supply voltage [2-5]. In this paper, a low-voltage and high-frequency Gm-cell is proposed which is developed to maximize the dynamic range under lowered supply voltage (1.2V for 0.13μm standard CMOS technology). The voltage-to-current conversion is performed by a passive resistor for wider signal swing. The voltage across the passive resistor is kept to be proportional to the input signal by connecting one of the terminals of the resistor to V DD and maintaining the potential of the other terminal to be equal to the input voltage by a feedback. For low-voltage operation, MOS transistors operating in the triode region are widely used while the output resistance of

the Gm-cell is improved by regulated gate cascode circuits. The detailed description of the proposed Gm-cell will be given in the following sections. The Gm-cell has been applied to a third-order Butterworth low-pass Gm-C filter to verify its performance and the measured results of the filter will also be given.

(a) (b) Acmfb
(a)
(b)
Acmfb

Fig. 1. (a) Conventional low-voltage Gm-cell based on triode- region MOS transistor and (b) its maximum signal swing.

II. Conventional Triode-MOS Based Gm-Cell

The low-voltage Gm-cell proposed in this paper has been evolved from the conventional Gm-cell based on MOS transistors operating in the triode region shown in Fig. 1-(a). This type of triode MOS based Gm-cells have been widely used for low-voltage operation because of its large dynamic range even with low supply voltage [2-3]. The recently reported low-pass Gm-C filer with Gm-cells of the same basic structure as in Fig. 1-(a) has achieved 10MHz cut-off frequency and 16.3dBm input-third-order intercept point (iIP3) under 1.8V supply voltage [3]. With the supply voltage of 1.2V (nominal recommended supply voltage for standard 0.13μm CMOS technology), however, the Gm-cell in Fig. 1-(a) has a very narrow allowable signal swing. As illustrated in Fig. 1-(b), the common-mode level of the signals is desirably V DD /2 and the minimum possible input voltage is V dn +V tn (V tn : the threshold voltage of nMOS transistors) because the transistor M 1 must

stay in the triode region. Since the signal swing should be symmetrical along the common-mode level, the maximum input voltage is V DD V dn V tn . The threshold voltage of nMOS transistors is about 0.4V for the 0.13μm CMOS technology used in this work. If we assume V dn is 0.1V (for low-voltage operation, it is desirable

to set V dn as low as possible), the maximum and minimum signal levels of the Gm-cell in Fig. 1-(a) are 0.5V and 0.7V, respectively and thus the allowed signal swing is only 0.2Vp-

  • p. Therefore, the conventional triode-MOS based Gm-cell in

Fig. 1 would have very poor linearity performance. For a given technology (for a given V DD and V tn ), the only way to

have wider signal swing is to have smaller value of V dn . But because V dn directly determines the transconductance of the Gm-cell, we cannot use arbitrarily small value of V dn . This limited signal swing is due to the fact that the input signal is directly connected to the gate of the voltage-to- current converting transistor operating in the triode region.

III. Proposed Triode-Biased MOS and Passive Resistor Based Low-Voltage Gm-Cell

The proposed low-voltage Gm-cell shown in Fig. 2 has much wider signal swing than the conventional one by separating the input signal from the gate of the MOS transistor (M 1 ) in the triode region. The Gm-cell has two input pairs to facilitate the design of a filter. The transistors M 1 , M 3 , M 5 , M 7 , M 10 , M 12 , M 13 , M 14 , M 15 , M 17 , M 19 , M 21 , M 23 , and M 24 are in the triode region while the other transistors are in the saturation region.

  • A. Operation Principle

The voltage-to-current conversion is performed by the passive resistor R for wider signal swing. * The voltage level of the lower terminal of the resistor (upper left one) is kept to be equal to the input voltage by the feedback network consisting of M 1 , M 2 , A 1 , and A 2 . Thus, the voltage across the resistor is V DD V in1 and the current through the resistor R, M 1 , and M 2 is (V DD V in1 )/R. Because the drain voltages of the

transistors M 1 and M 3

are

all

equal

to

V dn and their

gate

voltages are same, the drain current of M 1 , (V DD V in1 )/R, is copied to the transistor M 3 . It can be thought the transistors M 1 and M 3 in the triode region constitute a current mirror with their drain voltages being forced to be equal by the feedback. The current flowing through the transistor M 1 is not connected to output and therefore wasted. Thus, the (W/L) ratio of the transistor M 3 is made N times larger than that of M 1 in order to minimize the wasted current in M 1 . The common-mode level of the differential output is stabilized by the common-mode feedback network consisting of M 9 -M 12 , A 7 , A 8 , and A cmfb . The capacitors C 1 and C 2 provide a high-frequency path in the common-mode feedback network, improving the common-mode feedback stability.

