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In this paper the fundamental concept of ring amplification is introduced and explored. Ring amplifiers enable efficient amplification in scaled environments, and possess the benefits of efficient slew-based charging, rapid stabilization, compression-immunity (inherent rail-to-rail output swing), and performance that scales with process technology. A basic operational theory is established, and the core benefits of this technique are identified. Measured results from two separate ring amplifier based pipelined ADCs are presented. The first prototype IC, a simple 10.5-bit, 61.5 dB SNDR pipelined ADC which uses only ring amplifiers, is used to demonstrate the core benefits. The second fabricated IC presented is a high-resolution pipelined ADC which employs the technique of Split-CLS to perform efficient, accurate amplification aided by ring amplifiers. The 15-bit ADC is implemented in a 0.18 μm CMOS technology and achieves 76.8 dB SNDR and 95.4 dB SFDR at 20 Msps while consuming 5.1 mW, achieving a FoM of 45 fJ/conversion-step.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2012