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Analog architecture allows on/off chip programming

Posted: 17 Aug 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:EPAD architecture? CMOS? power? analog? IC?

Advanced Linear Devices Inc. releases the next generation of its Electrically Programmable Analog Device (EPAD) architecture, the core technology in the company�s precision CMOS devices. EPAD allows on- and off-chip programming, allowing threshold voltages of on-chip MOSFET devices to be set. A family of low voltage nano-power MOSFET products are set to be announced in 2H 2010.

EPAD allows for electrical trimming of a variety of CMOS analog IC elements at the die or packaged level. Once trimmed, the device voltage and current characteristics are stored indefinitely in the chip even when the power to the chip is removed. Programming or trimming is achieved through a series of software controlled voltage bursts to a floating gate structure.

The control of a threshold voltage is a critical characteristic facilitating a new class of nano-power circuits. By defining a threshold voltage, a corresponding key circuit parameter can be precisely controlled. This is achieved by active on-chip setting and trimming of certain circuit voltages inside an IC chip. At reduced transistor bias current levels it is now possible to operate in the sub-threshold voltage region of an on-chip MOSFET device using precise voltage and current levels as defined parameters. This capability enables certain circuit elements to operate in the nano-ampere current levels with, for example, nano-ampere or even sub-nano-ampere current mirrors with targeted I-V (current versus voltage) bias points.

This new architecture enables a new class of nano-power circuits that offer previously unattainable voltage and current level controls by precisely controlling the threshold voltage of a number of individual MOSFET devices.

Additional integration will enable more functions on the same chip thereby allowing circuit designers to build higher performance circuits, using less power and at a lower cost. This is a huge benefit for handheld wireless devices, energy harvesting, precision instruments and many security applications.

New ALD product families utilizing this new EPAD architecture are planned for release starting in Q4 2010.

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