Low power VCO-based analog-to-digital conversion




Gupta, Amit Kumar

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This dissertation presents novel two stage ADC architecture with a VCO based second stage. With the scaling of the supply voltages in modern CMOS process it is difficult to design high gain operational amplifiers needed for traditional voltage domain two-stage analog to digital converters. However time resolution continues to improve with the advancement in CMOS technology making VCO-based ADC more attractive. The nonlinearity in voltage-to-frequency transfer function is the biggest challenge in design of VCO based ADC. The hybrid approach used in this work uses a voltage domain first stage to determine the most significant bits and uses a VCO based second stage to quantize the small residue obtained from first stage. The architecture relaxes the gain requirement on the the first stage opamp and also relaxes the linearity requirements on the second stage VCO. The prototype ADC built in 65nm CMOS process achieves 63.7dB SNDR in 10MHz bandwidth while only consuming 1.1mW of power. The performance of the prototype chip is comparable to the state-of-art in terms of figure-of-merit but this new architecture uses significantly less circuit area.



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