mixed signal soc

State-Of-The-Art Products That Use Optical Control ASIC

One of the advantages of using application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) designs is its low power consumption. Industrial applications of ASICs are now used to achieve that and several other benefits. In the design of an optical control ASIC, for instance, the manufacturer aims to achieve low power, low-cost optical chips for applications that require image sensing capabilities, motion control, and color, light and distance measurement.

 

 

 

Low Power Image Sensor Chips

 

The industry has created a mechanism to develop image sensor chips and ICs for different applications in order to provide low power consumption, fast image updates, and high sensitivity. Each application utilizes minimal image resolution combined with smart software algorithms.

 

The single-chip optical systems are integrated within a range of industrial environments, which includes data communication, detection of motion and luminance, Internet of Things, and object tracking.

 

Engineers are able to integrate and customize optical control ASIC design based on the requirements of the customers. The optimal setup can be determined using on-chip or off-chip components.

 

Such would include the analog amplifiers, digital control communication, and sensor size. This is aimed to minimize the price, power consumption, and size.

 

 

 

Color and Light Measurements

 

The use of optical control ASIC also benefits many applications such as the capability to measure color or light. This can be done with the combination of optical filters on a chip diode and standard CMOS technology. This is beneficial for industrial and process control applications.

 

Other applications include early corrosion detection in gas pipes and steel constructions, eyewear protection, food bacteria, and humidity detection. The welding helmet is an example of efficient technology in preventing eye injuries caused by dangerous radiation from the welding process.

 

 

 

Optical Touchscreens and Industrial Applications

 

Most touchscreens might be based on capacitance sensing technology. But the use of optical control ASIC technology surpasses common expectations. This is because it enables light-based touchscreens more resistant to external mechanical impact.

 

  • 3rd dimension touchscreens
  • Underwater utility
  • Cost-efficient solution

 

Cutting edge optical technology is also used to provide first-rate touch experience for customers. This has been made possible with the use of advanced optomechanics and signal processing.

 

This sets new standards in touchscreen technology because you can get unique clarity in the screen. Moreover, it provides more resistance to external impact compared to traditional touchscreens.

 

The combination of a microprocessor and an optical sensor with the use of ASIC technology will enable the calculation of the coordinates of the finger when touching the screen. In other sensor applications where light disappears when moving, the photodiode Opto-ASIC principles are used. This can be seen in precision machinery and rotation control/detection in robotics.

 

 

 

Distance Measurement with Time of Flight Technology

 

Optical chip ASICs provide accurate measurement of distance on the basis of the time required for emitted photons to be reflected and measured on receiving diodes. The photodiodes become sensitive to specific wavelengths with the use of different optical filters.

 

The manufacture of optical filters will depend on the requirements of the customers. Most often, in order to obtain maximum measurement accuracy, 2-phase or 4-phase measurements are enabled for this application.

 

 

 


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.

System on a Chip

Combining Analog and Digital ICs for Mixed Signal ASIC Design

Over the years, the most innovative companies around the world have tapped the potential of applied specific integrated circuit (ASIC) solutions. In fact, the industry has capitalized on mixed-signal ASIC design and products as it understands the needs of the customers.

 

 

Perhaps you have already encountered the term mixed-signal ASIC design. Well, that is because it can be found everywhere nowadays, particularly in smart mobile devices. This is an integrated circuit containing both analog and digital circuits on a single semiconductor die.

 

 

At the same time, it processes both analog and digital signals. For instance, one example of a mixed-signal circuit is the analog-to-digital converter. This type of system or circuit is an example of a cost-effective solution to build any modern consumer electronic applications.

 

 

 

Chip Design

 

The design and manufacture of mixed-signal ASIC design are more difficult in comparison with analog-only or digital-only integrated circuits. One of the notable differences is that it is more efficient because it shares a common power supply with its analog and digital components. However, it would be an essential goal in chip design as its components have different power needs and consumption characteristics.

 

 

 

Lowest Risk Path

 

In terms of cost reduction, ASICs and highly integrated system-on-chip solutions are advantageous and can increase the performance providing the lowest risk path to success. This is because it uses an extensive library of proven circuit IP so that it can speed up projects.

