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Modular baseband pulse generator for

impulse-radio ultra-wideband transmitter


I. Barraj, H. Trabelsi, W. Rahajandraibe and M. Masmoudi
A new concept of burst generator architecture dedicated to impulseradio ultra-wideband wireless communication systems is presented.
Bursts are generated by using four elementary baseband pulse generators operating in parallel. Thus, the resulting waveform is the amplitude
and phase addition of time-overlapped pulses. The circuit has been
implemented in 65 nm CMOS technology under a 1.2 V supply
voltage. Simulation results are presented exhibiting a power consumption of 7.24 mW.

baseband pulses with their associated width and current amplitude.


The generated pulses by each BPG are rst BPSK modulated and
then combined at the output stage to carry out the corresponding
burst. Finally, the current resulting burst is converted to voltage
output through a feedback transimpedance amplier (TIA).
En trigger

t
E1

Proposed pulse/burst generator: Several IR-UWB pulse generators


have been presented in recent publications including novel solutions
for impulse generation and burst synthesis. The performances of
these generators depend on the lter design because an improper ltering leads neither to a well-shaped transmitted signal nor to an exact
499.2 MHz bandwidth. To avoid the use of a LPF after the BPG, a
new BBG architecture is proposed. A block diagram of the proposed
BBG is shown in Fig. 1. It is implemented as a set of four BPSK modulated BPGs in parallel, allowing the data to be clocked in as four staggered symbols of a 125 MHz clock. Thus, four symbols must be
generated to transmit on every active transmit cycle. Hence, the resulting
waveform is the amplitude and phase addition of time-overlapped
pulses. Therefore, the proposed BBG is able to generate BPSK modulated pulses with a duration >2 ns that respects the standard maximum
PRP of 500 MHz. The number of BPGs in parallel depends on the baseband UWB wavelet. A new approach to the signal form has been developed in [3]. The proposed pulse, named bipolar triangular (Bi-tri) shape
consists in adding a negative triangular part to the triangular pulse of low
amplitude compared with the positive pulse (in absolute value) and a
smaller duration as shown in Fig. 2. The Bi-tri pulse allows obtaining
a more attened spectrum, ensuring a better spectral occupancy specifically at 3 dB. This increases the spectral efciency from 58% for the
triangular one to 78.8% for the Bi-tri. Thus, the Bi-tri is adopted. To
satisfy the IEEE 802.15.4a mask constraints, a Bi-tri pulse duration of
4.76 ns is required. Thus to generate compatible bursts, four BPGs in
parallel are required. The proposed BBG is based on the differential
architecture, as its outputs will be applied to the up-conversion mixer.
It works with three successive functions. The rst one is to generate

BPSK
modulator

pol_2

T1

t
E2

Introduction: The IEEE 802.15.4a standard is intended to support lowcomplexity, low-power, low-cost and longer-range radio communications for low data rate impulse-radio ultra-wideband (IR-UWB) transceivers. In these systems, the design of the pulse generator is critical
because of the following issues: (i) the pulse power spectral density
(PSD) must t the channel spectrum mask dened in the standard
draft, as closely as possible to optimise the emitted power [1] and (ii)
the system integration should ensure a trade-off between circuit complexity, low power and spectral efciency. The standard species a communication with the bursts of impulses and uses binary phase shift
keying (BPSK) modulation to transmit the chip within the burst. The
chip duration (Tc) is 2 ns. Hence, pulses are always clocked at a peak
pulse repetition frequency (PRF) of 499.2 MHz regardless of the
pulse duration, which depends on the pulse wavelet and the channel
bandwidth. For a conventional IEEE 802.15.4a standard, compliant
transmitter is based on carrier architecture. It consists of a baseband
burst generator (BBG), a frequency synthesiser, an up-conversion
mixer and a driver amplier. The required pulse duration for candidates
wavelets is more than 2 ns. As a result, to transmit data in 2 ns width
pulse slots, the baseband burst generator can be reduced to a baseband
BPSK modulated pulse generator (BPG) with a pulse duration of 2 ns,
added with a lowpass lter shaping (LPF). This leads to violation of
the channel spectrum mask, resulting in poor system efciency. In
addition, the use of a LPF leads to: (a) a high-power consumption of
the overall transmitter, it can reach 142 mW in [2], and (b) a large
silicon area due to the use of inductors for their implementation.
In this Letter, a novel approach of burst generation based on temporal
overlap using four elementary pulse generators operating in parallel,
without the use of an additional lter, is proposed. This allowed generation of bursts compatible with the physical layer of the IEEE 802.15.4a
standard while ensuring low complexity and better energy efciency.

