Low Power Merged LNA and Mixer Design for Medical Implant Communication Services

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Virginia Tech

The FCC allocated the spectrum of 402-405 MHz for MICS (Medical Implant Communication Services) applications in 1999. The regulations for MICS band apply to devices that support the diagnostic and/or therapeutic functions associated with implanted medical electronics. The implanted devices aid organs and control body functions of patients to support specific treatments, and monitor patients continuously so that necessary action can be taken in advance to avoid serious conditions. To enable to use MICS applications, several requirements must be satisfied. An implanted wireless device should have a small size, consume ultra-low power, and achieve the date rate of at least 200 kbps within 2 m distance. The major challenge is to realize ultra-low power devices. Thus the low-power design of the RF circuit is crucial for MICS applications as the power consumption of the wireless devices is mostly contributed by RF circuits.

This thesis investigates low-power design of an LNA and a down-conversion mixer of a receiver for MICS applications. The key idea is to stack an LNA and a mixer, while the LNA operates in the normal super-threshold region and the mixer in the sub-threshold region. In addition, a gm-boosting technique with a capacitor cross-coupled at the LNA input stage is also adopted to achieve a low noise figure (NF) and high linearity, which is critical to the overall performance of the receiver. The mixer operating in the sub-threshold region significantly reduces power dissipation and relaxes the voltage headroom without sacrificing the LNA performance. The relaxed voltage headroom enables stack of the LNA and the mixer with a low supply voltage of 1.2 V. The proposed circuit is designed in 0.18 μm RF CMOS technology. The merged LNA and mixer consumes only 1.83 mW, and achieves 21.6 dB power gain. The NF of the block is 3.55 dB at 1 MHz IF, and the IIP3 is -6.08 dBm.

Wireless Body Area Network, Medical Implant Communication Services, Receiver, Low Noise Amplifier, Down-conversion Mixer, Sub-threshold Inversion