 

 

 

Optical Chips

 

The industry has developed image sensor chips and ICs for different sensor applications. This will provide high sensitivity, fast image updates, and low power consumption. This smart single-chip optical system has been integrated across various industrial environments, which includes data communication via RF links, IoT, motion and luminance detection, and object tracking.

 

 

This employs minimal image resolution required for each application. At the same time, it works together with smart software algorithms to integrate image sensing capabilities into optical sensor solutions with or without battery.

 

 

 

Advantages of Combining Analog and Digital ICs

 

Mixed-signal ASIC design provides engineers the potential to reduce the complexity of multiple integrated circuit designs into one IC. This concept has already become commercially viable and widely available. Here are some of the benefits of using mixed-signal ASIC:

 

  • Reduction in cost
  • Reliability improvement
  • Protection of intellectual property
  • Low power consumption
  • Miniaturization
  • Improvement in performance

 

 

Analog and mixed-signal ASIC design are found in products used by consumers all over the world in different segments of the market, such as the following:

 

  • Instrumentation
  • Industrial sensors to flight control
  • Cosmetics to healthcare
  • Credit card scanners to mobile devices

 

 

A mixed-signal ASIC design combines the competencies of the analog and digital circuit designs. Dozens of ASIC chips are now used in cars to provide the mechanism for basic functions such as airbag deployment, climate control, and entertainment systems.

 

 

Many establishments also take advantage of ASIC chips in the delivery of basic services, particularly in manufacturing and medical facilities.

 

 

 


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.

soc

How a Typical System on a Chip Works

When you buy a mobile device, the multi-core capabilities, processing power, and speed often matter the most. But as you generally focus on the processor, there are more complex things happening. In fact, there is a system-on-a-chip (SoC) within these devices offering more complex functionalities.

 

 

 

What Is SoC?

 

The fact that mobile devices are basically smaller computers, they have the same components as do desktops and laptops. Therefore, they are able to do amazing things just as your computers normally do.

 

However, these tiny computers are not able to provide the same capacity as your desktop or laptop for different components needed. Such would include the graphics card, processor, and RAM.

 

 

 

Components of A SoC

 

There are a number of components you can find inside an SoC chip that you may need to know in order to understand how they work. Here are the general details so that you may be able to get an idea of what goes on inside a system-on-a-chip.

 

  • Central Processing Unit (CPU) – This component makes everything possible when you use your smartphone. CPUs can be single- or multiple-core processor, which is mostly based on ARM technology.

 

  • Memory – A computer has the memory required to perform different tasks, which is also what you can find in an SoC in your smartphone or tablet. An SoC basically has different memory architectures inside to fulfill its tasks efficiently.

 

  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) – Another important part you can find on the SoC is the GPU. It is responsible for handling complex 3D games on your mobile devices. There are many GPU architectures available in the market just as you might expect.

 

  • Northbridge – A component that is capable of handling communications between a CPU and other components of the SoC is called a Northbridge or Southbridge.

 

  • Southbridge – Another component capable of handling various input/output functions is the second chipset called the Southbridge. This component is found inside the SoC in some cases.

 

  • Cellular Radios – There are certain modems that you can find in a system-on-a-chip needed by mobile operators. This is the case for the Snapdragon S4 from Qualcomm, which has an embedded LTE modem on board. This will be responsible for the 4G LTE connectivity.

 

  • Other Radios – You may also find other types of connectivity that SoCs use, including Bluetooth, GPS/GLONASS, or Wi-Fi.

 

 

 

Different Types Of SoC

 

There are different types of SoC chips used by various manufacturers of mobile devices. They are not entirely similar, so here are a few of the most popular system-on-a-chip found in your mobile devices.

 

  • NVIDIA Tegra 3
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
  • Samsung Exynos 4 Quad
  • Intel Medfield
  • Texas Instruments OMAP 4
  • ST-Ericsson NovaThor

 

 

Apple also has its own system-on-a-chip which is the popular line of AX chips, namely the A9X, A10X, and A12X. These chips have been many of the iOS devices of Apple starting with the iPad. Its flagship Apple SoC is the A10X, but its newest model iPad Pro utilizes the A12X SoC chipset.

 

 

 


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.

