The present invention relates generally to a non-linear
electronic device and, more particularly, to a non-linear capacitor.
More specifically, but not exclusively, the invention relates
to an electronic circuit device that may be integrated on a semiconductor substrate.
Moreover, the invention may be integrated or used in association with a circuit
network including non-linear devices.
As is well known in this specific technical field, the
data detection for transmission channels is based on the use of a network of non-linear
Actually, data detection with non-linear devices is gaining
more and more market attention because of the simplicity of the circuit network
and a corresponding lower production cost.
A circuit network including non-linear devices requires
that the non-linearity of such devices be well controlled and follow a well-defined
rule. Only if these conditions are respected the resulting network could provide
some advantages in data detection if compared with others more complex known solutions.
The devices used in this kind of network are usually capacitor
and inductor that have a non-linear relation between capacitance and voltage for
capacitor and inductance and current for inductor.
One of the main difficulties for manufacturing an integrated
circuit network including non-linear devices is due to the fact that the non-linear
components must be provided as discrete elements. As a matter of fact, an integrated
non-linear capacitor or inductor is hard to realize according to the current technologies.
For instance, the
US patent No. 6,166,604
relates to a semiconductor amplifier including a distortion compensating
circuit. That amplifier comprises a non-linear amplifying element connected to an
integrated capacitor preventing a direct current from flowing through a passive
circuit. The integrated capacitor is realized in a known manner.
US Patent 6,060,934
of Landolt discloses an integrated circuit including a pseudo-capacitor
showing a linear behavior.
Up to now no solutions are known for easily integrating
an electronic circuit including non-linear passive components.
The technical problem of the present invention is that
of implementing non-linear passive devices into a semiconductor electronic circuit
thus allowing the construction of a network of non-linear devices for data detection
in transmission channels.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The scope of the invention is to provide a circuit to integrate
a non-linear passive device and, more specifically, a non-linear capacitor. More
specifically the scope of the invention is to provide a non linear capacitor with
the following relationship:
The solution idea on which the invention is based is that
of realizing such non-linear passive device by using active components that are
connected in a feedback loop in order to emulate the same behavior of the non-linear
Therefore, the present invention utilizes active devices
operating in a feedback loop to implement the function of non-linear capacitor.
The technical problem is solved by an integrated electronic
circuit defined by the enclosed claim 1 and following.
Other objects, features, and advantages of the present
invention will become apparent from the following detailed description. It should
be understood, however, that the detailed description and specific examples, while
indicating preferred embodiments of the present invention, are given by way of illustration
only and various modifications may naturally be performed without deviating from
the present invention.
A more complete understanding of the present invention
may be had by reference to the following detailed description when taken in conjunction
with the accompanying drawings wherein:
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
- FIG. 1 is a schematic blocks diagram of a first embodiment of an electronic
circuit in accordance with the present invention;
- FIG. 2 is a detailed schematic diagram of the electronic circuit of the present
- FIG. 3 is a graph showing the capacitance value versus voltage for the electronic
circuit of figure 2;
- FIG. 4 is a graph showing the charge value versus voltage for the electronic
circuit of figure 2.
Referring now to figure 1, a schematic block diagram of
an embodiment of an integrated electronic circuit 1 in accordance with the present
invention is shown.
The integrated electronic circuit 1 implements a non-linear
capacitor Ceq and, more specifically, a non linear capacitor having the following
The electronic circuit 1 includes a first logarithmic amplifier
block 2 receiving an input current Iin at an input terminal 3.
The amplifier block 2 has an output 4 connected to an input
of a derivative block 5 performing a d/dt function on the input signal.
A final gain block 6 is cascade downstream connected to
the derivative block 5.
A feedback connection 7 closes a feedback loop between
the output 8 of the gain block 6 and the input terminal 3.
The inventive solution is implemented by interconnecting
several blocks into a feedback loop as shown in figure 1, thus realizing a non-linear
The implemented function will be hereinafter explained
starting with the relationship between voltage and current at the inputs terminals
of the electronic circuit 1:
As may be appreciated, the gain term gm represents the
function of the gain block 6, the d/dt () portion is the operative result presented
by the output of the derivative block 5, while the logarithmic block 2 works on
the input voltage signal Vin.
Now, solving the derivative term:
we obtain a final result in the following relationship (Eq: 1):
As previously remarked, the relationship between voltage
and current for a non-linear capacitor is the following:
By comparing the equations 1 and 2, a new relationship
may be obtained (Eq: 3):
This equation (Eq:3) gives a relationship between current
and voltage that follows the required behavior, apart for a factor that could be
easily added by inserting a gain stage before the logarithmic amplifier.
As one possible embodiment of the inventive circuit 1 is
shown in the schematic diagram of figure 2.
The logarithmic amplifier block 2 is implemented by a transconductance
differential cell 9 having differential current inputs 3', 3" and corresponding
current outputs 4', 4".
The cell 9 has a two symmetric transistor branches 9',
9" each coupled to a first voltage supply reference Vd through current generator
Ix and to a second voltage reference GND through a resistor R9 or, as an alternative,
a current generator.
The transistors of each branch 9', 9" could be bipolar
transistors or a bipolar and a MOS transistor. More specifically, two input MOS
transistors and two output bipolar transistors used in this embodiment. The current
inputs 3', 3" are set between the current generator Ix and the first transistor
of each branch 9', 9"; while the current outputs 4', 4" are set between the first
and the second transistor of each branch.
Each current output 4', 4" is connected to the driving
terminal of a bipolar transistor 5', 5" having the conduction terminal coupled to
the first voltage reference Vd and to the second voltage reference GND, respectively.
The second conduction terminal of each transistor 5', 5" is coupled to the second
voltage reference GND trough a resistor or a current generator.
The second conduction terminal of each transistor 5', 5"
is also coupled, through a capacitor C, to a corresponding input terminal 10', 10"
of a double ended gain stage 10 having a resistor R feedback connected between each
output 11', 11" and each input.
Both the output terminals 11', 11' of the gain stage 10
are connected to a double ended final gain block 16 having a gain factor Gh.
The outputs of the gain block 16 are feedback connected
to the inputs terminals 3', 3" thus closing the feedback loop 7.
A resistor Rx is connected between the input terminals
3', 3" and an input voltage Vs is applied to the driving terminals of the input
MOS transistors of the first logarithmic amplifier block 2.
The activity of the electronic circuit 1 shown in figure
2 may be summarized by the following relationship:
where Is is the input current, Gh is the gain value of the gain block 16, Vs is
the input voltage, Rx is the input resistance, Ix is the biasing current and Ceq
is the equivalent capacitance value of the whole circuit 1 according to the following
The corresponding charge value is:
Thus the capacitance value when the voltage Vs=0 is:
The graph diagram of the figures 4 and 5 show the evolution
of capacitance value Cep and the charge value Q versus the voltage input Vs for
the circuit of the invention.
Having described and illustrated the principles of the
invention in a preferred embodiment thereof, it should be apparent that the invention
can be modified in arrangement and detail without departing from such principles.
We claim all modifications and variations coming within the scope of the following