Wide-band low-noise amplifier for an LTE + Wifi combo transceiver for automotive applications

In the industry there is a rapidly growing demand for fully integrated IC solutions that combine various wireless standards on a single die. Due to the large scale integration and the fact that these combo transceivers require lot of digital processing power, very deep submicron RF CMOS technologies are generally used like 40nm and 28nm. Usually the various wireless transceivers on the chip use separate analog receive/transmit signal chains. The chip area consumed by these analog circuits is relatively expensive, certainly in 28nm nodes, which asks for combining the different front-ends into a single analog signal pipe.

This M.Sc. thesis work focusses on the design of a fully integrated LNA for a Long-Term Evolution (LTE) plus Wifi 802.11p combo transceiver for automotive applications. Especially in this kind of combo transceivers, where the different frequency bands of the two wireless standards lie far apart, a very wide-band low-noise amplifier is required in the receiver. The LTE standard itself uses a whole variety of frequency bands in the 700 – 2600 MHz range, while the Wifi 802.11p standard makes use of the 5.85 – 5.925 GHz licensed ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) band. Hence the LNA needs to cover almost a decade, while maintaining its performance requirements on gain, noise figure, linearity and characteristic input impedance.

There are different ways to create a wide-band characteristic input impedance. One way is to apply overall negative feedback using two feedback loops. Since in very deep submicron CMOS technologies it is quite well possible to make sufficient loop gain at the lower GHz frequencies, overall feedback is an efficient way to use the excess gain to improve linearity and create a stable and wide-band gain and input impedance characteristic.

A design methodology for double-loop negative feedback amplifiers has been developed in the last few years, which will be applied to and verified by the design of the wide-band LNA. As such this work is part of a Ph.D. research project.

Tasks

  • Literature study on state-of-the-art wide-band characteristic impedance LNAs
  • Define the LNA requirement specifications for LTE/Wifi
  • LNA circuit schematic/layout design and simulation in a 28nm or 40nm RF CMOS technology
  • Create and tape-out a test chip an conduct RF measurements
  • Writing journal paper/thesis and thesis presentation

Project

This project will be carried out at Catena Microelectronics, an analog RF and mixed-signal design house located in Delft. You will get a supervisor from Catena, Koen van Hartingsveldt, and any required circuit and system level expertise will be available to you. From TU/e side, Dr. D. Milosevic will be the direct supervisor. This project gives you the opportunity to gain experience in very deep submicron RF analog circuit and layout design and to learn what it means to make designs ready for real products. If you are interested please contact Dr. D. Milosevic or Prof. dr. ir. A.H.M. van Roermund.