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At this week's International Solid State Circuit Conference, IMEC presented an ultra-low power (0.7mW) high-speed (50Msamples/s) analog to digital converter (ADC) with a figure of merit 2.5 times better compared to the best ADC ever reported. The ADC is especially suited for nomadic applications and is scalable in clock rate and towards the 45nm CMOS technology node and below.
ADC's with 8 to 10 bits accuracy operating at several tens of Msamples/s have up to now been the territory of pipeline architectures resulting in large power consumption. Nomadic applications such as software-defined radio analog front-ends however require high-accuracy high-speed ADC's at very low power consumption.
The chip was implemented in a 90nm digital CMOS technology and has a total area of 1.2x1.1mm2 from which 400x200µm2 is used by the ADC core. Measurements on silicon show a power consumption of only 0.7mW at a sampling rate of 50Msamples/s. The measured INL (integral non-linearity) and DNL (differential non-linearity) are below 0.6LSB (least significant bit). The ADC has a figure of merit of 65fJ per conversion step which is 2.5 times better compared to the best ADC ever reported and 5 times better compared to state-of-the-art ADC's designed for nomadic applications. As none of the ADC building blocks consumes any static power, the figure of merit is maintained down to very low conversion rate.
The fully digital implementation of the ADC requires only MOS switches and metal-oxide-metal capacitors, making the ADC scalable to the 45nm node and beyond.
IMEC (www.imec.be) is a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. Its research focuses on the next generations of chips and systems, and on the enabling technologies for ambient intelligence.
IMEC is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has representatives in the U.S., China and Japan. In 2006, its estimated revenue (P&L) was EUR 231 million. Further information on IMEC can be found at http://www.imec.be .
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IMEC Corporate Communications
Katrien Marent, +32 16 28 18 80
Maestro Marketing & PR
Barbara Kalkis, +1-408-996-9975
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