Design considerations for the front-end of radio-frequency receivers are presented. Emphasis is on silicon bipolar technology for receivers in the 1-3 GHz frequency range, though theoretical principles derived apply over a broad range of frequencies. Basic mixer and amplifier topologies are presented and their performance characteristics are analyzed. Analytic expressions for noise and distortion in linear amplifiers are presented. The performances of different topologies are compared. A new method of noise analysis for mixers is presented. The noise analysis is applied to the emitter-coupled pair mixer over a wide range of parameters variation to allow the designer to understand how noise performance changes with parameter variations. Results of distortion simulations over a range of parameters values are also presented. The mechanisms that create the distortion are explained, and the simulations results are presented in a way that allows an intuitive link between the simulated value of the distortion and the mechanism that creates that distortion.
For verification of the methodology presented, the analysis techniques are applied to a specific circuit and compared to measured values. Computed values are close to the measured ones.