Design and implementation of Radix-3/Radix-2 based novel hybrid SAR ADC in scaled CMOS technologies
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis focuses on low power and high speed design techniques for successive approximation register (SAR) analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) in nanoscale CMOS technologies. SAR ADCs’ speed is limited by the number of bits of resolution. An N-bit conventional SAR ADC takes N conversion cycles. To speed up the conversion process, we introduce a radix-3 SAR ADC which can compute 1:6 bits per cycle. To our knowledge, it is the first fully programmable and efficiently hardware controlled radix-3 SAR ADC. We had to use two comparators per cycle due to ADC architecture and we proposed a simple calibration scheme for the comparators. Also, as the architecture of the DAC array is completely different from the architecture of conventional radix-2 SAR ADC’s DAC arrays, we came up with an algorithm for calibration of capacitors of the DAC. Low power SAR ADCs face two major challenges especially at high resolutions: (1) increased comparator power to suppress the noise, and (2) increased DAC switching energy due to the large DAC size. Due to our proposed architecture,the radix-3 SAR ADC uses two comparators per cycle and two differential DACs. To improve the comparator’s power efficiency, an efficient and low cost calibration technique has been introduced. It allows a low power and noisy comparator to achieve high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). To improve the DAC switching energy, we introduced a radix-3/radix-2 based novel hybrid SAR ADC. We use two single ended DACs for radix-3 SAR ADC and these two single ended DACs can be used as one differential DAC for radix-2 SAR ADC. So, overall, we only have a single DAC as conventional radix- 2 SAR ADC. In addition, a monotonic switching technique is adopted for radix-2 search to reduce the DAC capacitor size and hence, to reduce switching power. It can reduce the total number of unit capacitors by four times. Our proposed hybrid SAR ADC can achieve less DAC energy compared to radix-3 and radix-2 SAR ADCs. Also, to utilize technology scaling, we used the minimum capacitor size allowed by thermal noise limitations. To achieve high resolution, we introduced calibration algorithm for the DAC array. As mentioned earlier, the radix-3 SAR ADC offers higher power than conventional radix-2 SAR ADC because of simultaneous use of two comparators. In the proposed hybrid SAR ADC, we will be using radix-3 search for first few MSB bits. So, the resolution required for radix-3 comparators are much larger than the LSB value of 10-bit ADC. By implementing calibration of comparators, we can use low power, high input referred offset and high speed comparators for radix-3 search. Radix-2 search will be used for rest of the bits and the resolution of the radix-2 comparator has to be less than the required LSB value. So, a high power, low input referred offset and high speed comparator is used for radix-2 search. Also, we introduced clock gating for comparators. So, radix-3 comparators will not toggle during radix-2 search and the radix-2 comparators will be inactive during radix-3 search. By using the aforementioned techniques, the overall comparator power is definitely less than a radix-3 SAR ADC and comparable to a conventional radix-2 SAR ADC. A prototype radix-3/radix-2 based hybrid SAR ADC with the proposed technique is designed and fabricated in 40nm CMOS technology. It achieves an SNDR of 56.9 dB and consumes only 0.38 mW power at 30MS/s, leading to a Walden figure of merit of 21.5 fJ/conv-step.