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1

FRONT-END DESIGN OF RF TRANSCEIVER


B.Tech Project submitted in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Bachelors of Technology
in
ECE
by
R SAI VISHNU TEJA
201130075
rekapallisaivishnu.teja@students.iiit.ac.in

International Institute of Information Technology


Hyderabad 500 032, INDIA
November, 2014

Copyright R Sai Vishnu Teja, 2014


All Rights Reserved

International Institute of Information Technology


Hyderabad, India

CERTIFICATE
It is certified that the work contained in this project, titled Front-End Design
of RF Transceiver by R. Sai Vishnu Teja with Roll No. 201130075, has been
carried out under my supervision for a partial fulfillment of degree.

Date: 15th November, 2014


Signature
(Adviser: Prof. Dr. Syed Azeemuddin)

Abstract
This project report describes the complete design of all the discrete sub-components of an RF
Transceiver designed at a centre frequency of 2.4GHz. Different LNA topologies have been
investigated. Circuit simulation is done in AWR Microwave Office. Good agreements between
measurements and simulations have been achieved. A single stage narrowband low noise amplifier is
designed. The amplifier is centred at 2.4 GHz with a noise figure (NF) less than 0.7 dB over a band
width of 100 MHz with 13.6 dB gain using E-PHEMT ATF-53189 by Avago technologies.

A single stage power amplifier is simulated at 2.4GHz with a gain of is 13.79 dB with a return loss of
5.91dB over a band width of 100 MHz. Amplifier has been shown to be stable through theoretical
and simulated results. The transistor used here is the Freescale Semiconductor Transistor,
MRF6S23140H.

A double balanced GILBERT CELL in differential configuration is simulated with a conversion gain of
10dB, return losses less than -10dB, local oscillator to RF isolation and RF to local oscillator isolation
equal to -36dB.Transistors used are Freescale Semiconductor Transistors.

An Oscillator with a resonant structure uses a crystal resonator, and a negative impedance generator
using the ZETEX BFS17 transistor in a Clapp configuration is simulated with an oscillating frequency of
25MHz.

Fabrication and characterization is yet to be completed. A PCB design of our single stage amplifiers
could be fabricated in the future if desired.

Acknowledgement
Thanks to Prof. Dr. Syed Azeemuddin for giving us the opportunity to do this project work. Especially
thanks to our panel member Dr. Vijay Sankara Rao for helping us rectify our mistakes during each phase
of evaluation. I would like to thank them both for their continuous and unwavering support to us, for
their constructive criticism and propitious advice, for helping us despite our faults and through our
mistakes, and for encouraging us to learn better and work harder.
Also thanks to all the research students at the Centre of VLSI and Embedded Systems (CVEST) for their
support and encouragement.

Contents
Chapter
1. INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................... 10
1.1 Aim of the project10
1.2 What is RF Transceiver? .........................................................................................10
1.3 Motivation ..........................................................................................10
1.4 Block Diagram...........................................................................................11
1.5 Steps to design RF Transceiver...............................................................................11

2. LOW NOISE AMPLIFIER (LNA) ........................................................................................... 12


2.1 Introduction12
2.2 Specifications .....................................................................................................12
2.3 Challenges in LNA Design......................................................................12
2.4 General Design Procedures.................................................................................14
2.5 Design Flow of LNA.15
2.6 Two-port S-Parameters ......................................................................................16
2.7 Matching Network.................................................................................19
2.8 LNA Schematic....................................................................................................21
2.9 Results Analysis22

3. POWER AMPLIFIER (PA) ................................................................................................... 28


3.1 Introduction28
3.2 Specifications .....................................................................................................29
3.3 Design Flow of PA....................................................................30
3.4 Characterization of Transistor.............................................................................32
3.5 Two-port S-Parameters .......................................................................................33
3.6 Matching Network.................................................................................37

3.7 PA Schematic.......................................................................................................39
3.8 Results Analysis.41

4. OSCILLATOR46
4.1 Introduction46
4.2 Design Analysis.46
4.3 Specifications...46
4.4 Result Analysis....48

5. MIXER50
5.1 Introduction...50
5.2 Why differential gilbert cell?............................................................................50
5.3 Design Analysis.52
5.4 Specifications.53
5.5 Conversion gain calculations..54
5.6 Isolation calculations...56
5.7 Results Analysis...57

6. CONCLUSIONS.58

7. BIBLIOGRAPHY59

List of Tables
Table
2.1 Specifications of Low-Noise Amplifier.12
3.1 Specifications of Power Amplifier............................................................................................29

List of Figures
Figure
1.1 Block Diagram of RF Transceiver11
2. LOW NOISE AMPLIFIER (LNA)
2.1 Flow chart of LNA Design15
2.2 S Parameters of transistor from frequency sweep of 2GHz to 3GHz..17
2.3 Microwave amplifier block diagram showing the source matching network, transistor, and
output matching network with the gain of each stage and total transducer gain noted.20
2.4 Low Noise Amplifier Circuit with source and load matching networks, and biasing circuit21
2.5 Graph for stability with K, B1..22
2.6 Gain graph with MSG, Actual Transducer Gain..24
2.7 Noise Figure.25
2.8 Return Losses.26
2.9 Output Power27
3. POWER AMPLIFIER (PA)
3.1 Flow chart of PA Design.30
3.2 Curve Tracer Setup32
3.3 Transistors IV Curve: The other line in Figure 3 is the load line at the quiescent operating
point of 1400 mA, Vgs = 2.7 V and Vdd = 28 V..33
3.4 S Parameters of transistor from frequency sweep of 2GHz to 3GHz34
3.5 Microwave amplifier block diagram showing the source matching network, transistor, and
output matching network with the gain of each stage and total transducer gain noted38
3.6 Power Amplifier Circuit with source and load matching networks, and biasing circuit39

