Broadband wireless communication systems demand power-efficient analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) in the GHz and medium resolution regime. While high-speed architectures such as the flash and pipelined ADCs are capable of GHz operations, their high-power consumption reduces their attractiveness for mobile applications. On the other hand, the successive-approximation-register (SAR) ADC has an excellent power efficiency, but its slow speed has traditionally limited it to MHz applications. This dissertation puts forth several novel techniques to significantly increase the speed and power efficiency of the SAR architecture and demonstrates them in a low-power 10-GHz SAR ADC suitable for broadband wireless communications. The proposed 8-bit, 10-GHz, 8× time-interleaved SAR ADC utilizes a constant-matching DAC with symmetrically grouped unit finger capacitors to maximize speed by reducing the total DAC capacitance to 32 fF and minimizing the bottom plate parasitic capacitance. The capacitance reduction also saves power as both the DAC size and the driving logic size are reduced. An optimized asynchronous comparator loop and smaller driver logic push the single channel speed of the SAR ADC to 1.25 GHz, thus minimizing the total number of timeinterleaved channels to 8 to reach 10 GHz. A dual-path bootstrapped switch improves the spurious-free dynamic range (SFDR) of the sampling by creating an auxiliary path to drive the non-linear N-well capacitance apart from the main signal path. Using these techniques, the ADC achieves a measured signal-to-noise-and-distortion ratio (SNDR) and SFDR of 36.9 dB and 59 dB, respectively with a Nyquist input while consuming 21 mW of power. The ADC demonstrates a record-breaking figure-of-merit of 37 fJ/conv.-step, which is more than 2× better than the next best published design, among reported ADCs of similar speeds and resolutions.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Electrical and Computer Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





SAR ADC, DAC, bootstrapped switch, time-interleaved



Included in

Engineering Commons