Circuits, Systems, and Signal Processing

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 499–523 | Cite as

Piecewise Nonlinear Approach to the Implementation of Nonlinear Current Transfer Functions

  • Chunyan WangEmail author


A piecewise nonlinear approach to the nonlinear circuit design has been proposed in this paper. It is to approximate a target nonlinear transfer function by a particular combination of selected nonlinear pieces. The pieces can be produced by one or more analog blocks involving nonlinear devices. This approach can be applied to design nonlinear circuits to implement various current transfer functions. By controlling the operation modes of the transistor pair in a simple current mirror, one can modulate the current transfer function in a radical or fine-tuning manner. It is thus possible for the same current mirror to generate very different nonlinear pieces in different sections of its input range. In order that the control is done automatically by the input current, or in other words, the operation of the transistors is made to be input-current-dependent in a controlled manner, a series structure of two transistors has been proposed to be incorporated in the current mirror. The dependency can be made different by placing the structure in different places of the current mirror and/or by making the two transistors complementary or not, which makes the variations of the nonlinear function. Several current mirrors have been designed. Each of them consists of a very small number of transistors and performs a defined nonlinear current transfer function. The circuits have been simulated with HSPICE to validate the functions. The successful results have been obtained and are presented in the paper.


Analog integrated circuits Current transfer functions Nonlinear circuit design Piecewise nonlinear approximation 



This work was supported in part by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada and in part by the Regroupement Stratégique en Microélectronique du Québec (ReSMiQ).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Signal Processing and Communications, Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringConcordia UniversityMontréalCanada

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