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ADI's latest product families tailored for high-voltage apps

Posted: 13 Oct 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:analog devices? adi? a/d converter? intelligent sensor? jfet op amp?

Hammering home its commitment to the high-voltage industrial sector, Analog Devices Inc. (ADI) is rolling out four new product families (A/D converters, intelligent sensors, JFET op amps and voltage references). Three of the four product families utilize the company's fairly new icmos and ipolar manufacturing processes.

ADI is still committed to this market segment, while many other OEMs are focusing on the 3C markets (computer, consumer, communications), said Eric Nolan, ADI's product market manager, precision signal processing.

"If you look at the industrial market, you will see that there haven't been any new high-voltage processes developed in the last five or 10 years. There is plenty of development on the low- voltage side, but not in the high-voltage arena," Nolan said.

The programmable PulSAR A/D converters utilize ADI's iCMOS process. The references and amplifiers both use ADI's iPolar process, and the iSensor sensors use a combination of many different processes including CMOS, bipolar and iMEMs.

The 16- (AD761x) and 18-bit (AD763x) A/D converters, the first PulSAR converters ADI is releasing utilizing the iCMOS process, feature ease of use, increased functionality and space savings.

ADI's older PulSAR A/D converters were designed for straight lower voltage input ranges (0 to 5V typically), versus up to 10V for the new devices. "Straight CMOS doesn't have the high-volt capability," Nolan said.

The best reason to use these converters is their high level of integration (see graphic below). "To get to the high-volt industrial range (10V), ADI integrated information in the front end that is controlled by software. Normally, a programmable gain amplifier is needed in the front of the A/D converter, which is usually fabricated via a bunch of switches and amplifiers to perform the same function. In addition, we've eliminated single-end differential conversion and the need for level shifting," Nolan said.

The second product family, the precision JFET amplifier (ADA4000-1) is a single version device, with a 36V supply, low input bias current (10pA max), high precision (offset voltage of just 1mV), and tiny package (TSOT23)all for under a buck. Dual and quad versions will soon follow, Nolan said.

The voltage reference family (ADR12x family) offers low power consumption (only 85?A,) for operation in a small package (TSOT-23). "It also offers high precision grade, with good output drive capability," Nolan said. This is ADI's first voltage reference family using the iPolar process.

What makes this voltage reference family, which use a common output voltage (2.5 and 1.25 C) that is used for converters, stand out, is that it offers the best temperature coefficient out there, Nolan said. "Stability over temperature is a critical spec. You want the voltage reference to be as close to the output voltage as possible (5V over the temperature range)," he said.

ADI's iSensors are a fully integrated (see graphic below) sensor processing solution for applications that require intelligence embedded within the sensor, said Bob Scannell, ADI's business development manager, iSensors. "There are a lot of advantages of doing it this way. You can pre-calibrate it and get an accurate response by putting conditioning next to the sensor," he said.

Some remote and wireless applications require embedded intelligence. Putting the process at the center of the application reduces the data you transmit back to the controller and consequently uses less power, Scannell said. These are system-in-package solutions, a concept that ADI is patenting, with a digital interface and embedded control. "Complex design requirements at the system level require a high-level system oriented approach, which we've taken," Scannell said.

The programmability aspect of these sensors is important, according to Scannell. In applications for vibration analysis in heavy industrial equipment like presses and drills, someone typically uses a handheld monitor to sense gross motor changes that may require maintenance. "Customers want to embed the sensor in the equipment close to the motor to provide the same detection from inside the equipment, to avoid downtime," Scannell explained. "This is a fully integrated accelerometer that also provides an inclinometer function (tilt sensing) with built-in calibration so the customer can update applications in the field," he added.

The system-in-packaging approach allows integration around the sensorusing the same package size (9mm x 9mm). "It's a 3D approach, where the electronics is mounted under the sensor in a land grid array format package," Scannell said.

Essentially, ADI is providing programmability and a lot of functionality, for the same price as sensors that would need to have all of this additional functionality added, Scannell said.

- Bettyann Liotta


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