Yanambaka, Venkata P.
Mohanty, Saraju P.
Fin-type field-effect transistors (FinFETs) are promising substitutes for bulk CMOS for nanoscale technologies. In this paper, the viability of a mixed-signal design for FinFET-based technologies using a nanoscale current-starved voltage controlled oscillator (VCO) is investigated. Design issues are analyzed and a comparison between a CMOS VCO and a FinFET-based VCO is presented. The figures-of-merit used for comparison are center frequency and frequency-voltage (f-V) characteristics under process variation. Models are developed for the f-V characteristics of both the CMOS and FinFET VCOs. In addition, width quantization-aware modeling has been performed for the FinFET-based VCO using a polynomial metamodel, which can be used for further optimization. The quantization aware modeling is highly accurate as evident from a correlation coefficient R2 of 0.999 and root mean square error of 6.2 MHz. The FinFET VCO has 5.5x faster oscillation frequency with 2.6% variability as opposed to 19.7% for the CMOS VCO. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first paper that examines FinFET technology with respect to process variation in mixed signal designs at the circuit level, and presents a quantitative as well as qualitative comparison between CMOS and FinFET technologies.