/Design of integrated DC-DC converters for wireless communication applications

Design of integrated DC-DC converters for wireless communication applications

PhD - Leuven | More than two weeks ago

You will design DC-DC converters and power regulators in an RF III-V process which will improve the overall efficiency of mm-wave communication transceivers.

With the venue of 5G and 6G communication standards, frequency spectrum in the mm-wave frequency range is being used to provide sufficient bandwidth for the targeted data rates. At these mm-wave frequencies, silicon technologies start to suffer to provide sufficient RF output power with a decent efficiency. Advanced III-V technologies are therefore being developed as they can provide more power with higher efficiency thanks to their high ft and fmax. In wireless communication transceivers, the power amplifier is not the only circuit block for which efficiency has to be optimized. For example, in portable user equipment, the power management to convert the battery voltage to a suitable voltage as required by the transceiver needs sufficient attention to provide a high overall system efficiency. This converter can be implemented in the power amplifier’s III-V technology, such as GaN. It is known that GaN devices are traditionally used in high-power, high-efficiency applications. Note that this power technology is not the same as the one that will be used here for RF transceivers. Indeed, RF GaN is focusing on ft and fmax at the expense of the very high breakdown voltages of the power devices.

During your PhD, you will be designing DC-DC converters in RF GaN for use in mm-wave transceivers. You will start by a literature study to review the current state of the art of integrated DC-DC converters. You will understand the requirements for the power supply and have a good understanding of the technologies’ features. This will not only include the active III-V devices. You will also have an insight on the available passives, both on chip and in the package. Based on this, you will come to an optimal architecture that you will design and implement. Your realizations will be beyond the current state of the art and will be published on international conferences and in international journals.

Required background: Analog/RF circuit design

Type of work: 10% literature, 30% architectural study, 50% IC design, 10% experimental measurements

Supervisor: Piet Wambacq

Daily advisor: Mark Ingels

The reference code for this position is 2023-087. Mention this reference code on your application form.

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