A 0.0021 mm2 1.82 mW 2.2 GHz PLL Using Time-Based Integral Control in 65 nm CMOS

Junheng Zhu, Romesh Kumar Nandwana, Guanghua Shu, Ahmed Elkholy, Seong Joong Kim, Pavan Kumar Hanumolu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Modern multicore processors employ multiple phase-locked loops (PLLs) to operate individual cores at a power-optimal frequency. This paper presents techniques to implement such PLLs in a small area. The area occupied by classical charge-pump-based analog PLLs is mostly due to the large loop filter capacitor needed to implement the integral control portion of type-II response. Digital PLLs (DPLL) can eliminate the capacitor by implementing the integral control in digital domain but their jitter performance is degraded by the quantization error introduced by DPLL building blocks such as a time-to-digital converter (TDC). We seek to combine the advantages of analog (no quantization error) and digital (small area) PLLs by implementing the integral control using time-based techniques. To this end, a ring oscillator-based integrator (ROI) is used to implement the integral control. ROI integrates its input and generates an output in the form of a pulse-width modulated (PWM) signal. While the ROI does not introduce quantization error, controlling the voltage controlled oscillator with the PWM signal introduces undesirable spurious tones. We propose to use a pseudo-differential ROI to mitigate these tones and achieve good jitter performance. Fabricated in 65 nm CMOS LP process, the prototype PLL occupies an active area of only 0.0021 mm2 and operates across a supply voltage range of 0.6 V to 1.2 V providing 0.4-2.6 GHz output frequencies. At 2.2 GHz output frequency, the PLL consumes 1.82 mW at 1 V supply voltage, and achieves 3.73 psrms integrated jitter. This translates to an FoMJ of -226.0 dB, which compares favorably with state-of-the-art designs while occupying the smallest reported active area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7564468
Pages (from-to)8-20
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017


  • Analog PLL (APLL)
  • current controlled ring oscillator (CCRO)
  • digital PLL (DPLL)
  • integer-N
  • jitter
  • oscillators as integrators
  • phase-locked loops (PLLs)
  • pulse width modulation (PWM)
  • ring oscillator integrator (ROI)
  • ring oscillators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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