pol_1
PG cell 1

BPSK
modulator

PG cell 2
tt

t
T2

I+

pol_3

TIA

BPSK
modulator

PG cell 3
t

P+

pol_4

T3
E3
delay cell

BPSK
modulator

PG cell 4
BPG

Fig. 1 Proposed BBG architecture


ton
En

t=0s

t=8s

t = 16 s

trigger
tt
E1

tt

t=2s

E2

t = 18 s
t = 10 s

T1
t=4s

t = 12 s

t = 20 s

T2
E3

t=6s

t = 14 s

t = 22 s

T3
PG1
PG2
PG3
PG4

Fig. 2 Timming chart of control signals

Enable (En), polarity (Pol_1, 2, 3, 4) and trigger are control signal


issues from the baseband processing signal. The En signal is used to
activate the pulse generator only during burst emission, where the
polarity signal presents the data. Once enabled, at each rising edge of
the trigger, a baseband pulse is generated by the corresponding PG
cell. The frequency of the trigger is 125 MHz, which is four times
lower than the frequency of the peak PRF. Delay cells generate
delayed En and Trigger signals and their delay time is t equals to Tc.
As En and Trigger control the PG cell 1, their delay clocks control
the PG cells: 2, 3 and 4, ensuring synchronisation of the timing interface
between the four PG cells. So that, at every 2 ns, a Bi-tri pulse is carried
out as shown in Fig 2. The pulse generator strobe En shall be active at a
pre-programmed time (ton) in advance of the Trigger and the pol_pg1, 2,
3, 4 lines to allow relevant circuits to stabilise.
Baseband pulse generator: To satisfy low-power dissipation and accuracy in pulse shape simultaneously, a digital envelope of the shape
is considered. This makes it easy to combine pulses later at the output
stage. In addition, using digital control contributes to tolerance of
process and temperature deviations and thus enables precise pulse generation. The architecture of the BPG is depicted in Fig 3. The pulse generation principle consists of generating rst a DC-current reference (Iref ),
then generating sampled differentials pulses with their associated width
and current amplitude. According to the input data (pol_i, i {1, 2, 3,
4}), this latter is BPSK modulated. The sampled current pulse levels are
obtained by current sum or current subtraction of the Iref current and the
switched current source output, during the corresponding sampled
period. Four PMOS and NMOS current cells with different current
levels are used, ensuring positive and negative current alternations,
respectively. The current cell consists of an analogue CMOS transmission gate as a switch and a current source. As the output current is
determined by the current sources through the transmission gates, by
adjusting the switching sequences of the current cells, the preferred
output can be formed. The switching sequence is shown in Fig. 3.

ELECTRONICS LETTERS 17th September 2015 Vol. 51 No. 19 pp. 15501552

The BPSK modulator is implemented using a series of switches after the


PG controlled by the Pol_i data signal. The switches are implemented
using NMOS transmission gates.
PMOS current mirror
Pol_i
I2p

I1p

I3p

I4p

Ip_i
Pol_i

Iref
current
reference
generator

Pol_i
Iref
In_i
Pol_i
I1n

I2n

I3n

I4n

BPSK
modulator

NMOS current mirror

PG_cell

centre frequencies of 3494.4, 3993.6 and 4492.8 MHz. For these channels, in order to respect the standard emission mask, the emitted spectrum should have at most bandwidths of 650 at 10 and 800 MHz at
18 dB. To satisfy the mask constraints, a Bi-tri pulse duration of
4.76 ns is required where the widths of the positive and negative
pulses are 3.4 and 1.76 ns, respectively. The generated baseband
burst, which is the resulting waveform of the amplitude and the phase
addition of the time-overlapped pulses of the PG cell output, is depicted
in Fig 5a. The up-converted BPSK modulated burst at 4492.8 MHz
carrier frequency is shown in Fig. 5b. The PSD of the transmitted
burst is depicted in Fig 6a at 4492.8 MHz carrier frequency. It satises
the IEEE 802.15.4a channel mask. Fig 6b shows the simulated spectrum
of burst sequences transmitted in the three-communication channel of
the low band. All of them t into the required standard spectrum
mask. The power consumption of the transmitter is 7.24 mW.
Ultra-low power is obtained by switching off the oscillator between
each burst and by avoiding the use of the LPF.