3.7 Transducer gain and return loss of amplifier circuit plotted on a power gain in dB vs frequency
set of axes.41
3.8 Tuned transducer gain and return loss42
3.9 Dynamic range of our amplifier42
3.10 1 dB compression point of our amplifier43
3.11 IP3: Third Order Intercept Point.44
3.12 Output Power45
4. OSCILLATOR
4.1 Oscillator schematic47
4.2 Oscillator feedback network.47
4.3 Total output Impedance plot48
4.4 Phase noise plot49
5. MIXER
5.1 Gilbert cell differential diagram.52
5.2 Conversion gain plot..54
5.3 Return loss plot..55
5.4 S-Parameters...55
5.5 Isolation plot.56
5.6 IF output spectrum..56
5.7 IF output waveform.57

10

1. INTRODUCTION
1.1 Aim of the project
To design the front-end of RF Transceiver on a PCB using AWR Microwave Office tools. (Primary aim is
to make schematic design)

1.2 What is RF Transceiver?

RF front end is a generic term for all the circuitry between the antenna and the first intermediate
frequency (IF) stage. It consists of all the components in the transceiver that process the signal at
the original incoming frequency (RF/IF), before it is converted to a required frequency (IF/RF).

RF front end typically consists of:


1) An impedance matching circuit to match the input impedance of the transceiver with the
antenna, so the maximum power is transferred to and from the antenna.
2) A band-pass filter (BPF) to reduce strong out-of-band signals.
3) An RF amplifier, in the receiver side often called the low-noise amplifier (LNA).
4) Power amplifier at transceiver side, usually the last stage of the transmitter end.
5) The mixer, which mixes the incoming signal with the signal from a local oscillator (LO) to
convert the signal to the intermediate frequency (IF).

1.3 Motivation
RF Transceiver has many uses in the field of communication. It forms an essential component in modernday cellphones. Other applications include vehicle monitoring, remote control, small-range wireless
network, GPS etc.

11

1.4 Block Diagram

Figure 1.1 Block Diagram of RF Transceiver

1.5 Step-by-step procedure to design the RF Transceiver


Phase 1: Schematic design of the individual blocks of the transceiver, namely:
1. Low Noise Amplifier
2. Power Amplifier
3. RF Mixer
4. RF Local Oscillator
Phase 2: Integrating the individual blocks with proper impedance matching circuits to obtain the
schematic for the RF Transceiver.

12

2. LOW NOISE AMPLIFIER DESIGN (LNA)


2.1 Introduction
Low-noise amplifier (LNA) is an electronic amplifier used to amplify very weak signals (for example,
captured by an antenna) and it amplifies the signal while introducing a minimum amount of noise. It is
usually located very close to the detection device to reduce losses in the feed line. This active antenna
arrangement is frequently used in microwave systems like GPS.

2.2 Specifications
Parameters

Required

Frequency of Operation

2.4GHz

Bandwidth

200MHz

Gain or S21

>12dB

Noise Figure

<1dB

1dB compression

>20dB

Power Output

>20dBm

Impedance match

50

Return Losses S11 & S22

-10dB

Table 2.1 Specifications of Low-Noise Amplifier

2.3 Challenges in LNA Design


An LNA design presents considerable challenge because of its simultaneous requirement for high
gain, low noise figure, good input and output matching and unconditional stability.
1. Although gain, noise figure, stability, linearity and input and output match are all equally
important, they are interdependent and do not always work in each others favor.

13

2. Carefully selecting a transistor based on the specifications is the first and most important step
in an LNA design.
Any Microwave Integrated Circuit (MIC) amplifier design essentially consists of the following
steps:
1. Selection of proper transistor
2. Checking the conditional stability
3. If transistor is unstable at the desired frequency, proper techniques are applied to make it
stable.
4. Biasing is done. Bias point is selected depending on the application like low power, low
noise, linearity etc.
5. Different techniques are applied to optimize different parameters like noise figure, gain,
power dissipation. Two parameters cannot be optimized simultaneously. Matching circuits
that provide optimum performance in a microwave amplifier can be easily and quickly
designed using a Smith chart.

System Design: In AWR there are two types of devices, (1) S-parameter & (2) normal device. Sparameter device is in-built with S-parameters loaded from the data sheet. There is no need of
applying external bias to it, because it has fixed S-parameters (i.e. fixed biasing). For the LNA
design, S-parameter device is chosen in general.

Selection of the transistor: Based on the above specifications we chose ATF53189 (Avago
Technologies) which has noise figure of 0.85dB at bias point of 4V, IDS = 135mA at 2GHz and
associated gain of 17.5dB. It has somewhat similar parameter values as the specifications of the
project. Hence Transistor ATF53189 has been chosen.

14

2.4 General Design Procedures


1. Evaluate the Rolletts stability factor to identify the possibility of instabilities depending on
source and load matching.
2. Determine bias conditions and circuit.
3. If a specified gain is required at a single frequency then the gain circles can be plotted on a
smith chart and the associated source match can be read off and the corresponding load
match calculated.
4. If a specified noise figure and gain at a frequency is required then the noise circles need to be
added to the gain circles. The source match required will be the intersection of the gain &
noise circles.
5. Once the required source impedance has been chosen the corresponding output match
required for best return loss can be calculated.

Stability Design:
1. Unconditional stability of the circuit for complete range of frequencies where the device has a
substantial gain is the goal of LNA design which means that with any load present to the
output the circuit will not become unstable.
2. S-parameters provided by manufacturer of the transistor will aid in stability analysis.
3. When K-factor is greater than unity, the circuit will be unconditionally stable for any
combinations of source and load impedance.
4. A transistor can be stabilized by adding small inductance to the source.

15

2.5 Design Flow of LNA

Identification of LNA specs

Selection of transistor device

Designing stability
enhancement circuit

Is the circuit stable?


K > 1, B1 > 0

No

Increasing series
resistance

Lumped element LNA design

Distributed component design

Specs meet?

Design Verification
Layout design

Fabrication
Figure 2.1 Flow chart of LNA Design

No

Tuning

16

2.6 Two-port S-Parameters


In order to determine the s-parameters of our Avago transistor we performed a frequency
sweep of the S Parameters. This sweep is shown in Figure 2.2. This sweep was done with our
transistor biased at ID=430mA, VGS=0.65V, and VDD=4V. These biasing conditions are all very close
to the quiescent conditions shown in the transistors data sheet. We then extracted the S Parameters
of the transistor at 2.4GHz.

