This paper describes the design and experimental evaluation of a multibit Sigma-Delta (ΣΔ) modulator (ΣΔM) with enhanced dynamic range (DR) through the use of nonlinear digital-to-analog converters (DACs) in the feedback paths. This nonlinearity imposes a trade-off between DR and distortion, which is well suited to the intended hearing aid application. The modulator proposed here uses a fully-differential self-biased amplifier and a 4-bit quantizer based on fully dynamic comparators employing MOS parametric pre-amplification to improve both energy and area efficiencies. A test chip was fabricated in a 130 nm digital CMOS technology, which includes the proposed modulator with nonlinear DACs and a modulator with conventional linear DACs, for comparison purposes. The measured results show that the ΣΔM using nonlinear DACs achieves an enhancement of the DR around 8.4 dB (to 91.4 dB). Power dissipation and silicon area are about the same for the two cases. The performance achieved is comparable to that of the best reported multibit ΣΔ ADCs, with the advantage of occupying less silicon area (7.5 times lower area when compared with the most energy efficient ΣΔM).
Abstract-This paper presents the possibility of employing nonlinear low-resolution DACs in the feedback paths of multi-bit second-order Sigma-Delta modulators. The proposed technique is particularly attractive in applications such as hearing aids, requiring a very large dynamic range and medium signal-tonoise-plus-distortion-ratio. As demonstrated through simulated results in which noise and mismatch effects are included, for the same over-sampling ratio, improvements in the order of 6-to-9 dB in the dynamic range can be achieved when comparing with the same topology employing linear-DACs.
Abstract.A CMOS self-biased fully differential amplifier is presented. Due to the self-biasing structure of the amplifier and its associated negative feedback, the amplifier is compensated to achieve low sensitivity to process, supply voltage and temperature (PVT) variations. The output common-mode voltage of the amplifier is adjusted through the same biasing voltages provided by the common-mode feedback (CMFB) circuit. The amplifier core is based on a simple structure that uses two CMOS inverters to amplify the input differential signal. Despite its simple structure, the proposed amplifier is attractive to a wide range of applications, specially those requiring low power and small silicon area. As two examples, a sample-and-hold circuit and a second order multi-bit sigmadelta modulator either employing the proposed amplifier are presented. Besides these application examples, a set of amplifier performance parameters is given.
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