Ultra-Low Power, Low Phase Noise 10 GHz LC VCO in the Subthreshold Regime

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A new design for an ultra-low power, low phase noise differential 10 GHz LC voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) which is biased in the subthreshold regime, is presented in the 0.18 μm CMOS process, for the first time. The designed circuit topology is an NMOS only cross-coupled LC-tank VCO which has an extra symmetric centre tapped inductor between the source ends of the cross-coupled transistors. Using this inductor leads to an improvement of the phase noise of VCO about 3.5 dB. At the supply voltage of 0.46 V, the output phase noise is －107.8 dBc/Hz at 1 MHz offset frequency from the carrier frequency of 10.53 GHz, so that the dc power consumption is only 0.346 mW. Tuning range is between 10.53 GHz to 11.35 GHz which is 7.5% and the figure of merit is －193.8 dB, which this result shows that this is the first VCO design in the subthreshold regime at this frequency. This VCO can be used for multi-standard wireless LAN communication protocols 802.11a/b/g easily by a frequency division of 2 or 4 respectively.

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