60-GHz Amplifiers Leverage Commercial CMOS Process

UsUally, MilliMeTer-wave power and variablegain amplifiers are designed using an expensive and high-performanceyet not widely available III-V-based semiconductor technology. Now, a methodology has been presented that allows a high level of integration within a lowcost, 60-GHz CMOS transceiver. This work was conducted by Tim LaRocca, Jenny Yi-Chun Liu, and Mau-Chung Frank Chang from the University of California in Los Angeles.

Using a commercial, 90-nm digital-CMOS process, the researchers created 57-to-65-GHz differential and transformer-coupled power and variable-gain amplifiers. Occupying an area of only 0.15 mm2, the three-stage power amplifier achieves a peak gain of 25 dB with 8 dB of gain variation. Under a 1.2-V supply, it consumes 70 mA with small-signal gain exceeding 15 dB. The device delivers saturated output power beyond +12 dBm. See "60 GHz CMOS Amplifiers Using Transformer-Coupling and Artificial Dielectric Differential Transmission Lines for Compact Design," IEEE Journal Of Solid-State Circuits, May 2009, p. 1425.

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