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This paper presents an integrated ultra-low power analog front-end (AFE) architecture for UWB impulse radio receivers. The receiver is targeted towards applications like wireless sensor networks typically requiring ultra energy-efficient, low data-rate communication over a relative short range. The proposed receiver implements pulse correlation in the analog domain to severely relax the power consumption of the ADCs and digital backend. Furthermore a fully integrated prototype of the analog front-end, containing a PLL, programmable clocking generator, analog pulse correlator, a linear-in-dB variable gain amplifier and a 4-bit ADC, is demonstrated. Several design decisions and techniques, like correlation with a windowed LO instead of with a matched template, exploiting the duty-cycled nature of the system, operation in the sub-1 GHz band as well as careful circuit design are employed to reach ultra-low power consumption. The analog front-end was manufactured in 130 nm CMOS and the active circuit area measures 1000 mum times 1500 mum. A maximum channel conversion gain of 50 dB can be achieved. Two symbol rates, 39.0625 M pulses per second (Mpps) and 19.531 Mpps are supported. The AFE consumes 2.3 mA from a 1.2 V power supply when operating at 39.0625 Mpps. This corresponds to an energy consumption of 70 pJ/pulse. A wireless link over more than 10 m in an office-like environment has been demonstrated at 19.531 Mpps with a PER < 1E -3 under direct LOS conditions.
Date of Publication: July 2009