This work discusses variations in phase noise over the tuning range of a completely integrated 1.9-GHz differential voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) fabricated in a 0.5-μm bipolar process with 25-GHz ft. The design had a phase noise of -103 dBc/Hz at 100 kHz offset at tbe top or the tuning range, but the noise performance degraded to -96 dBc/Hz at 100 kHz at the bottom of the tuning range. It was determined that nonlinearities of the on-chip varactors, which led to excessively high VCO gain at the bottom of the tuning range, were primarily responsible for this degradation in performance. The VCO has a power output of -5 dBm per side. Calculations predict phase noise with only a small error and provide design insight for minimizing this effect. The oscillator core drew 6.4 mA and the output buffer circuitry drew 6 mA, both from'a 3.3-V supply.

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Keywords Inductors, Phase noise, Resistance, Tuning, Varactors
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Rogers, J, Macedo, J.A. (Jose A.), & Plett, C. (2003). The effect of varactor nonlinearity on the phase noise of completely integrated VCOs. In Phase-Locking in High-Performance Systems: From Devices to Architectures (pp. 214–220). doi:10.1109/9780470545492.ch23

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