MILPITAS, Calif.--In the summer of 2011, a lone semiconductor
startup went "old school," as my colleague Dylan McGrath
put it. That's when he wrote about Touchstone Semiconductor getting
$12 million in venture funding, poised to make a splash in--of all
To some, it may have seemed like watching a car crash in slow
motion, with the brake-less vehicle careening toward a stand of huge
trees, the occupants blissfully unaware of their fate. These were former analog veterans starting a small company to take
business from huge, entrenched players in the analog space. For one of
those analog veterans,
CEO Brett Fox, it was quite the opposite. In fact, it's been an exhilarating ride so far.
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To date, the company has rolled 35 products into the marketplace and
will finish calendar 2012 after adding another 25 to its portfolio.
"We got a lot coming," he said, including new analog comparators and
amplifiers. The company also is entering the ADC market place and
adding to other product lines. Next year, DACs and power management
devices. In a July interview with our reporter Ismini Scouras, Fox
said his company would go after "
in the signal path."
"Suddenly, we start looking like a full-fledged, catalog,
broad-based analog supplier...in essentially three years a time. Not
bad," he said in an interview at Touchstone offices here, a stone's
throw from Interstate 880 and a warm stroll down the street from
Linear Technology. In 2010 there were six designers in the company,
today Touchstone has twice as many, averaging 20 years' experience
and roughly 10 patents apiece. Fox and company are pulling in people
from Maxim and Linear, adding one new designer a quarter.
I asked him about competition, the nature of innovation, and venture
capital investment. Perhaps not surprisingly, Maxim, his alma mater,
The power stage of switching converters can be modeled essentially as a PWM-switch. A switch seems to be far from the kind of circuit element that can be linearized, but it can be. This Part 2 develops a linear model of the PWM-switch
Chances are youíve heard mention of supercapacitors if you havenít yet implemented them in a system design. Thatís because when components experience a 30% compound annual growth rate, it is usually driven by game-changing advantages.
Running a SAR ADC at a slower throughput can be very advantageous. By providing more time between conversions, the system filter requirements are relaxed, providing more time to acquire the input signal and to retrieve data from the ADC.