Digital enhancement techniques for data converters in scaled CMOS technologies



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This thesis presents digital enhancement techniques for data converters in advanced technology nodes. With technology scaling, traditional voltage-domain (VD) analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) face two major challenges: (1) reduction of dynamic range due to supply voltage scaling, and (2) decrease in intrinsic gain of transistors which makes high gain amplifier design tough. To address these challenges, a two-stage ADC architecture is presented which uses time-domain quantization to exploit the advantages of technology scaling. The architecture, consisting of a first stage successive approximation register (SAR) and a second stage ring oscillator, is highly digital and scaling friendly. Two prototypes have been developed to validate the proposed architecture. The 40nm CMOS prototype achieves 75.7 dB dynamic range at an excellent Schreier figure-of-merit of 172.2 dB. The proposed architecture has been extended to a capacitance-to-digital converter and a prototype has been developed in 40nm CMOS. The prototype can sense capacitances with a resolution of 1.3fF and has a Walden figure-of-merit of 60 fJ/step which is more than two times better than the current state-of-the-art. This thesis also presents digital techniques to improve performance of continuous-time(CT), delta-sigma digital-to-analog converters (DACs). Recently, CT delta-sigma DACs have received more attention than their discrete, switched-capacitor counterpart mainly because of low power and/or higher speed of operation. However, a critical disadvantage of CT, delta-sigma DACs is their greatly increased sensitivity to inter-symbol interference (ISI) error. To address this shortcoming of CT DACs, this thesis presents several algorithms that can mitigate ISI error simultaneously with static mismatch error. Further, the proposed algorithms are fully digital in nature and as such, are best poised to take maximum advantage of technology scaling. Thus, the techniques presented in this thesis will be important enabling factors in raising the envelope of performance of CT delta-sigma DACs in advanced technology nodes.