A Note From the Editor

Welcome to the April issue of Analog Dialogue.

The world is small, and news travels fast. In my Notes from the Editor in February I mentioned the Olympic Games and the precision required to measure down to 0.001 sec. I soon received an email from Thomas Westenburg. He’s currently an ADI application engineer, but prior to that he worked for the U.S. Olympic Committee as principal engineer in the Sport Science division. Tom shared some of his stories and experience about how precision technology works in many of the winter games and in the athletes’ training. You can read his blog here. And it was surprising when both the German and Canadian two-man bobsled teams won gold medals at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics after finishing with exactly the same times. Honestly, I had no idea of Tom’s breadth of experience. Hopefully, we can hear more from Tom during the Tokyo summer Olympic games in 2020.

Back to our articles in this issue of Analog Dialogue.

We always try to offer our audience a wide area of interesting articles covering different technologies, markets, and areas. Have you thought about what it means for the test floor measurement engineers measuring the accuracy of chips? When I was a student, the rule was that a measurement system needed to be at least 10 times better than the device itself. A challenge to achieve nowadays. Martina Minicica, Dominic Sloan, Noel McNamara, and David Hanlon—part of the ADI engineering measurement team—provide some insights about moving up the stack from the test floor that you might not have thought about.

An untold story of input settling time comes to us courtesy of an article from Joseph Leandro Peje. Joseph’s focus is on precision amplifiers, as well as analog and mixed-signal systems verification. This system approach allows him to concentrate on the solution and how ICs can work together. In a multichannel, multiplexed data acquisition system, increasing the number of channels per ADC improves the system’s overall cost, area, and power efficiency. Joseph’s article describes how settling transients at the inputs of the multiplexer, caused by a large scale switching transient at the multiplexer output, requires prolonged acquisition time, which effectively decreases the overall throughput of the multichannel data acquisition system.

References are precise analog integrated circuits and you are unable—or your ability is very limited—to get current out of a reference. If you need a precise voltage and just a bit of a current, it would require an external LDO with external components and space on the PCB. The refulator offers a solution. It is a high precision reference capable of driving current. Michael Anderson, an ADI senior design engineer (he holds 16 patents), explains the advantages of working with the refulator.

You probably know that some DACs contain an R2R network to generate a voltage reference at the output. Those Rs are precise resistors. They are normally used to switch the current based on the digital value sent to the DAC to create a voltage at the output amplifier. With multiplying DACs, the output amplifier is not integrated. This offers an opportunity for unusual applications and using the R2R network as a resistor. Interested? Thomas Tzscheetzsch will introduce you to this concept in this month’s Rarely Asked Question. Thomas is a field application engineer manager working mainly with healthcare customers.

The StudentZone continues our series with the SMU ADALM1000. Doug Mercer and Antoniu Miclaus follow up this month with the topic of transient response of RC circuits. An RC circuit is not yet an oscillator, but is close. As soon as a capacitor is implemented, it becomes dynamic. All you need is ALICE—the software we are using—installed on your PC and to have your ADALM1000 ready. Let’s get on with this experiment.

And as we have for 51 years, we invite you to be part of the “dialogue” in Analog Dialogue. You can get in touch through our blogFacebook page, or email. Let us know how we’re doing and what you’d like to see from us in the coming months.