Skyworks' coaxial inductors are most frequently used in the resonant circuit of voltage-controlled oscillators (VCOs), where a varactor provides the tuning capability. The designer is usually confronted with trade-offs between high Q for best phase noise and component size vs. circuit board real estate. An algorithm for selecting the correct Skyworks part follows. In addition, Skyworks’ webCOAX Program can provide valuable assistance for determining the correct Skyworks part. Application notes and references give example circuits, basic principles, and some helpful hints.
While there is no physical distinction between a coaxial resonator and a coaxial inductor, the selection of an inductor for a VCO begins by first knowing (from analysis or experiment) the equivalent inductance that the active circuit, including the varactor, must see. In general, the VCO active circuit loads the 'resonator,' lowering the resonator's self-resonant frequency (SRF). The situation is analogous to externally capacitively loading a discrete parallel resonant L-C circuit.
While there is an approximate equivalent L-C circuit for the coaxial resonator close to resonance, this model has limited application. The coaxial resonators and inductors are more accurately modeled as a transmission line. Our application notes and references delve further into this topic.
Values of inductance that can be achieved depend upon the separation between the VCO frequency and the SRF of the coaxial line element. Values less than 1 nH are not practical since the metal connection tab itself has an equivalent inductance of this order. In our experience, equivalent inductances in the range of 3-20 nH have been popular among designers of VCOs for wireless equipment.
Call for availability, utilize the Inductor Selection Guide, use the webCOAX Program, or refer to the included application notes for assistance with ordering the correct part.