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This letter presents a voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) with low phase-noise performance by applying tunable field-plate (FP) voltage on 0.15-mum-gate-length GaAs pseudomorphic high-electron-mobility transistors (pHEMTs). In this letter, the FP metal between gate and drain terminals was connected to a single pad and was controlled by an extra voltage supplier (VFP). Owing to the depth modulation of FP-induced depletion region at various FP voltages, the device flicker noise was also improved by applying negative VFP. This technique is convenient to be applied in standard pHEMT fabrication and particularly attractive for reducing the phase noise of VCO design without extra power consumption. A tunable phase-noise inductor-capacitor feedback 21-GHz VCO was demonstrated. The measured phase noise of this novel design is -95 dBc/Hz at an offset frequency of 1 MHz, and this value can be improved to -99.6 dBc/Hz at VFP of -5.5 V. The core dc-power consumption of this circuit is 30.8 mW.
Date of Publication: May 2008