A 33 mhz fast-locking pll with programmable vco and automatic band selection for clock generator application

Neeraj Agarwal*, Neeru Agarwal, Chih Wen Lu, Masahito Oh-E

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This paper presents a prototype of an auto-ranging phase-locked loop (PLL) with low jitter noise over a wide operating frequency range using the multiband programmable voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) gain stage with automatic band selection. We successfully reduce the VCO gain (Kvco) and retain the desired frequency band. The proposed PLL comprises a prescaler, phase frequency detector (PFD), charge pump (CP), programmable VCO and automatic band selection circuit. The PLL prototype with all subblocks was implemented using the TSMC 0.18 μm 1P6M process. Contrary to conventional PLL architectures, the proposed architecture incorporates a realtime check and automatic band selection circuit in the secondary loop. A high-performance dualloop PLL wide tuning range was realized using an ASIC digital control circuit. A suitable way to maintain the Kvco low is to use multiple discrete frequency bands to accommodate the required frequency range. To maintain a low Kvco and fast locking, the automatic frequency band selection circuit also has two indigenous, most probable voltage levels. The proposed architecture provides the flexibility of not only band hopping but also band twisting to obtain an optimized Kvco for the desired output range, with the minimum jitter and spurs. The proposed programmable VCO was designed using a voltage-to-current-converter circuit and current DAC followed by a four-stage differential ring oscillator with a cross-coupled pair. The VCO frequency output range is 150–400 MHz, while the input frequency is 25 MHz. A sequential phase detection loop with a negligible dead zone was designed to adjust fine phase errors between the reference and feedback clocks. All circuit blocks of the proposed PLL were simulated using the EDA tool HSPICE and layout generation by Laker. The simulation and measured results of the proposed PLL show high linearity, with a dead zone of less than 10 pV. The differential VCO was used to improve the linearity and phase noise of the PLL. The chip measured results show rms jitter of 19.10 ps. The PLL prototype also has an additional safety feature of a power down mode. The automatic band selection PLL has good immunity for possible frequency drifting due to temperature, process and supply voltage variations. The proposed PLL is designed for −40 to +85 °C, a wide temperature range.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1743
JournalElectronics (Switzerland)
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2 Jul 2021


  • Digital-to-analog converter (DAC)
  • Fast locking
  • Frequency synthesizer
  • Jitter
  • Phase detector
  • Phase-locked loop (PLL)
  • Voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO)


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