* The explanation is given for the upper-left part of the Gm-cell, that is, for the input V in1 , but can be generalized for the other inputs.

The capacitance of C 1 and C 2 must be considered as a part of load capacitance when implementing a filter. Because the Gm-cell is a pseudo-differential circuit, the common-mode variation of the input signals is not rejected and thus the common-mode feedforward network consisting of R cmff , M 13 , M 14 , M 23 , and M 24 is employed as well. The current (V in1 V in1b )/2R cmff through the feedforward resistors is added to the output current. The differential output current is now given as ;

i

out

=

N

×

1

1

+

R

R

cmff

×

{(

V

in

1

V

in

1

b

)(

+

V

in

2

V

in

2

b

)}

(1)

and therefore the transconductance is (1/R+1/R cmff ). By configuring the resistor R as a resistor array, variable transconductance can be obtained, giving tunability to Gm-C filter.

stay in the triode region. Since the signal swing should be symmetrical along the common-mode level,

Fig. 2. Low-voltage Gm-cell where the voltage-to-current conversion is performed by passive resistor.

B. Allowable Signal Swing

Now, let’s derive the allowed signal swing of the proposed Gm-cell with 1.2V supply voltage. The drain voltage V dn of M 1 is assumed to be 0.1V as in the conventional Gm-cell of Fig. 1 for fair comparison. By proper sizing, the minimum required drain-to-source voltage V ds,sat,M2 for the transistor M 2 to stay in the saturation region is set to be 0.2V. Then, the input signal can swing down to 0.3V (V ds,sat,M2 +V dn ) and up to 0.9V (V DD V ds,sat,M2 V dn ). Therefore, the allowed signal swing

is 0.6Vp-p which is three times larger than that of the conventional low-voltage Gm-cell in Fig. 1-(a). Another difference from the conventional one is that the value of V dn can now be chosen without any concern on the transconductance. The above derivation is assuming the input transistor M 1 stays in the triode region. If the (W/L) ratio of the transistor M 1 is sufficiently large so its g m be large enough and thereby its gate voltage need not be modulated too much for large input swing, the above assumption is valid. For the proposed Gm-cell, the (W/L) ratio of the transistor M 1 can be chosen to be sufficiently large without affecting the transconductance of the Gm-cell because the (W/L) ratio of the transistor has no effect on the transconductance. The transconductance is solely determined by the resistor R.

IV. Third-Order Butterworth Filter

In order to verify the functionality and performance of the proposed triode-MOS and passive resistor based low-voltage Gm-cell, a fully differential third-order low-pass Butterworth filter shown in Fig. 4 has been implemented. The filter topology is derived from a doubly terminated LC-ladder prototype and all the Gm-cells have the same transconductance. With the dual-input Gm-cell, the number of Gm-cells can be reduced, which saves chip area and power consumption. The very first Gm-cell has two times the effective transconductance by having two input pairs shorted together to compensate for the inherent 6dB loss in the passband of a doubly terminated LC-ladder filter. The magnitudes of the load capacitors are determined by taking

1.2 0.6 0 -0.6 -1.2 -0.9 -0.6 -0.3 0 0.3 0.6 0.9 Differential output current [mA]
1.2
0.6
0
-0.6
-1.2
-0.9
-0.6
-0.3
0
0.3
0.6
0.9
Differential output current [mA]

Differential input voltage [V]

1.1 0.9 0.7 0.5 0.3 -0.9 -0.6 -0.3 0 0.3 0.6 0.9 Differential input voltage [V]
1.1
0.9
0.7
0.5
0.3
-0.9
-0.6
-0.3
0
0.3
0.6
0.9
Differential input voltage [V]
(b)
Fig. 3. Simulated (a) voltage-to-current transfer characteristic
and (b) transconductance.

The Gm-cell was simulated for different values of R with the HSPICE. Fig. 3-(a) shows the voltage-to-current transfer characteristic and the transconductance is plotted in Fig. 3-(b). The transconductance can be varied from 0.65mA/V to

1.18mA/V.

the parasitic capacitance and common-mode feedback path

stabilizing capacitors (C 1 and C 2 in Fig. 2) into account.

