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Featured Company - April 2003
This month's featured company is CurrentRF, of Lakewood, CA, U.S.A. Please tell the CurrentRF folks you saw them featured on the RF Cafe web site!
CurrentRF offers a unique line of transmit/receive mixers that feature low headroom requirements(.8 volts minimum) utilize very little additional system power, high IP3, and make DAC RF upconversion and RF downconversion economical and easy.

Based on the discovery of an extremely power efficient, low component count (DAC low pass filters are unnecessary), low distortion, current mode method of DAC RF upconversion/transmission, the company's flagship products, the CRF2100 and CRF2101 are specifically designed to operate within the compliance limits of industry standard, current mode Digital to Analog Converters (see Primary Application).

With their low headroom capability, these mixers can operate within the output compliance limits of current mode Digital to Analog Converters and directly reuse DAC output currents for RF upconversion, thus reusing analog signal current and saving overall system power. Also, if properly configured, use of the CRF2100 and CRF2101 with the choice of an appropriate Zero IF or Homodyne frequency plan (contact CurrentRF for more details), can allow DSP and converter chips to run at lower clock rates, thus cutting the dynamic power these chips would draw if they were clocked at higher clock rates. This lowering of system clock rates also serves to enhance the dynamic performance of the Converter chips used in these systems, in that lower clock rates give converters longer to settle, thus enhanced dynamic performance.

The only filtering necessary when using the CRF2100/CRF2101 upconversion solution is an output bandpass filter, which can be realized as standard industry SAW, Ceramic, or lumped element filters.

The CRF2100 and CRF2101 may also be used in demanding receive mode/downconversion applications. With the use of an appropriate current mode LNA or a standard LNA with an output transconductance cell, these mixers, used in a Zero IF fashion, can serve to efficiently downconvert incoming RF to baseband signals. Again, as with the transmit solution, CRF2100 or the CRF2101 mixers may be stacked between supply rails with the current mode LNA or standard LNA with an output transconductance cell for maximum system power efficiency.

With an appropriate baseband VGA amplification and low pass filtering, these baseband signals may be digitized by any industry standard Analog to Digital Converter for further digital processing.

The transmit/receive solutions described above, may be combined into an efficient transceiver solution that utilizes only one CRF2100 or CRF2101 mixer. With an appropriate current mode switching solution at the output of the CRF2100 or CRF2101 mixer, the current source inputs of the CRF2100 or CRF2101 may be current multiplexed from the transmit DAC during transmit mode or the transconductance cell of an LNA during receive mode. Current steering from the mixer outputs into the appropriate balun/filter for transmit/receive modes is the only additional component necessary to complete this system.

About CurrentRF
CurrentRF is a new company founded in 2002 by Michael Hopkins. It is based in Lakewood Ca. Michael Hopkins is a DAC/RFIC designer with 18 years of design experience and has worked for companies such as Analog Devices, TRW, and Northrop Grumman. He holds a BS degree in Computer and Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University and a total of 5 patents in RFIC design.

5306 Iroquois Ave.
Lakewood CA 90713
Phone: 1.562.920.4179

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