Design and Measurements of Building Blocks Supporting a 1.9-GHz-Band BiFET MMIC Power Amplifier for WCDMA Handsets

Kazuya YAMAMOTO  Takayuki MATSUZUKA  Miyo MIYASHITA  Kenichi HORIGUCHI  Shigeo YAMABE  Satoshi SUZUKI  Hiroaki SEKI  

Publication
IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Electronics   Vol.E99-C   No.7   pp.837-848
Publication Date: 2016/07/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1353
DOI: 10.1587/transele.E99.C.837
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Microwaves, Millimeter-Waves
Keyword: 
MMIC,  reference voltage generator,  ESD protection,  three power modes,  heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBTs),  WCDMA,  

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Summary: 
This paper describes, for the first time, the circuit design considerations and measurements of core building blocks that support a 1.9-GHz-band (Band I) BiFET MMIC three-power-mode power amplifier (PA) for WCDMA handset applications. The blocks are a reference voltage (Vref) generator, a control logic circuit, and ESD protection circuits. Our proposed Vref-generator, based on a current-mirror topology, can successfully suppress Vref variation against threshold voltage (Vth) dispersion in the FET as well as current gain dispersion in the HBT. On-wafer measurements over several wafer lots show that the standard deviation of Vref is as small as 18 mV over a Vth dispersion range from -0.6 V to -1.0 V. As a result, the measured quiescent current dispersion in the HPM is also suppressed to less than 5.4 mA, despite the fact that the average quiescent current is relatively high, at 81.3 mA. Several simulations reveal that small decoupling capacitances of approximately 1 pF added to the gate control lines of RF switch FETs ensure stable operation of the control logic even if an undesired RF coupling is present between an RF signal path and the gate lines. An empirical and useful design approach for ESD protection using HBT base-collector diodes allows easy and precise estimation of the HBM ESD robustness. With the above building blocks, a 3 mm × 3 mm PA was designed and fabricated by an in-house BiFET process. Measurements conducted under the conditions of a 3.4-V supply voltage and a 1.95-GHz WCDMA modulated signal are as follows. The PA delivers a 28.3-dBm output power (Pout), a 28.2-dB power gain (Gp), and 40% PAE while restricting the ACLR1 to less than -42 dBc in the HPM. In the MPM, 17.4 dBm of Pout, 15.9 dB of Gp, and 25.3% of PAE are obtained, while in the LPM, the PA delivers 7 dBm of Pout, 11.7 dB of Gp, and 13.9% of PAE. The HBM ESD robustness is 2 kV.