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Content posted in August 2013
Deep Space Exploration: Consider Designing an Alternative Approach
William Murray  
8/30/2013   24 comments
Engineers can get in a rut when it comes to design methodology. Try thinking outside of your comfort zone to reach a solution.
Switching Regulators: Efficiency & Cost vs. Frequency
Brad Albing  
8/30/2013   24 comments
Designing switching regulators requires a delicate balance in the consideration of design criteria and manufacturers' claims.
Comparing Op-Amp & Video Amp Topologies, Part 1
Ronald Quan  
8/30/2013   6 comments
The differences and similarities between general purpose op-amps and amplifiers designed specifically for video are explored.
RMS Measurement & Jim Williams Mischief
Doug Grant  
8/30/2013   4 comments
More thoughts on the design and fabrication of an RMS-to-DC converter IC: the trip and trip-ups along the way.
Interleaving Spurs: Bandwidth Mismatches
Jonathan Harris  
8/29/2013   9 comments
Building from our previous discussion of timing mismatch, we now look at bandwidth mismatch and compare the interleaving problems caused. Also, a summary of the problems is shown.
NRE Costs & Analog Integration
Brad Albing  
8/29/2013   10 comments
While you're waiting for IC manufacturers to build the complex parts you want, consider their cost. Then wait a little longer or consider an important alternative.
Contrary to Rumor, Analog Circuit Design Is Alive & Exciting
Analog Angle  
8/29/2013   5 comments
The Texas Instruments' Analog Design Contest for college teams shows innovation and ingenuity coupled with solid design and documentation.
Analog Signals: Audio, Video & Umm... Other Stuff
Doug Grant  
8/29/2013   2 comments
The analog IC business is hard. Profit margins are razor thin. And if you're selling parts to yourself, it gets really complicated.
This Little Switch Went to Market
Peter Zawistowski  
8/28/2013   12 comments
The switch is a simple device. Specifying it can be difficult if details are overlooked. Here's a quick summary of some of the important details.
New Low-Noise LDO Regulators Are Here
William Murray  
8/28/2013   13 comments
With an LDO that has good PSRR specs, filtering the DC for sensitive circuitry may be unnecessary.
Combining Accelerometers With MCUs Produces Very Useful Products
Brad Albing  
8/28/2013   18 comments
Combine a tilt sensor with a MCU and suitable number of ports to light up LEDs to indicate angle of inclination or acceleration.
System A: An Analog Hardware Description Language
Scott Elder  
8/28/2013   6 comments
We would benefit from a hardware description language tailored specifically for analog design.
Component Selection: How Do You Do It?
Jason Bowden  
8/27/2013   7 comments
When working on a new design what is the process for part selection? Do you go with what you know or go with what is better? And how do you define "better"?
Bend & Shape Flexible Integrated Circuits
Steve Taranovich  
8/27/2013   25 comments
Flexible circuits will be the next big thing. There are applications in healthcare/diagnostic medicine, for point-of-sale, and for wearable circuitry.
Can a Car Be 'Over-Sensored'?
Analog Angle  
8/27/2013   34 comments
The availability and abundance of sensors in mass-market products can provide a performance edge, but at what cost in headaches?
Powerful Compromises
Brian Bailey  
8/27/2013   7 comments
Running an analog circuit simulation requires detailed knowledge and representation of the supply buses (ignore at your own peril).
I Like 'Scopes
Barry Harvey  
8/26/2013   14 comments
There are analog 'scopes and digital 'scopes. There are good 'scopes and bad 'scopes. There are several manufacturers. How do these categories intertwine?
RMS Measurement
Aubrey Kagan  
8/23/2013   12 comments
How do you make a true RMS measurement of a complex (non-sinusoidal) waveform? There are various techniques.
Is Analog-IC Design Still So Special?
Analog Angle  
8/22/2013   8 comments
The conventional wisdom is that designing an analog IC takes more art and special processes than digital ICs do, but to what extent is this still true?
A Visit to the NASA Ames Research Center
Brad Albing  
8/21/2013   27 comments
A visit to the Ames Research Center by Senior Technical Editor for Design News, Charles Murray.
Z Meter on a Chip? Impedance Meter Bridge Circuits
Dennis Feucht  
8/21/2013   12 comments
To understand how to fabricate an impedance meter on an IC, Dennis first looks at how impedance meters work. This is the first of three blogs on the topic.
Analog Integration on 65 nm Online Chat Reminder
Brad Albing  
8/21/2013   2 comments
A reminder that we're having a chat on August 22 at 11:00 a.m. EDT on fabricating analog parts on 65 nm (and below) processes. Please come join us for the discussion.
New Management Moves Silvaco in New Direction
Brian Bailey  
8/21/2013   Post a comment
Silvaco is an EDA and CAD company that has been around for a while and has gone through some interesting changes. Silvaco's new management comments on the direction in which it's heading.
Interleaving Spurs: Timing Mismatches
Jonathan Harris  
8/21/2013   3 comments
Building from our previous discussion of gain mismatch, we now look at timing mismatch and compare the interleaving problems caused. We note specifically the similarities with the artifacts created compared to gain mismatches.
