Silicon CMOS optical receiver circuits with integrated thin-film compound semiconductor detectors

Journal Article

While many circuit designers have tackled the problem of CMOS digital communications receiver design, few have considered the problem of circuitry suitable for an all CMOS digital IC fabrication process. Faced with a high speed receiver design the circuit designer will soon conclude that a high speed analog- oriented fabrication process provides superior performance advantages to a digital CMOS process. However, for applications where there are overwhelming reasons to integrate the receivers on the same IC as large amounts of conventional digital circuitry, the low yield and high cost of the exotic analog- oriented fabrication is no longer an option. The issues that result from a requirement to use a digital CMOS IC process cut across all aspects of receiver design, and result in significant differences in circuit design philosophy and topology. Digital ICs are primarily designed to yield small, fast CMOS devices for digital logic gates, thus no effort is put into providing accurate or high speed resistances, or capacitors. This lack of any reliable resistance or capacitance has a significant impact on receiver design. Since resistance optimization is not a prerogative of the digital IC process engineer, the wisest option is thus to not use these elements, opting instead for active circuitry to replace the functions normally ascribed to resistance and capacitance. Depending on the application receiver noise may be a dominant design constraint. The noise performance of CMOS amplifiers is different than bipolar or GaAs MESFET circuits, shot noise is generally insignificant when compared to channel thermal noise. As a result the optimal input stage topology is significantly different for the different technologies. It is found that, at speeds of operation approaching the limits of the digital CMOS process, open loop designs have noise-power-gain-bandwidth tradeoff performance superior to feedback designs. Furthermore, the lack of good resisters and capacitors complicates the use of feedback circuits. Thus feedback is generally not used in the front-end of our digital process CMOS receivers.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Brooke, MA; Lee, M; Jokerst, NM; Camperi-Ginestet, C

Published Date

  • 1995

Published In

  • Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering

Volume / Issue

  • 2400 /

Start / End Page

  • 335 - 344