On-chip stimulus generator for gain, linearity, and blocking profile test of wideband RF front ends

Rashad Ramzan, Naveed Ahsan, Jerzy Dabrowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the design and measurement of a stimulus generator suitable for on-chip RF test aimed at gain, 1-dB compression point (CP), and the blocking profile measurement. Implemented in a 90-nm complementary metaloxidesemiconductor (CMOS), the generator consists of two low-noise voltage-controlled ring oscillators (VCOs) and an adder. It can generate a single- or two-tone signal in a range of 0.95.6 GHz with a tone spacing of 3 MHz to 4.5 GHz and adjustable output power. The VCOs are based on symmetrically loaded double-differential delay line architecture. The measured phase noise is -80 dBc/Hz at an offset frequency of 1 MHz for the oscillation frequency of 2.4 GHz. A single VCO consumes 26 mW at 1 GHz while providing -10-dBm power into a 50-Ω load. The silicon area of the complete test circuit including coupling capacitors is only 0.03 mm2 while a single VCO occupies 0.012mm2 The measured gain, 1-dB CP, and blocking profile of the wideband receiver using the on-chip stimulus generator are within ±8%, ±10%, and ±18% of their actual values, respectively. These error values are acceptable for making a pass or fail decision during production testing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5523943
Pages (from-to)2870-2876
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • On-chip RF testing
  • RF design for testability (DfT)
  • RF test
  • stimulus generator
  • voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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