- Industry’s most accurate monolithic digital-to-analog converter offers breakthrough levels of precision resulting in extremely clear diagnostic images for radiologists to detect illnesses at an early stage.
AD5791 high-accuracy 20-bit DAC, the industry’s first to feature true 1-ppm resolution and accuracy.

Norwood, MA (03/10/2010) - MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans provide extraordinarily clear images of the human body and are commonly used to diagnose a wide range of illnesses and injuries, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancerous tumors, and torn ligaments. Analog Devices, Inc. (NYSE: ADI), the leading provider of data conversion technology and longtime collaborator with the medical imaging industry, today introduced a breakthrough in data conversion that gives clinicians and radiologists the superior image clarity they need to see smaller anatomical structures and abnormalities, such as breast cancer cells, than ever before.

ADI’s AD5791 high-accuracy 20-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC), the industry’s first to feature true 1-ppm (parts per million) resolution and accuracy, provides four times greater accuracy and four times more resolution than competing converters. 1-ppm analog system design typically entails the complex engineering challenges involved with combining multiple lower-resolution DACs with a significant number of discrete components and support ICs—along with considerable development risk and costly amounts of engineering time—to optimize circuit parameters, minimize errors, and design complex auto-calibration circuitry. The AD5791, with its 1-ppm resolution and accuracy, low noise (sub 1 ppm), fast refresh rates (1 µs), and extremely low output drift (sub 1 ppm), significantly simplifies the design task, lowers development cost and reduces risk. For more on its specific features, watch the AD5791: 1PPM DAC Video.

In MRI systems, this breakthrough technology improves image quality, enables precise control of the magnetic gradient in high-field-strength applications, and results in superior image resolution and contrast. The low noise, drift, and linearity performance of the AD5791 maximizes operational up-time by eliminating the need to take the MRI system offline for system calibration cycles. The new converter also reduces the necessity for complex calibration algorithms, resulting in lower engineering and system maintenance costs. In addition to MRI systems, other applications for the AD5791 include test and measurement systems, high-end scientific and aerospace instrumentation, communications equipment, and industrial control systems.

Enhancements in data conversion allow imaging system designers to improve image clarity and speed clinicians’ ability to diagnose illnesses at an early stage and make timely treatment possible. The AD5791 DAC delivers extremely low-noise performance, lessening unwanted image artifacts and thereby reducing the need for multiple MRI scans. Additionally, lower image-error rates and higher availability ensure that healthcare facilities can effectively treat more patients within a shorter time period.

More than 60 million diagnostic MRI procedures are performed worldwide each year. A non-invasive technique, MRI takes images of the human body without using ionizing radiation, making it a method of choice to diagnose many different injuries and conditions because of its ability to tailor the exam to meet specific imaging parameters such as the field of view.

“The AD5791 establishes new benchmarks in image clarity, resolution, and contrast in medical imaging systems – all system design requirements needed to ensure radiologists can quickly and accurately diagnose patients,” said Patrick O’Doherty, vice president for the Healthcare Group, Analog Devices. “For system architects, the 1-ppm performance level makes a single DAC architecture possible, reducing design footprint and cost. This means that for the first time designers are able to free up a large portion of the system error budget, the savings of which can be applied to critical components in other subsystems or to improve the overall MRI performance.”

The 20-bit AD5791 offers a relative accuracy specification of ±1 LSB max, and operation is guaranteed monotonic with a ±1 LSB DNL max specification. The product delivers 0.025ppm low frequency noise and features 0.05ppm/C output drift. The output can be configured for standard unipolar (+5 V, +10 V) or bipolar (±5 V, ±10 V) output ranges. The AD5791 uses a versatile three-wire serial interface that operates at clock rates up to 50 MHz.

The AD5791 DAC is the latest example of how Analog Devices is providing cutting-edge technology for medical imaging systems. Other recent medical announcements from ADI include the ADAS1128 24-bit current-to-digital converter, ADuM4160 single-chip USB (universal serial bus) isolator, and AD927x family of eight-channel (octal) receivers for ultrasound systems. These products, along with other ADI offerings, represent today’s broadest IC product portfolio geared specifically toward the healthcare imaging market. For data converter, parametric search, technical articles, books, video, and tools, visit the Data Converter category page.

Recommended Complementary Components
Complementary components for the AD5791 include the AD8276 and ADA4004-x family of operational amplifiers, ADP3331 voltage regulator, ADP1864 step-down dc-to-dc controller, and ADP121 linear regulator.

Pricing and Availability

Product Sample
Resolution Refresh
Price Each
per 1,000
AD5791 NOW 20-bit 1 µs $38.00 20-lead TSSOP
(thin-shrink small-outline package)
For more information, visit For information on ADI’s DAC products, visit To connect with a specialist, cross reference tools, and more resources on how to use and obtain ADI products, please click here:

Making a Difference for Healthcare Customers
Analog Devices offers healthcare customers a comprehensive portfolio of linear, mixed-signal, MEMS and digital signal processing technologies for medical imaging, patient monitoring, medical instrumentation, and consumer/home healthcare. Backed by leading design tools, applications support, and systems expertise, ADI’s products and technologies enable differentiation in healthcare designs – helping shape the future of diagnostics and monitoring equipment, as well as health and wellness devices. ADI’s healthcare offerings can be found at

About Analog Devices

Innovation, performance, and excellence are the cultural pillars on which Analog Devices has built one of the longest standing, highest growth companies within the technology sector. Acknowledged industry-wide as the world leader in data conversion and signal conditioning technology, Analog Devices serves over 100,000 customers, representing virtually all types of electronic equipment. Analog Devices is headquartered in Norwood, Massachusetts, with design and manufacturing facilities throughout the world. Analog Devices is included in the S&P 500 Index.

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Editor's Contact Information:

Linda Kincaid

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