Concepts and Methods in Optimization of Integrated LC VCOs

D. Ham and A. Hajimiri

Underlying physical mechanisms controlling the noise properties of oscillators are studied. This treatment shows the importance of inductance selection for oscillator noise optimization. A design strategy centered around an inductance selection scheme is executed using a practical graphical optimization method to optimize phase noise subject to design constraints such as power dissipation, tank amplitude, tuning range, startup condition, and diameters of spiral inductors. The optimization technique is demonstrated through a design example, leading to a 2.4-GHz fully integrated, LC voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) implemented using 0.35- m MOS transistors. The measured phase-noise values are 121, 117, and 115 dBc/Hz at 600-kHz offset from 1.91, 2.03, and 2.60-GHz carriers, respectively. The VCO dissipates 4 mA from a 2.5-V supply voltage. The inversion mode MOSCAP tuning is used to achieve 26% of tuning range.

Two figures of merit for performance comparison of various

oscillators are introduced and used to compare this work to

previously reported results.