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# ECEN 665

OSCILLATORS

An oscillator is a circuit, which produces a periodic signal without any input signal. It converts DC power (from the supply) to a periodic signal. Oscillators are extensively used in both receive and transmit paths. They are used to provide the local oscillation for the mixers for up and down conversion. On this topic, we cover: 1. 2. 3. 4. Oscillator basics Oscillator topologies Phase noise issues Oscillator implementations and design
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Oscillator types: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Crystal oscillators Active-RC and Gm-C oscillators Ring oscillators LC timed oscillators Relaxation oscillators. etc.

Voltage Controlled Oscillators: VCOs are used in RF applications, usually, in a Phase locked loop to provide Different LO frequencies needed for channel selection. Besides frequency synthesis it is used for other applications.
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vi
+ +

A(s) (s)

vo

## A( s ) vi ( s ) 1 A( s ) ( s ) The Barkhausen Criterion states that sustained oscillation can be achieved. vo ( s ) =

if and
A(so ) (so ) = 1
A(so ) (so ) = 0o

## Loop gain equal to unity.

For zero vi the output will be finite at a given frequency (o). For loop gain >1 oscillation will grow.
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## Two-Port vs One-Port Models

The previously shown model is known as the two-port model, because the A(s) and (s) Networks are both two-port nets in a closed loop. The one-port model of oscillators is shown below: Active Network -Rp Resonator Rp L C

The resonator (LC tank for example) has parasitic resistances (RP) which prevents the resonator from oscillating because the stored energy will leak through the resistance. To compensate for this loss a positive feedback negative parallel resistances (-Rp) will be added to the resonator so that the energy loss in Rp is replenished by the negative resistance. The negative resistances implementation is typically an active network.

## What sets the Frequency and Amplitude of an Oscillator?

The frequency is usually set by Barkhausen Criterion. It is the frequency at which the loop gain is greater or equal to 1 and the phase is zero. In many cases, as in LC tuned oscillators, the ideal oscillation frequency is determined by the LC tank.
fo =

1 2 LC

## More on Oscillator Theory:

Ideal Oscillator:
iL L iC C
O
j

o =

1 LC

Once the tank is excited (by a current pulse for example) a certain amount of energy will be conserved. This energy will alternate between magnetic and electric forms. In the time domain:
v=L diL dt but i L = ic and ic = C
2 dv v = LC 2 dt 2 dv 2 or 2 + o v=0 dt

dv dt

where o =

1 LC

## The Differential Equation of the Ideal Oscillator

2 dv 2 + v=0 o 2 dt

v(t ) = V1 e j

o t

+ V2 e j

o t

v(t ) = V sin ot

## In the frequency domain:

V ( s ) = sL(iL ( s ) + iL (o) ) but
2 sLo i (o) V (s) = 2 L 2 s + o

I c ( s ) = iL ( s ) I c = sC v( s )

## Both poles are at jo as expected !!

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Real Oscillator:

C L RL RC

Initial excitation well start some oscillation. This will die out after a while because the Energy leaks through the parasitic resistances.
j

o 1
Characteristic equation s 2 LC RC + s(L + RL RC C ) + RL or
2 = o

1 4Q 2
a

o
o 1

s2 + s

L + RL RC C RL + LCRC LCRC

RL LC RC

1 4Q 2

L + RL RC C 2 LCRC
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If oscillation is to be maintained. The energy loss (due to parasitic resistance) is to be compensated for. This energy is usually provided from the power supply via a negative resistance, a nonlinear conductance or regenerative feedback, which convert dc power to signal power. igm v igm iL ic ir Slope = - a Negative C L G Resistor v
ir