ASIC chips

A Few of the Ways ASIC Chips are integrated into Newer Technologies

Technologies of today are indeed getting more advanced thanks to the integration of application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs). In the world where processes are done in a repeated function, it is important to use dependable systems like ASICs designed for a very specific purpose.

 

 

Here are some ways in which ASIC chips are used in newer technology these days:

 

Tensor Processing Units (TPU) of Google

A type of ASIC designed to run key deep learning algorithms, which is part of the TensorFlow machine learning framework. Originally, Google used CPUs and GPUs for training machine learning models. A new generation of TPUs has then been developed to both train and run the models. TensorFlow, as an open-source machine learning library developed by Google, not only runs best on TPUs but also on both CPUs and GPUs.

 

 

Blockchain

Many cryptocurrencies to discover blocks by running hashing algorithms and these discoveries may increase in difficulty over time with more blocks being found. As a result, the difficulty will lead to an arms race of computing power resulting in the ASICs overtaking CPUs and GPUs.

 

For instance, Bitcoin was first mined on CPUs and GPUs. However, the first Bitcoin ASICs were created in 2013, which was intended to run the SHA-256 hashing algorithm for more efficient and faster processing compared to general-purpose chips. As a result, CPUs and GPUs have become obsolete for this function.

 

The market has become very popular that even Samsung, the world leader in chip manufacturing, is supplying ASIC chips for mining cryptocurrency. Some companies, like Bitmain, are now turning their experience in ASIC into artificial intelligence, competing with the likes of Google and AWS.

 

 

IoT ‘edge’ Devices

Circuits embedded into smart devices have become the driving force of the digital revolution. In fact, custom-built ASICs are used by IoT devices themselves to reduce the physical space on the chip and they function under low energy demands.

 

IoT kits connect cloud platforms such as AWS IoT Core, Google Cloud, or TensorFlow which may also run ASICs. Basically, IoT devices are able to utilize ASIC chip technologies to gather data with the use of sensors, push the said data into algorithm models running on cloud-based ASICs, and send alerts from the model back to the end-user.

 

 

Multi-Cloud

It is important to view enterprise IT holistically as a multi-cloud environment. Normally, enterprise IT powers all things from social media to sports events to ATMs. In other words, digital businesses in today’s world would rely on a combination of private or public cloud and on-premises hardware.

 

 

Nowadays, ASIC chip technologies are powering digital transformation and beginning to play a pivotal role in data centers. The problem is the integration of ASICs with conventional CPUs and GPUs within the multi-cloud environment. Moreover, IT leaders today should be concerned about the costs through the lifecycle of software development and production deployment.

 

Therefore, risks are to be taken by IT leaders of today due to technological obsolescence, which could be the burden of those companies disrupting the digital economy. Perhaps developing custom ASIC chips could be a possible option for digital leaders taking an edge at the forefront of their markets.

 

 

 


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.

Mixed Signal SOC

Basic Information about a Sensor ASIC and Its Applications

ASIC (application specific integrated circuit) designs are built by manufacturers based on specific customer specifications. Many technologies can be used in order to produce ASICs, which was once thought to consist only of digital circuits.

 

 

These are almost entirely designed by logic synthesis programs, such as a physical layout, which is completed by automated place and route programs. However, there are no analog circuits included in this design.

 

 

There are many types of ASICs applications, which include sensor ASIC. Here are a few basic examples of ASIC applications:

 

 

  • Automotive ASICs
    • Digital pulse width modulator
    • Electric odometers
    • LCD display drivers
    • VF display drivers

 

  • Industrial ASICs
    • Custom 8-bit microcontroller
    • Digital trim potentiometer
    • Micropower 555 timer
    • Thermal controller
    • Pulse counter and elapse time meters

 

  • Medical ASICs
    • Advanced hearing instruments
    • Biometric sensors
    • Programmable hearing aids

 

  • Security ASICs
    • Key lock tags
    • Passive infrared motion detector
    • RFID tag
    • Spread spectrum controller

 

  • Sensor ASICs
    • Accelerometer piezo sensor
    • Engine monitoring sensors
    • Magneto-resistive sensor for control

 

 

 

What Are Sensor ASICs For?

 

Here are some of the custom ASIC applications that involve sensors.