Fig. 3 Baseband pulse generator

20

En

multiplier
baseband
pulse/burst
generator

data
TX
basement
signal
processing

CLK

PA
to antenna

40

FCC

spectrum, dB

40
50
60
70
80

50
60
70
80
90

90
100
3.0

fc = 3494.4 MHz
fc = 3993.6 MHz
fc = 4492.8 MHz

3.5

4.0 4.5 5.0


frequency, GHz
a

5.5

100
1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 5.5 6.0
6.0
frequency, GHz
b

Fig. 6 Emitted signal PSD


a PSD at 4.49 GHz carrier frequency
b PSD of three-communication channel of low band

Conclusion: The design of a new concept of bursts synthesis for the


IEEE 802.5.4a standard is presented. The burst generator used four
pulse generators operating in parallel, supports the BPSK modulation
schema for impulse generation and communicates in three channels of
the standard low UWB band. For a mean PRF of 3.9 MHz and data
rate of 110 kbit/s, the designed circuit consumes 7.24 mW, which is
well suited for non-coherent IR-UWB systems.

En_LO
on/off
oscillator

subband selection

The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2015


Submitted: 22 May 2015 E-rst: 4 September 2015
doi: 10.1049/el.2015.1774
One or more of the Figures in this Letter are available in colour online.

this work

Fig. 4 Block diagram of carrier-based transmitter


600

I+
I

400

I. Barraj, H. Trabelsi and M. Masmoudi (Department of Electrical


Engineering, METS Laboratory, National School of Engineers of
Sfax, University of Sfax, Street of Soukra Km.4, BP 1173, 3038 Sfax,
Tunisia)

0.6
0.4

200

voltage, V

current, mA

spectrum, dB

30

IR-UWB transmitter architecture: The overall architecture of a possible


transmitter based on the proposed pulse/burst generator is depicted in
Fig. 4. Once enabled, the BBG produces a differential BPSK modulated
baseband burst. This burst is rst up-converted according to the frequency band plan using the up-conversion mixer and the carrier
derived from the ring oscillator, resulting in an up-converted burst at
the output. This latter is passed onto a power amplier to ensure 50
antenna impedance matching. The used mixer is based on a CMOS
active double balanced cell mixer. A ring oscillator topology is used
to generate the LO signal. This latter is activated only when a burst
must be transmitted, reducing signicantly the useless power consumption between successive bursts. The transmitter communicates at a mean
PRF of 3.9 MHz and a data rate of 110 kbit/s. Thus, a burst of 32 chips
is positioned either in the rst or second half of symbols within a period
of 8.2 s.

30

channel mask

0.2

E-mail: barraj_imen@yahoo.fr

W. Rahajandraibe (Aix Marseille University, CNRS, Universit de


Toulon, IM2NP UMR 7334, 13397 Marseille, France)

0.2
0.4

200

0.6
400
0

10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
time, ns
a

10

20

30

40 50
time, ns

60

70

80

Fig. 5 Generated baseband burst and up-converted BPSK modulated burst at


4.49 GHz carrier frequency
a Generated baseband burst
b Up-converted burst

Simulation results: The proposed pulse generator is designed and simulated in 65 nm CMOS technology within a 1.2 supply voltage. The proposed pulse generator is designed to cover the standard low band
channels with a 499.2 MHz bandwidth, which corresponds to the

References
1 Wireless Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY)
Specications for Low-Rate Wireless Personal Area Networks
(WPANs), Amendments 1: Add Alternate PHYs, IEEE Standard
802.15.4a, August 2007
2 Martynenko, D., Fisher, G., Klymenko, O., Kreiser, D., and Olonbayer,
S.: High-band ultra-wideband transmitter for IEEE 802.15.4a standard.
IEEE Int. Conf. on Ultra-Wideband (ICUWB), Sydney, NSW, Australia,
September 2013, pp. 165169
3 Barraj, I., Trabelsi, H., Rahajandraibe, W., and Masmoudi, M.: An
energy-efcient
tunable
CMOS
UWB
pulse
generator,
BioNanoScience, 2015, 5, (2), pp. 117122

ELECTRONICS LETTERS 17th September 2015 Vol. 51 No. 19 pp. 15501552