A General Theory of Phase Noise in Electrical Oscillators

A. Hajimiri and T. H. Lee

A general model is introduced which is capable of making accurate, quantitative predictions about the phase noise of different types of electrical oscillators by acknowledging the true periodically time-varying nature of all oscillators. This new approach also elucidates several previously unknown design criteria for reducing close-in phase noise by identifying the mechanisms by which intrinsic device noise and external noise sources contribute to the total phase noise. In particular, it explains the details of how 1/f noise in a device upconverts into close-in phase noise and identifies methods to suppress this up conversion. The theory also naturally accommodates cyclostationary noise sources, leading to additional important design insights. The model reduces to previously available phase noise models as special cases. Excellent agreement among theory, simulations, and measurements is observed.