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Injection Locked Clocking and Transmitter Equalization Techniques for Chip to Chip Interconnects


Raj, Mayank (2015) Injection Locked Clocking and Transmitter Equalization Techniques for Chip to Chip Interconnects. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z90P0WZD.


Semiconductor technology scaling has enabled drastic growth in the computational capacity of integrated circuits (ICs). This constant growth drives an increasing demand for high bandwidth communication between ICs. Electrical channel bandwidth has not been able to keep up with this demand, making I/O link design more challenging. Interconnects which employ optical channels have negligible frequency dependent loss and provide a potential solution to this I/O bandwidth problem. Apart from the type of channel, efficient high-speed communication also relies on generation and distribution of multi-phase, high-speed, and high-quality clock signals. In the multi-gigahertz frequency range, conventional clocking techniques have encountered several design challenges in terms of power consumption, skew and jitter. Injection-locking is a promising technique to address these design challenges for gigahertz clocking. However, its small locking range has been a major contributor in preventing its ubiquitous acceptance.

In the first part of this dissertation we describe a wideband injection locking scheme in an LC oscillator. Phase locked loop (PLL) and injection locking elements are combined symbiotically to achieve wide locking range while retaining the simplicity of the latter. This method does not require a phase frequency detector or a loop filter to achieve phase lock. A mathematical analysis of the system is presented and the expression for new locking range is derived. A locking range of 13.4 GHz–17.2 GHz (25%) and an average jitter tracking bandwidth of up to 400 MHz are measured in a high-Q LC oscillator. This architecture is used to generate quadrature phases from a single clock without any frequency division. It also provides high frequency jitter filtering while retaining the low frequency correlated jitter essential for forwarded clock receivers.

To improve the locking range of an injection locked ring oscillator; QLL (Quadrature locked loop) is introduced. The inherent dynamics of injection locked quadrature ring oscillator are used to improve its locking range from 5% (7-7.4GHz) to 90% (4-11GHz). The QLL is used to generate accurate clock phases for a four channel optical receiver using a forwarded clock at quarter-rate. The QLL drives an injection locked oscillator (ILO) at each channel without any repeaters for local quadrature clock generation. Each local ILO has deskew capability for phase alignment. The optical-receiver uses the inherent frequency to voltage conversion provided by the QLL to dynamically body bias its devices. A wide locking range of the QLL helps to achieve a reliable data-rate of 16-32Gb/s and adaptive body biasing aids in maintaining an ultra-low power consumption of 153pJ/bit.

From the optical receiver we move on to discussing a non-linear equalization technique for a vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) based optical transmitter, to enable low-power, high-speed optical transmission. A non-linear time domain optical model of the VCSEL is built and evaluated for accuracy. The modelling shows that, while conventional FIR-based pre-emphasis works well for LTI electrical channels, it is not optimum for the non-linear optical frequency response of the VCSEL. Based on the simulations of the model an optimum equalization methodology is derived. The equalization technique is used to achieve a data-rate of 20Gb/s with power efficiency of 0.77pJ/bit.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Injection Locking; LC Oscillator; Ring Oscillator; VCSEL; Optical Receiver; Optical Transmitter; Locking Range; Clocking; Quarter-rate; Quadrature;
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Electrical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Emami, Azita
Thesis Committee:
  • Emami, Azita (chair)
  • Hajimiri, Ali
  • Rutledge, David B.
  • Weinreb, Sander
  • Choo, Hyuck
Defense Date:31 October 2014
Non-Caltech Author Email:locatemayank (AT)
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:11062014-090236636
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription DocumentInjection Locked Pendulum Simulation paper adapted for ch. 6 VitaeCurrent CV
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8719
Deposited By: Mayank Raj
Deposited On:14 Oct 2015 18:46
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 00:07

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