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A 6-Bit 0.13 μm SiGe BiCMOS Digital Step Attenuator with Low Phase Variation for K-Band Applications

Institute of Microelectronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing Key Laboratory of Radio Frequency IC Technology for Next Generation Communications, Beijing 100029, China
Institute of Microelectronics, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), 19A Yuquan Rd., Shijingshan District, Beijing 100049, China
COMSATS University, Wah Campus G. T. Road, Wah Cantt 47040, Pakistan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Electronics 2018, 7(5), 74;
Received: 29 March 2018 / Revised: 3 May 2018 / Accepted: 7 May 2018 / Published: 17 May 2018
PDF [3821 KB, uploaded 17 May 2018]


This paper presents the design and measuring of a 6-bit SiGe BiCMOS digital step attenuator, with a maximum attenuation of 31.5 dB, and with 0.5 dB steps (64 states) that have the lowest RMS amplitude error and a low phase variation. To alleviate the large phase variation of the conventional attenuator at a higher frequency, the proposed attenuator utilizes a phase compensation circuit. The phase compensation circuit consists of a 2nd order low pass phase correction network, stacked in parallel to the switched π/T structure of each attenuation module. An attenuator with a phase compensation network shows a root mean square (RMS) amplitude error less than 0.43 dB, and the RMS insertion phase deviation varying from 1.6° to 4.2° over 20–24 GHz. The measured insertion loss is 21.9 dB and the input P1dB is 14.03 dBm at 22 GHz. Our confidence regarding the obtained results stems from a comparison of simulations, carried out using Cadence Virtuoso, and physical measurements using a network analyzer (also presented). The proposed attenuator’s design has a 0.13 μm SiGe BiCMOS process, with an approximate occupied area of 1.92 × 0.4 mm2 including chip pads. View Full-Text
Keywords: digital attenuator; CMOS; K-band; SiGe; phase correction; RMS errors digital attenuator; CMOS; K-band; SiGe; phase correction; RMS errors

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Sarfraz, M.M.; Ullah, F.; Wang, M.; Zhang, H.; Liu, Y. A 6-Bit 0.13 μm SiGe BiCMOS Digital Step Attenuator with Low Phase Variation for K-Band Applications. Electronics 2018, 7, 74.

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