Electronic Thesis/Dissertation



The growing demand for consumer voice and data communication systems and military communication applications has created a need for low-power, low-cost, high-performance radio-frequency (RF) front-end. To achieve this goal, bringing passive components, especially inductors, to silicon is imperative. On-chip passive components such as inductors and capacitors generally enhance the reliability and efficiency of silicon-integrated RF cells. They can provide circuit solutions with superior performance and contribute to a higher level of integration. With passive components on chip, there is a great opportunity to have transformers, filters, and matching networks on chip. However, inductors on silicon have a low quality factor (Q) due to both substrate and metal loss.This dissertation demonstrates the systematic analysis of inductors fabricated using standard complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) and micro-electro-mechanical (MEMS) system technologies. We report system-on-chip inductor modeling, simulation, and measurements of effective inductance and quality factors. In this analysis methodology, a number of systematic simulations are performed on regular and micromachined inductors with different parameters such as spiral topology, number of turns, outer diameter, thickness, and percentage of substrate removed by using micromachining technologies. Three different novel support structures of the micromachined spiral inductor are proposed, analyzed, and implemented for larger size suspended inductors. The sensitivity of the structure support and different degree of substrate etching by post-processing is illustrated. The results provide guidelines for the selection of inductor parameters, post-processing methodologies, and its spiral supports to meet the RF design specifications and the stability requirements for mobile communication. The proposed CMOS-micromachined inductor is used in a low cost-effective double-balanced Gilbert mixer with on-chip matching network. The integrated mixer inductor was implemented and tested to prove the concept.

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