G=

1 2 2 QL RL // Qc Rc

## Slope = G v steeper flatter v q p

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RL and Rc are the series parasitic Rs of the L and C , respectively. L where Q L = o RL QC = 1 oCRC
igm + ir

slope = - a + G

## The following model equation can be written

iL + ic + ir + igm = 0 1 vdT L dv ic = C dt ir = Gv iL =

## Differentiating both sides of the above equation:

1 dv digm d 2v =0 v+C 2 +G + dt dt L dt d d 2v LC 2 + L Gv + igm + v = 0 dt dt

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## At the quiescent bias point (which is the equilibrium point)

d (i gm ) dt = a

v =0

d 2v + L(G a ) + v = 0 LC dt In the frequency domain, the characteristic equation at the equilibrium point is given by: LCs 2 + L(G a )s + 1 = 0 Solving for the poles of the system:
1 G a G a s1, 2 = j C LC C 2 2 = j
2

## v(t ) = A et cos t Oscillation envelope Oscillation

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v(t ) = A et cos t a G where = 2C From the above equ., the following observations can be made: 1 1. The oscillator frequency is determined by LC 2. 3. if

>o

(G < a ) (G > a )

## growing oscillation. Decaying oscillation LHP

if < o RHP

t t

G<a

G>a

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In practical oscillators, the slope of the negative resistance or nonlinear element (a) is made greater than G (a 3G ) . This results in growing oscillations as long as the swing is limited between points p and q. If the oscillation swing grows beyond p or q, the slope (a-G) or become negative and the poles

(a G )
p q

move the LHP causing the oscillation to decay tempe. Until the swing drops within below p and/or q. This is how a sustained oscillation is produced and a steady sate can be reached. Note that the oscillations will not be pure sinusoid. The harmonics are Usually far out and can be easily filtered. Also note that it is hard to determine the oscillation swing exactly!
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In the 1920s , Van der Pol proposed to model the total I-V Chc (igm + ir ) vs v is the simplest possible manner. He assumed a cubic approximation. i (v ) = a1v + b1v3 i (v )
vx vx

## The van der Pol Approximation

where a1 = a G
b1 = a G 2 vx

Van der Pols analysis leads to the following time domain expression for the Oscillation voltage.
(t t o ) 1 + e LC cos t + o LC L where = a1 C is introduced to provide the proper phase in relation to the constant to

4 a1 v(t ) = 3 b1

1 2

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## At steady state, the zero-to-peak voltage amplitude reaches a maximum value of

vmax =

4 a1 = 1.15 vx 3 b1

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## Basic LC Oscillator Topologies

(a) Feedback model:
ii

if+ii
L C R

v = (i f + ii )Z = (ii + Gmv )Z v (1 Gm Z ) = ii Z v = ii Z 1 Gm Z

i f = Gmv

-Gm+ -

when Z =

1 G + sC + 1 sL

## sc G 2 s 2 + s + o C sc sL = v = ii 2 i i 2 2 s + s (G Gm ) / c + o s LC + sL(G Gm ) + 1 The characteristic : =

s 2 LC + L(G Gm )s + 1 = 0

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ir
L C R +

v
g mv

1 gm

Gm
-

gmv

## negative resistance Negative Resistance Realization:

v i = g m (v )
Gm = i = gm , <1 v(1 ) 1

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1 LC

## Tvpairs=3 Periodic:FALSE Delay:0 V2 G0

A small narrow pulse to start simulations. The pulse T < 1 (to produce freq. at p fo i.

VO
C15 C:1e-12 oL12 I:1e-9 R22 R=10000

ggain=-100.0u

gm =

1 R

v
gnd
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20

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VCC
LC Tank

Full Oscillator Realization: To avoid loading the LC tank (to prevent reducing its Q), an impedance transformer to up-convert the impedance (Z 2 > Z1 ).

v Z2
Impedance Transformer

Z1

VCC

n :1

C1 C2

## HARTLEY OSC. VCC

L1 L2

Z 2 = n 2 Z1

Z 2 = (1 + C1 C2 )2 Z1

Z 2 = (1 + L2 L1 )2 Z L

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Note that a resonance, the phase shift of the loop is supposed to be zero (according to The Barkhausan Criterion). That is why the output signal is fed back to the emitter. The Zero-phase condition may be satisfied if the output signal is inverted and then fed back to the base as shown below:
VCC