The 2.4GHz S-parameters are shown below:


S11 = 0.8497140.3o

S12 = 0.0366710.53o

S21 = 3.95144.97o

S22 = 0.3737164o

It should be noted that S11 and S22 should both have magnitudes less than one to maintain
stability. Also, since the transistor gain is the square of the magnitude of S21 this value should be
greater than one to have gain greater than unity. This is explained in greater detail in the stability
section and the conjugate matching section of this report.

17

Figure 2.2 S Parameters of transistor from frequency sweep of 2GHz to 3GHz.

18

Unilateral Condition:
A transistor is unilateral if S12 is zero or very near zero when compared to the other S
parameters of its scattering matrix. From the S matrix that we determined for the Avago transistor,
the S12 term is very small and can be set to 0 to simplify our amplifier calculations. With this
assumption, there will be no internal feedback. This means the input resistance will be independent
of the load resistance, and the output resistance will be independent of the source resistance. This
will make designing the source and load matching networks easier.

Stability:
A successful amplifier design requires a number of characteristics to be met including voltage gain,
power gain and linearity, but perhaps the most critical aspect of any amplifier is stability. Even if a
design produces excellent gain and linearity, if it is unstable it is essentially unusable. For this reason it
was vital for us to consider stability through every step of the design process. Stability of an amplifier
is its immunity to causing oscillations. In the case of high-frequency amplifiers, there are two types of
stability defined: conditional stability and unconditional stability. If an amplifier is conditionally stable,
it is shown to be stable with both ports properly terminated (that is, with the intended source and
load impedances). A much better result is unconditional stability, which shows that an amplifier is
stable regardless of input and output impedances. In our analysis we sought to determine
unconditional stability for this amplifier design. If the transistor is not unilateral the following
conditions must be met to determine unconditional stability:

To facilitate the determination of this key factor, we needed to first establish that our circuit was
unilateral; that is signal flows only in the forward direction or, equivalently, S12 (transmission from port
2 to port 1) equals zero. If the unilateral condition is met, calculations required for unconditional
stability determination simplify greatly, requiring only two conditions. These are:

19

(1) |S11| < 1 and (2) |S22| < 1


Using AWR Microwave Office, we characterized our circuits scattering parameters through simulation
and were able to show that the unilateral condition was met. To determine the stability of the circuit we
needed to examine the magnitude of input and output reflection coefficients as various parameters of
the circuit were varied to find if any condition existed which would cause either of these magnitudes to
exceed unity. We used the tuner tool in Microwave Office to facilitate this determination by varying the
quiescent bias point and observing how the scattering parameters changed as a result. To clearly see the
magnitudes of the reflection coefficients, we plotted all four S-parameters on a polar chart to show
magnitude and phase. As we varied the quiescent point of the transistor we watched how S11 and S22
moved on the chart, paying close attention to whether these parameters ever moved outside of the unit
circle. Fortunately, regardless of how far we moved the bias point from our nominal value, we were
unable to force S11 or S22 greater than unity, showing that our circuit was unconditionally stable.

2.7 Matching Network


Conjugate matching is used to transfer the maximum amount of power from the source to the
transistor and from the transistor to the load. Maximum power transfer from the source to the load
occurs when the real part of the source matching network equals the real part of the input impedance
of the transistor and when the imaginary part of the matching network is the conjugate of the
imaginary part of the input impedance of the transistor. This can be written in mathematical form as:

S = in*S11*
After plugging in the complex conjugate of S11 we determined the reflection coefficient of the source
matching network seen from the transistor as being the following:

S =

0.8497-140.3o

It should be noted that taking the complex conjugate of a reflection coefficient results in the complex
conjugate of the corresponding impedance being taken. Thus either reflection coefficient or
impedance can be used for conjugate matching. Since we already have the reflection coefficients of

20

our transistor from its scattering matrix it is simpler to deal with reflection coefficient. The same
argument was used to determine the output matching networks required reflection coefficient:

L = out*S22*
L = 0.3737-164o
Figure 2.3, below, shows the basic block diagram that we used to design our microwave amplifier.
Knowing the S parameters of our transistor was the main key to being able to design our microwave
amplifier circuit.

Figure 2.3 Microwave amplifier block diagram showing the source matching network, transistor,
and output matching network with the gain of each stage and total transducer gain noted.

From figure 2.3 the gains of each stage can be seen. GS is the input matching network gain, G0 is the
transistor gain, and GL is the output matching network gain. These three gains combined are the total
gain of the amplifier circuit known as the transducer gain, GT. Smith charts were used to determine
the input and output matching networks required for conjugate matching. We used an open shunt
stub followed by a transmission line to take us from the port impedance of 50 to the required input
matching and output matching network impedances. These impedances exist at the same point as the
input matching and output matching reflection coefficients respectively.

21

Our path from port 1, the source, to our required source matching network impedance that exists at
the same point at the input matching network reflection coefficient is as follows: We first followed the
constant conductance circle using an open stub of length 0.285 to where it intersects with the VSWR
circle of our input matching network impedance. We then followed a transmission line of length
0.074 to our final destination denoted as S.
Our path from the output port, port 2, to our required output matching impedance is as
follows: Once again we started at 50, which is our load impedance. We then followed an open
shunt stub of length 0.285 along a constant conductance circle until we hit the intersection point of
this circle and the VSWR circle on which our required output matching load impedance exists. After
hitting this VSWR circle we then traveled on a transmission line of length 0.46 to land at our
required output matching network impedance.

2.8 LNA Schematic


After we determined what our input matching and output matching network stub
and transmission line lengths were we were ready to simulate our amplifier using AWR.

