2011 Volume E94.C Issue 3 Pages 334-345
We propose a design optimization flow for a high-speed and low-power operational transconductance amplifier (OTA) using a gm/ID lookup table design methodology in scaled CMOS. This methodology advantages from using gm/ID as a primary design parameter to consider all operation regions including strong, moderate, and weak inversion regions, and enables the lowest power design. SPICE-based lookup table approach is employed to optimize the operation region specified by the gm/ID with sufficient accuracy for short-channel transistors. The optimized design flow features 1) a proposal of the worst-case design scenario for specification and gm/ID lookup table generations from worst-case SPICE simulations, 2) an optimization procedure accomplished by the combination of analytical and simulation-based approaches in order to eliminate tweaking of circuit parameters, and 3) an additional use of gm/ID subplots to take second-order effects into account. A gain-boosted folded-cascode OTA for a switched capacitor circuit is adopted as a target topology to explore the effectiveness of the proposed design methodology for a circuit with complex topology. Analytical expressions of the gain-boosted folded-cascode OTA in terms of DC gain, frequency response and output noise are presented, and detailed optimization of gm/IDs as well as circuit parameters are illustrated. The optimization flow is verified for the application to a residue amplifier in a 10-bit 125MS/s pipeline A/D converter implemented in a 0.18µm CMOS technology. The optimized circuit satisfies the required specification for all corner simulations without additional tweaking of circuit parameters. We finally explore the possibility of applying this design methodology as a technology migration tool, and illustrate the failure analysis by comparing the differences in the gm/ID characteristics.