 

 

  • Sensor Interface and Bar Display Driver

 

This particular ASIC chipset will convert analog inputs into one of 10 programmable ranges. Then it displays the result on a 10-segment bar display. The input range is technically 0-2.55V and is set by either an external or internal reference voltage. The voltage level for every range contains a resolution of 8 bits and stored in an electrically erasable programmable read-only memory or EEPROM.

 

 

Basic features include:

    • Absolute or Ratiometric sensors
    • Data backed up in EEPROM
    • Internal 5-volt regulator
    • 7-decade season, 5-decade trip counters
    • 7-digit LCD driver
    • 20-bit binary Prescaler
    • Record miles or hours
    • Temperature range from -40 degrees Celsius to +85 degrees Celsius

 

  • Engine Monitor and Warning Light Controller

 

This device will monitor up to 4 engine parameters, such as pressure, temperature, or voltage. If the parameter is out of range, it activates the corresponding warning light. At this point, the inputs on the sensor could be absolute or ratiometric. The inputs are also digitally filtered and might include hysteresis to avoid flickering. This is particularly intended for automotive instrument clusters.

 

 

Basic features include:

    • 4-sensor channels
    • Absolute or ratiometric
    • External R and C
    • Internal 10-volt regulator
    • Internal oscillator for clock generation
    • Optional hysteresis
    • Programmable digital filters
    • Temperature ranges from -40 degrees Celsius to +85 degrees Celsius

 

  • Digital Pulse Width Modulator

 

This type of chipset modulates an input clock for a variable frequency and duty-cycle output signal. There are three 8-bit registers accessible via a 3-wire interface. They will be able to control configuration, frequency, and pulse width.

 

 

Basic features include:

    • 8-Lead green PDIP package
    • 8-MHz clock input frequency
    • 3-wire serial bus input
    • 2.5 to 6.0-volt supply range
    • Direct replacement for Intersil CPD68HC68W1
    • Programmable frequency and duty cycle output
    • Temperature ranges from -40 degrees Celsius to +85 degrees Celsius

 

For more information on Sensor ASICs, contact Linear MicroSystems today for a proposal on your next project.

 

 

 


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.

mixed signal asic

Popular Applications for Time-Of-Flight ASIC Chipsets

There are many applications that can be made with time-of-flight circuitry, particularly in the areas of light detection and ranging (LIDAR) and 3D imaging. These include driving and detecting sensors, which involve very fast and high-speed processes, as well as wideband circuit design techniques.

 

 

Basic Features

 

  • Transmitter has:
    • High-speed gate driver, while operating with an external transistor
    • Uses a pre-heat function for faster pulse shapes
    • Power monitor function
    • SPI interface

 

  • Receiver has:
    • Very low noise wideband trans-impedance amplifier or TIA
    • Fast response pulse detector with LVDS outputs

 

  • Separate transmitter and receiver functions that come in quad-flat no-leads (QFN) packages of 24 pins, 3mm x 3mm

 

  • Both ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) are designed in a 180nm SiGe process

 

 

Applications for Time-of-Flight Chipset Based On LIDAR

 

  • Consumer – interactive displays in AI systems

 

  • Logistics – parcel loading

 

  • Retail – queue management and customer behavioral tracking

 

  • Robotics – object detection and avoidance

 

  • Security – perimeter fencing and intrusion detection

 

  • Transportation – collision avoidance and autonomous driving

 

 

The development of a time-of-flight ASIC chipset was intended for a customer with new products in the LIDAR and 3D imaging application spaces. The function of this chipset is to split the transmitter and receiver ASICs, which will allow flexibility where multiple receivers are utilized for every transmitter.

 

 

However, the split function has the added benefit of keeping huge, fast transmit signals away from the very sensitive receiver circuits. Customers then can use off-the-shelf discrete components and ICs to build a breadboard of the transceiver function.

 

 

As a result, customers can develop initial target specifications of the transceiver from the input-output standpoint. This is the advantage of modifying the specific circuit architectures to best use a fully-integrated approach.

 

 

 

How well do Time-of-Flight Chipset ASICs Work

 

Based on an initial investigation, the chip was checked if it could meet the overall requirements. The chipset used as a 180nm SiGe BiCMOS process, which offered a good compromise between the cost and performance for both wafers and masks. The detailed design was finally made after the chipset specifications were determined.

