Published online by Cambridge University Press: 11 October 2011
This paper shows the contribution of slow-wave coplanar waveguides on the performance of power amplifiers operating at millimeter-wave frequencies in CMOS-integrated technologies. These transmission lines present a quality factor Q two to three times higher than that of the conventional microstrip lines at the same characteristic impedance. To demonstrate the contribution of the slow-wave transmission lines on integrated millimeter-wave amplifiers performance, two Class-A single-stage power amplifiers (PA) operating at 60 GHz were designed in standard 40 nm CMOS technology. One of the power amplifiers incorporates only the microstrip lines, whereas slow-wave coplanar transmission lines are considered in the other one. Both amplifiers are biased in Class-A operation, drawing, respectively, 22 and 23 mA from 1.2 V supply. Compared to the power amplifier using conventional microstrip transmission lines, the one implemented with slow-wave transmission lines shows improved performances in terms of gain (5.6 dB against 3.3 dB), 1 dB output compression point (OCP1dB: 7 dBm against 5 dBm), saturated output power (Psat: >10 and 8 dBm, respectively), power-added efficiency (PAE: 16% instead of 6%), and die area without pads (Sdie: 0.059 mm2 against 0.069 mm2).