The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Circuit Techniques for Low-Voltage and High-Speed A/D Converters

Mikko Waltari

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Department of Electrical and Communications Engineering for public examination and debate in Auditorium S4 at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 24th of June, 2002, at 12 o'clock noon.

Dissertation in PDF format (ISBN 951-22-5908-7)   [4993 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 951-22-5989-3)


The increasing digitalization in all spheres of electronics applications, from telecommunications systems to consumer electronics appliances, requires analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) with a higher sampling rate, higher resolution, and lower power consumption. The evolution of integrated circuit technologies partially helps in meeting these requirements by providing faster devices and allowing for the realization of more complex functions in a given silicon area, but simultaneously it brings new challenges, the most important of which is the decreasing supply voltage.

Based on the switched capacitor (SC) technique, the pipelined architecture has most successfully exploited the features of CMOS technology in realizing high-speed high-resolution ADCs. An analysis of the effects of the supply voltage and technology scaling on SC circuits is carried out, and it shows that benefits can be expected at least for the next few technology generations. The operational amplifier is a central building block in SC circuits, and thus a comparison of the topologies and their low voltage capabilities is presented.

It is well-known that the SC technique in its standard form is not suitable for very low supply voltages, mainly because of insufficient switch control voltage. Two low-voltage modifications are investigated: switch bootstrapping and the switched opamp (SO) technique. Improved circuit structures are proposed for both. Two ADC prototypes using the SO technique are presented, while bootstrapped switches are utilized in three other prototypes.

An integral part of an ADC is the front-end sample-and-hold (S/H) circuit. At high signal frequencies its linearity is predominantly determined by the switches utilized. A review of S/H architectures is presented, and switch linearization by means of bootstrapping is studied and applied to two of the prototypes. Another important parameter is sampling clock jitter, which is analyzed and then minimized with carefully-designed clock generation and buffering.

The throughput of ADCs can be increased by using parallelism. This is demonstrated on the circuit level with the double-sampling technique, which is applied to S/H circuits and a pipelined ADC. An analysis of nonidealities in double-sampling is presented. At the system level parallelism is utilized in a time-interleaved ADC. The mismatch of parallel signal paths produces errors, for the elimination of which a timing skew insensitive sampling circuit and a digital offset calibration are developed.

A total of seven prototypes are presented: two double-sampled S/H circuits, a time-interleaved ADC, an IF-sampling self-calibrated pipelined ADC, a current steering DAC with a deglitcher, and two pipelined ADCs employing the SO technique.

Keywords: analog integrated circuit, analog-to-digital conversion, BiCMOS, bootstrapped switch, CMOS, double-sampling, IF-sampling, low voltage, operational amplifier, pipelined analog-to-digital converter, sample-and-hold circuit, switched-capacitor, switched-opamp, time interleaving

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© 2002 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26