Design and analysis of a DCO-based phase-tracking RF receiver for IoT applications

Yao Hong Liu*, Vijaya Kumar Purushothaman, Christian Bachmann, Robert Bogdan Staszewski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents an energy-/area-efficient digitally controlled oscillator (DCO)-based phase-tracking Receiver for Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications. The RX leverages the constant-envelope nature of frequency shift keying modulation adopted in many IoT protocols, e.g., IEEE802.15.4 and Bluetooth low energy (BLE), to enhance the energy efficiency and to reduce the chip area. The proposed RX, with the DCO acting as a local oscillator (LO) and binary frequency feedback, promotes low-power and low-voltage circuit design, while a data-aided carrier-frequency tracking ensures the received carrier stability without a power-/area-hungry phase-locked loop (PLL). The RX avoids a compromise between a power-hungry I/Q LO generation and the image rejection in traditional RXs. An equivalent mathematical model is further presented, which helps to analyze and optimize the frequency response of the proposed RX. Fabricated in 40-nm CMOS, the RX consumes 1.55 mW from a 0.85-V supply and has a −87-dBm sensitivity at 2 Mb/s, which leads to a 0.77-nJ/b energy efficiency and 178-dB RX sensitivity FoM.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8599141
Pages (from-to)785-795
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE journal of solid-state circuits
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) receivers
  • Carrier-frequency tracking (CFT)
  • IEEE802154 receivers
  • Low-power transceivers
  • Low-voltage transceivers
  • Phase-locked loop (PLL)-free receivers
  • Phase-tracking receivers


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