While a lot of time and resources have been placed into transceiver design, due to the pace of a conventional engineering design process, the design of a power amplifier is often completed using scattered resources; and not always in a methodological manner, and frequently even by an iterative trial and error process. In this thesis, a research question is posed which enables for the investigation of the possibility of streamlining the design flow for power amplifiers. After thorough theoretical investigation of existing power amplifier design methods and modelling, inductors inevitably used in power amplifier design were identified as a major drawback to efficient design, even when examples of inductors are packaged in design HIT-Kits. The main contribution of this research is engineering of an inductor design process, which in-effect contributes towards enhancing conventional power amplifiers. This inductance search algorithm finds the highest quality factor configuration of a single-layer square spiral inductor within certain tolerance using formulae for inductance and inductor parasitics of traditional single-π inductor model. Further contribution of this research is a set of algorithms for the complete design of switch-mode (Class-E and Class-F) power amplifiers and their output matching networks. These algorithms make use of classic deterministic design equations so that values of parasitic components can be calculated given input parameters, including required output power, centre frequency, supply voltage, and choice of class of operation. The hypothesis was satisfied for SiGe BiCMOS S35 process from Austriamicrosystems (AMS). Several metal-3 and thick-metal inductors were designed using the abovementioned algorithm and compared with experimental results provided by AMS. Correspondence was established between designed, experimental and EM simulation results, enabling qualification of inductors other than those with experimental results available from AMS by means of EM simulations with average relative errors of 3.7% for inductors and 21% for the Q factor at its peak frequency. For a wide range of inductors, Q-factors of 10 and more were readily experienced. Furthermore, simulations were performed for number of Class-E and Class-F amplifier configurations with HBTs with ft greater than 60 GHz and total emitter area of 96 μm² as driving transistors to complete the hypothesis testing. For the complete PA system design (including inductors), simulations showed that switch-mode power amplifiers for 50 Ω load at 2.4 GHz centre frequency can be designed using the streamlined method of this research for the output power of about 6 dB less than aimed. This power loss was expected, since it can be attributed to non-ideal properties of the driving transistor and Q-factor limitations of the integrated inductors, assumptions which the computations of the routine were based on. Although these results were obtained for a single micro-process, it was further speculated that outcome of this research has a general contribution, since streamlined method can be used with a much wider range of CMOS and BiCMOS processes, when low-gigahertz operating power amplifiers are needed. This theory was confirmed by means of simulation and fabrication in 180 nm BiCMOS process from IBM, results of which were also presented. The work presented here, was combined with algorithms for SPICE netlist extraction and the spiral inductor layout extraction (CIF and GDSII formats). This secondary research outcome further contributed to the completeness of the design flow. All the above features showed that the routine developed here is substantially better than cut-and-try methods for design of power amplifiers found in the existing body of knowledge.
Bozanic, Mladen; Sinha, Saurabh(South African Institute of Electrical Engineers, 2009-09)
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