 

 

 

Significance of Time of Flight ASIC Chipsets

 

  • Used in ToF cameras, a range imaging system used to resolve distance on the basis of a known speed of light. This allows the measurement of time of fight traveled by a light signal between the subject and the camera.

 

  • Used in long-range cameras that cover from a range of a few centimeters up to several kilometers with lower spatial resolution in comparison to 2D cameras.

 

 

  • A ToF camera has an image sensor that measures the time it would take for light to travel from the unit of illumination, the optics gathering the light and projecting it into the image sensor, the illumination unit, the driver electronics, and the interface or computation.

 

  • Range-gated imagers have also been developed for ToF cameras. These have a built-in shutter that activates an open-close function when light pulses are sent out.

 

 

For more information on Time-of-Flight ASIC chipsets, contact Linear MicroSystems today for a proposal on your next project.

 

 

 


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.

system-on-a-chip(SOC)

Quality Performance Aspects to Look For In RF ASICs

There are a set of challenges in the development of RF ASICs, which could be beyond those encountered in baseband IC design. One of the most basic challenges is the demand it puts on the process technology.

 

 

 

High-Performance Passives

 

Aside from the fast transistors needed, high-performance passives are among those that have minimal factors that would minimize crosstalk and bandwidth reduction. For this reason, high Q inductors are needed in the process.

 

 

Performance specifications of the RF ASIC will typically drive the implementation into deep submicron processes which are optimized for RF performance. At the same time, development time will be longer due to the fact that there are extensive simulations necessary for the consideration of the impact of parasitics.

 

 

Moreover, some design iteration be it electrical or physical is necessary to account for these layout parasitics. In this case, RF ASICs would require larger non-recurring engineering budget for the process constraints and amount of the engineering resources needed.

 

 

 

Testing RF ASICs

 

The wafer-level testing process for RF ASICs should also be a factor in performance. Basically, they are sold in die form as they are part of the chip-on-board packaging technology. Therefore, wafer testing is necessary for RF frequencies.

 

 

Thus, special probe cards and prober hardware are necessary, including the knowledge of the test team having RF background. So a carefully designed tester interface hardware must be used. They must be fabricated to have a minimal impact of stray parasitics and mismatch on measurements.

 

 

 

Design Architecture Parameters

 

The design team must also choose the appropriate architecture and come up with a reasonable set of requirements to match the target budget and schedule aside from the product requirements. Therefore, it is required to conduct an investigation phase in RF ASICs around 2-6 weeks based on the customer to come up with a more satisfactory project plan.

 

 

 

Design Parameters to Be Considered In Investigation Phase

 

  • Available power or DC power supply
  • Full or half-duplex operation
  • Receiving and transmitting frequencies and IBW or instantaneous bandwidth
  • Receiver input and transmitter output dynamic range
  • On and off-chip filtering
  • Frequency planning for receiver and transmitter
  • Number of channels
  • Channel to channel isolation
  • DC power dissipation
  • Transmitter power, receiver sensitivity, peak to average ratio, and efficiency
  • Attenuation or automatic gain control
  • ESD impact

 

 

The architectural approach of RF ASIC and the integrated circuit process choice are greatly influenced by these parameters. These are required to create a link budget for the development of specifications in individual ASIC circuit blocks.

 

 

The RF circuitry is often part of the larger system-on-a-chip wherein there is importance in noise immunity and crosstalk. Therefore, it should be well considered to have an overall physical layout of the chip. At the same time, great care must be given to the power supply routing scheme, including the location and number of power and grounds.

 

 

Thus, it is always important to pay attention to the design considerations and the process and testing requirements offered by ASIC companies having extensive expertise in RF.

 

 

 


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.

mixed signal asic

Understanding the Importance of the Analog ASIC

For those who are interested in integrated circuits (ICs), there is another type of chip designed for specific tasks. This chip is called Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC).

 

Basically, an integrated circuit (IC) is a combination of an analog circuit like an amplifier and de-noising circuit, and digital blocks like arithmetic logic units, multiplexers, and registers. ICs were mostly comprised of a couple of matched transistors and then expanded to comparators, Op-amps, timers, and voltage regulators, among others.

