Received: 3 December 2016 Revised: 9 June 2017 Accepted: 7 August 2017
67-90 GHz broadband power detector with 3 GHz output
bandwidth for on-chip test of millimeter-wave circuits
David del Rio
Ceit-IK4 Technology Center, 20018 San
Electrical, Electronic and Control
Engineering Department, Technological
Campus of University of Navarra
(Tecnun), 20018 San Sebastián, Spain
David del Rio, Ceit-IK4 Technology
Center, 20018 San Sebastián, Spain.
Basque Government, Grant/Award
Number: PI2013-13 ; European's
Community Framework Progam
FP7/2007-2013, Grant/Award Number:
This paper presents the design of a compact and wide bandwidth
millimeter-wave power detector, integrated at the output of an E-band power
amplifier and implemented in a 55-nm SiGe BiCMOS process. It is based on
a nonlinear PMOS detector core, and its measured output voltage tracks the
output power of the PA from 67 to 90 GHz. It provides an insertion loss lower
than 0.2 dB, and its responsivity can be tuned between 8 and 17 V/W. The
output bandwidth is bigger than 3 GHz, which allows built-in self-test when
transmitting multigigabit millimeter-wave signals.
built-in self-test, detectors, E-band, millimeter-wave integrated circuit
Developments in silicon based CMOS and BiCMOS technologies are making it possible to design high-performance
and cost-effective integrated circuits to operate at the millimeter-wave (mmW) range of the electromagnetic spectrum
(30-300 GHz). This has boosted research interest in mmW systems for a variety of applications, like high-data-rate and
short-distance communications in the unlicensed 60-GHz band
or medium/long distance point-to-point links at the
E-band (71-86 GHz) for future high-capacity backhaul networks.
To increase the maximum operation frequency of transistors, their physical dimensions are scaled down and the doping
densities are increased. This in turn has some associated drawbacks, such as lower operation voltages and higher sensi-
bility to process variations.
To address these issues, it is necessary to revisit some of the traditional design approaches
to implement high-performance circuits and achieve high manufacture yields.
A strategy that is gaining momentum
consists of implementing on-chip self-healing and built-in self-test (BIST) systems, which are able to sense several char-
acteristics of the circuit, as well as to react to optimize its performance by changing parameters like bias points and
configuration of matching networks.
A key element in such systems is the power detector, as it allows sensing the RF
power at critical nodes of the circuit, without requiring complex and costly test setups. Hence, great effort has been placed
on the design of integrated power detectors.
Desired characteristics of power detectors include low insertion loss, compact size, and broad bandwidth. Most of the
reported circuits successfully detect continuous wave (CW) or modulated signals with a narrow bandwidth. This is suffi-
cient to measure static characteristics like the 3-dB bandwidth or the compression point of the device under test. However,
for future high-speed links with data rates in the order of 10 Gbps, it is required that the power detector is able to sense
modulated signals with a bandwidth of at least 2 GHz, which is not typically achieved by previously reported detectors.
366 Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/cta Int J Circ Theor Appl. 2018;46:366–374.