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Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson : Patent Issued for Down-Conversion Circuit (USPTO 10014894)

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07/12/2018 | 11:44pm CEST

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- According to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews journalists, a patent by the inventors Din, Imad Ud (Lund, SE); Andersson, Stefan (Lund, SE); Sjoland, Henrik (Lund, SE); Wernehag, Johan (Malmo, SE), filed on April 27, 2016, was published online on July 3, 2018.

The assignee for this patent, patent number 10014894, is Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (publ) (Stockholm, SE).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Due to the deployment of more and more frequency bands for cellular radio-communications applications, the complexity of radio front-end circuitry to be used in such applications increases. Normally, at least one relatively expensive external (or 'off-chip') filter, usually a SAW (Surface Acoustic Wave) filter and/or duplexer, has to be used for each frequency band to be received with the cellular radio. Therefore the size and cost of the external front-end components increase when introducing new frequency bands. Striving towards more flexible front-end solutions requires new circuit solutions that can handle strong interferers and prevent harmonic down-conversion without sacrificing any other performance.

"It is thus desirable to provide radio front-end circuitry that eliminates the need for at least some of the off-chip filters, e.g. relatively expensive SAW filters and/or duplexers, that are normally used in present radio communications circuitry, or that at least relaxes the requirements on such off-chip filters, which in turn facilitates a reduction of manufacturing cost.

"To handle the strong out-of-band interference in cell phones, or other similar communication devices, without using sharp radio frequency (RF) filters, such as SAW filters and/or duplexers, a relatively high linearity is normally needed. Otherwise the unfiltered amplified interference might saturate low-noise amplifiers (LNAs) or down-conversion mixers. To reduce the interference, it has been proposed (e.g. in US 2005/0239430 A1) to use so called harmonic rejection in down-conversion circuitry to suppress interference at harmonics of a local oscillator (LO) signal, which is particularly useful in a radio receiver without sharp RF filters, since interferers at harmonics of the LO signal will be down-converted to baseband and, unless suppressed in some way, detrimentally interfere with the (desired) baseband signal.

"WO 2008/139390 A1 discloses a mixer circuit, wherein an input signal is switched in accordance with a first local oscillator signal and in accordance with at least one second local oscillator signal having a smaller duty cycle than said first local oscillator signal, or having a respective predetermined phase shift with respect to said first local oscillator signal. Output signals obtained by the switching in accordance with the first and at least one second local oscillator signals are summed and the polarity of one of said first local oscillator signal and said at least one second local oscillator signal is switched in response to a control input, to thereby switch between a harmonic-rejection mode and a sub-harmonic mixing mode."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The inventors have realized that many existing solutions (e.g. US 2005/0239430 A1) that attempt to reduce harmonic down conversion mainly do so by relying on active buffers in the mixer and are not very energy efficient. Furthermore, the inventors have realized that many existing solutions (again e.g. US 2005/0239430 A1) that attempt to reduce harmonic down conversion may fail to properly do so, since they do not properly take into account the phase of internally generated compensation signals. An object of embodiments of the present invention is to alleviate one or more of these drawbacks.

"According to a first aspect, there is provided a down-conversion circuit for a receiver circuit, such as a radio receiver circuit or a wireline receiver circuit. The down-conversion circuit comprises a first passive switching mixer arranged to down-convert a received radio frequency (RF) signal with a first local oscillator (LO) signal having a first duty cycle for generating a first down-converted signal at an output port of the first passive switching mixer. The down-conversion circuit further comprises a second passive switching mixer arranged to down-convert the received RF signal with a second LO signal having the same LO frequency as the first LO signal and a second duty cycle, different from the first duty cycle, for generating a second down-converted signal at an output port of the second passive switching mixer. Moreover, the down-conversion circuit comprises a passive output combiner network operatively connected to the output ports of the first passive switching mixer and the second passive switching mixer and arranged to combine the first and the second down-converted signals such that harmonically down-converted signal content present in the first down-converted signal and harmonically down-converted signal content present in the second down-converted signal cancel in a combined output signal of the down-conversion circuit. The passive output combiner network may be tunable to adjust magnitudes and phases of the first and the second down-converted signals.

"The first duty cycle may e.g. be 25% and the second duty cycle may e.g. be 50%.

"Said harmonically down-converted signal content present in the first down-converted signal and said harmonically down-converted signal content present in the second down-converted signal that cancel in the combined output signal may comprise signal content down-converted by 3rd and 5th harmonics of the first LO signal and signal content down converted by 3rd and 5th harmonics of the second LO signal, respectively.

"The first and the second down-converted signals may be differential signals and the output port of the first passive switching mixer and the output port of the second passive switching mixer may be differential output ports, each having a first and a second output terminal.

"The passive output combiner network may comprise a first resistor operatively connected between the first output terminal of the output port of the first passive switching mixer and a first summing node of the down-conversion circuit. Furthermore, the passive output combiner network may comprise a second resistor operatively connected between the first output terminal of the output port of the second passive switching mixer and the first summing node of the down-conversion circuit. Moreover, the passive output combiner network may comprise a third resistor operatively connected between the second output terminal of the output port of the first passive switching mixer and a second summing node of the down-conversion circuit. The passive output combiner network may further comprise a fourth resistor operatively connected between the second output terminal of the output port of the second passive switching mixer and the second summing node of the down-conversion circuit.

