A linearized, low-phase-noise VCO-based 25-GHz PLL with autonomic biasing

Bodhisatwa Sadhu, Mark A. Ferriss, Arun S. Natarajan, Soner Yaldiz, Jean Olivier Plouchart, Alexander V. Rylyakov, Alberto Valdes-Garcia, Benjamin D. Parker, Aydin Babakhani, Scott Reynolds, Xin Li, Larry Pileggi, Ramesh Harjani, José A. Tierno, Daniel Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


This paper describes a new approach to low-phase-noise LC VCO design based on transconductance linearization of the active devices. A prototype 25 GHz VCO based on this linearization approach is integrated in a dual-path PLL and achieves superior performance compared to the state of the art. The design is implemented in 32 nm SOI CMOS technology and achieves a phase noise of -130 dBc/Hz at a 10 MHz offset from a 22 GHz carrier. Additionally, the paper introduces a new layout approach for switched capacitor arrays that enables a wide tuning range of 23%. More than 1500 measurements of the PLL across PVT variations were taken, further validating the proposed design. Phase noise variation across 55 dies for four different frequencies is σ < 0.6 dB. Also, phase noise variation across supply voltages of 0.7-1.5 V is 2 dB and across 60°C temperature variation is 3 dB. At the 25 GHz center frequency, the VCOT is 188 dBc/Hz. Additionally, a digitally assisted autonomic biasing technique is implemented in the PLL to provide a phase noise and power optimized VCO bias across frequency and process. Measurement results indicate the efficacy of the autonomic biasing scheme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1138-1150
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013


  • 60 GHz
  • Calibration
  • Circuit noise
  • Digitally controlled oscillators
  • Electromagnetic coupling
  • Feedback
  • High-speed integrated circuits
  • Integrated circuit noise
  • K-band
  • Linearity
  • Linearization
  • Local oscillators
  • Millimeter-wave circuits
  • Millimeter-wave communication
  • Millimeter-wave integrated circuits
  • Mutual coupling
  • Negative feedback
  • Nonlinear circuits
  • Oscillators
  • Phase noise, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR)
  • Phase-locked loop (PLL)
  • Transconductance
  • Tunable circuits and devices
  • Tuning range
  • Voltage-controlled oscillators (VCOs).


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