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Charging ahead

Low power dissipation and robust performance from new interface technology. William Marble.

Mobile equipment has, for some time, been a rapid growth area for the electronics industry. For example, the US market for portable audio, including cd players and voice recorders, is more than $1.1billion, whilst the market for battery powered medical devices, such as pacemakers and blood glucose monitors, is more than $1.5bn.

The miniaturisation of devices and integration of multiple components into SoC solutions enabled these particular market sectors taking off. Now, demand for smaller, more compact gadgets with increased functionality and the ability to process 'real world' signals, has put pressure back on component and chip designers to produce higher performance solutions.

Managing the capture of incoming data at high speeds and/or high accuracy contributes significantly to the shortening of battery pack duty cycles; for mobile or battery powered devices this is unacceptable. Therefore, technologies that can reduce power consumption significantly in mixed signal systems can provide the key to the overall success of new products.

For this reason, a/d converter power consumption is an area of interest and concern and AMIS has developed and patented charge transfer amplifier (cta) technology for use in low power a/d converters.

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Graham Pitcher

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