A 0.2-V Energy-Harvesting BLE Transmitter with a Micropower Manager Achieving 25% System Efficiency at 0-dBm Output and 5.2-nW Sleep Power in 28nm CMOS

By Prof. Pui-In (Elvis) Mak, Associate Director (Research), State Key Laboratory of Analog and Mixed-Signal VLSI, University of Macau

 :  18 Jan 2019 (Fri)
 :  4:00 - 5:30pm
Venue  :  Rm2463, 2/F (Lift 25, 26), Academic Building, HKUST


This seminar presents an ultra-low-voltage (ULV) energy-harvesting Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) transmitter (TX). It features: 1) a fully-integrated micropower manager (µPM) to customize the internal supply and bias voltages for both active and sleep modes; 2) a gate-to-source-coupling ULV voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) using a high-ratio (5.6:1) stacking transformer to improve the phase noise and output swing; 3) an ULV class-E/F2 power amplifier (PA) with an inside-transformer LC notch to suppress the HD3, and finally 4) an analog type-I phase-locked loop (PLL) with a reduced duty cycle of its master-slave sampling filter (MSSF) to suppress the jitter and reference spur. The TX prototyped in 28-nm CMOS occupies an active area of 0.53 mm2 and exhibits a 25% system efficiency at 0-dBm output at a single 0.2-V supply. Without resorting from any external components, both the output HD2 (-49.6 dBm) and HD3 (-47.4 dBm) comply with the BLE standard. The FSK error is 2.84% and the frequency drift in a 425-µs data packet is <5 kHz under open-loop modulation. The use of negative-voltage power gating suppresses the sleep power of the entire TX to 5.2 nW.


Pui-In (Elvis) Mak received the Ph.D. degree from University of Macau (UM), Macao, China, in 2006. He is currently Full Professor at UM Faculty of Science and Technology – ECE, and Associate Director (Research) at the UM State Key Laboratory of Analog and Mixed-Signal VLSI. His research interests are on analog and radio-frequency (RF) circuits and systems for wireless and multidisciplinary innovations.

He is currently the Associate Editor of IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits (’18-) and IEEE Solid-State Circuits Letters (’17-). He is/was the TPC Member of A-SSCC (’13-’16),  ESSCIRC (’16-’17) and ISSCC (’17-’19). He is/was Distinguished Lecturer of IEEE Circuits and Systems Society (’14-’15) and IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society (’17-’18). He was inducted as an Overseas Expert of the Chinese Academy of Sciences since 2018. He is a Fellow of the IET and IEEE.