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Cross-domain (RF-analog-digital) techniques to enable power-friendly wireless transceivers


With the continuous scaling of CMOS technology, two opposite trends can be observed. First trend is exponential improvement of the digital logic and second trend is linear degradation of the analog and RF components. Traditional methodology for designing analog and RF focuses on optimizing the performance of individual blocks such as analog-to-digital converters, frequency synthesizers, etc. Unfortunately, such traditional approach is limited by the unforgiving power-consumption-performance tradeoffs encountered in the design of each circuit block. As a result, high power consumption of RF and analog has become a major bottleneck for implementation of new communication algorithms.

Alternatively, one can "assist" the underperforming RF and analog blocks using cross-domain (RF-analog-digital) techniques. Such cross-domain approach leads to a significant saving in the power consumption while achieving the desired system performance (e.g. bit-error rate).

This dissertation explores cross-domain techniques to assist the analog-to digital converter, frequency synthesizer and antenna arrays. Novel cross-domain techniques are proposed to optimize the usage of dynamic range of analog-to-digital converter, to track and correct phase noise of the frequency synthesizer and to increase the processing bandwidth of phased array antennas. The proposed techniques have either been directly verified in experiment or as a minimum their implementation aspects have been fully considered in order to close the bridge between theoretical studies and practice.

By applying the proposed techniques to the system design of a 60 GHz radio link, we could improve the bit error rate of the link by several orders of magnitude while consuming an order of magnitude less power than the power that would otherwise have been consumed using traditional approach.

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