"Furthermore, the passive output combiner network may comprise capacitors connected to the first and second output terminals of the output ports of the first and the second passive switching mixers.

"The first, second, third, and fourth resistors and the capacitors connected to the first and second output terminals of the output ports of the first and the second passive switching mixers may be tunable to adjust magnitudes and phases of the first and the second down-converted signals.

"The down-conversion circuit may be arranged to perform frequency-translated filtering.

"The second passive switching mixer may have an enabled and a disabled mode, and the down-conversion circuit may be arranged to selectively set the second passive switching mixer in the enabled mode when an interference level exceeds a threshold for counteracting the interference, and, otherwise, in the disabled mode for saving power compared with the enabled mode.

"The down-conversion circuit may have a detection mode, in which the passive output combiner network is configured to combine the first and the second down-converted signals such that harmonically down-converted signal content present in the first down-converted signal and harmonically down-converted signal content present in the second down-converted signal combine constructively in the combined output signal of the down-conversion circuit, whereas signal content present in the first down-converted signal and the second down-converted signal, down-converted by the fundamental of the first and the second LO signal, respectively, cancel in the combined output signal of the down-conversion circuit for detecting when said interference level exceeds said threshold.

"The down-conversion circuit may comprise a first low-noise amplifier (LNA) arranged to supply the received RF signal to an input port of the first passive switching mixer and a separate second LNA arranged to supply the received RF signal to an input port of the second passive switching mixer. The first LNA may e.g. have a common gate topology and the second LNA may e.g. have a common source topology. The first and second LNA may be tunable to adjust magnitudes and phases of the first and the second down-converted signals.

"According to a second aspect, there is provided a quadrature down-conversion circuit for a receiver circuit, such as a radio receiver circuit or a wireline receiver circuit. The quadrature down-conversion circuit comprises a first and a second down-conversion circuit according to the first aspect arranged in an in-phase (I) signal path and a quadrature-phase (Q) signal path, respectively, of the quadrature down-conversion circuit.

"The first passive switching mixer of the first down-conversion circuit and the first passive switching mixer of the second down-conversion circuit may share a common input port.

"According to a third aspect, there is provided receiver circuit, such as a radio receiver circuit or a wireline receiver circuit, comprising the down-conversion circuit according to the first aspect or the quadrature down-conversion circuit according to the second aspect.

"According to a fourth aspect, there is provided a communication device comprising the radio receiver circuit according to the third aspect. The communication device may e.g. be, but is not limited to, a wireless communication device such as a mobile phone, a wireless data modem, or a radio base station, or a wireline communication device.

"According to a fifth aspect, there is provided a method of tuning the down-conversion circuit according to the first aspect, having a tunable passive output combiner network. The method comprises generating an oscillating test signal having a frequency which is offset by a frequency df from a harmonic of the LO frequency, wherein the frequency df falls within a passband or transition band of a channel-selection filter arranged to filter the combined output signal. Furthermore, the method comprises injecting the oscillating test signal into the input ports of the first and second passive switching mixers. Moreover, the method comprises tuning components of the passive output combiner network by first tuning tunable resistors of the passive output combiner network for determining a resistor tuning setting that minimizes the power contribution of the oscillating test signal at the output of the channel selection filter for a default setting of tunable capacitors of the passive output combiner network, and thereafter, tuning said tunable capacitors of the passive output combiner network for determining a capacitor tuning setting that minimizes the power contribution of the oscillating test signal at the output of the channel selection filter for said determined setting of said tunable resistors of the passive output combiner network. The method further comprises applying said determined resistor tuning setting and said determined capacitor tuning setting to the tunable resistors and the tunable capacitors, respectively.

"Further embodiments are defined in the dependent claims. It should be emphasized that the term 'comprises/comprising' when used in this specification is taken to specify the presence of stated features, integers, steps, or components, but does not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, integers, steps, components, or groups thereof."

For more information, see this patent: Din, Imad Ud; Andersson, Stefan; Sjoland, Henrik; Wernehag, Johan. Down-Conversion Circuit. U.S. Patent Number 10014894, filed April 27, 2016, and published online on July 3, 2018. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=10014894.PN.&OS=PN/10014894RS=PN/10014894

Keywords for this news article include: Europe, Sweden, Business, Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (publ).

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2018, NewsRx LLC

(c) 2018 NewsRx LLC, source Science Newsletters

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Financials (SEK)
Sales 2018 200 B
EBIT 2018 7 593 M
Net income 2018 230 M
Finance 2018 16 391 M
Yield 2018 1,38%
P/E ratio 2018 1 646,09
P/E ratio 2019 34,19
EV / Sales 2018 1,22x
EV / Sales 2019 1,20x
Capitalization 260 B
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Number of Analysts 25
Average target price 72,1  SEK
Spread / Average Target -7,4%
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Erik Börje Ekholm President, Chief Executive Officer & Director
Ronnie Leten Chairman
Carl Mellander CFO, Senior VP & Head-Group Function Finance
Erik Ekudden Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer
Torbjörn Nyman Director
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