Time-Based Current Source: A Highly Digital Robust Current Generator for Switched Capacitor Circuits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The resistor variation can severely affect current reference sources, which may vary up to ±40% in scaled CMOS processes. In addition, such variations make the opamp design challenging and increase the design margin, impacting power consumption. This paper proposes a Time-Based Current Source (TBCS): a robust and process-scalable reference current source suitable for switched-capacitor (SC) circuits. We construct a delay-locked-loop (DLL) to lock the current-starved inverter with the reference clock, enabling the use of the settled current directly as a reference current. Since the load capacitors determine the delay, the generated current is decoupled from resistor values and enables a robust reference current source. The prototype TBCS fabricated in 28 nm CMOS achieved a minimal area of 1200 um2. The current variation is suppressed to half compared to BGR based current sources, confirmed in extensive PVT variation simulations. Moreover, when used as the opamp's bias, TBCS achieves comparable opamp GBW to an ideal current source.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-333
Number of pages10
JournalIEICE Transactions on Electronics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jul


  • DLL
  • current reference
  • process scalable
  • switched capacitor circuits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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