Figure 2.4 Low Noise Amplifier Circuit with source and load matching networks, and biasing circuit

22

Biasing Circuit:
The biasing circuit of figure 2.4 has been designed with two voltage sources versus having one
Vdd source because it was easier to vary the two individual voltage sources independently. After the
voltage source is an inductor. The inductor will act like an open at high frequencies. This will prevent
the high frequency signal from going down that circuit path. Note, there are no resistors in the biasing
network since they will only introduce losses in the network. The last elements are the capacitors at
either end. They will prevent the biasing voltage from going down the signal path because they will act
like opens at DC. The values chosen for the voltage supplies are 0.65V at the gate and 4V at the drain.
With this combination, the quiescent operating point is achieved with a current of Ids = 450mA.

2.9 Results Analysis

Figure 2.5 Graph for stability with K, B1

23

The main way of determining the stability of a device is to calculate the Rolletts Stability factor
(K), which is calculated using a set of S-parameters for the device at the frequency of operation.
The stability condition is satisfied which is shown above in figure 2.5.
The Rolletts stability factor (K) is also checked for the transistors entire frequency range. From
the above figure we can determine that the stability factor is greater than one and the device is
stable for the frequency ranging from 2 to 3 GHz.
B1 is one of the parameter of stability; it is called as supplemental stability factor for a two port.
This factor should be greater than 0 for the device to be stable. This measurement is applicable to
2-port circuits only.
MU1 computes the geometric stability factor of a 2-port. The geometric stability factor computes
the distance from the centre of the Smith Chart to the nearest unstable point of the output load
plane. The necessary and sufficient condition for unconditional stability of the two ports is that
MU1 > 1. From the above graph it is shown that geometric stability factor is greater than one and
the condition is satisfied for the full transistor frequency, ranging from 2 to 3 GHz. MU2
computes the geometric stability factor of a 2-port. The geometric stability factor computes the
distance from the centre of the Smith Chart to the nearest unstable point of the input source
plane. The necessary and sufficient condition for unconditional stability of the two ports is MU2 >
1 which is satisfied in the design.

24

Figure 2.6 Gain graph with MSG, Actual Transducer Gain

The maximum stable gain is the maximum gain that can be achieved by a potentially unstable
device. Maximum stable gain is defined as the ratio of magnitude of S21 to the S12. This
measurement is applicable to 2-port circuits only. The gain is 13.3dB at the required frequency
2.4GHz.
The graph plotted in the figure 2.6 shows the Maximum Stable Gain varying from 16dB to 15dB
for the frequency 2.3GHz to 2.5GHz.
Noise Figure is the noise factor expressed in dB. The noise factor figure can be displayed as
cascaded from the starting point to the output of the block.

25

Figure 2.7 Noise Figure

From the above figure 2.7, it is seen that the noise figure varies around 0.68dB which is less than
the required value. The Noise Figure of the Low Noise Amplifier has to be made as low as
possible.
NFMin computes the minimum noise factor as a ratio. This measurement computes what the
minimum noise factor would be with an optimum source termination. NFMin showed in the
above graph shows that it is varying around 0.67dB at the frequency 2.4GHz. The below graph 2.8
shows that the input return loss is varying around -16.35dB for the frequency 2.4GHz.
The return loss has to be in negative values. S11 is the ratio of the reflected voltage to the
incident voltage at an input port when looking from the start test point towards the end test
point.

26

Figure 2.8 Return Losses

This measurement displays the overall cascaded S11 versus frequency. Return loss or Reflection
loss is the reflection of signal power resulting from the insertion of a device in a transmission line.
Input return loss is a scalar measure of how close the actual input impedance of the network is to
the nominal system impedance value.

27

Figure 2.9 Output Power

Required power output is >20dBm and in figure 2.9 shows the output power for 3 different input
power throughout the band from 2GHz-3GHz and required output power >20dBm is achieved at
input of 10dBm.

28

3. POWER AMPLIFIER DESIGN (PA)


3.1 Introduction
Microwave power amplifiers are used to boost a small high frequency signal to a large high
frequency signal for transmission through a microwave antenna to another microwave antenna. As
the required distance between the microwave antennas increases, more power is required at the
base station to transmit. In this report, we describe how to design a microwave power amplifier at
2.4GHz starting from a MOSFET transistor chip to the actual schematic.

The design flow for the power amplifier begins with the transistor selection, characterization,
matching networks, stability, and dynamic range. Next, the power amplifier is tested with the above
parameters, and then tuned for maximum performance.

The transistor used here is the Freescale Semiconductor Transistor, MRF6S23140H. This part is
designed for CDMA base station applications with frequencies from 2.3 to 2.4GHz. This transistor is
characterized as follows at the quiescent operating point with targeted frequency of 2.4GHz. The load
line and S-parameter matrix were determined through simulations. This resulted in unilateral operation
of the transistor which implies a simpler matching network because there is no internal transistor
feedback. Source and load matching networks are designed at 50 ohms with the corresponding S
matrix. Stability was simulated and proven to be stable for the specified biasing range of the part. In
addition, IP3 and 1 dB compression was graphed for the part. The completed microwave amplifier
designs were simulated and the results are as follows. The simulated gain before tuning is 14.3dB. The
tuned amplifier gain, i.e. adjusting the matching network in real-time, is 17.0 dB. The results prove that
the matching networks were successfully matched, and that layout design will efficiently work at the
2.4 GHz specification.

Results from the power amplifier designs include gain and return loss. These results are
compared with each other and with the actual performance of the transistor. The most efficient
power amplifier design can then be laid out for the final PCB. This PCB can then be manufactured
with the corresponding components to complete the actual microwave power amplifier.

29

3.2 Specifications

The overall target specifications of the power amplifier design are as follows:
Parameters

Required

Frequency of Operation

2.4GHz

Bandwidth

200MHz

Gain or S21

~15dB

1dB compression

>20dB

Power Output

>25dBm

Maximum RF input

24dBm

Impedance match

50

IIP3

30 dBm

Return Losses S11 & S22

-10dB

Table 3.1 Specifications of Power Amplifier

30

3.3 Design Flow of PA


Identification of PA specs

Selection of transistor device

Active Device Non-linear


Model Availability
Performance Trade-off

Small Signal Analysis

Analysis by using Non-Linear


Simulations

Load-Line Analysis

Identification of Device Bias Point


and Target Impedances

Design of Biasing and


Matching networks

Layout generation,
Fabrication and
Assembly

Figure 3.1 Flow chart of PA Design

31

(1) Identification of Power Amplifier Specifications:


The power amplifier is a base station operating at 2.4GHz. In addition, the power amplifier must
be realizable, i.e. the parts must exist to build it.

