24 GHz to 44 GHz wideband integrated upconverters and downconverters boost microwave radio performance while reducing size

January 02, 2020 // By James Wong, Kasey Chatzopoulos, and Murtaza Thahirally, Analog Devices, Inc.
24 GHz to 44 GHz wideband integrated upconverters and downconverters boost microwave radio performance while reducing size
Analog Devices launched a pair of highly integrated microwave upconverter and downconverter chips, the ADMV1013 and the ADMV1014, respectively. These ICs operate over a very wide frequency range with 50 Ω match from 24 GHz up to 44 GHz and can support more than 1 GHz instantaneous bandwidth. Performance attributes of the ADMV1013 and ADMV1014 ease the design and implementation of small 5G millimeter wave (mmW) platforms that cover the popular 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands in backhaul and fronthaul, as well as many other ultrawide bandwidth transmitter and receiver applications.

Each upconverter and downconverter chip is highly integrated (see Figure 1), comprised of in phase (I) and quadrature phase (Q) mixers with on-chip quadrature phase-shifter configurable for direct conversion to/from the baseband (operable from dc to 6 GHz) or to/from an intermediate frequency (IF) that can operate from 800 MHz to 6 GHz. The upconverter RF output has an on-chip transmit driver amplifier with a voltage variable attenuator (VVA), while the downconverter’s RF input contains a low noise amplifier (LNA) and gain stage with a VVA. Both chips’ local oscillator (LO) chain consists of an integrated LO buffer, a frequency quadrupler, and a programmable band-pass filter. Most of the programmability and calibration functions are controlled via an SPI interface, making the ICs easily software configurable to a performance level that is unmatched.

Figure 1: (a) (left) The ADMV1013 upconverter chip block diagram. (b) (right) The ADMV1014 downconverter chip block diagram.

An inside look at the ADMV1013 upconverter

The ADMV1013 offers two modes of frequency translation. One mode is direct upconversion from baseband I and Q to RF. In this I/Q mode, the baseband I and Q differential inputs can accept signals from dc up to 6 GHz, for instance, generated from a pair of high speed transmit digital-to-analog converters (DACs). These inputs have a configurable common-mode range from 0 V to 2.6 V; thus, they can accommodate the interface requirements of most DACs. So when a DAC with a certain common-mode voltage is chosen, the upconverter’s registers can be easily set to match the optimum bias for that VCM voltage, simplifying the interface design. The other mode is single-sideband upconversion to RF from complex IF inputs such as those signals generated by a quadrature digital upconverter device.

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