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Powering a Fractional-N Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO) with Low Noise LDO Regulators for Reduced Phase Noise (CN0147)
This circuit uses low noise, low dropout (LDO) linear regulators to supply power to a wideband integrated PLL and VCO. Wideband voltage controlled oscillators (VCOs) may have increased sensitivity to power supply noise, hence, ultralow noise regulators are recommended for best performance.
The circuit shown in Figure 1 utilizes the ADF4350, a fully integrated fractional-N PLL and VCO that can generate frequencies from 137.5 MHz to 4400 MHz. The ADF4350 is powered from the ultralow noise 3.3 V ADP150 regulator for optimal LO phase noise performance.
Figure 1. ADP150 Regulators Connected to ADF4350 (Simplified Schematic: All Connections and Decoupling Not Shown)
The lower integrated rms noise of the ADP150 LDO of only 9 μV rms (10 Hz to 100 kHz) helps to minimize VCO phase noise and reduce the impact of VCO pushing (the VCO equivalent of power supply rejection).
Figure 2 shows a photo of the evaluation board, which uses the ADP150 LDOs to power the ADF4350. The ADP150 represents the industry’s lowest noise LDO in the smallest package at the lowest cost. It is available in a 4-ball, 0.8 mm × 0.8 mm, 0.4 mm pitch WLCSP or a convenient 5-lead TSOT package. Adding the ADP150’s to the design, therefore, has minimal impact on system cost and board area while providing a significant improvement in phase noise.
Figure 2. EVAL-ADF4350EB1Z Rev. B Evaluation Board Featuring ADP150 Low Noise Regulators
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