(2) Selection of transistor:


The device type is a MOSFET by Freescale Semiconductor, MRF6S23140H. The device was
chosen as it is easier to design matching networks if device is unilateral.

(3) Active Device Non-Linear Model Availability:


This is available from AWR Microwave Office.

(4a) Performance Tradeoff Analysis using Non-Linear Simulations:


This is available from AWR Microwave Office.

(4b) Small Signal Analysis, Load-Line Analysis:


This is available from AWR Microwave Office.

(5) Identification of Device Bias Point and Target Impedances:


The transistors quiescent point is in the data sheet, but the S parameters are unavailable and must
be determined through simulations.

(6) Design of Biasing and Matching Networks:


The design of biasing and matching networks are first determined theoretically and then
simulated. The biasing versus stability is later simulated.

(7) Layout Generation, Fabrication and Assembly:


The most efficient design is laid out for fabrication.

32

3.4 Characterization of Transistor

Figure 3.2 Curve Tracer Setup

Transistor characterization is performed by a curve tracer that steps the voltage from gate to source
and sweeps the voltage from drain to source as shown in Figure 3.2. C orresponding IV curve is plotted in
Figure 3.3.

33

Figure 3.3 Transistors IV Curve: The other line in Figure 3 is the load line at the quiescent operating
point of 1400 mA, Vgs = 2.7 V and Vdd = 28 V.

3.5 Two-port S-Parameters


In order to determine the s-parameters of our Freescale transistor we performed a frequency
sweep of the S Parameters. This sweep is shown in Figure 3.4. This sweep was done with our transistor
biased at ID=1.43A, VGS=2.7V, and VDD=28V. These biasing conditions are all very close to the quiescent
conditions shown in the transistors data sheet. We then extracted the S Parameters of the transistor at
2.4GHz.

34

Figure 3.4 S Parameters of transistor from frequency sweep of 2GHz to 3GHz.

35

The 2.4GHz S-parameters are shown below:

S11 = 0.8019-171.2o

S12 = 0.01-144o

S21 = 2.158-72.53o

S22 = 0.9216177.1o

It should be noted that S11 and S22 should both have magnitudes less than one to maintain stability. Also,
since the transistor gain is the square of the magnitude of S21 this value should be greater than one to have
gain greater than unity. This is explained in greater detail in the stability section and the conjugate matching
section of this report.

36

Unilateral Condition:
A transistor is unilateral if S12 is zero or very near zero when compared to the other S
parameters of its scattering matrix. From the S matrix that we determined for the Freescale transistor,
the S12 term is very small and can be set to 0 to simplify our amplifier calculations. With this
assumption, there will be no internal feedback. This means the input resistance will be independent of
the load resistance, and the output resistance will be independent of the source resistance. This will
make designing the source and load matching networks easier.

Stability:
A successful amplifier design requires a number of characteristics to be met including voltage gain,
power gain and linearity, but perhaps the most critical aspect of any amplifier is stability. Even if a design
produces excellent gain and linearity, if it is unstable it is essentially unusable. For this reason it was vital
for us to consider stability through every step of the design process. Stability of an amplifier is its
immunity to causing oscillations. In the case of high-frequency amplifiers, there are two types of stability
defined: conditional stability and unconditional stability. If an amplifier is conditionally stable, it is shown
to be stable with both ports properly terminated (that is, with the intended source and load impedances).
A much better result is unconditional stability, which shows that an amplifier is stable regardless of input
and output impedances. In our analysis we sought to determine unconditional stability for this amplifier
design. If the transistor is not unilateral the following conditions must be met to determine unconditional
stability:

To facilitate the determination of this key factor, we needed to first establish that our circuit was
unilateral; that is, signal flows only in the forward direction or, equivalently, S12 (transmission from port 2
to port 1) equals zero. If the unilateral condition is met, calculations required for unconditional stability
determination simplify greatly, requiring only two conditions. These are:
(1) |S11| < 1

(2) |S22| < 1

Using AWR Microwave Office, we characterized our circuits scattering parameters through simulation and
were able to show that the unilateral condition was met. To determine the stability of the circuit we

37

needed to examine the magnitude of input and output reflection coefficients as various parameters of the
circuit were varied to find if any condition existed which would cause either of these magnitudes to exceed
unity. We used the tuner tool in Microwave Office to facilitate this determination by varying the quiescent
bias point and observing how the scattering parameters changed as a result. To clearly see the magnitudes
of the reflection coefficients, we plotted all four S-parameters on a polar chart to show magnitude and
phase. As we varied the quiescent point of the transistor we watched how S11 and S22 moved on the
chart, paying close attention to whether these parameters ever moved outside of the unit circle.
Fortunately, regardless of how far we moved the bias point from our nominal value, we were unable to
force S11 or S22 greater than unity, showing that our circuit was unconditionally stable.

3.6 Matching Network


Conjugate matching is used to transfer the maximum amount of power from the source to the
transistor and from the transistor to the load. Maximum power transfer from the source to the load
occurs when the real part of the source matching network equals the real part of the input impedance of
the transistor and when the imaginary part of the matching network is the conjugate of the imaginary part
of the input impedance of the transistor. This can be written in mathematical form as:

S = in*S11*
After plugging in the complex conjugate of S11 we determined the reflection coefficient of the source
matching network seen from the transistor as being the following:

S =

0.8019171.2o

It should be noted that taking the complex conjugate of a reflection coefficient results in the complex
conjugate of the corresponding impedance being taken. Thus either reflection coefficient or impedance
can be used for conjugate matching. Since we already have the reflection coefficients of our transistor
from its scattering matrix it is simpler to deal with reflection coefficient. The same argument was used to
determine the output matching networks required reflection coefficient:

L = out*S22*
L = 0.9216-177.1o

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Figure 3.5, below, shows the basic block diagram that we used to design our microwave amplifier.
Knowing the S parameters of our transistor was the main key to being able to design our microwave
amplifier

Figure 3.5 Microwave amplifier block diagram showing the source matching network, transistor, and
output matching network with the gain of each stage and total transducer gain noted.

