Open Journal Systems

Design and Optimization of a Direct-Conversion Double-Balanced Mixer for RF Receiver Front-End

Frederick Ray Gomez

Article ID: 800
Vol 1, Issue 3, 2018, Article identifier:

VIEWS - 377 (Abstract) 187 (PDF)


Differential implementation is becoming highly favoured in RFIC (radio frequency integrated circuit) design, notably its high immunity to common-mode noises, acceptable rejection of parasitic coupling, and increased dynamic range. One specific RF front-end building block that is usually designed as a differential circuit is the mixer.  This technical paper presents a study of a differential mixer, notably the double-balanced mixer implemented on a direct-conversion architecture in a standard 90nm CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) process.  Operating frequency is set at 5GHz, which is a typical frequency for RF (radio frequency) receiver.   Impedance matching was essential to fully optimize the mixer design.  The direct-conversion double-balance mixer design eventually achieved conversion gain of 11.463dB and noise figure of 16.529dB, comparable to mixer designs from past research and studies.


Double-balanced mixer; direct conversion; conversion gain; noise figure; RF front-end

Full Text:



B. Razavi, “RF microelectronics,” Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall, 1998.

W. Namgoong and T. Meng, “Direct-conversion RF receiver design,” IEEE Transactions on Communications, vol. 49, no. 3, March 2001.

Y. Zhou, C.P. Yoong, L.S. Weng, Y.J. Khoi, M.C.Y. Wah, K.A C. Moy, and D.W.T. Fatt, “A 5 GHz dual-mode WiMAX/WLAN direct-conversion receiver,” 2006 IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems, pp. 1-4, May 2006.

J.G. Atallah, S. Rodriguez, L.R. Zeng, and M. Ismail, “A direct conversion WiMAX RF receiver front-end in CMOS technology,” Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, 2007.

J. Y. Lyu and Z.M. Lin, “A 2~11 GHz direct-conversion mixer for WiMAX applications,” IEEE Region 10 Conference, pp. 1-4, 2007.

T. Lee, “The design of CMOS radio-frequency integrated circuits,” Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

M. Voltti, T. Koivisto, and E. Tiiliharju, “Comparison of active and passive mixers,” 18th European Conference on Circuit Theory and Design, 27-30, pp. 890-893. Aug. 2007.

F.R. Gomez, M.T. de Leon, and C.R. Roque, “Active balun circuits for WiMAX receiver front-end,” 2010 TENCON – IEEE Region 10 Conference, pp. 1156-1161, 2010.

T. Tikka, J. Ryynanen, M. Hotti, and K. Halonen, “Design of a high linearity mixer for direct-conversion base-station receiver,” in Proc. IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems 2006.

K.W. Hamed, A.P. Freundorfer, and Y.M.M. Antar, “A monolithic double-balanced direct conversion mixer with an integrated wideband passive balun,” IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, vol. 40, no. 3, March 2005.

J. Park, C.H. Lee, B.S. Kim, and J. Laskar, “Design and analysis of low flicker-noise CMOS mixers for direct-conversion receivers,” IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques, vol. 54, no. 12, December 2006.

F.R. Gomez, “Design of impedance matching networks for RF applications,” Asian Journal of Engineering and Technology, Oct. 2018.

A.M. Niknejad and R.G. Meyer, “Analysis and optimization of monolithic inductors and transformers for RF IC’s,” in Proc. IEEE CICC’97, Santa Clara, CA, pp. 16.3.1-16.3.4, 1997.

R.G. Meyer and A.M. Niknejad, “ASITIC for Windows NT/2000,” Research in RFIC Design, grackle/cygwin_info.html.

Stanford Microwave Integrated Circuits Laboratory. Integrated Spiral Inductor Calculator, spiralCalc.html.

M. Hershenson, S.S. Mohan, S.P. Boyd and T.H. Lee, “Optimization of inductor circuits via geometric programming,” in Design Automation Conference, New Orleans, LA, pp. 994-998, June 1999.

(377 Abstract Views, 187 PDF Downloads)


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Frederick Ray Gomez

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.