 

The analog ASIC plays an essential role in life because it is responsible for the existence of portable electronic devices. Building mobile phones, MP3 players, or navigation systems without analog ASICs can make them impossible to carry around or in your pockets.

 

As a matter of fact, dozens of ASIC chips are inside an automobile, as they are in climate control or airbag deployment, suspension control to entertainment systems. Moreover, these chips have important roles in in-hospital medical equipment applications, home appliances, and many other personal and industrial systems.

 

Thus, the market for analog ASIC is so big, which can be seen from 2010 sales figures amounting to 60% of almost $37 billion sold in that year alone. Here are some of the important functions of these chips in the modern world.

 

Lower Assembly Cost

The integration of the components into the ASIC often comes for free and has a dramatic impact to lower the total assembly cost of the end product. Justifying the development of analog ASIC can be possible because of the potential total system cost savings.

 

Design Experience

True analog ASIC companies only employ experienced designers who are masters of their own field. Many of them have spent years at huge analog companies as they learned from industry pioneers. But mixing digital and analog circuitry into one chip might not be ideal. This is because the analog application needs designs that are application-specific, which assures 100% specification coverage.

 

Large Customer Base

Many semiconductor companies focus on huge customers, which might only include the privileged few. Full-service ASIC houses have their own criteria on annual volume, tooling, and minimum non-recurring engineering.

 

Moreover, analog generally has shown to be less susceptible to the violent supply-demand trends inherent to the semiconductor industry in general. In addition, analog chips often remain in production for more than 10 years in which analog ASIC companies spend decades to nurture these relationships for the benefit of the customers.

 

An advantage for the Designer

Handcrafting analog functions would allow the designer to accomplish many things. In fact, in mixed-signal design, analog circuits are designed to fill the void created using standard digital cells. This, in turn, will make better optimization of the overall silicon area utilization. Moreover, it will allow the designer to precisely determine the performance parameters of the circuit.

 

Competitive Advantage

The analog ASIC design should be able to rise above the competition. This is due to the fact that in a cell library, the designer is limited to choose from dozens of amplifiers, converters, and voltage references in which compromise in performance is needed to accommodate the limited choices. If you are going to base your designs around the mixed-signal cell libraries, you will have the same performance specs, like those found in the library cells.

 

 


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.

mixed signal asic design

Differences and Similarities of Analog and Mixed Signal ASIC Design

It is important to know more about the applicability and the role of application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) through their historical origins. This can also be used to differentiate analog and mixed-signal ASIC design.

 

Integrated circuits first came into the limelight in the early 1960s. Basically, these items contained just a number of transistors with limited digital logic functions.

 

Here is a list that describes the evolution of integrated circuits over the decades.

  • Small scale integration (a few transistors)
  • Medium scale integration (10-100 transistors)
  • Large scale integration (100-1,000 transistors)
  • Very large scale integration (up to 100,000 transistors)
  • Integrated circuits

 

ASIC Beginnings

The first digital ASICs were developed with the use of a standard cell library that consists of fixed height, variable-width tiles that contain the digital logic functions. It is the ability of these blocks over and over that enabled to save time and money in designing a custom logic IC.

 

Since analog applications would typically involve higher voltages, such ICs would require their own unique set of manufacturing processes. In fact, a merger between analog and digital functionality onto a single silicon chip has increased market demands for a smaller size, lower power consumption, and higher speeds.

 

Combining Analog and Digital

The significance of mixed-signal integrated circuits is that it has both analog and digital circuits on just the same chip. Mixed-signal ASIC design offers engineers the potential to reduce complex, multiple-integrated circuit designs to a single IC.

 

Mixed-signal ASICs also have become widely available and commercially viable. Some of the benefits of analog and mixed-signal ASIC are

  • Cost reduction
  • Improved reliability
  • Intellectual property protection
  • Low power
  • Miniaturization
  • Performance improvement

 

Analog and mixed-signal ASIC design are both found in products used by millions of consumers the different segments of the market

  • Healthcare to cosmetics
  • Industrial sensors to flight control
  • Instrumentation
  • Mobile devices to credit card scanners

 

When building a mixed-signal ASIC design, you are combining the competences of the analog and digital circuit designs, which include

  • Analog-to-digital conversion via all methods, such as sigma-delta modulation
  • Circuit design with linear circuits as well as switched capacitor circuit techniques
  • Design of low power circuits
  • Development of test procedures, test patterns, and test structures or ASICs
  • Mixed-signal ASIC design and modeling

 

ASIC Uses

On the other hand, analog ASICs have played an important role in the lives of people. In fact, the absence of such technology, no portable electronic devices that you use in day-to-day life would seem to exist.

