Skip to Main Content
The design of RF integrated circuits, at the low voltage allowed by sub-scaled technologies, is particularly challenging in cellular phone applications where the received signal is surrounded by huge interferers, determining an extremely high dynamic range requirement. In-depth investigations of 1/f noise sources and second-order intermodulation distortion mechanisms in direct downconversion mixers have been carried out in the recent past. This paper proposes a fully integrated receiver front-end, including LNA and quadrature mixer, supplied at 750 mV, able to meet GSM specifications. In particular, the direct downconverter employs a feedback loop to minimize second-order common mode intermodulation distortion, generated by a pseudo-differential transconductor, adopted for minimum voltage drop. For maximum dynamic range, the commutating pair is set with an LC filter. Prototypes, realized in a 90-nm RF CMOS process, show the following performances: 51 dBm IIP2, minimum over 25 samples, 1 dB desensitization point due to 3-MHz blocker at -18 dBm, 3.5 dB noise figure (NF), integrated between 1 kHz-100 kHz, 15 kHz 1/f noise corner. The front-end IIP2 has also been characterized with the mixer feedback loop switched off, resulting in an average reduction of 18 dB.