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CMOS time-to-digital converter based on a pulse-mixing scheme

ABSTRACTThis paper proposes a new pulse-mixing scheme utilizing both pulse-shrinking and pulse-stretching mechanisms to improve the performance of time-to-digital converters (TDCs). The temporal resolution of the conventional pulse-shrinking mechanism is determined by the size ratio between homogeneous and inhomogeneous elements. The proposed scheme which features double-stage operation derives its resolution according to the time difference between pulse-shrinking and pulse-stretching amounts. Thus, it can achieve greater immunity against temperature and ambient variations than that of the single-stage scheme. The circuit area also can be reduced by the proposed pulse-mixing scheme. In addition, this study proposes an improved cyclic delay line to eliminate the undesirable shift in the temporal resolution successfully. Therefore, the effective resolution can be controlled completely by the pulse-mixing unit to improve accuracy. The proposed TDC composed of only one cyclic delay line and one counter is fabricated in a TSMC CMOS 0.35-μm DPQM process. The chip core occupies an extremely small area of 0.02 mm2, which is the best among the related works. The experimental result shows that an effective resolution of around 53 ps within ±13% variation over a 0–100 °C temperature range is achieved. The power consumption is 90 μW at a sample rate of 1000 samples/s. In addition to the reduced area, the proposed TDC circuit achieves its resolution with less thermal-sensitivity and better fluctuations caused by process variations.

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