 

You can just imagine a world without mobile phones, MP3 players, or navigation systems. Nevertheless, building these ICs on standard products would be expensive, as it is also impossible to bring them along with your pockets or purses.

 

Each automobile of today contains dozens of ASIC chips that enable the mechanism for climate control, deployment of the airbag, and suspension control to entertainment systems. At the same time, it can help many establishments, such as hospital/medical equipment, suspension control, and entertainment systems.

 

LMI ASIC Design House

ASICs requiring high analog content must be directed to those who design houses specializing in analog circuit design as opposed to those who just pick analog IP blocks from the library. Contact Linear MicroSystems today for a free proposal today!

 

 

 


Linear MicroSystems, Inc. is proud to offer its services worldwide as well as the surrounding areas and cities around our Headquarters in Irvine, CA: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Orange County, Fullerton, and Los Angeles.

LIDAR ASIC and Systems

What Is A LIDAR System?

New technology has been used by geologists these days, particularly the light detection and ranging (LIDAR) mechanism, a remote sensing method to examine the surface of the Earth.

 

 

The process used by LIDAR employs light in the form of a pulsed laser that is able to measure ranges or variable distances to the Earth. The combination of light pulses and other recorded data through an airborne system will be able to generate three-dimensional information of the Earth’s surface and its characteristics.

 

 

A LIDAR instrument includes:

  • Laser
  • Scanner
  • Specialized GPS receiver

 

 

Two Types of LIDAR:

  • Bathymetric – This type of LIDAR uses water-penetrating green light to measure the riverbed and seafloor elevations.
  • Topographic – This typically maps the land by using a near-infrared laser.

 

 

Mapping professionals and scientists are able to examine both manmade and natural environments via LIDAR systems to achieve accurate, flexible, and precise results. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists use LIDAR so that they can produce more accurate shoreline maps, assist in emergency response operations, make digital elevation models for geographic information systems, and many other relevant applications.

 

 

But LIDAR is not only limited in geography since scientists were able to use this technology to detect angle, distance, and velocity with high precision. Basically, LIDAR is able to classify objects, detect lane markings, and may also be utilized to position an autonomous vehicle more accurately.

 

 

Sensing Mechanism

LIDAR is a critical sensing mechanism that would enable autonomous vehicles. Automotive manufacturers have now developed and commercialized the next generation of LIDAR systems for automotive application.

 

 

There are a number of technologies coming and going, but the question is which one would be appropriate for the future? The most probable option is the use of computer chips to be able to handle higher resolution images. Thus, it would provide more accuracy, particularly the creation of machine vision systems for driving.

 

 

This could be made possible with the creation of a custom ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit), a processor optimized for doing machine vision. In fact, an Israeli company has already made four generations of this chip to make it perform better.

 

 

LIDAR ASICs

Generally, ASICs are widely used in many applications, including auto emission control, environmental monitoring, and other mobile gadgets. In fact, an ASIC can be custom-made for a particular customer application or a special application.

 

 

Nowadays, the next generation of LIDAR ASIC and systems have been developed and commercialized for automotive applications. This can be done using a scalable auto-grade LIDAR sensor, core 3D software technology, and proprietary LIDAR ASIC engine.

 

 

According to experts, the first application will be the so-called RoboTaxi segment, which will use commercial and technical interface to customers. However, this has been the focus of controversy due to its cost.

 

 

Custom ASICs

The development of custom ASICs is key in its breakthrough on performance and cost. That is why it has been predicted that this technology may not be released until 2020. The good thing though is that this technology has been developed and tested repeatedly to achieve feasible results. Who knows, in a few years from now, LIDAR ASIC will be a technology used in automobiles and other vehicles that people can hardly live without.

 

 

 


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