How Big Is a Time Step?
Brian Bailey  
8/20/2013   9 comments
Time step size can greatly affect the efficacy of (and therefore the time to run) analog simulations.
Tell Your IC Vendors What You Need
Brad Albing  
8/19/2013   6 comments
Our poll sheds some light on what drives IC replacement when the time comes. Survey says...
It's All 4-to-1 Design
Vincent Biancomano  
8/19/2013   8 comments
In design engineering, certain rule-of-thumb ratios crop up regularly. A common one is the 4:1 ratio.
Transient Stability Testing: Watch Your Step
Precision Hub  
8/16/2013   7 comments
Various pitfalls await when testing an op-amps step response. Capacitive loading, of course; but step amplitude can lead to problems, too.
New Analog ICs — All You Have to Do Is Ask
Brad Albing  
8/15/2013   28 comments
A lot of engineers would probably like complex ICs made to exactly their specifications for a particular project design. If only there were a way to figure out what they want...
The Elusive 12-Bit D/A Converter
Doug Grant  
8/15/2013   21 comments
Making a 12-bit DAC is easy on paper, but difficult to do in practice. At least to be really 12-bit accurate and stay that way over time and temperature. Close does not count.
Analog Integration on 65 nm Online Chat
Brad Albing  
8/15/2013   4 comments
We're having a chat on August 22 at 11:00 a.m. EDT on fabricating analog parts on 65 nm processes. Please come join us for the discussion.
The Mystery of SAR ADC Power Specifications
Alan Walsh  
8/14/2013   6 comments
How much power does your ADC draw? The spec sheet may provide the answers -- but read the fine print.
Nanophotonics: Promise for O/E/O Integration
Joshua Israelsohn  
8/14/2013   33 comments
The integration of optical and electrical devices on silicon, and the ability to convert from electrical to optical and back, are paramount in the design of high-speed communications channels.
Integrating Analog Functionality for Automotive Applications: Tougher Than You'd Think
Brad Albing  
8/13/2013   28 comments
It's difficult to integrate analog functions on to a chip for automotive applications. The high-temperature requirements and the load-dump voltage transients create a very harsh environment.
Does Analog Integration Really Need to Go Beyond 0.18μm?
Steve Taranovich  
8/13/2013   18 comments
Do we need to push analog IC fabrication to geometries below 180nm? How about below 90nm? Or below 30nm?
Analog Designers: Today vs. Yesterday
Jason Bowden  
8/12/2013   22 comments
Can analog designers be as creative today as they were a generation ago?
Is It Real or Is It Analog?
Brian Bailey  
8/12/2013   6 comments
Can we speed up the process of analog modeling? Yes, with some clever techniques, but will the results be accurate?
Explore Design Sensitivity Using Excel's Scenario
Aubrey Kagan  
8/9/2013   1 comment
Excel can not only perform some of your design calculations, it offers a relatively quick way to perform "what-if" analysis.
ESD Protection for Analog Circuits
William Murray  
8/9/2013   11 comments
There are a variety of methods to protect sensitive circuitry from getting zapped from ESD. Here are the most common and most reliable techniques.
Transistor Packaging: A Thing of the Past?
Alex Lidow  
8/9/2013   18 comments
As we pack more functionality into our IC packages, it becomes more difficult to get the heat out. This is especially important when the functionality is RF or power. Here's how it can be done.
Signal Chain Basics #80: Optimizing Power vs. Performance for a SAR-ADC Drive Amplifier
Signal Chain Basics  
8/8/2013   5 comments
An examination of the relationships among ENOB, distortion, and noise, as related to power draw for the ADC drive circuitry.
Video Recorder on a Chip
Brad Albing  
8/7/2013   30 comments
Could you fabricate a video recorder on a chip and power it from a single cell?
Improving the CMRR of Instrumentation Amplifiers
Brad Albing  
8/6/2013   25 comments
Is there a way to minimize the usual degradation of CMRR that occurs when instrumentation amplifiers are put into real-world applications?
Is There Anything Left to Invent or Discover?
Jason Bowden  
8/5/2013   17 comments
Is it time to shut down the Patent Office because all the good stuff has been invented? Or are there still plenty of good -- or clever -- or crazy -- ideas floating around, just waiting for the right implementation?
The Diabolical & the X-Ray
Peter Zawistowski  
8/2/2013   42 comments
How long does it take to construct a weapon that injures or kills large numbers of people fairly quickly? Probably forever if you're a doofus.
Ground Communication via Sheet Resistance
Brad Albing  
8/2/2013   15 comments
Signals can be sent solely through the ground using no other conduction path. Bandwidth and signal-to-noise ratio is limited.
Wires & Power Are the Limiters
Brian Bailey  
8/1/2013   16 comments
Typically, to supply power and transmit data, wiring/cabling is used. Anything that can be done to reduce or eliminate the cabling will reduce cost, increase reliability, and generally allow greater intercommunication between devices.




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