Concepts for smart AD and DA converters

Research output: ThesisPhd Thesis 1 (Research TU/e / Graduation TU/e)

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This thesis studies the `smart' concept for application to analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters. The smart concept aims at improving performance - in a wide sense - of AD/DA converters by adding on-chip intelligence to extract imperfections and to correct for them. As the smart concept can correct for certain imperfections, it can also enable the use of more efficient architectures, thus yielding an additional performance boost. Chapter 2 studies trends and expectations in converter design with respect to applications, circuit design and technology evolution. Problems and opportunities are identfied, and an overview of performance criteria is given. Chapter 3 introduces the smart concept that takes advantage of the expected opportunities (described in chapter 2) in order to solve the anticipated problems. Chapter 4 applies the smart concept to digital-to-analog converters. In the discussed example, the concept is applied to reduce the area of the analog core of a current-steering DAC. It is shown that a sub-binary variable-radix approach reduces the area of the current-source elements substantially (10x compared to state-of-the-art), while maintaining accuracy by a self-measurement and digital pre-correction scheme. Chapter 5 describes the chip implementation of the sub-binary variable-radix DAC and discusses the experimental results. The results confirm that the sub-binary variable-radix design can achieve the smallest published current-source-array area for the given accuracy (12bit). Chapter 6 applies the smart concept to analog-to-digital converters, with as main goal the improvement of the overall performance in terms of a widely used figure-of-merit. Open-loop circuitry and time interleaving are shown to be key to achieve high-speed low-power solutions. It is suggested to apply a smart approach to reduce the effect of the imperfections, unintentionally caused by these key factors. On high-level, a global picture of the smart solution is proposed that can solve the problems while still maintaining power-efficiency. Chapter 7 deals with the design of a 500MSps open-loop track-and-hold circuit. This circuit is used as a test case to demonstrate the proposed smart approaches. Experimental results are presented and compared against prior art. Though there are several limitations in the design and the measurement setup, the measured performance is comparable to existing state-of-the-art. Chapter 8 introduces the first calibration method that counteracts the accuracy issues of the open-loop track-and-hold. A description of the method is given, and the implementation of the detection algorithm and correction circuitry is discussed. The chapter concludes with experimental measurement results. Chapter 9 introduces the second calibration method that targets the accuracy issues of time-interleaved circuits, in this case a 2-channel version of the implemented track-and-hold. The detection method, processing algorithm and correction circuitry are analyzed and their implementation is explained. Experimental results verify the usefulness of the method.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Electrical Engineering
  • van Roermund, Arthur, Promotor
  • Hegt, Hans, Copromotor
Award date27 Jan 2010
Place of PublicationEindhoven
Print ISBNs978-90-386-2120-3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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