From figure 3.5 the gains of each stage can be seen. GS is the input matching network gain, G0 is the
transistor gain, and GL is the output matching network gain. These three gains combined are the total
gain of the amplifier circuit known as the transducer gain, GT. Smith charts were used to determine the
input and output matching networks required for conjugate matching. We used an open shunt stub
followed by a transmission line to take us from the port impedance of 50 to the required input
matching and output matching network impedances. These impedances exist at the same point as the
input matching and output matching reflection coefficients respectively.
Our path from port 1, the source, to our required source matching network impedance that exists at the
same point at the input matching network reflection coefficient is as follows: We first followed the
constant conductance circle using an open stub of length 0.285 to where it intersects with the VSWR
circle of our input matching network impedance. We then followed a transmission line of length 0.074
to our final destination denoted as S.

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Our path from the output port, port 2, to our required output matching impedance is as follows:
Once again we started at 50, which is our load impedance. We then followed an open shunt stub of
length 0.285 along a constant conductance circle until we hit the intersection point of this circle and
the VSWR circle on which our required output matching load impedance exists. After hitting this VSWR
circle we then traveled on a transmission line of length 0.46 to land at our required output matching
network impedance.

3.7 PA Schematic
After we determined what our input matching and output matching network stub and
transmission line lengths were we were ready to simulate our amplifier using AWR.

Figure 3.6 Power Amplifier Circuit with source and load matching networks, and biasing circuit.

Biasing Circuit:
The biasing circuit of figure 3.6 has been designed with two voltage sources versus having one Vdd
source because it was easier to vary the two individual voltage sources independently. After the voltage
source is an inductor. The inductor will act like an open at high frequencies. This will prevent the high
frequency signal from going down that circuit path. Note, there are no resistors in the biasing network
since they will only introduce losses in the network. The last elements are the capacitors at either end.
They will prevent the biasing voltage from going down the signal path because they will act like opens at

40

DC. The values chosen for the voltage supplies are 2.7V at the gate and 28V at the drain. With this
combination, the quiescent operating point is achieved with a current of Ids = 1.4A.

Amplifier Gain:
Based upon the gain equations shown in figure 5 a theoretical amplifier gain was determined as
follows:

This theoretical gain of 18dB is the best gain that we could expect under perfect matching conditions.

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3.8 Results Analysis


The gain and return loss results of our AWR simulation of the circuit shown in figure 6 are shown in figure

Figure 3.7 Transducer gain and return loss of amplifier circuit plotted on a power gain in dB vs frequency set of
axes. The pink line is gain, and the green line is the negative of our return loss.

From the plot of figure 3.7 it can be seen that the gain of our amplifier circuit is 13.79dB at 2.4GHz and the
negative of our return loss is -5.91dB. This gain is below our theoretical maximum, which is expected, but it
still lies between the expected ranges of the data sheet of 13 to 18dB. It should also be noted that our
return loss maximizes at our operating frequency of 2.4GHz, this means that we have maximum
transmission from source to transistor at our operating frequency. After seeing what our results were from
the Smith chart predicted matching networks we decided to tune the transmission line and stub lengths of
our matching networks using the tuner tool of AWR. After tuning these lengths for maximum gain we
arrived at the plot shown in figure 3.8.

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Figure 3.8 Tuned transducer gain and return loss. Here the pink line is our gain and the green line is the
negative of our return loss.

It can be seen from figure 3.8 that tuning our matching network gave us an additional gain of 3.12dB.

Dynamic Range:
The dynamic range is the linear range of the graph in Figure 3.9, a dB plot of output power versus input
power. The 1 dB compression point from Figure 10 is 24.22 dBm.

Figure 3.9 Dynamic range of our amplifier.

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The 1 dB compression point in Figure 3.10 is defined at the upper range of the graph where the linear
part of the graph is extended past the nonlinear part of the graph where the vertical distance between the
two graphs is 1 dB. This value is the maximum possible value where the relationship is still linear.

Figure 3.10 1 dB compression point of our amplifier.

This upper range still needs to be interpreted in terms of its intercept point. The concept of intercept
point means that higher-order nonlinear terms are negligible. However, the weakly nonlinear assumption
does not hold for the upper end of the input power range. These results in the simulated data deviating from
the ideal slope of three assuming the third order intercept point.

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Figure 3.11 IP3: Third Order Intercept Point

The third order intercept point is determined as follows and is shown in Figure 3.11.
The intercept point is obtained graphically by plotting the output power (dBm) versus the
input power (dBm). The linear amplified signal has a slope of one, and the third order
nonlinear product will have a slope of 3 dBm. Both curves are extended linearly until they
intersect. This is defined as the third order intercept point. This value is 45 dBm.
In determining the upper range, as a rule of thumb, the 1 dB compression point
should be 10 dBm below the IP3 intercept. In this case, IP3 is 45 dBm, and 1dB
compression is at 24.22 dBm. Hence, using the 1 dB compression would introduce
nonlinear terms in the upper ranges, i.e. above 24.22 dBm. Therefore, the dynamic range
will be computed using the rule of thumb and is up to 24.22 dBm. This process can be
repeated for high order intercept points like IP5. Note, IP3 is an approximate curve.

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Output Power:

Figure 3.12 Output Power

Required power output is 25dBm and figure 3.12 shows the output power for 5 different
input power throughout the band from 2GHz-3GHz and required output power 25dBm is
achieved at input of 10dBm.

