Mixed Signal & Analogue

While digital electronics tends to get more than its fair share of coverage, analogue electronics remains the technology that makes things happen. It’s the interface between the real world and the 1s and 0s of the digital domain.

The range of technologies falling into the analogue domain is wide; everything from data conversion to amplification to switches. Like electronics in general, analogue products are getting more complex as device developers look to integrate more functionality. Recognising this, manufacturers have started to develop more capable design tools to support engineers.

Because analogue design is so important, New Electronics covers all aspects of the technology regularly.

As process technologies shrink, the problems for analogue designers grow in complexity

Low voltage supply rails and strict design rules are changing the way designers need to think about circuit design. It is sweeping away old assumptions – it is a topsy-turvy world in which iterative topologies can be fast and where you can implement analogue circuits using digital synthesis. Because of the complexity of the most advanced processes, some level of automated synthesis for analogue design has become almost essential.

Programmable analogue makes a resurgence

Some of the earliest computers used for controlling processes featured analogue architectures because they were much more responsive than valve based logic circuits. But they needed to be custom designed and succumbed to the more flexible – and ultimately cheaper – digital computer.

Analogue SoCs set to bring designers a signal chain in a package

It's hard to disagree with Microchip's contention that analogue design is difficult and takes time. Analogue design is an area which requires experience and often a degree of creativity. It's also an area where there is a decline in specialists. Yet modern designs are still as reliant as they have ever been on analogue circuitry – and some would say even more so.

Analogue designers continue to push the boundaries

Since 1954, the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) has been the forum for presenting leading edge circuit designs. Whilst the focus over the years has shifted to digital designs, the conference continues to have significant analogue content, with sessions dedicated to such areas as data conversion and analogue techniques.

Accuracy enhanced in automatic test equipment systems

Many ATE systems are required to measure critical parameters with extreme accuracy, as they must be significantly more accurate than the devices they test. Modern ATE systems push the boundaries of signal processing and require parts per million (ppm) accuracy.

Data acquisition system enhances images for digital X-Ray and MRI

In digital X-Ray (DXR) systems, film detectors are replaced with solid state sensors, including flat panel and line scan detectors. Flat panel detectors use either direct and indirect conversion. With direct conversion, a selenium array forms capacitive elements that convert high frequency photons directly into an electronic current.

How to get all the codes from your high performance SAR a/d converter

You might have specified an 18bit SAR a/d converter with a signal to noise ratio (snr) of more than 101dB, but will your design give you the performance you expect? To achieve that dynamic range, you need to make sure your largest signals use the converter's full scale; in other words, you need to exercise all the codes. But how do you do that?

Selecting precision op amps for sensor input processing designs

As one of the basic building blocks used in an array of consumer, industrial, scientific and other applications, the operation amplifier (op amp) is amongst the most widely used electronic devices. For most low end applications, the requirements are straightforward and choosing the appropriate device is relatively easy. However, selecting the optimal precision op amp for higher end sensor input processing designs can provide system designers with a challenge.

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