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STMicro SoC device to play crucial role in LHC experiment

Posted: 26 Nov 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:SoC device? ALTRO? Analog-to-Digital Converters? transistors? digital processing circuitry?

STMicroelectronics has started production of the SoC device known as ALTRO, a chip jointly developed by ST and the ALICE Collaboration, a group of universities and research institutes preparing one of the major experiments that will be performed on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

The ALTRO chip integrates 16 low-power ADCs plus more than six million transistors of custom digital processing circuitry and around 800Kb of data memory. The ALTRO will be used in a key experiment called ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment), which is scheduled to start in 2007.

A key challenge in implementing ALTRO was to ensure that the performance of ST's original ADC design would be maintained in the presence of the electrical noise generated by the large amount of digital processing circuitry on the same chip. ST and the ALICE team solved the problem by careful design of the clock circuitry, including manual routing of the most critical paths, to ensure that switching of all digital nodes occurs outside of the ADC aperture time.

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