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4. OSCILLATOR

4.1 Introduction
An oscillator is simply a signal generator converting its dc supply voltage into a continuously
repeating ac output signal without any input signal. Oscillators play very important roles in
communication systems. An oscillator generates the carrier or local oscillation signal used in
any communication system.
An oscillator generates the carrier or local oscillation signal used in any communication
system. It includes an amplifier and a feedback network constructed by the resonator. When
dc power is first applied to the circuit, noise will appear in the circuit and is amplified by the
amplifier and then fed to the input through the feedback network that is a resonant circuit
with filter function.

4.2 Design Analysis


The resonant structure uses a crystal resonator, and the negative impedance generator uses
the ZETEX BFS17 bipolar transistor in a Clapp configuration. It is advisable to use linear
analysis as a starting point. Nonlinear analysis can be used once the basic circuit design is
understood and the approximate oscillator frequency has been determined. The first part
looks at the admittances of the two sections of the oscillator: the resonator, and the negative
impedance generator. The oscillation frequency is predicted. The second part verifies the
predicted oscillation frequency, as well as calculated the output properties and phase noise of
the oscillator.

4.3 Specifications
Oscillating Frequency=25MHz.

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Figure 4.1 Oscillator Schematic (resonator and feedback sub circuit)

Figure 4.2 Feedback network circuit

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The two schematics Feedback network and Resonator are used in Crystal Oscillator. The
Feedback Network schematic has the negative impedance generator and the Resonator
schematic has the resonator structure using the crystal model. The approximate oscillation
conditions occur when the sum of the susceptance for both networks is zero and the
conductance is a negative value.

4.4 Results Analysis


The graph Admittance shows the individual contributions of the admittance and the graph
Total Admittance shows the sum of these values, where the sum of the total admittances
has been defined as the variable ytotal in the Output Equations. This graph shows that
oscillation should occur slightly over 25 MHz A DC node voltage annotation has been added to
the Feedback Network schematic to see that the circuit is biasing up correct

Figure 4.3 Total Admittance at the output port.

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Figure 4.4 Phase noise

At the node between the sub circuits, the OSCAPROBE element is attached to determine the
nonlinear oscillation characteristics. Also the OSCNOISE block is used to specify phase noise
simulations settings. With these two elements, the graphs Phase Noise, Output
Spectrum, and Output Waveform are possible. Notice that this oscillator is oscillating at 25
MHz

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5. MIXER
5.1 Introduction
RF Mixers are 3-port active or passive devices. They are designed to yield both, a sum and a
difference frequency at a single output port when two distinct input frequencies are inserted
into the other two ports. In addition to this, a Mixer can be used as a phase detector or as a
demodulator. The two signals inserted into the two input ports are usually the Local Oscillator
signal, and the incoming (for a receiver) or outgoing (for a transmitter) signal. To produce a
new frequency (or new frequencies) requires a nonlinear device. In a mixing process if we
want to produce an output frequency that is lower than the input signal frequency, then it is
called down-conversion and if we want to produce an output signal that is at a higher
frequency than the input signal, it is referred to as up-conversion.

An RF Mixer is a frequency translation device which:


a) Convert RF to a lower IF or baseband for easy signal processing in receivers.
b) Convert IF frequency (or baseband signal) to a higher IF or RF frequency for efficient
transmission in transmitters.

5.2 Why Gilbert Cell?


Many forms of mixers are not balanced and as a result they allow through considerable levels
of the local oscillator and RF signals. There are normally not wanted and normally they would
have to be removed by filtering which is often inconvenient and expensive. The solution is to
balance the mixer to remove the input signals.

Gilbert Cell is a double balanced mixer, much complex, but have more performance in terms of
RF to IF and LO to IF rejection, compared to single balanced mixer. Unbalanced mixers allow
some of both input signals to pass through to the output .In a single balanced either local
oscillator or RF signal is suppressed at the output. Double balanced mixer has symmetric paths
for both the inputs so no input signals, only output signals appear at the output.

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Advantages of Double Balanced Mixer:


1) Both local oscillator and RF are balanced providing both local oscillator and RF rejection at
the IF output.
2) All poles of the mixer are inherently isolated from each other.
3) Increased linearity compared to single balanced.
4) Improved suppression of unwanted products.

Reasons for gilbert cell:


1) Both LO and RF provide rejection at the IF output, all ports of the mixer are

inherently

isolated from each other,


2) Increased linearity,
3) Improved suppression of spurious products
4) Less susceptible to supply voltage noise due to differential topography.

Important properties of an RF Mixer are:


1) Conversion Gain or Loss - lowers the noise impact of following stages.
2) Intercept Point (Linearity) - impacts receiver blocking and interferer performance.
3) Ports Isolation (LO-to-RF, LO-to-IF, RF-to-IF) - want to minimize interaction between the RF,
IF, and LO ports.
4) Noise Figure - impacts receiver sensitivity.
5) Rejection ratios.

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Figure 5.1 Differential Gilbert cell

5.3 Design Analysis


As the figure shows the RF signal is applied to the transistors M2 and M3 which perform a
voltage to current conversion. MOSFETS M4 and M7 form a multiplication function, Multiply
the RF signal current from M2 and M3 with the local oscillator signal applied across M4 and
M7 which provide the switching function M2 and M3 provide +/- RF current and M4 and M7
switch between them to provide the inverted RF signal to the left hand load M5 and M7 switch
between them for the right hand load .The two load resistors form a current to voltage
transformation giving differential output IF signal.