C
v L

v
Q1

Q2
inverter

Q1 Q2

## This topology is widely used and is known as the v Gm oscillator

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It is interesting to note that the cross-coupled pair (BJT an MOS) presents a negative resistance to the tank. That is why it can be classified as a negative resistance oscillator. Since it is a fully differential circuit we may model the cross-coupled pair as follows:

a
v

a
v
v

v g mv

g mv

## The resistance between a and a can be expressed as: v ( v ) 2 = g mv gm

R=

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1 BJT Realization:
L

## VCC Cvp Cvp L

C
VBB

The capacitor divider is used to reduce the voltage swing at the base compared to that at the collector to avoid saturating the BJTs.
vbase = vcollector Cvp C + C C > Cvp
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## The AC coupling resistors add noise.

2 NMOS (or PMOS) Realization It is similar to the BJT except that it does not need capacitive division.
V CC

3 CMOS Realization:
P 1 v1
L

p2 v2

N1

N2

Io
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## Current Limited Oscillation

In this case the current of the tail current sources is fully switched from one side of the pair to the other at a frequency = 1 Assuming that the BJT or MOS switches o LC are fast enough, the current waveform in each branch is a square wave with 50% duty cycle. Assuming that the tail current is Io , the current wave form in one side of the pair has the following shape.
Io
0 0 T 2T 3T

## This can be described by its power series as

1 4 4 i( f ) = I o 1 + sin ot + sin 3ot + L 2 3

NOTE: If the current wave form deviate from a square wave which is typically the 4 case the factor will change to some other number depending on the on the current waveform shape!!
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## Consider the NMOS oscillator: VCC L2 RL 2 RL 2 L2

o =
v1

2C

2C

1 LC

v2

v1

Io

2 QL RL 2 = R 2

Io

2C

L2
QL =

o L
RL
= o

2 v1 (t ) = = I o sin ot Z o 2 v12 p = v1 p v2 p = I o R

R I R sin ot = o sin ot 2 RL 2 RC Q R = Q2 // L C 2 2 2 Io
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NOTE: The current components at 3, 5, 7 will produce voltage components with small power because the impedance at these frequencies is small.

o =

1 = 12.56 GHz LC
2 QL = 628.3 L QC = 314.2

QL = 50 QC = 25

R = 209C 2

## Switching of square wave current (pulses)

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Now consider the CMOS oscillator with a similar tank as that used for the NMOS Oscillator (pp 24). In one half cycle, the devices P1 and N2 are on while N1 and P2 are off, so the oscillator can be modeled as follows:
L Io v1 C R Io v1 Io

On the second half cycle, the current through R is still Io but flows in the opposite direction. So the current waveform (assuming that the PMOS and NMOS devices switch enough) looks as follows: +Io

-Io
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This is different from the wave form previously shown, because it is bipolar. The Fourier expansion for the CMOS oscillator is:
4 4 4 i (t ) = I o sin ot + sin 3ot + sin 5ot L 3 5

The differential voltage of the CMOS oscillator is hence, given by: v12 (t ) = =
o

4Io

R sin ot

v12 p =

Io R

Note that swing of the CMOS oscillator is double that of the NMOS (or PMOS) oscillator as seen before.

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## Some Important Points:

1. In the oscillators cases we considered so far we have assumed that the swing is small enough so that the swing is determined by the current and the tank parallel resistance. If this is the case, we consider the oscillator to be current limited. If The swing grows too much, the swing will be limited by the supply voltage and in the oscillator is known to be voltage limited.

2.

In current limited cases, the swing increases by increasing the current (tail current) or by using high Q tank (which increases the resistance.).

3.

The switching speed of the core devices will determine the current waveform shape which in turn determines magnitude of I at o (fundamental component).

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## Voltage Controlled Oscillators

This is one of the most critical blocks in any RF frequency synthesizers. Adjustable oscillators are used for tuning to desired frequencies. A VCO is used as part of a PLL to obtain precise frequencies.

The frequency tuning is done by changing the LC tank capacitance value. This is more practical than varying the inductance. Different types of variations have been used to obtain a voltage controlled capacitance. Among them are pm junction varactors and MOS varactors and MOS varactors.

