Precision Mixed Analog/Digital ASIC with Analog Emphasis

Advanced Linear Devices (ALD) delivers a high precision mixed analog/digital ASIC design development methodology, which consists of utilizing ALD’s line of standard linear products as a hardware analog function library. The contents of the library are linear I.C. component cells that are fully characterized and manufacturing proven. While this design methodology is targeted at precision instrumentation, measurement and control applications, including smart sensor and signal conditioners interface applications, it can also serve applications where complex analog function developments are necessary and where on-chip precision trimming techniques are employed.

On-chip EPAD® elements enable precision trimming of each individual parameter or each signal channel after the chip has been packaged and soldered onto a substrate or printed circuit board. Design macromodel libraries with corresponding symbol libraries are available as an optional design tool in the form of models and subcircuits for SPICE simulators. This ASIC program is a design environment enhancement package intended to support, supplement and facilitate design verification of linear ASICs or mixed analog/digital ASICs by utilizing both hardware and software simulation. Using this design method, high precision mixed analog/digital ASICs can be developed and implemented successfully as a sub-system without the user having to become an analog IC designer.

With this design approach of using prefabricated high complexity analog IC functions, mixed analog/digital ASICs with up to greater than an order of magnitude more complexity and precision, when compared to other development approaches, can be developed and verified. One very significant user benefit is that field testing of the finished system product where the ASIC is being used can be fully tested under actual operating environments before an ASIC is implemented in silicon.

The Function Specific Design Kit contains an Advanced Linear Devices' hardware design library, an ASIC verification library consisting of linear functions and components, and the user can add active and passive elements and 74HC or CD4000 series digital logic gates that are intended to be integrated onto a single monolithic ASIC chip. Linear functions are ALD’s standard linear functions product line, which include a wide selection of different rail-to-rail operational amplifiers, voltage comparators, timers and oscillators, analog switches, MOSFETs, digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital converters, with built-in on-chip precision voltage reference.

Also available are the ALD proprietary EPAD®, electrically programmable analog devices, useful for high precision and high resolution on-chip trimming and calibration purposes. Available active and passive elements include resistors, capacitors, zener diodes, and NMOS, as well as PMOS transistors. All IC components are rated for 5 volt single or dual supply operation. This design kit supports VLSI integration of simulation and breadboard validated systems. It contains dozens to hundreds of complex components normally found on a printed circuit board.

Designs developed and engineered using the ALD standard linear circuit functions can be integrated directly with all integration conversion factors built in. No further conversion is necessary before integration and volume production of the ASIC as a complete mixed digital/linear system on-a-chip. Integration nonrecurring engineering, tooling and setup charges typically depend on system complexity, functionality and specifications.