Conversion Gain or Loss:


Conversion Gain or Loss is the ratio of the desired IF output (voltage or power) to the RF input
signal value (voltage or power). Conversion gain or loss of the RF Mixer is dependent by the

53

type of the mixer (active or passive), is dependent by the load of the input RF circuit as well the
output impedance at the IF port, and also is dependent by the level of the LO.
If the input impedance and the load impedance of the mixer are both equal to the source
impedance, then the voltage conversion gain and the power conversion gain of the mixer will
be the same in dB. The typical conversion gain of an Active Mixer is approximately +10dB,
when the conversion loss of a typical Diode Mixer is approximately -6dB.
The Conversion Gain or Loss of the RF Mixer measured in dB is given by:
Conversion [dB] = Output IF power delivered to the load [dBm] RF input power [dBm]

Isolation: It is the amount of local oscillator power that leaks into either the IF or the RF ports.
There are multiple types of isolation: LO-to-RF, LO-to-IF and RF-to-IF isolation.
a) Self-Mixing of Reverse LO feed-through:
- LO component in the RF input can pass back through the mixer and be modulated by the LO
signal, and a DC and 2fo components are created at the IF output.
- This has no consequence for a heterodyne system, but can cause problems for homodyne
systems (i.e., zero IF).

Noise Figure: is a measure of the noise added by the Mixer itself, noise as it gets converted to
the IF output. For a passive Mixer which has no gain and only loss, the Noise Figure is almost
equal with the insertion loss. In a mixer noise is replicated and translated by each harmonic of
the LO that is referred to as Noise Folding.

5.4 Specifications
1. Frequency of operation RF = 2.4 GHz and fLO = 2.3 GHz
2. Conversion gain GC 10dB
3. Measuring Isolation.
4. Calculating return losses S11 and S22<= -10dB.

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Results:

Figure 5.2 Conversion gain plot

5.5 Conversion Gain Calculations


Conversion gain is a measure of efficiency of mixer in providing frequency translation
between the input RF signal and output IF signal. For a given frequency translation two equal
output signals are produced ,a lower sideband and an upper side band (only one of the side
band is used).Conversion gain of the mixer is equal to the ratio of IF signal sideband output to
the RF input level.

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Figure 5.3 Return losses S11 and S22.

Return loss is the measured as the ratio of incident power to reflected power.
S11 and S22 are differential reflection coefficients and the measure of the return loss.

Figure 5.4 S-parameters

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Figure 5.5 Isolation plot.

5.6 Isolation Calculations


Isolation parameter defines how much signal leakage will occur between pairs of ports i.e RF
to LO, LO to IF and RF to IF. Isolation RF to LO is -36.4 dB means that the RF at the LO port will
be 36.4 dB lower that RF applied to RF port.

Figure 5.6 IF output spectrum

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Figure 5.7 IF Output waveform

5.7 Results Analysis


Since the mixture is a nonlinear device, the two tones will be visible at the output along with
their respective distortion products. These distortion products are closely related to the
frequencies of the signal of interest, when 2 tones F1 and F2 are given we obtain 2nd order
distortion products which generate additional 3rd order distortion products. The generated
F1-F2 is the required IF (intermediate frequency). The problem of spurious response is a
serious one. Spurious response arises when unwanted signals at different frequencies are up
or down converted into the band of interest. Due to non-linearitys in the active devices, the
harmonics of the spurious signal and LO mix as well. It is sometimes possible for the mixing
products of the harmonics to land at the same frequency of interest as the signal.

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6. CONCLUSIONS

In this project, a narrowband Low Noise Amplifier (LNA) circuit is designed for frequency
operation of 2.4GHz.Circuit simulation is done in AWR Microwave Office. The ATF-53189
provides a very low noise figure along with high intercept point, making it ideal for applications
where high dynamic range is required. In addition to providing a low noise figure, the ATF53189 have been simultaneously matched for very good input and output return loss, making it
easily cascadable with other amplifiers and filters with minimal effect on system pass band gain
ripple. The wide gate width of the ATF-53189 provides the added benefit of self-biasing
requiring only a single power supply voltage. The LNA provides low noise figure (0.68 dB)
coincident with good input return loss, moderate output return loss, and moderate gain at a
bias point of Vds = 4 V and Id = 450 mA. LNA has been successfully designed with 13.6 dB gain and
noise figure less than 1dB throughout the frequency band using E-PHEMT ATF-53189 by Avago
technologies. The LNA design has shown very good overall performance apart from the gain.

We have successfully simulated a single stage power amplifier. The simulated gain of our
single stage amplifier at 2.4GHz is 13.79 dB with a return loss of 5.91dB. The tuned single
stage amplifier gain, i.e. adjusting the matching network real-time, is 16.91dB. Of which, all
designs are in agreement with the transistors specifications, i.e. nominal gain is 15.2 dB,
minimum gain is 13 dB, and maximum gain of 18 dB. Our amplifier has been shown to be
stable using theoretical and simulated results. Even after increasing the drain bias current
to a value above which the transistor could physically handle the simulated system
remained stable.

We have also successfully designed, Gilbert cell at 2.4GHz with conversion gain equal to
10dB and return losses <10dB and pretty good isolation among the 3 ports, and a crystal
Oscillator with a resonance circuit and a feedback network oscillating at frequency 25MHz.

A PCB design of our single stage amplifier could be fabricated in the future if desired.

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7. BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Guillermo Gonzalez, Microwave Transistor Amplifiers, Analysis and Design, 2nd edition
2. David M. Pozar, Microwave Engineering, John Wiley & Sons Canada, 2nd edition
3. AWR Design Environment 10 manual
4. https://awrcorp.com/download/faq/english/docs/Getting_Started/Getting_Started.htm
5. http://www.rfdesignhq.com/2013/06/atf-50189-high-linearity-balanced.html
6. http://electronicdesign.com/what-s-difference-between/what-s-difference-between-thirdorder-intercept-and-1-db-compression-point
7. http://www.slideshare.net/pramodputta/pramodlna
8. http://ece.iisc.ernet.in/~kjvinoy/study%20phase%20report%20on%20LNA.pdf
9. http://www.microwavejournal.com/News/article.asp?HH_ID=AR_4875?HH_ID=AR_4875
10. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/thesescanada/vol2/OKQ/TC-OKQ-5089.pdf
11. http://www.radio-electronics.com/info/rf-technology-design/mixers/rf-mixers-mixingbasics-tutorial.php
12. http://www.everythingrf.com/browse/crystal-oscillators
13.http://www.radioelectronics.com/info/circuits/transistor_crystal_oscillator/crystal_oscillato
r.php