In a pn junction varactor the oscillator output node is connected to either the p or n side and the controlling voltage is applied to the opposite terminal

Vosc.

or
VC

VC

Vosc.

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## MOS varactor come in two types. Let us consider NMOS varactors.

Vosc VW (VC) n+ Conventional MOS p-well n+ On this device even at high frequencies the capitance will return to Cox at p+ some point. Vosc VW p+ p-well (VC)

MOS Cap

VW

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O Cox

S Qs

Qm

V Qm & Qs

## VT > VGW > 0 Depletion mode C= Cox Cdep C ox + Cdep dQdep dV

Cox Cdep
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Qm Qdep

V Qdep

Cdep =

VGW > VT
At low frequency: Since the frequency is low, the minority charges have time to be pulled from the bulk to the surface to make up the inv. layer and the depletion layer does not change any more so dQ C = inv = Cox dV At high frequency: There is no time to attract minority changes to the surface. So the change comes form the dep layer C= CoxCdep Cox + Cdep
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Qm

V Qinv Qdep = 0
Qdep Qinv

## An ideal VCO has the following law

f osc = f o + KVCOVC
Control Free running frequency fosc fo VCO gain (Hz/V)

VC

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## The spectrum of n (t ) is up-converted to C

Qn

C
Ideal Oscillator

C
Real Oscillator

The phase noise is measured by dividing the power in 1Hz bandwidth at an offset f by the power of the carrier (fc).

power in 1Hz at f offset L(f ) = Phase noise = 40log dBc Hz power of the carrier

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## In the case of receiver:

If wanted signal Interfer Interfer RF Signal LO ~ Oscillator IF

Overlap of the interference with the wanted signal after down conversion

LO c

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## In the case of transmitter:

If the phase noise of the LO at the transmitters side is large, the skirt of the RF transmitted signal overlaps nearby wanted signals and hence reduces the SNR.

TX ~

Wanted signal TX

RX

TX

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Pint

S( f ) Assume that, from the blocking specs, that Pint - Psig = YdB
Wanted signal Interference with skirt due to phase noise

## Psig = the signal power integrated over channel BW. f1 f2

BWch

Assume also that a given signal to noise ratio (SNR) is to be met. The noise power = Pn = ff 2 S n ( f )df for simplicity assume the S n ( f ) is constant (Pno ) Pn = Pno ( f 2 f1 ) = Pno BWch 1 1 Pn Psig Pno Pn BWch Pn = = = n = Pint Pint BWch Pint BWch P sig Pint between f1 & f 2 .
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## n = ( 10 log BWch SNR Y ) dBc Hz n = (10 log BWch + SNR + Y ) dBc Hz

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LEESONS MODEL
Based on a linear time in variant approach for timed LC tank oscillators, one can derive an expression for the phase noise.

## In(w) Effective noise source (white noise)

GL

-Gactive

o
It can be shown that impedance seen by the effective noise source at o + o (where << o is given by:

Z (o + o ) = j

1 o GL 2QL

GL is the parallel parasitic conductance of the tank QL is the loaded Q of the tank
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The phase noise (for the case of white noise) can, hence be given by:
L( BW ) = 10 log
2 vnoise 2 vsig

## 1 2 Z (o + BW )2 in = 10 log 2 1 2 Vsig 2 1 2 in 1 o 2 = 10 log 2 1 GL 2 Q L Vsig 2

2 can be written as 4 F KT G this expression for the effective noise curent density is in L not physical. (Just a model!) F is difficult to derive and is just a fitting parameter! 2 2 FKT o L( ) = 10 log Psig 2QL

## 1 sig GL = ioV 2 The rms power dissipated in GL. Ps =

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Even though the LTI model is not accurate, it yields important facts for oscillator design:

1. L( ) 2. L( ) 3. L( )

1 2 QL 1 Ps F

## increase QL increase Ps by increasing QL and I reduce noise inside the oscillator.

Leesons model is not accurate and fails top account for the large signal Behavior of the oscillator. Yet it gives insight for oscillator design.

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