V

+ + + V out + + + + + +
+
+
+
V
out
+
+
+
+
+
+
+ in + +
+
in
+
+
  • (a) Fig. 4. Third-order Butterworth filter implemented with the Gm-cell in Fig. 2.

Capacitors Capacitors Gm-cells Gm-cells Capacitors Capacitors
Capacitors
Capacitors
Gm-cells
Gm-cells
Capacitors
Capacitors

Fig. 5. Microphotograph of the third-order Butterworth filter.

V. Experimental Results

The third-order Butterworth filter built with the low- voltage Gm-cell of Fig. 2 has been implemented in a 0.13μm standard CMOS technology whose microphotograph is in Fig. 5. The active area of the filter is 0.9mm×0.6mm. Because the current design is to verify the low-voltage Gm-cell, automatic

frequency tuning circuit is not included. The current design is focusing on low-voltage operation and not optimized for low-power consumption and therefore the filter dissipates somewhat large power of 22mW under 1.2V supply voltage. The power consumption would be greatly reduced if the transconductance of the Gm-cells and load capacitance of the integrators are optimized. The measured frequency characteristic of the filter is shown in Fig. 6 when the transconductance of the Gm-cell is manually set so the 3dB cut-off frequency is 10MHz. The loss of 1.6dB at passband is due to the non-ideal frequency response of the active baluns at the input and output of the filter which are implemented with operational amplifiers. Fig. 7 shows the two-tone test results for both in-band and out-of-band inputs. For in-band test, two tones at 2MHz and 3MHz are applied and the measured input third-order intercept point (iIP3) is 3dBV. The out-of-band iIP3 is 9.5dBV which is measured with two tones at 20MHz and

35MHz.

VI. Conclusion

A low-voltage and high-frequency Gm-cell is proposed whose voltage-to-current conversion is performed by a passive resistor for good linearity. For low-voltage operation, MOS transistors operating in the triode region are widely used while the output resistance of the Gm-cell is improved by regulated gate cascode circuit. The proposed low-voltage Gm-cell is applied to a third-order low-pass Butterworth filter implemented in a 0.13μm standard CMOS technology.

Acknowledgments

A part of this work was supported by the System IC 2010 Research Project and the Human Resource Development Project for IT SoC Key Architect funded by the Ministry of Information and Communication, Korea. The CAD tools were provided by IDEC.

References

[1]

A. J. Annema,

B. Nauta,

R. van Langevelde, and H.

Tuinhout, “Analog circuits in ultra deep submicron CMOS,” IEEE J. Solid-State Circuits, Vol. 40, No. 1, pp. 132-143, Jan. 2005. [2] C. Yoo, S.-W. Lee, and W. Kim, “A ±1.5-V, 4-MHz CMOS continuous-time filter with a single-integrator based tuning,” IEEE J. Solid-State Circuits, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 18-27, Jan. 1998. [3] Y.-H. Kim, J.-W. Park, M.-Y. Park, and H.-K. Yu, “A 1.8V triode-type transconductor and its application to a 10MHz 3rd-order Chebyshev low pass filter,” Proc. Custom Integrated Circuits Conf., pp. 53-56, 2004. [4] S. Hori, T. Maeda, N. Matsuno, and H. Hida, “Low-power widely tunable Gm-C filter with an adaptive DC-blocking triode-based MOSFET transconductor,” Proc. European

Solid-State Circuits Conf., pp. 99-102, 2004. [5] B. Guthrie, T. Sayers, A. Spencer, and J. Hughes, “A CMOS gyrator low-IF filter for a dual-mode Bluetooth / ZigBee transceiver,” Proc. Custom Integrated Circuits Conf., pp. 49-52, 2004. [6] U. Yodprasit and C. Enz, “A 1.5V 75dB dynamic range third-order Gm-C filter integrated in a 0.18μm standard digital CMOS process,” IEEE J. Solid-State Circuits, Vol. 38, No. 7, pp. 1189-1197, Jul. 2003.

frequency tuning circuit is not included. The current design is focusing on low-voltage operation and not

Fig. 6. Measured frequency response of the filter. The result shows about 1.6dB loss in the passband due to the active baluns at input and output of the measurement setup.

In-band iIP3 = 3dBV Out-of-band iIP3 = 9.5dBV
In-band iIP3 = 3dBV
Out-of-band iIP3 = 9.5dBV

Fig. 7. Measured third-order input intercept point (iIP3) for in-band (with two tones at 2MHz and 3MHz) and out-of-band (with two tones at 20MHz and 35MHz) inputs.