Algorithms, Available technologies, Electrical and Electronic components, Engineering, Information and communications technology (ICT), Telecommunication


New embedded self-calibration method within a mobile equipment to perform the necessary adjustments within the transmitter chain (Tx chip-set) and on each Power Amplifier (PA) for the purpose of maximizing efficiency/linearity performance and reducing the spread in performance from one mobile unit to another

The challenge in Envelope-Tracking, Supply Modulation and dynamic bias control of RFIC transmitter chains and PAs

  • Envelope-Tracking (ET) through supply modulation, and instantaneous dynamic biasing through the control of the quiescent current and/or as a function of the modulated RF signal, play an important role in the design of many Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit (RFIC) Transmitter and Power Amplifier (PA) architectures employed in wireless communication equipment (e.g. mobile phones)
  • These hardware techniques require the high-speed modulation of the supply voltage applied to the Radio Frequency (RF) transistors in the multiple stages of the transmitter line-up and PA module, and/or the high-speed variation of their bias currents around their quiescent (DC) operating points, as a function of the RF modulated signal or its envelope, for the purpose of improving the linearity-power efficiency trade-off
  • The associated analog and RF circuitry are complex and suffer from significant performance variations from one mobile equipment to another (e.g. the time alignment of the supply-modulation with respect to the RF modulated signal, which is critical in Envelope-Tracking techniques and limits the performances in terms of linearity, bandwidth, etc.). This translates into designs based on a compromise in performances, instead of a fully-optimized performance for each mobile equipment
  • Therefore, there is a need for a new method of embedded self-calibration within a mobile unit which can perform the necessary adjustments on each Transmitter chain and/or PA in an adaptive fashion, to allow the operation of each mobile equipment with optimal performance, by reducing the spread in performance from one mobile unit to another, hence ensuring best PAE-linearity trade-off in every mobile unit

Embedded self-calibration of Envelope-Dependent and RF-dependent control in RFIC transmitter chains and PAs

  • The invention incorporates the design and implementation of embedded self-calibration of radio frequency integrated circuit (RFIC) PAs and RF Transmitters, as an alternative to existing patented technologies
  • The invention is based on a new multi-port self-calibration method intended for RFIC transmitter chains and power amplifiers, allowing to account for multiple envelope-dependent (e.g. Envelope Tracking) and RF-dependent control signals
  • The proposed method is intended to be implemented in mobile communication equipment during their operation in the field, and facilitates embedded self-calibration of transmitter chains and PAs employing any form of envelope-dependent control (e.g. Envelope-Tracking and dynamic biasing) and RF-dependent control (e.g. predistortion), for the purpose of reducing part-to-part performance variations from one mobile unit to another and maximizing PAE-linearity performance in every mobile equipment
  • Technology developed by Prof. Nicolas Constantin and Smartjeet Sharma at École de technologie supérieure, University of Quebec, Canada

Advantages of the proposed self-calibration method for PA performance optimization

  • Simplicity of the probing circuitry that is necessary for the training sequence as part of the calibration (including the feasibility of using a single envelope detector per PA) and requiring a minimal number of measurements, to account for part-to-part PA performance variation in the mobile equipment
  • In one possible implementation, requiring only the routing of envelope-frequency (baseband) signals on the mobile unit’s PCB for a loop-back from the PA output to the Transmitter chip-set, including the feasibility of multiplexing multiple baseband-frequency signals from the outputs of multiple PAs, into a single baseband-frequency line that can be routed on the mobile unit’s PCB for the loop-back to the Transmitter chip-set
  • Minimizing cost and size in the implementation of embedded self-calibration of Transmitters and PAs in a mobile unit, as well as reducing the development time by the mobile unit manufacturer
  • Simplicity of the characterization procedure to train the multi-port PA representation
  • Minimizing the amount of characterization data required for embedded self-calibration of the mobile unit
  • Simplicity of the computation during embedded self-calibration within the mobile unit

Market applications

  • Mobile communication industry; mobile phones; radio frequency integrated circuits, including Transmitter chip-sets and power amplifiers

Business opportunity 

  • Technology available for licensing
  • Provisional patent application filed


If you are interested by this technology, please contact :
Dareen Toumi, Technology Analyst, Engineering, (514) 618-9297


École de Technologie supérieure (ÉTS)

Main inventors


Nicolas Constantin, Professor, Electric Engineering Department

Prof. Constantin received his B.Eng. degree in 1989 from the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) – University of Quebec, Canada, his M.A.Sc. Degree in 1994 from the École Polytechnique de Montréal, Canada, and his Ph.D. degree in 2009 from McGill University, Canada, all in electrical engineering. He is currently an Associate Professor at the ÉTS, Montreal, Canada. From 1989 to 1992 he worked in the design of microwave transceivers for point to point radio links. From 1996 to 1998 he worked as an RF design engineer at NEC, in the development of RF and microwave transceivers for mobile telephony. From 1998 to 2002 he was a senior design engineer at Skyworks Solutions, Inc., California, USA, where he developed GaAs HBT RFIC PAs for wireless communications. His primary research interests are in the design and test of Analog, RF & Millimeter-wave ICs and Front-End modules for wireless communications. He conducts research in collaboration with major companies in the wireless communication and aerospace industry.


Smarjeet Sharma, Researcher, Electric Engineering Department

Smarjeet Sharma received his B.E.(Hons.) degree in 2012 from Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, India in electrical and electronics engineering. He recently completed the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering as part of the M.A.Sc.-Ph.D. integrated program at the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) – University of Quebec, Canada. He received the NTSE scholarship from NCERT, Government of India in 2006 and the MITACS-Globalink Scholarship for undergraduate research in Canada in 2011. He is a recipient of an M.A.Sc.-Ph.D. scholarship from the ÉTS as well as the MITACS Accelerate fellowship.

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