Skip to Main Content
The analysis and optimization of millimeter-wave coupling structures are detailed to design a high-performance V-band 65-nm CMOS parallel power amplifier (PA). The difficulty in this design consists of the use of a thin digital seven metal layer, back end of line, and low-power transistors dedicated to pure digital applications. In this context, two transformer-based power-combining schemes are compared using a lumped model analysis. A distributed active transformer with a mixed current-voltage mode is then proposed for power combination. Furthermore, baluns and 0° 1-4 splitters are codesigned and implemented in the design. Two PAs are fabricated and measured. The first PA represents the power stage of the high-gain linear PA. At 61 GHz, the PA achieves a peak power gain of 20 dB with a 13.5-dBm 1-dB output compression point (OCP1dB) . It produces 15.6-dBm saturated power and a power-added efficiency of 6.6% from a 1.2-V supply. Finally, experimental measurements of the temperature distribution in the CMOS PA chip are illustrated and analyzed. To the authors' knowledge, these results represent the highest linear output power and gain performances among PAs using the same digital technology.