Mixed Signal Letter

Analog Integrated Circuits and Signal Processing

, Volume 66, Issue 2, pp 269-275

First online:

A new robust capacitively coupled second harmonic quadrature LC oscillator

  • Emad EbrahimiAffiliated withDepartment of Electrical Engineering, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad Email author 
  • , Sasan NasehAffiliated withDepartment of Electrical Engineering, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad

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A study of some reported superharmonic LC quadrature voltage-controlled oscillator (LC-QVCO) is performed in which it is shown that robustness of the quadrature oscillation varies depending on the coupling configuration. Next, a new superharmonic LC-QVCO is proposed in which the common source node in either of two identical cross-connected LC-VCOs is coupled via a capacitor to the node common between the two varactors in the LC-tank of the other LC-VCO. As a result of connecting common mode nodes, the currents flowing through the two coupling capacitors are comprised of only the even harmonics. In the proposed coupling configuration there exists a closed loop through which the second harmonic signals circulate. A qualitative argument is presented to justify the robustness of the quadrature nature of the proposed QVCO by applying the Barkhausen phase criterion to the second harmonic signals in the loop. Since the coupling devices are only two capacitors, no extra noise sources and power consumption are added to the core VCOs. A Monte-Carlo simulation showed that the phase error of the proposed QVCO caused by device mismatches is no more than 1°. Also, generalizing this method to several numbers of VCOs in a loop, multiphase signals can be generated. The proposed circuits were designed using a 0.18-μm RF CMOS technology and simulation results are presented.


LC quadrature voltage-controlled oscillators Low-phase noise Low-power Multiphase Quadrature robustness Superharmonic QVCO