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About this book

This book examines the challenges of low-noise amplifier (LNA) research and design in the millimeter-wave regime by dissecting the common LNA configurations and typical specifications into parts, which are then optimized separately over several chapters to suggest improvements in the current designs. It provides extensive theoretical background information on both millimeter-wave operation and LNA operations, and then describes passive components that make these LNAs possible, as well as broadband configurations and optimization techniques. The book is intended for researchers, circuit designers and practicing engineers.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Introduction and Research Impact

The opening chapter of this book seeks a research gap in the context of LNAs for millimeter-wave applications. It is organized as follows: LNA as a part of the millimeter-wave transceiver system are introduced. Following this introduction, some fundamental LNA concepts are presented, which aim to assist in defining a research gap relating to this topic. This serves as an aid in formulating research questions that are to be answered throughout the book. The chapter is concluded with the section on the organization of the book. As this chapter is merely an introduction, many concepts mentioned here will become more clear only later in the book.

Mladen Božanić, Saurabh Sinha

Research Contextualization: Dissecting the Low-Noise Amplifier—A Sum of Parts


Chapter 2. Specification-Governed Telecommunication and High-Frequency-Electronics Aspects of Low-Noise Amplifier Research

The first part of this chapter focuses on placing millimeter-wave research in the context of telecommunication. The second part focuses more strongly on some high-frequency amplifier electronics that were neglected in Chap. 1. In essence, this chapter aims to illustrate the convergence of communications, circuits and antennas, which is necessary in millimeter-wave LNA research. These apparently unrelated aspects of LNA research can furthermore be treated in a single chapter because they set the research constraints (i.e., result in design specifications). For example, there may be a requirement for a 60 GHz communication network deploying a certain type of modulation, but with a particular gain and noise figure; this, once again, illustrates the multidisciplinary nature of LNA research.

Mladen Božanić, Saurabh Sinha

Chapter 3. Technologies for Low-Noise Amplifiers in the Millimeter-Wave Regime

This chapter expands the research contextualization elaborated in previous chapters, towards the millimeter-wave device technologies. It is divided into two parts. The first part conducts research into solid-state device technologies that meet the requirements for millimeter-wave LNA applications, namely HEMT, CMOS/BiCMOS and HBT devices. The second part focuses on transistor modeling in different technologies: even though this might appear to be a separate topic, modeling is closely related to transistor technology.

Mladen Božanić, Saurabh Sinha

Chapter 4. Passives for Low-Noise Amplifiers

This chapter looks at numerous alternatives for implementing passive components. It covers the basic theory of transmission lines and illustrate how transmission-line terminations can be used to turn the line into a resistive, capacitive or inductive distributed element. Various lumped topologies for resistors, capacitors and inductors are discussed in detail, whether implemented on chip, on package, or discreetly. Active alternatives for implementation of passives is also considered. Emerging technologies for the implementation of passives, such as micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) or other fabrication methods are also mentioned. In view of its importance for LNA design, a substantial portion of this chapter is dedicated to different inductor implementations and modeling of inductors.

Mladen Božanić, Saurabh Sinha

Chapter 5. General Low-Noise Amplifiers

In this chapter the theory and mathematics of general LNAs are explored. This is the first chapter in which practical LNA configurations are explored in detail, whereas previous chapters served as a build-up towards this chapter, describing the background of millimeter-wave research, amplifier design, semiconductor technologies and active and passive devices. This chapter opens with a short discussion on the research, design and development considerations for millimeter-wave applications, mostly as a summary of the research from previous chapters. In the rest of the chapter, some of the most popular LNA topologies are introduced, described and compared against one another. Single-ended and differential configurations are treated separately because of their fundamental differences. Specific challenges associated with millimeter-wave design for different topologies are discussed in more detail as the chapter progresses.

Mladen Božanić, Saurabh Sinha

Chapter 6. Broadband Low-Noise Amplifiers

Although some configurations were already mentioned in Chap. 5 (mostly, feedback configurations), the techniques to turn narrowband LNAs into broadband LNAs are the topic of this chapter. The chapter opens with a discussion of some popular RF broadband topologies, their general circuit diagrams and their advantages and disadvantages. Where applicable, a mathematical explanation of the circuit operation are given, before extending the circuit operation into the millimeter-wave domain with its unique challenges (which were already discussed in Chap. 5 and are still applicable). Broadband matching techniques are also discussed. Finally, the chapter ends with some more examples of broadband topologies.

Mladen Božanić, Saurabh Sinha

Research Execution: State-of-the-Art Low-Noise Amplifiers, Techniques for of Optimization of Low-Noise Amplifier Parts

Chapter 7. State-of-the-Art Low-Noise Amplifiers in the Millimeter-Wave Regime

While the previous chapters (Part I) encompassed LNAs operating in different regimes, not only the millimeter-wave, this chapter focuses on state-of-the-art LNAs for millimeter-wave applications only. A number of configurations published in the last five to ten years are explored, with the emphasis on their advantages over other published works, as well as disadvantages and the identification of their weaknesses. Suggestions for improvement of some configurations are listed as the chapter progresses; however, ways to optimize LNAs and their components will be discussed in detail in two more chapters, Chaps. 8 and 9, with some final remarks left for Chap. 10.

Mladen Božanić, Saurabh Sinha

Chapter 8. Advanced Low-Noise Amplifier Optimization Topics

This chapter deals with advanced LNA optimization topics. It opens with some general considerations that need to be understood and addressed early in the LNA design flow as a first step in reaching optimum LNA operation. The second part of the chapter deals with LNA optimization through improved packaging. Advanced fabrication technologies is discussed in the third part. Some attempts at minimizing the passive parasitic effects and increasing the Q-factors of passives that can be proposed for the millimeter-wave frequency are considered in the fourth part of the chapter.

Mladen Božanić, Saurabh Sinha

Chapter 9. Low-Noise Amplifier Optimization via Electronic Design Automation

This chapter starts with a short introduction on the current state of EDA tools and their description, an extension on the discussion in Chap. 1. The rest of the chapter then deals with optimum design of passives, LNAs and receivers. The design of LNAs, like that of any other circuits, will remain a highly iterative procedure. However, at the end of this book, in Chap. 10, an updated improved procedure combining the LNA design approaches taken throughout this chapter, and based on the findings of this book, will be proposed. An illustration of some EDA efforts is given, using snippets of scripts developed in MATLAB.

Mladen Božanić, Saurabh Sinha

Chapter 10. Evaluation of the Hypothesis and Research Questions, Final Remarks and Future Research

This is the concluding chapter of this book and the hypothesis proposed in Chap. 1 is critically evaluated and the research questions are answered. The chapter also looks at the remaining research gaps and the opportunities for LNA enhancement, as well as future directions. In the concluding section, the authors’ own proposal for a streamlined LNA design is given.

Mladen Božanić, Saurabh Sinha
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