A Study of Stability and Phase Noise of Tail Capacitive-Feedback VCOs

Ahmed MUSA
Kenichi OKADA

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Electronics   Vol.E96-C    No.4    pp.577-585
Publication Date: 2013/04/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1353
DOI: 10.1587/transele.E96.C.577
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Solid-State Circuit Design—Architecture, Circuit, Device and Design Methodology)
VCO,  class-C,  capacitive feedback,  CMOS,  stability,  impulse sensitivity function (ISF),  

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Capacitive feedback VCOs use capacitors that are connected from the output node to the gate of the tail transistor that acts as a current source. Using such feedback results in modulating the current that is used by the oscillator and therefore changes its cyclostationary noise properties which results in a lower output phase noise. This paper presents a mathematical study of capacitive feedback VCOs in terms of stability and phase noise enhancement to confirm stability and to explain the enhancement in phase noise. The derived expression for the phase noise shows an improvement of 4.4 dB is achievable by using capacitive feedback as long as the VCO stays in the current limited region. Measurement results taken from an actual capacitive feedback VCO implemented in a 65 nm CMOS process also agrees with the analysis and simulation results which further validates the given analysis.