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Title: A digital polar transmitter for multi-band OFDM Ultra-WideBand
Author: Seah, Kwang-Hwee
ISNI:       0000 0004 2682 1499
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2010
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Linear power amplifiers used to implement the Ultra-Wideband standard must be backed off from optimum power efficiency to meet the standard specifications and the power efficiency suffers. The problem of low efficiency can be mitigated by polar modulation. Digital polar architectures have been employed on numerous wireless standards like GSM, EDGE, and WLAN, where the fractional bandwidths achieved are only about 1%, and the power levels achieved are often in the vicinity of 20 dBm. Can the architecture be employed on wireless standards with low-power and high fractional bandwidth requirements and yet achieve good power efficiency? To answer these question, this thesis studies the application of a digital polar transmitter architecture with parallel amplifier stages for UWB. The concept of the digital transmitter is motivated and inspired by three factors. First, unrelenting advances in the CMOS technology in deep-submicron process and the prevalence of low-cost Digital Signal processing have resulted in the realization of higher level of integration using digitally intensive approaches. Furthermore, the architecture is an evolution of polar modulation, which is known for high power efficiency in other wireless applications. Finally, the architecture is operated as a digital-to-analog converter which circumvents the use of converters in conventional transmitters. Modeling and simulation of the system architecture is performed on the Agilent Advanced Design System Ptolemy simulation platform. First, by studying the envelope signal, we found that envelope clipping results in a reduction in the peak-to-average power ratio which in turn improves the error vector magnitude performance (figure of merit for the study). In addition, we have demonstrated that a resolution of three bits suffices for the digital polar transmitter when envelope clipping is performed. Next, this thesis covers a theoretical derivation for the estimate of the error vector magnitude based on the resolution, quantization and phase noise errors. An analysis on the process variations - which result in gain and delay mismatches - for a digital transmitter architecture with four bits ensues. The above studies allow RF designers to estimate the number of bits required and the amount of distortion that can be tolerated in the system. Next, a study on the circuit implementation was conducted. A DPA that comprises 7 parallel RF amplifiers driven by a constant RF phase-modulated signal and 7 cascode transistors (individually connected in series with the bottom amplifiers) digitally controlled by a 3-bit digitized envelope signal to reconstruct the UWB signal at the output. Through the use of NFET models from the IBM 130-nm technology, our simulation reveals that our DPA is able to achieve an EVM of - 22 dB. The DPA simulations have been performed at 3.432 GHz centre frequency with a channel bandwidth of 528 MHz, which translates to a fractional bandwidth of 15.4%. Drain efficiencies of 13.2/19.5/21.0% have been obtained while delivering -1.9/2.5/5.5 dBm of output power and consuming 5/9/17 mW of power. In addition, we performed a yield analysis on the digital polar amplifier, based on unit-weighted and binary-weighted architecture, when gain variations are introduced in all the individual stages. The dynamic element matching method is also introduced for the unit-weighted digital polar transmitter. Monte Carlo simulations reveal that when the gain of the amplifiers are allowed to vary at a mean of 1 with a standard deviation of 0.2, the binary-weighted architecture obtained a yield of 79%, while the yields of the unit-weighted architectures are in the neighbourhood of 95%. Moreover, the dynamic element matching technique demonstrates an improvement in the yield by approximately 3%. Finally, a hardware implementation for this architecture based on software-defined arbitrary waveform generators is studied. In this section, we demonstrate that the error vector magnitude results obtained with a four-stage binary-weighted digital polar transmitter under ideal combining conditions fulfill the European Computer Manufacturers Association requirements. The proposed experimental setup, believed to be the first ever attempted, confirm the feasibility of a digital polar transmitter architecture for Ultra-Wideband. In addition, we propose a number of power combining techniques suitable for the hardware implementation. Spatial power combining, in particular, shows a high potential for the digital polar transmitter architecture. The above studies demonstrate the feasibility of the digital polar architecture with good power efficiency for a wideband wireless standard with low-power and high fractional bandwidth requirements.
Supervisor: Chia Yan Wah, Michael ; Constantinides, George ; Papavassiliou, Christos Sponsor: A*STAR
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral