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April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 1


10 - RF Oscillators
The information in this work has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable.
The author does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information
presented herein, and shall not be responsible for any errors, omissions or damages
as a result of the use of this information.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 2
Main References
[1]* D.M. Pozar, Microwave engineering, 2nd Edition, 1998 John-Wiley & Sons.
[2] J. Millman, C. C. Halkias, Integrated electronics, 1972, McGraw-Hill.
[3] R. Ludwig, P. Bretchko, RF circuit design - theory and applications, 2000
Prentice-Hall.
[4] B. Razavi, RF microelectronics, 1998 Prentice-Hall, TK6560.
[5] J. R. Smith,Modern communication circuits,1998 McGraw-Hill.
[6] P. H. Young, Electronics communication techniques, 5
th
edition, 2004
Prentice-Hall.
[7] Gilmore R., Besser L.,Practical RF circuit design for modern wireless
systems, Vol. 1 & 2, 2003, Artech House.
[8] Ogata K., Modern control engineering, 4
th
edition, 2005, Prentice-Hall.
2
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 3
Agenda
Positive feedback oscillator concepts.
Negative resistance oscillator concepts (typically employed for RF
oscillator).
Equivalence between positive feedback and negative resistance
oscillator theory.
Oscillator start-up requirement and transient.
Oscillator design - Making an amplifier circuit unstable.
Constant |
1
| circle.
Fixed frequency oscillator design.
Voltage-controlled oscillator design.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 4
1.0 Oscillation Concepts
3
Introduction
Oscillators are a class of circuits with 1 terminal or port, which produce
a periodic electrical output upon power up.
Most of us would have encountered oscillator circuits while studying for
our basic electronics classes.
Oscillators can be classified into two types: (A) Relaxation and (B)
Harmonic oscillators.
Relaxation oscillators (also called astable multivibrator), is a class of
circuits with two unstable states. The circuit switches back-and-forth
between these states. The output is generally square waves.
Harmonic oscillators are capable of producing near sinusoidal output,
and is based on positive feedback approach.
Here we will focus on Harmonic Oscillators for RF systems.
Harmonic oscillators are used as this class of circuits are capable of
producing stable sinusoidal waveform with low phase noise.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 5
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 6
2.0 Overview of Feedback
Oscillators
4
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 7
Classical Positive Feedback
Perspective on Oscillator (1)
Consider the classical feedback system with non-inverting amplifier,
Assuming the feedback network and amplifier do not load each other,
we can write the closed-loop transfer function as:
Writing (2.1a) as:
We see that we could get non-zero output at S
o
, with S
i
= 0, provided
1-A(s)F(s) = 0. Thus the system oscillates!
+
+
E(s)
S
o
(s)
S
i
(s)
A(s)
F(s)
( )
( )
( ) ( ) s F s A
s A
i
S
o
S
s

=
1
( ) ( ) ( ) s F s A s T =
Positive
Feedback
Loop gain (the gain of the system
around the feedback loop)
Non-inverting amplifier
(2.1a)
(2.1b)
( )
( )
( ) ( )
( ) s S s S
i s F s A
s A
o
=
1
Feedback network
High impedance
High impedance
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 8
Classical Positive Feedback
Perspective on Oscillator (1)
The condition for sustained oscillation, and for oscillation to startup from
positive feedback perspective can be summarized as:
Take note that the oscillator is a non-linear circuit, initially upon power
up, the condition of (2.2b) will prevail. As the magnitudes of voltages
and currents in the circuit increase, the amplifier in the oscillator begins
to saturate, reducing the gain, until the loop gain A(s)F(s) becomes one.
A steady-state condition is reached when A(s)F(s) = 1.
( ) ( ) 0 1 = s F s A
( ) ( ) 1 > s F s A
( ) ( ) ( ) 0 arg = s F s A
For sustained oscillation
For oscillation to startup
Barkhausen Criterion (2.2a)
(2.2b)
Note that this is a very simplistic view of oscillators. In reality oscillators
are non-linear systems. The steady-state oscillatory condition corresponds
to what is called a Limit Cycle. See texts on non-linear dynamical systems.
5
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 9
Classical Positive Feedback
Perspective on Oscillator (2)
Positive feedback system can also be achieved with inverting amplifier:
To prevent multiple simultaneous oscillation, the Barkhausen criterion
(2.2a) should only be fulfilled at one frequency.
Usually the amplifier A is wideband, and it is the function of the
feedback network F(s) to select the oscillation frequency, thus the
feedback network is usually made of reactive components, such as
inductors and capacitors.
+
-
E(s)
S
o
(s)
S
i
(s)
-A(s)
F(s)
( )
( )
( ) ( ) s F s A
s A
i
S
o
S
s

=
1
Inverting amplifier
Inversion
Classical Positive Feedback
Perspective on Oscillator (3)
In general the feedback network F(s) can be implemented as a Pi or T
network, in the form of a transformer, or a hybrid of these.
Consider the Pi network with all reactive elements. A simple analysis in
[2] and [3] shows that to fulfill (2.2a), the reactance X
1
, X
2
and X
3
need to
meet the following condition:
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 10
+
-
E(s) S
o
(s)
-A(s)
X
1
X
3
X
2
( )
2 1 3
X X X + =
If X
3
represents inductor, then
X
1
and X
2
should be capacitors.
(2.3)
6
Classical Feedback Oscillators
The following are examples of oscillators, based on the original circuit
using vacuum tubes.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 11
+
-
+
-
+
-
Hartley
oscillator
Clapp
oscillator
Colpitt
oscillator
+
-
Armstrong
oscillator
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 12
Example of Tuned Feedback Oscillator
(1)
A 48 MHz Transistor Common
-Emitter Colpitt Oscillator
0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 0.0 2.0
-1.0
-0.5
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
-1.5
2.0
time, usec
V
L
,

V
V
B
,

V
+
-
E(s)
S
o
(s)
S
i
(s)
-A(s)
F(s)
VL
VB
VC
L
L1
R=
L=2.2 uH
V_DC
SRC1
Vdc=3.3 V
C
CD1
C=0.1 uF
C
Cc1
C=0.01 uF
C
Cc2
C=0.01 uF
C
CE
C=0.01 uF
C
C2
C=22.0 pF
C
C1
C=22.0 pF
R
RL
R=220 Ohm pb_mot_2N3904_19921211
Q1
R
RE
R=220 Ohm
R
RC
R=330 Ohm
R
RB2
R=10 kOhm
R
RB1
R=10 kOhm
( ) ( ) F A
t 0
1
7
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 13
Example of Tuned Feedback Oscillator
(2)
A 27 MHz Transistor Common-Base
Colpitt Oscilator
0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 0.0 2.0
-400
-200
0
200
400
-600
600
time, usec
V
L
,

m
V
V
E
,

m
V
+
+
E(s)
S
o
(s)
S
i
(s)
A(s)
F(s)
VL
VE
VB
VC
R
R1
R=1000 Ohm
C
C1
C=100.0 pF
C
C2
C=100.0 pF
L
L1
R=
L=1.0 uH
C
C3
C=4.7 pF
R
RB2
R=4.7 kOhm
R
RE
R=100 Ohm
R
RC
R=470 Ohm
V_DC
SRC1
Vdc=3.3 V
C
Cc1
C=0.1 uF
C
Cc2
C=0.1 uF
C
CD1
C=0.1 uF
pb_mot_2N3904_19921211
Q1
R
RB1
R=10 kOhm
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 14
Example of Tuned Feedback Oscillator
(3)
VL VC
VB
C
Cc2
C=0.1 uF
C
Cc1
C=0.1 uF
C
CE
C=0.1 uF
sx_stk_CX-1HG-SM_A_19930601
XTL1
Fres=16 MHz
C
C2
C=22.0 pF
C
C1
C=22.0 pF
V_DC
SRC1
Vdc=3.3 V
C
CD1
C=0.1 uF
R
RL
R=220 Ohm pb_mot_2N3904_19921211
Q1
R
RE
R=220 Ohm
R
RC
R=330 Ohm
R
RB2
R=10 kOhm
R
RB1
R=10 kOhm
A 16 MHz Transistor Common-Emitter
Crystal Oscillator
8
Limitation of Feedback Oscillator
At high frequency, the assumption that the amplifier and feedback
network do not load each other is not valid. In general the amplifiers
input impedance decreases with frequency, and its output impedance
is not zero. Thus the actual loop gain is not A(s)F(s) and equation (2.2)
breakdowns.
Determining the loop gain of the feedback oscillator is cumbersome at
high frequency. Moreover there could be multiple feedback paths due
to parasitic inductance and capacitance.
It can be difficult to distinguish between the amplifier and the feedback
paths, owing to the coupling between components and conductive
structures on the printed circuit board (PCB) or substrate.
Generally it is difficult to physically implement a feedback oscillator
once the operating frequency is higher than 500MHz.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 15
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 16
3.0 Negative Resistance
Oscillators
9
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 17
Introduction (1)
An alternative approach is needed to get a circuit to oscillate reliably.
We can view an oscillator as an amplifier that produces an output
when there is no input.
Thus it is an unstable amplifier that becomes an oscillator!
For example lets consider a conditionally stable amplifier.
Here instead of choosing load or source impedance in the stable
regions of the Smith Chart, we purposely choose the load or source
impedance in the unstable impedance regions. This will result in
either |
1
| > 1 or |
2
| > 1.
The resulting amplifier circuit will be called the Destabilized Amplifier.
As seen in Chapter 7, having a reflection coefficient magnitude for
1
or
2
greater than one implies the corresponding port resistance R
1
or
R
2
is negative, hence the name for this type of oscillator.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 18
Introduction (2)
For instance by choosing the load impedance Z
L
at the unstable region,
we could ensure that |
1
| > 1. We then choose the source impedance
properly so that |
1

s
| > 1 and oscillation will start up (refer back to
Chapter 7 on stability theory).
Once oscillation starts, an oscillating voltage will appear at both the
input and output ports of a 2-port network. So it does not matter
whether we enforce |
1

s
| > 1 or |
2

L
| > 1, enforcing either one will
cause oscillation to occur (It can be shown later that when |
1

s
| > 1
at the input port, |
2

L
| > 1 at the output port and vice versa).
The key to fixed frequency oscillator design is ensuring that the criteria
|
1

s
| > 1 only happens at one frequency (or a range of intended
frequencies), so that no simultaneous oscillations occur at other
frequencies.
10
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 19
Recap - Wave Propagation Stability
Perspective (1)
From our discussion of stability from wave propagation in Chapter 7
Z
1
or
1
b
s
b
s

1
b
s

1
b
s

1
2
b
s

s
2

1
2
b
s

s
2

1
3
Source
2-port
Network
Z
s
or
s
Port 1 Port 2
s
s
s s s s s
b
a
b b b a

=
+ + + =
1
1
2 2
1 1 1
1
...
b
s

s
3

1
3
b
s

s
3

1
4
a
1
b
1
Compare with
equation (2.1a)
s
s
b
b
s
s
s s s s s
b
b
b b b b

=
+ + + =
1
1 1
1
1
1
2 3
1
2
1 1 1
1
1
...
( )
( )
( ) ( ) s F s A
s A
i
S
o
S
s

=
1
Similar mathematical
form
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 20
Recap - Wave Propagation Stability
Perspective (2)
We see that the infinite series that constitute the steady-state incident
(a
1
) and reflected (b
1
) waves at Port 1 will only converge provided
|
s

1
| < 1.
These sinusoidal waves correspond to the voltage and current at the
Port 1. If the waves are unbounded it means the corresponding
sinusoidal voltage and current at the Port 1 will grow larger as time
progresses, indicating oscillation start-up condition.
Therefore oscillation will occur when |
s

1
| > 1.
Similar argument can be applied to port 2 since the signals at Port 1
and 2 are related to each other in a two-port network, and we see that
the condition for oscillation at Port 2 is |
L

2
| > 1.
11
Oscillation from Negative Resistance
Perspective (1)
Generally it is more useful to work with impedance (or admittance) when
designing actual circuit.
Furthermore for practical purpose the transmission lines connecting Z
L
and Z
s
to the destabilized amplifier are considered very short (length 0).
In this case the impedance Z
o
is ambiguous (since there is no
transmission line).
To avoid this ambiguity, let us ignore the transmission line and examine
the condition for oscillation phenomena in terms of terminal impedance.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 21
1
Z Z
Z
s
Z
o
Z
1
Destabilized
Amp. and
Load
s
Z Z
Very short Tline
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 22
Source
Network
Port 1
Z
s
Z
1
( )
s
s
s
s s
V
Z Z
Z
V
X X j R R
jX R
V
1
1
1 1
1 1
+
=
+ + +
+
=
Oscillation from Negative Resistance
Perspective (2)
We consider Port 1 as shown, with the source network and input of the
amplifier being modeled by impedance or series networks.
Using circuit theory the voltage at Port 1 can be written as:
(3.1)
jX
s
R
s
jX
1
R
1
V
Z
L
Z
2
V
amp
Port 2
Amplifier with load Z
L
12
Oscillation from Negative Resistance
Perspective (3)
Furthermore we assume the source network Z
s
is a series RC network
and the equivalent circuit looking into the amplifier Port 1 is a series RL
network.
Using Laplace Transform, (3.1) is written as:
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 23
R
s
C
s
R
1
L
1
V
Z
L
Z
2
V
amp
V
s
Z
s
Z
1
( ) ( ) s V
sL R R
sL R
s V
s
sC s
s

+ + +
+
=
1
1 1
1 1
j s + =
where
(3.2a)
(3.2b)
Oscillation from Negative Resistance
Perspective (4)
The expression for V(s) can be written in the standard form according
to Control Theory [8]:
The transfer function V(s)/V
s
(s) is thus a 2
nd
order system with two poles
p
1
, p
2
given by:
Observe that if (R
1
+ R
s
) < 0 the damping factor is negative. This is
true if R
1
is negative, and |R
1
| > R
s
.
R
1
can be made negative by modifying the amplifier circuit (e.g. adding
local positive feedback), producing the sum R
1
+ R
s
< 0.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 24
( )
( )
( )
( )
2 2
2
1 1
1
2
1 1
1
2
1
1 1
1
n n
n s
C L L
R R
s
s s
sL R sC
s s
sL R s
L
s
V
V
s
s

+ +
+
=
+ +
+
=
+
Frequency Natural Factor Damping
1 1
1 1
2
= = = =
+
s
s
s
C L
n
C
L
R R

(3.3a)
where
1
2
2 , 1
=
n n
p (3.4)
(3.3b)
13
Oscillation from Negative Resistance
Perspective (5)
Assuming ||<1 (under-damped), the poles as in (3.4) will be complex
and exist at the right-hand side of the complex plane.
From Control Theory such a system is unstable. Any small perturbation
will result in a oscillating signal with frequency that grows
exponentially.
Usually a transient or noise signal from the environment will contain a
small component at the oscillation frequency. This forms the seed in
which the oscillation builts up.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee
25
0 |
1
< +
o
R R
s

Re
Im
0
Complex
pole pair
Complex Plane
t
A small disturbance
or impulse starts the
exponentially growing
sinusoid
Time
Domain
v(t)
1
2

n
Oscillation from Negative Resistance
Perspective (6)
When the signal amplitude builds up, nonlinear effects such as
transistor saturation and cut-off will occur, this limits the of the
transistor and finally limits the amplitude of the oscillating signal.
The effect of decreasing of the transistor is a reduction in the
magnitude of R
1
(remember R
1
is negative). Thus the damping factor
will approach 0, since R
s
+ R
1
0.
Steady-state sinusoidal oscillation is achieved when =0, or
equivalently the poles become
The steady-state oscillation frequency
o
corresponds to
n
,
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 26
s C n C L n
X X L
s n s
= = =
1
1
1
1
2
1


n
j p

=
=0
2 , 1
0
1
= +
o
s
X X

14
Oscillation from Negative Resistance
Perspective (7)
From (3.3b), we observe that the steady-state oscillation frequency is
determined by L
1
and C
s
, in other words, X
1
and X
s
respectively.
Since the voltages at Port 1 and Port 2 are related, if oscillation occur
at Port 1, then oscillation will also occur at Port 2.
From this brief discussion, we use RC and RL networks for the source
and amplifier input respectively, however we can distill the more
general requirements for oscillation to start-up and achieve steady-
state operation for series representation in terms of resistance and
reactance:
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 27
0 |
1
< +
o
R R
s
0 |
1
= +
o
X X
s
0 |
1
= +
o
R R
s
0 |
1
= +
o
X X
s
(3.6a)
(3.6b)
(3.5a)
(3.5b)
Steady-state Start-up
Illustration of Oscillation Start-Up and
Steady-State
The oscillation start-up process and steady-state are illustrated.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 28
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120
-0. 8
-0. 6
-0. 4
-0. 2
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
1.4
Destabilized
Amplifier
Z
L Z
s
t
R
1
+R
s
0
Oscillation
start-up
Steady-state
Z
1
Z
s
We need to note that this is a very simplistic view of oscillators.
Oscillators are autonomous non-linear dynamical systems, and the steady-state
condition is a form of Limit Cycles.
15
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 29
Source
Network
Port 1
Z
s
Z
1
Summary of Oscillation Requirements
Using Series Network
By expressing Z
s
and Z
1
in terms of resistance and reactance, we
conclude that the requirement for oscillation are.
A similar expression for Z
2
and Z
L
can also be obtained, but we shall not
be concerned with these here.
jX
s
R
s
jX
1
R
1
V
Z
L
Z
2
V
amp
Port 2
0 |
1
< +
o
R R
s
0 |
1
= +
o
X X
s
0 |
1
= +
o
R R
s
0 |
1
= +
o
X X
s
(3.6a)
(3.6b)
(3.5a)
(3.5b)
Steady-state
Start-up
The Resonator
The source network Z
s
is usually called the Resonator, as it is clear
that equations (3.5b) and (3.6b) represent the resonance condition
between the source network and the amplifier input.
The design of the resonator is extremely important.
We shall see later that an important parameter of the oscillator, the
Phase Noise is dependent on the quality of the resonator.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 30
16
Summary of Oscillation Requirements
Using Parallel Network
If we model the source network and input to the amplifier as parallel
networks, the following dual of equations (3.5) and (3.6) are obtained.
The start-up and steady-state conditions are:
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 31
jB
s G
s
jB
1
G
1
V
Z
L
Z
2
V
amp
Port 1
0 |
1
= +
o
G G
s
0 |
1
= +
o
B B
s
0 |
1
< +
o
G G
s
0 |
1
= +
o
B B
s
Steady-state
Start-up
(3.7a)
(3.7b)
(3.8a)
(3.8b)
Series or Parallel Representation? (1)
The question is which to use? Series or parallel network
representation? This is not an easy question to answer as the
destabilized amplifier is operating in nonlinear region as oscillator.
Concept of impedance is not valid and our discussion is only an
approximation at best.
We can assume series representation, and worked out the
corresponding resonator impedance. If after computer simulation we
discover that the actual oscillating frequency is far from our prediction
(if theres any oscillation at all!), then it probably means that the series
representation is incorrect, and we should try the parallel
representation.
Another clue to whether series or parallel representation is more
accurate is to observe the current and voltage in the resonator. For
series circuit the current is near sinusoidal, where as for parallel circuit
it is the voltage that is sinusoidal.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 32
17
Series or Parallel Representation? (2)
Reference [7] illustrates another effective alternative, by computing the
large-signal S
11
of Port 1 (with respect to Z
o
) using CAD software.
1/S
11
is then plotted on a Smith Chart as a function of input signal
magnitude at the operating frequency.
By comparing the locus of 1/S
11
as input signal magnitude is gradually
increased with the coordinate of constant X or constant B circles on the
Smith Chart, we can decide whether series or parallel form
approximates Port 1 best.
We will adopt this approach, but plot S
11
instead of 1/S
11
. This will be
illustrated in the examples in next section.
Do note that there are other reasons that can cause the actual
oscillation frequency to deviate a lot from prediction, such as frequency
stability issue (see [1] and [7]).
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 33
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 34
4.0 Fixed Frequency
Negative Resistance
Oscillator Design
18
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 35
Procedures of Designing Fixed
Frequency Oscillator (1)
Step 1 - Design a transistor/FET amplifier circuit.
Step 2 - Make the circuit unstable by adding positive feedback at radio
frequency, for instance, adding series inductor at the base for common-
base configuration.
Step 3 - Determine the frequency of oscillation
o
and extract S-
parameters at that frequency.
Step 4 With the aid of Smith Chart and Load Stability Circle, make R
1
< 0 by selecting
L
in the unstable region.
Step 5 (Optional) Perform a large-signal analysis (e.g. Harmonic
Balance analysis) and plot large-signal S
11
versus input magnitude on
Smith Chart. Decide whether series or parallel form to use.
Step 6 - Find Z
1
= R
1
+ jX
1
(Assuming series form).
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 36
Procedures of Designing Fixed
Frequency Oscillator (2)
Step 7 Find R
s
and X
s
so that R
1
+ R
s
<0, X
1
+ X
s
=0 at
o
. We can
use the rule of thumb R
s
=(1/3)|R
1
| to control the harmonics content at
steady-state.
Step 8 - Design the impedance transformation network for Z
s
and Z
L
.
Step 9 - Built the circuit or run a computer simulation to verify that the
circuit can indeed starts oscillating when power is connected.
Note: Alternatively we may begin Step 4 using Source Stability
Circle, select
s
in the unstable region so that R
2
or G
2
is negative at

o
.
19
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 37
Making an Amplifier Unstable (1)
An amplifier can be made unstable by providing some kind of local
positive feedback.
Two favorite transistor amplifier configurations used for oscillator
design are the Common-Base configuration with Base feedback and
Common-Emitter configuration with Emitter degeneration.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 38
Making an Amplifier Unstable (2)
Vout
Vi n
L_StabCircl e
L_StabCircl e1
LSC=l_stab_circl e(S,51)
LStabCircle
S_StabCircl e
S_StabCircl e1
SSC=s_stab_ci rcl e(S,51)
SStabCircle
StabFact
StabFact1
K=stab_fact(S)
StabFact
R
Re
R=100 Ohm
S_Param
SP1
Step=2.0 MHz
Stop=410.0 MHz
Start=410.0 MHz
S-PARAMETERS
DC
DC1
DC
C
CLB
C=0.17 pF
C
Cb
C=10.0 nF
L
LB
R=
L=22 nH
R
RLB
R=0.77 Ohm
C
Cc2
C=10.0 nF
C
Cc1
C=10.0 nF Term
Term1
Z=50 Ohm
Num=1
L
LC
R=
L=330.0 nH
L
LE
R=
L=330.0 nH
V_DC
SRC1
Vdc=4.5 V
Term
Term2
Z=50 Ohm
Num=2
R
Rb1
R=10 kOhm
R
Rb2
R=4.7 kOhm
pb_phl _BFR92A_19921214
Q1
Positive feedback
here
Common Base
Configuration
This is a practical model
of an inductor
An inductor is added
in series with the bypass
capacitor on the base
terminal of the BJT.
This is a form of positive
series feedback.
Base bypass
capacitor
At 410MHz
20
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 39
Making an Amplifier Unstable (3)
freq
410.0MHz
K
-0.987
freq
410.0MHz
S(1,1)
1.118 / 165.6...
S(1,2)
0.162 / 166.9...
S(2,1)
2.068 / -12.723
S(2,2)
1.154 / -3.535
Unstable Regions
s
22
and s
11
have magnitude > 1

L
Plane

s
Plane
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 40
Making an Amplifier Unstable (4)
Vout
pb_phl_BFR92A_19921214
Q1
C
Ce1
C=15.0 pF
C
Ce2
C=10.0 pF
R
Rb1
R=10 kOhm
R
Rb2
R=4.7 kOhm
Term
Term1
Z=50 Ohm
Num=1
C
Cc1
C=1.0 nF
R
Re
R=100 Ohm
C
Cc2
C=1.0 nF
L_StabCi rcl e
L_StabCi rcl e1
LSC=l _stab_ci rcl e(S,51)
LStabCircle
S_StabCi rcl e
S_StabCi rcl e1
SSC=s_stab_circl e(S,51)
SStabCircle
StabFact
StabFact1
K=stab_fact(S)
StabFact
S_Param
SP1
Step=2.0 MHz
Stop=410.0 MHz
Start=410.0 MHz
S-PARAMETERS
DC
DC1
DC
L
LC
R=
L=330.0 nH
V_DC
SRC1
Vdc=4.5 V
Term
Term2
Z=50 Ohm
Num=2
Positive feedback here
Common Emitter
Configuration
Feedback
21
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 41
Making an Amplifier Unstable (5)
freq
410.0MHz
K
-0.516
freq
410.0MHz
S(1,1)
3.067 / -47.641
S(1,2)
0.251 / 62.636
S(2,1)
6.149 / 176.803
S(2,2)
1.157 / -21.427
Unstable
Regions
S
22
and S
11
have magnitude > 1

L
Plane
s
Plane
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 42
Precautions
The requirement R
s
= (1/3)|R
1
| is a rule of thumb to provide the excess
gain to start up oscillation.
R
s
that is too large (near |R
1
| ) runs the risk of oscillator fails to start up
due to component characteristic deviation.
While R
s
that is too small (smaller than (1/3)|R
1
|) causes too much non-
linearity in the circuit, this will result in large harmonic distortion of the
output waveform.
V
2
Clipping, a sign of
too much nonlinearity
t
R
s
too small
t
V
2
R
s
too large
For more discussion about the R
s
= (1/3)|R
1
| rule,
and on the sufficient condition for oscillation, see
[6], which list further requirements.
22
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 43
Aid for Oscillator Design - Constant
|
1
| Circle (1)
In choosing a suitable
L
to make |
L
| > 1, we would like to know the
range of
L
that would result in a specific |
1
|.
It turns out that if we fix |
1
|, the range of load reflection coefficient that
result in this value falls on a circle in the Smith chart for
L
.
The radius and center of this circle can be derived from:
Assuming = |
1
|:
L
L
S
D S


=
22
11
1
1
2
22
2 2
11
* *
22
2
center
T
S D
S D S

+
=
2
22
2 2
21 12
Radius
S D
S S

=
By fixing |
1
| and changing
L
.
(4.1a) (4.1b)
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 44
Aid for Oscillator Design - Constant
|
1
| Circle (2)
The Constant |
1
| Circle is extremely useful in helping us to choose a
suitable load reflection coefficient. Usually we would choose
L
that
would result in |
1
| = 1.5 or larger.
Similarly Constant |
2
| Circle can also be plotted for the source
reflection coefficient. The expressions for center and radius is similar
to the case for Constant |
1
| Circle except we interchange s
11
and s
22
,

L
and
s
. See Ref [1] and [2] for details of derivation.
23
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 45
Example 4.1 CB Fixed Frequency
Oscillator Design
In this example, the design of a fixed frequency oscillator operating at
410MHz will be demonstrated using BFR92A transistor in SOT23
package. The transistor will be biased in Common-Base configuration.
It is assumed that a 50 load will be connected to the output of the
oscillator. The schematic of the basic amplifier circuit is as shown in
the following slide.
The design is performed using Agilents ADS software, but the author
would like to stress that virtually any RF CAD package is suitable for
this exercise.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 46
Example 4.1 Cont...
Step 1 and 2 - DC biasing circuit design and S-parameter extraction.
DC
DC1
DC
S_Param
SP1
Step=2. 0 MHz
Stop=410.0 MHz
Start=410. 0 MHz
S-PARAMETERS
StabFact
StabFact 1
K=st ab_f act (S)
St abFac t
L
LC
R=
L=330.0 nH
L
LE
R=
L=220.0 nH
L
LB
R=
L=12. 0 nH
S_StabCi rcl e
S_StabCi rcl e1
source_stabcir=s_st ab_circle(S,51)
SStabCircle
L_St abCi rcle
L_St abCi rcle1
load_stabcir=l_stab_ci rcle(S, 51)
LSt abCircle
Term
Term1
Z=50 Ohm
Num=1
C
Cc1
C=1. 0 nF
Term
Term2
Z=50 Ohm
Num=2
C
Cc2
C=1. 0 nF
R
Re
R=100 Ohm
C
Cb
C=1.0 nF
V_DC
SRC1
Vdc=4.5 V
R
Rb1
R=10 kOhm
R
Rb2
R=4.7 kOhm
pb_phl_BFR92A_19921214
Q1
Port 1 - Input
Port 2 - Output
Amplifier
Port 1
Port 2
L
B
is chosen care-
fully so that the
unstable regions
in both
L
and
s
planes are large
enough.
24
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 47
Example 4.1 Cont...
freq
410.0MHz
K
-0.987
freq
410.0MHz
S(1,1)
1.118 / 165.6...
S(1,2)
0.162 / 166.9...
S(2,1)
2.068 / -12.723
S(2,2)
1.154 / -3.535
Unstable Regions
Load impedance here will result
in |
1
| > 1
Source impedance here will result
in |
2
| > 1
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 48
Example 4.1 Cont...
Step 3 and 4 - Choosing suitable
L
that cause |
1
| > 1 at 410MHz. We
plot a few constant |
1
| circles on the
L
plane to assist us in choosing
a suitable load reflection coefficient.
LSC
|
1
|=1.5
|
1
|=2.0
|
1
|=2.5

L
= 0.5<0
This point is chosen
because it is on
real line and easily
matched.

L
Plane
Note: More difficult
to implement load
impedance near
edges of Smith
Chart
Z
L
= 150+j0
25
Example 4.1 Cont...
Step 5 To check whether the input of the destabilized amplifier is
closer to series or parallel form. We perform large-signal analysis and
observe the S
11
at the input of the destabilized amplifier.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 49
LSSP
HB1
Step=0.2
Stop=-5
Start=-20
SweepVar="Poutv"
LSSP_FreqAtPort[1]=
Order[1]=5
Freq[1]=410.0 MHz
LSSP
R
RL
R=150 Ohm
VAR
VAR1
Poutv=-10.0
Eqn
Var
P_1Tone
PORT1
Freq=410 MHz
P=pol ar(dbmtow(Poutv),0)
Z=50 Ohm
Num=1
C
Cc2
C=1.0 nF
C
Cc1
C=1.0 nF
L
LB
R=
L=12.0 nH
C
CB
C=1.0 nF
V_DC
SRC1
Vdc=4.5 V
R
RE
R=100 Ohm
L
LE
R=
L=220.0 nH
R
RB2
R=4.7 kOhm
R
RB1
R=10 kOhm
L
LC
R=
L=330.0 nH
pb_phl _BFR92A_19921214
Q1
We are measuring
large-signal S
11
looking
towards here
Large-signal
S-parameter
Analysis control
in ADS software.
Example 4.1 Cont...
Compare the locus of S
11
and the constant X and constant B circles on
the Smith Chart, it is clear the locus is more parallel to the constant X
circle. Also the direction of S
11
is moving from negative R to positive R
as input power level is increased. We conclude the Series form is more
appropriate.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 50
Region where R
1
or G
1
is negative
Poutv (-20.000 to -5.000)
S
(
1
,
1
)
Direction of S
11
as magnitude
of P_1tone source is increased
Compare
Locus of S
11
versus P_1tone
power at 410MHz
(from -20 to -5 dBm)
Boundary of
Normal Smith Chart
Region where R
1
or G
1
is positive
26
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 51
Example 4.1 Cont...
Step 6 Using the series form, we find the small-signal input impedance
Z
1
at 410MHz. So the resonator would also be a series network.
For Z
L
= 150 or
L
= 0.5<0:
Step 7 - Finding the suitable source impedance to fulfill R
1
+ R
s
<0, X
1
+
X
s
=0:
851 . 7 257 . 10
1
1
479 . 0 422 . 1
1
1
1
1
22
11
1
j Z Z
j
S
D S
o
L
L
+ =

+
=
+ =


=
851 . 7
42 . 3
3
1
1
1
=
=
X X
R R
s
s
R
1
X
1
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 52
Example 4.1 Cont...
Common-Base (CB)
Amplifier
with feedback
Port 1
Port 2
Z
s
= 3.42-j7.851
Z
L
= 150
The system block diagram:
27
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 53
Example 4.1 Cont...
pF C
C
44 . 49
851 . 7
1
1
851 . 7
= =
=

CB Amplifier
3.42
27.27nH
49.44pF
50
Z
s
= 3.42-j7.851
Z
L
=150
@ 410MHz
3.49pF
Step 5 - Realization of the source and load impedance at 410MHz.
Impedance transformation
network
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 54
Example 4.1 Cont... - Verification Thru
Simulation
V
pp
= 0.9V
V = 0.45V
Power dissipated in the load:
mW
R
V
P
L
L
025 . 2
50
45 . 0
5 . 0
2
1
2
2
= =
=
BFR92A
V
pp
28
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 55
Example 4.1 Cont... - Verification Thru
Simulation
Performing Fourier Analysis on the steady state wave form:
484 MHz
The waveform is very clean with
little harmonic distortion. Although
we may have to tune the capacitor
C
s
to obtain oscillation at 410 MHz.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 56
Example 4.1 Cont... The Prototype
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120
-0. 8
-0. 6
-0. 4
-0. 2
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
1.4
Voltage at the base terminal and 50 Ohms load resistor of the
fixed frequency oscillator:
Output port
V
out
V
bb
V
ns
Startup transient
29
Example 4.2 450 MHz CE Fixed
Frequency Oscillator Design
Small-signal AC or S-parameter analysis, to show that R
1
or G
1
is
negative at the intended oscillation frequency of 450 MHz.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 57
S_Param
SP1
Step=10.0 MHz
Stop=800.0 MHz
Start=100.0 MHz
S-PARAMETERS
Term
Term1
Z=50 Ohm
Num=1
C
C2
C=4.7 pF
R
RL
R=150 Ohm
C
Cc2
C=330.0 pF
V_DC
SRC1
Vdc=3.0 V
L
LC
R=
L=220.0 nH
R
RE
R=220 Ohm
R
RB
R=47 kOhm
DC_Block
DC_Block1
C
C1
C=2.2 pF
pb_phl_BFR92A_19921214
Q1
200 300 400 500 600 700 100 800
-500
-400
-300
-200
-100
-600
0
-1500
-1000
-500
-2000
0
freq, MHz
r
e
a
l
(
Z
(
1
,
1
)
)
i
m
a
g
(
Z
(
1
,
1
)
)
200 300 400 500 600 700 100 800
-0.010
-0.005
-0.015
0.000
0.005
0.010
0.015
0.000
0.020
freq, MHz
r
e
a
l
(
Y
(
1
,
1
)
)
i
m
a
g
(
Y
(
1
,
1
)
)
Selection of load
resistor as in
Example 4.1.
There are simplified
expressions to find C
1
and C
2
, see reference [5].
Here we just trial and
error to get some
reasonable values.
Destabilized
amplifier
Example 4.2 Cont
The large-signal analysis to check for suitable representation.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 58
Poutv (-5.000 to 15.000)
S
(
1
,
1
)
LSSP
HB1
Step=0.2
Stop=15
Start=-5
SweepVar="Poutv"
LSSP_FreqAtPort[1]=
Order[1]=7
Freq[1]=450.0 MHz
LSSP
C
C2
C=4.7 pF
P_1Tone
PORT1
Freq=450 MHz
P=polar(dbmtow(Poutv),0)
Z=50 Ohm
Num=1
R
RL
R=150 Ohm
C
Cc2
C=330.0 pF
V_DC
SRC1
Vdc=3.0 V
L
LC
R=
L=220.0 nH
R
RE
R=220 Ohm
R
RB
R=47 kOhm
DC_Block
DC_Block1
C
C1
C=2.2 pF
VAR
VAR1
Poutv=-10.0
Eqn
Var
pb_phl_BFR92A_19921214
Q1
Direction of S
11
as magnitude
of P_1tone source is increased
from -5 to +15 dBm
Compare
Since the locus of S
11
is close in shape to
constant X circles, and it indicates R
1
goes from
negative value to positive values as input power
is increased, we use series form to
represent the input network looking towards
the Base of the amplifier.
Boundary of
Normal Smith Chart
S
11
30
Example 4.2 Cont
Using a series RL for the resonator, and performing time-domain
simulation to verify that the circuit will oscillate.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 59
0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 0.0 5.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.0
0.8
freq, GHz
m
a
g
(
V
f
L
)
m1
m1
freq=
mag(VfL)=0.733
450.0MHz
VL VC
VB
L
L1
R=10
L=39.0 nH
VtPWL
SRC2
V_Tran=pwl(time, 0ns,0V, 2ns,0.1V, 4ns,0V)
t
Tran
Tran1
MaxTimeStep=1.0 nsec
StopTime=100.0 nsec
TRANSIENT
C
Cc1
C=1.0 nF
C
C2
C=4.7 pF
R
RL
R=150 Ohm
C
Cc2
C=330.0 pF
V_DC
SRC1
Vdc=3.0 V
L
LC
R=
L=220.0 nH
R
RE
R=220 Ohm
R
RB
R=47 kOhm
C
C1
C=2.2 pF
pb_phl_BFR92A_19921214
Q1
20 40 60 80 0 100
-1.0
-0.5
0.0
0.5
-1.5
1.0
time, nsec
V
L
,

V
Eqn VfL=fs(VL)
v
L
(t)
|V
L
(f)|
Large coupling
capacitor
Example 4.3 Parallel Representation
An example where the network looking into the Base of the destabilized
amplifier is more appropriate as parallel RC network.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 60
Poutv (-7.000 to 12.000)
S
(
1
,
1
)
V_DC
VCC
Vdc=3.3 V
R
RE
R=100 Ohm
L
LC
R=0.2
L=2 nH
R
RB1
R=1000 Ohm
R
RL
R=50 Ohm
VAR
VAR5
fo=2300
Poutv=1.0
Eqn
Var
LSSP
HB1
Step=0.2
Stop=12
Start=-7
SweepVar="Poutv"
LSSP_FreqAtPort[1]=fo MHz
Order[1]=8
Freq[1]=fo MHz
LSSP
C
Cdec1
C=100.0 pF
P_1Tone
PORT1
Freq=fo MHz
P=polar(dbmtow(Poutv),0)
Z=50 Ohm
Num=1
C
Cc1
C=1.2 pF
C
Cc2
C=1.0 pF
C
C2
C=0.7 pF {t}
C
C1
C=0.6 pF {t}
R
RB2
R=1000 Ohm
pb_phl_BFR92A_19921214
Q1
S
11
Compare
Direction of S
11
as magnitude
of P_1tone source is increased
from -7 to +12 dBm
S
11
versus
Input power
31
Frequency Stability
The process of oscillation depends on the non-linear behavior of the
negative-resistance network.
The conditions discussed, e.g. equations (3.1), (3.8), (3.9), (3.10) and
(3.11) are not enough to guarantee a stable state of oscillation. In
particular, stability requires that any perturbation in current, voltage and
frequency will be damped out, allowing the oscillator to return to its
initial state.
The stability of oscillation can be expressed in terms of the partial
derivative of the sum Z
in
+ Z
s
or Y
in
+ Y
s
of the input port (or output
port).
The discussion is beyond the scope of this chapter for now, and the
reader should refer to [1] and [7] for the concepts.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 61
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 62
Some Steps to Improve Oscillator
Performance
To improve the frequency stability of the oscillator, the following steps
can be taken.
Use components with known temperature coefficients, especially
capacitors.
Neutralize, or swamp-out with resistors, the effects of active device
variations due to temperature, power supply and circuit load changes.
Operate the oscillator on lower power.
Reduce noise, use shielding, AGC (automatic gain control) and bias-
line filtering.
Use an oven or temperature compensating circuitry (such as
thermistor).
Use differential oscillator architecture (see [4] and [7]).
32
Extra References for This Section
Some recommended journal papers on frequency stability of oscillator:
Kurokawa K., Some basic characteristics of broadband negative
resistance oscillator circuits, Bell System Technical Journal, pp. 1937-
1955, 1969.
Nguyen N.M., Meyer R.G., Start-up and frequency stability in high-
frequency oscillators,IEEE journal of Solid-State Circuits, vol 27, no. 5
pp.810-819, 1992.
Grebennikov A. V., Stability of negative resistance oscillator circuits,
International journal of Electronic Engineering Education, Vol. 36, pp.
242-254, 1999.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 63
Reconciliation Between Feedback and
Negative Resistance Oscillator
Perspectives
It must be emphasized that the circuit we obtained using negative
resistance approach can be cast into the familiar feedback form. For
instance an oscillator circuit similar to Example 4.2 can be redrawn as:
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 64
VL
C
Cc1
C=4.7 pF
R
RL
R=50 Ohm
C
Cc2
C=1.0 pF
L
L1
R=0.1
L=15.0 nH {t}
R
RB1
R=10000 Ohm {t}
L
LC
R=0.2
L=2.2 nH {t}
C
C1
C=1.0 pF {t}
C
C2
C=0.8 pF {t}
R
RE
R=100 Ohm {t}
pb_phl_BFR92A_19921214
Q1
V_DC
VCC
Vdc=3.0 V
VL
R
RL
R=50 Ohm
R
RE
R=100 Ohm {t}
pb_phl_BFR92A_19921214
Q1
C
C2
C=0.8 pF {t}
C
C1
C=1.0 pF {t}
L
L1
R=0.1
L=15.0 nH{t}
C
Cc1
C=4.7 pF
C
Cc2
C=1.0 pF
R
RB1
R=10000 Ohm {t}
L
LC
R=0.2
L=2.2 nH {t}
V_DC
VCC
Vdc=3.0 V
Amplifier
Feedback
Network
Negative Resistance
Oscillator
33
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 65
5.0 Voltage Controlled
Oscillator
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 66
About the Voltage Controlled
Oscillator (VCO) (1)
A simple transistor VCO using Clapp-Gouriet or CE configuration will be
designed to illustrate the principles of VCO.
The transistor chosen for the job is BFR92A, a wide-band NPN
transistor which comes in SOT-23 package.
Similar concepts as in the design of fixed-frequency oscillators are
employed. Where we design the biasing of the transistor, destabilize the
network and carefully choose a load so that from the input port (Port 1),
the oscillator circuit has an impedance (assuming series representation
is valid):
Of which R
1
is negative, for a range of frequencies from
1
to
2
.
( ) ( ) ( )
1 1 1
jX R Z + =
Lower Upper
34
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 67
About the Voltage Controlled
Oscillator (VCO) (2)
Clapp-Gouriet
Oscillator Circuit
with Load
Z
s
Z
1
= R
1
+ jX
1
Z
L
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 68
About the Voltage Controlled
Oscillator (VCO) (3)
If we can connect a source impedance Z
s
to the input port, such that
within a range of frequencies from
1
to
2
:
The circuit will oscillate within this range of frequencies. By changing
the value of X
s
, one can change the oscillation frequency.
For example, if X
1
is positive, then X
s
must be negative, and it can be
generated by a series capacitor. By changing the capacitance, one
can change the oscillation frequency of the circuit.
If X
1
is negative, X
s
must be positive. A variable capacitor in series
with a suitable inductor will allow us to adjust the value of X
s
.
( ) ( ) ( )
s s s
jX R Z + =
( ) ( ) ( ) 0
1 1
< < R R R
s
( ) ( )
1
X X
s
=
The rationale is that only the initial spectral of the noise
signal fulfilling X
s
= X
1
will start the oscillation.
35
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 69
Schematic of the VCO
R
RL
R=Rload
ParamSweep
Sweep1
St ep=100
St op=700
St art=100
Si mI nstanceName[6] =
Si mI nstanceName[5] =
Si mI nstanceName[4] =
Si mI nstanceName[3] =
Si mI nstanceName[2] =
Si mI nstanceName[1] ="Tran1"
SweepVar="Rload"
PARAMET ER SWEEP
VAR
VAR1
Rload=100
X=1. 0
Eqn
Var
Tran
Tran1
MaxTimeStep=1.2 nsec
StopTime=100. 0 nsec
TRANSIENT
DC
DC1
DC
C
Cb4
C=4.7 pF
V_DC
SRC1
Vdc=-1.5 V
C
Cb3
C=4. 7 pF
di_sms_bas40_19930908
D1
L
L2
R=
L=47. 0 nH
C
Cb2
C=10. 0 pF
R
R1
R=4700 Ohm
C
Cb1
C=2. 2 pF
R
Rb
R=47 kOhm
pb_phl _BFR92A_19921214
Q1
R
Re
R=220 Ohm
L
Lc
R=
L=220.0 nH
R
Rout
R=50 Ohm
C
Cc2
C=330. 0 pF
V_DC
Vcc
Vdc=3.0 V
VtPWL
Vtrig
V_Tran=pwl(t ime, 0ns, 0V, 1ns,0. 01V, 2ns,0V)
t
2-port network
Variable
capacitance
tuning network
Initial noise
source to start
the oscillation
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 70
More on the Schematic
L
2
together with C
b3
, C
b4
and the junction capacitance of D
1
can
produce a range of reactance value, from negative to positive.
Together these components form the frequency determining network.
C
b4
is optional, it is used to introduce a capacitive offset to the junction
capacitance of D
1
.
R
1
is used to isolate the control voltage V
dc
from the frequency
determining network. It must be a high quality SMD resistor. The
effectiveness of isolation can be improved by adding a RF choke in
series with R
1
and a shunt capacitor at the control voltage.
Notice that the frequency determining network has no actual
resistance to counter the effect of |R
1
()|. This is provided by the loss
resistance of L
2
and the junction resistance of D
1
.
36
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 71
Time Domain Result
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
-1.5
-1.0
-0.5
0. 0
0. 5
1. 0
V
out
when V
dc
= -1.5V
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 72
Load-Pull Experiment
100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800
1
2
3
4
5
Peak-to-peak output voltage versus R
load
for V
dc
= -1.5V.
V
out(pp)
R
Load
37
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 73
V
out
Controlling Harmonic Distortion (1)
Since the resistance in the frequency determining network is too small,
large amount of non-linearity is needed to limit the output voltage
waveform, as shown below there is a lot of distortion.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 74
Controlling Harmonic Distortion (2)
The distortion generates substantial amount of higher harmonics.
This can be reduced by decreasing the positive feedback, by adding a
small capacitance across the collector and base of transistor Q
1
. This
is shown in the next slide.
38
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 75
Controlling Harmonic Distortion (3)
Capacitor to control
positive feedback
C
Ccb
C=1.0 pF
R
RL
R=50 Ohm
R
Rout
R=50 Ohm
R
Re
R=220 Ohm
L
Lc
R=
L=220.0 nH
I_Probe
IC
pb_phl_BFR92A_19921214
Q1
Tran
Tran1
MaxTimeStep=1.2 nsec
StopTime=280.0 nsec
TRANSIENT
DC
DC1
DC
I_Probe
Iload
C
Cc2
C=330.0 pF
L
L2
R=
L=47.0 nH
R
Rb
R=47 kOhm
C
Cb1
C=6.8 pF
C
Cb2
C=10.0 pF
V_DC
SRC1
Vdc=0.5 V
C
Cb4
C=0.7 pF
C
Cb3
C=4.7 pF
di_sms_bas40_19930908
D1
R
R1
R=4700 Ohm
V_DC
Vcc
Vdc=3.0 V
VtPWL
Vtrig
V_Tran=pwl(ti me, 0ns, 0V, 1ns,0.01V, 2ns,0V)
t
The observant
person would
probably notice
that we can also
reduce the harmonic
distortion by introducing
a series resistance in
the tuning network.
However this is not
advisable as the phase
noise at the oscillators
output will increase (
more about this later).
Control voltage
V
control
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 76
Controlling Harmonic Distortion (4)
The output waveform V
out
after this modification is shown below:
V
out
39
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 77
Controlling Harmonic Distortion (5)
Finally, it should be noted that we should also add a low-pass filter
(LPF) at the output of the oscillator to suppress the higher harmonic
components. Such LPF is usually called Harmonic Filter.
Since the oscillator is operating in nonlinear mode, care must be taken
in designing the LPF.
Another practical design example will illustrate this approach.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 78
The Tuning Range
Actual measurement is carried out, with the frequency measured using
a high bandwidth digital storage oscilloscope.
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5
395
400
405
410
f
Vdc
MHz
Volts
D
1
is BB149A,
a varactor
manufactured by
Phillips
Semiconductor (Now
NXP).
40
Phase Noise in Oscillator (1)
Since the oscillator output is periodic. In frequency domain we would
expect a series of harmonics.
In a practical oscillation system, the instantaneous frequency and
magnitude of oscillation are not constant. These will fluctuate as a
function of time.
These random fluctuations are noise, and in frequency domain the effect
of the spectra will smear out.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 79
( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) t t t m V t v
noise noise o osc
+ + + = cos
f
f
o 2f
o
3f
o
Ideal oscillator output
f
f
o 2f
o
3f
o
t
t
Real oscillator output
Smearing
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 80
Phase Noise in Oscillator (2)
Mathematically, we can say that the instantaneous frequency and
magnitude of oscillation are not constant. These will fluctuate as a
function of time.
As a result, the output in the frequency domain is smeared out.
t
v(t)
t
v(t)
f
f
o
f
f
o
T = 1/f
o
Contains both phase
and amplitude modulation
of the sinusoidal waveform
at frequency f
o
( ) [ ]
2
8
1
log 10
offset
o
L
f
f
Q A
FkT
PM
L
Leesons expression
Large phase noise
Small phase noise
41
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 81
Phase Noise in Oscillator (3)
Typically the magnitude fluctuation is small (or can be minimized) due
to the oscillator nonlinear limiting process under steady-state.
Thus the smearing is largely attributed to phase variation and is known
as Phase Noise.
Phase noise is measured with respect to the signal level at various
offset frequencies.
Phase noise is measured in
dBc/Hz @ f
offset
.
dBc/Hz stands for dB down
from the carrier (the c) in 1 Hz
bandwidth.
For example
-90dBc/Hz @ 100kHz offset
from a CW sine wave at
2.4GHz.
- 90dBc/Hz
100kHz
f
f
o
t
v(t)
Signal level
Assume amplitude limiting effect
Of the oscillator reduces amplitude fluctuation
( ) ( ) ( ) t t V t v
noise o osc
+ + cos
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 82
Reducing Phase Noise (1)
Requirement 1: The resonator network of an oscillator must have a high
Q factor. This is an indication of low dissipation loss in the tuning
network (See Chapter 3a impedance transformation network on Q
factor).
X
1
X
tune
-X
1
f
f
2|X
1
|
Tuning
Network with
High Q
X
1
X
tune
-X
1
f
f
2|X
1
|
Tuning
Network with
Low Q
Z
tune
= R
tune
+jX
tune
Variation in X
tune
due to environment
causes small change
in instantaneous
frequency.
42
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 83
Reducing Phase Noise (2)
A Q factor in the tuning network of at least 20 is needed for medium
performance oscillator circuits at UHF. For highly stable oscillator, Q
factor of the tuning network must be in excess or 1000.
We have looked at LC tuning networks, which can give Q factor of up
to 40. Ceramic resonator can provide Q factor greater than 500, while
piezoelectric crystal can provide Q factor > 10000.
At microwave frequency, the LC tuning networks can be substituted
with transmission line sections.
See R. W. Rhea, Oscillator design & computer simulation, 2nd edition
1995, McGraw-Hill, or the book by R.E. Collin for more discussions on
Q factor.
Requirement 2: The power supply to the oscillator circuit should also
be very stable to prevent unwanted amplitude modulation at the
oscillators output.
Reducing Phase Noise (3)
Requirement 3: The voltage level of V
control
should be stable.
Requirement 4: The circuit has to be properly shielded from
electromagnetic interference from other modules.
Requirement 5: Use low noise components in the construction of the
oscillator, e.g. small resistance values, low-loss capacitors and
inductors, low-loss PCB dielectric, use discrete components instead of
integrated circuits.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 84
43
Example of Phase Noise from VCOs
Comparison of two VCO outputs on a spectrum analyzer*.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 85
*The spectrum
analyzer internal
oscillator must
of course has
a phase noise of
an order of magnitude
lower than our VCO
under test.
VCO output
with high
phase noise
VCO output
with low
phase noise
More Materials
This short discussion cannot do justice to the material on phase noise.
For instance the mathematical model of phase noise in oscillator and
the famous Leesons equation is not shown here. You can find further
discussion in [4], and some material for further readings on this topic:
D. Schere, The art of phase noise measurement, Hewlett Packard
RF & Microwave Measurement Symposium, 1985.
T. Lee, A. Hajimiri, The design of low noise oscillators, Kluwer,
1999.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 86
44
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 87
More on Varactor
The varactor diode is basically a PN junction optimized for its linear
junction capacitance.
It is always operated in the reverse-biased mode to prevent
nonlinearity, which generate harmonics.
As we increase the negative
biasing voltage V
j
, C
j
decreases,
hence the oscillation frequency increases.
The abrupt junction varactor has high
Q, but low sensitivity (e.g. C
j
varies
little over large voltage change).
The hyperabrupt junction varactor
has low Q, but higher sensitivity.
V
j
V
j
0
C
j
Linear region
Reverse biased
Forward biased
C
jo
Sep 2013 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 88
A Better Variable Capacitor Network
The back-to-back varactors are commonly employed in a VCO circuit, so that at
low V
control
, when one of the diode is being affected by the AC voltage, the other
is still being reverse biased.
When a diode is forward biased, the PN junction capacitance becomes
nonlinear.
The reverse biased diode has smaller junction capacitance, and this dominates
the overall capacitance of the back-to-back varactor network.
This configuration helps to decrease the harmonic distortion.
At any one time, at least one of
the diode will be reverse biased.
The junction capacitance of the
reverse biased diode will dominate
the overall capacitance of the
network.
V
control
Symbol
for Varactor
To suppress
RF signals
To negative
resistance
amplifier
V
control
V
control
+
+
To suppress
RF signals
45
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 89
Example 5.1 VCO Design for
Frequency Synthesizer
To design a low power VCO that works from 810 MHz to 910 MHz.
Power supply = 3.0V.
Output power (into 50 load) minimum -3.0 dBm.
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 90
Example 5.1 Cont
Checking the d.c. biasing and AC simulation.
S_Param
SP1
Step=1.0 MHz
Stop=1.0 GHz
Start=0.7 GHz
S-PARAMETERS
DC
DC1
DC
b82496c3120j000
LC
param=SIMID 0603-C (12 nH+-5%)
4_7pF_NPO_0603
Cc1
100pF_NPO_0603
Cc2
2_2pF_NPO_0603
C1
R
RE
R=100 Ohm
3_3pF_NPO_0603
C2
R
RL
R=100 Ohm
Term
Term1
Z=50 Ohm
Num=1
V_DC
SRC1
Vdc=3.3 V
R
RB
R=33 kOhm
pb_phl_BFR92A_19921214
Q1
Z
11
46
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 91
Example 5.1 Cont
Checking the results real and imaginary portion of Z
1
when output is
terminated with Z
L
= 100.
m2
freq=
m2=-84.412
809.0MHz
m1
freq=
m1=-89.579
775.0MHz
0.72 0.74 0.76 0.78 0.80 0.82 0.84 0.86 0.88 0.90 0.92 0.94 0.96 0.98 0.70 1.00
-110
-100
-90
-80
-70
-60
-50
-120
-40
freq, GHz
r
e
a
l
(
Z
(
1
,
1
)
)
m2
i
m
a
g
(
Z
(
1
,
1
)
)
m1
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 92
Example 5.1 Cont
The resonator design.
Vvar
VAR
VAR1
Vcontrol=0.2
Eqn
Var
C
C3
C=0.68 pF
L
L1
R=
L=10.0 nH
ParamSweep
Sweep1
Step=0.5
Stop=3
Start=0.0
SimInstanceName[6]=
SimInstanceName[5]=
SimInstanceName[4]=
SimInstanceName[3]=
SimInstanceName[2]=
SimInstanceName[1]="SP1"
SweepVar="Vcontrol"
PARAMETER SWEEP
L
L2
R=
L=33.0 nH
100pF_NPO_0603
C2
V_DC
SRC1
Vdc=Vcontrol V
S_Param
SP1
Step=1.0 MHz
Stop=1.0 GHz
Start=0.7 GHz
S-PARAMETERS
BB833_SOD323
D1
Term
Term1
Z=50 Ohm
Num=1
47
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 93
Example 5.1 Cont
The resonator reactance.
m1
freq=
m1=64.725
Vcontrol=0.000000
882.0MHz
0.75 0.80 0.85 0.90 0.95 0.70 1.00
20
40
60
80
100
0
120
freq, GHz
i
m
a
g
(
Z
(
1
,
1
)
)
m1
-
i
m
a
g
(
V
C
O
_
a
c
.
.
Z
(
1
,
1
)
)
Resonator
reactance
as a function of
control voltage
The theoretical tuning
range
-X
1
of the destabilized amplifier
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 94
Example 5.1 Cont
The complete schematic with the harmonic suppression filter.
Vvar
b82496c3120j000
L3
param=SIMID 0603-C (12 nH +-5%)
b82496c3100j000
L1
param=SIMID 0603-C (10 nH +-5%)
b82496c3330j000
L2
param=SIMID 0603-C (33 nH +-5%)
R
R1
R=100 Ohm
100pF_NPO_0603
C4
b82496c3150j000
L4
param=SIMID 0603-C (15 nH +-5%)
0_47pF_NPO_0603
C9
R
RL
R=100 Ohm 2_7pF_NPO_0603
C8
100pF_NPO_0603
Cc2
pb_phl_BFR92A_19921214
Q1
Tran
Tran1
MaxTimeStep=1.0 nsec
StopTime=1000.0 nsec
TRANSIENT
DC
DC1
DC
C
C7
C=3.3 pF
C
C6
C=2.2 pF
V_DC
SRC2
Vdc=1.2 V
C
C5
C=0.68 pF
BB833_SOD323
D1
VtPWL
Src_trigger
V_Tran=pwl(time, 0ns,0V, 1ns,0.1V, 2ns,0V)
t
4_7pF_NPO_0603
Cc1
R
RE
R=100 Ohm
V_DC
SRC1
Vdc=3.3 V
R
RB
R=33 kOhm
Low-pass filter
48
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 95
Example 5.1 Cont
The prototype and the result captured from a spectrum analyzer (9 kHz
to 3 GHz).
VCO
Harmonic
suppression filter Fundamental
-1.5 dBm
- 30 dBm
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 96
Example 5.1 Cont
Examining the phase noise of the oscillator (of course the accuracy is
limited by the stability of the spectrum analyzer used).
300Hz
Span = 500 kHz
RBW = 300 Hz
VBW = 300 Hz
-0.42 dBm
49
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 97
Example 5.1 Cont
VCO gain (k
o
) measurement setup:
Spectrum
Analyzer
Vvar
Port
Vout
Num=2
Port
Vcontrol
Num=1
R
Rcontrol
R=1000 Ohm
R
Rattn
R=50 Ohm
b82496c3120j000
L3
param=SIMID 0603-C (12 nH +-5%)
b82496c3100j000
L1
param=SIMID 0603-C (10 nH +-5%)
b82496c3150j000
L4
param=SIMID 0603-C (15 nH +-5%)
0_47pF_NPO_0603
C9
2_7pF_NPO_0603
C8
100pF_NPO_0603
Cc2
pb_phl_BFR92A_19921214
Q1
C
C7
C=3.3 pF
C
C6
C=2.2 pF
C
C5
C=0.68 pF
BB833_SOD323
D1
4_7pF_NPO_0603
Cc1
R
RE
R=100 Ohm
V_DC
SRC1
Vdc=3.3 V
R
RB
R=33 kOhm
Variable
power
supply
April 2012 2006 by Fabian Kung Wai Lee 98
Example 5.1 Cont
Measured results:
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0
750
800
850
900
950
f
VCO
/ MHz
V
control
/Volts
MHz/Volt 74 . 40
Volt 35 . 1
MHz 55
=
o
k MHz/Volt 74 . 40
Volt 35 . 1
MHz 55
=
o
k