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Ultra-Wideband Voltage Controlled Oscillator


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Microelectronics The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. OBJECTIVE: To ensure maximum adjustability and design reuse for different applications, the DoD is seeking a low power (< 30mA @ 3V), US-sourced, ultra-wideband voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO). This VCO shall be designed to work over the military temperature range (-55 C to 125 C). The VCO shall also seek to have a selectable operating range via programmable pins. DESCRIPTION: Fuzing applications that employ height of burst (HOB) sensors utilize specialized chipsets that set the operating range and output power for these systems. Different applications require specific parameters given operational environments, input power, form factor, etc. To ensure maximum adjustability and design reuse for different applications, the DoD is seeking a low power (< 30mA @ 3V), US- sourced, ultra-wideband voltage controlled oscillator (VCO). This VCO shall be designed to work over the military temperature range (-55 C to 125 C). Much research has been done on VCO design and architectures to increase its figure of merit (FOMT) when considering frequency tuning range (FTR), power dissipation (PD) and phase noise (PN) [1,2], while exhibiting a tuning frequency range of 8.86-13.4 GHz [2]. Also, some research work has been done on VCOs with variable center frequency architectures and any performance tradeoffs associated with it [3]. PHASE I: Conduct a feasibility study of the design tradeoffs of an ultra-wideband VCO with a tunable frequency range of 4-12 GHz, (range, 2x the minimum frequency). State of the art VCOs typically exhibit a tunable range of about 1x the minimum frequency [4, 5]. The VCO should target a tuning sensitivity of 50MHz/V per step across 0-3.3V, power dissipation to be less than 315 mW at 85C and single side band (SSB) phase noise @ 100 kHz offset to be less than -93 dBc/Hz at each center frequency. VCO architecture decisions and semiconductor manufacturing choices must be defended based on the given specifications for this VCO and cost considerations. The study should define the appropriate electronic design automation (EDA) tools for design, simulation, layout and physical verification, and the ability to access these EDA tools. Specifying important semiconductor process parameters, devices and characteristics shall be identified when targeting a semiconductor process. Access to targeted semiconductor processes and their process design kits (PDK’s) shall be noted. The challenges and any special considerations for testing this ultra wide-band VCO shall be addressed. Respondents shall deliver a report that satisfies all of the requirements outlined in Phase I. If any of the above items cannot be fully addressed in the Phase I feasibility report, the report must include relevant research and justification for their inapplicability. PHASE II: Build, test and deliver a fully functional ultra-wideband VCO prototype based on the design developed in Phase I. Demonstrate the capability over the full range of the selection range while adhering to the specifications outlined in Phase I. Circuit and layout design reviews shall be held to ensure specification compliance and review any tradeoffs. Documentation of circuit and layout reviews shall be delivered. Production yields shall be considered to keep costs low with commercialization a viable option. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: This technology could be utilized for countless other DoD and commercial communications applications. REFERENCES: 1. Chien-Cheng Wei et al, “An Ultra-Wideband CMOS VCO with 3~5GHz Tuning Range”, IEEE International Workshop on Radio-Frequency Integration Technology, 2005 2. Juan Du at el, “An Ultra-Wideband VCO Using Digitally Controlled Varactor Arrays in 40-nm CMOS Technology” 2021 IEEE MTT-S International Wireless Symposium, 2021 3. Aditya Billor et al, “Low power design of variable center frequency CMOS VCO”, International Journal of Electronics, Dec 2007 4. Analog Devices, “ADF5709 9.85 GHz to 20.5 Hz Wideband, MMIC VCO Datasheet”, 2020 5. Analog Devices (Hittite Microwave Corp), “HMC732LC4B Wideband MMIC VCO with Buffer Amplifier 6-12 GHz Datasheet”, 2011 KEYWORDS: Voltage-Controlled Oscillator
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