Analysis And Design Of Wideband Passive Mixer-First Receivers

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This dissertation focuses on the design of wideband SAW-less receivers for softwaredefined radios. The entire body of work is based on a single RF front-end architecture type: a passive mixer connected directly to the antenna port of the radio, without an LNA or matching network up front. This structure is inherently wideband which allows for a single receiver front-end to operate at a wide range of frequencies, as tuned by its local oscillator (LO). Additionally, the mixer exhibits the property of transparency from the baseband port of the radio to the RF port of the radio, and vice versa. The focus of the first half of the thesis is on developing a simple theoretical framework for the impedance characteristics of the passive mixer, and implementing a maximally flexible receiver which utilizes the mixer's transparency to the fullest extent. Additionally, it is shown that mixing with 8 non-overlapping phases instead of the traditional 4 has benefits beyond harmonic rejection extending to improved noise performance and increased impedance tuning range. This receiver exhibits low noise figure (~3dB), excellent wideband linearity (IIP3[GREATER-THAN OR EQUAL TO]25dBm), and unprecedented RF impedance control from the baseband side of the passive mixer. Another wideband receiver is presented which explores increasing the number of LO phases even further to 16 and 32, increasing the impedance matching range. The same chip contains a circuit technique for alleviating the shunting effects of LO phase overlap on mixer conversion gain, noise, and impedance match range. Finally in a new design, the power consumption of the receiver architecture is decreased by a factor of 5x (and not scaling with RF frequency). This is done using a resonant LO drive with 8 non-overlapping phases, incorporating the large mixer gate capacitance directly into the LC tank of the VCO. Baseband power consumption is also reduced by reusing current in the four baseband amplifier channels, and performing harmonic rejection, all in one stage of amplification.

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Molnar, Alyosha Christopher

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Winkler, David Ward
Apsel, Alyssa B.

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Electrical Engineering

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Ph. D., Electrical Engineering

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

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