Skip to Main Content
This paper presents the design, analysis, and characterization of a low-power, low-phase-noise, phase-tunable injection-coupled LC quadrature oscillator (PTIC-QVCO). Two LC VCOs are superharmonically coupled in quadrature phase via a frequency doubler that injects a synchronizing signal at the common source node of the negative transconductor stage. Conceptual and analytical models of the circuit are introduced to derive the conditions for quadrature operation and examine the circuit parameters affecting the phase imbalance due to mismatched VCOs. Additionally, a tunable tail filter (TTF) is incorporated to calibrate the residual quadrature imbalance in presence of a 3-sigma variation in the device parameters and drive the oscillator to its optimum phase noise performance. To validate the proposed approach, measurements have been carried out on a 9 GHz prototype implemented in a 0.18 mum RF CMOS process. With core current consumption of 5 mA at 1.8 V supply voltage, the circuit achieves a measured phase noise figure-of-merit ranging from 177.3 to 182.6 dBc/Hz at 3 MHz offset along the 9.0 to 9.6 GHz frequency tuning range. Quadrature phase correction of plusmn110 at 9 GHz is demonstrated.