Norwood, MA (03/31/2009) - Analog Devices, Inc. (NYSE: ADI) Technology Fellow Barrie Gilbert, one of the industry’s foremost experts in the development and application of analog circuitry, has been recognized by his peers through election to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Gilbert, who directs engineering at the Northwest Labs in Beaverton, Oregon, ADI’s first remote design center, is being honored by the NAE for his contributions to the field of analog circuit design.
“Barrie’s far-reaching inventions encompass the fields of medicine, transportation, and communication,” said Ray Stata, chairman and co-founder of Analog Devices. “One of the circuit cells that bears his name has for decades been used in all forms of communication systems, including ordinary radios, cell phones, microwave TV links, data modems, satellite communications and even radio telescopes."
The Gilbert cell, a versatile analog function block, has served as the foundational design for circuits used everywhere in today’s communications systems. Since its invention in 1967, what is known as the ‘Gilbert mixer’ has become ubiquitous in radio transmitters and receivers. It is noteworthy that the compact nature of this mixer opened the door to the integration of radios in monolithic form, leading to the proliferation of communications devices that are indispensable to modern life. A related circuit, known as the Gilbert multiplier, revolutionized the implementation of this mathematical analog function, and incidentally became the first paper in the Journal of Solid-State Circuits to be cited 100 times. Today, it remains one of the most-cited JSSC papers.
“The class of Gilbert cells comprises a large variety of topologies, all of which invoke the now famous translinear principle,” continued Stata. “This fundamental theory in circuit design was formalized, refined and popularized by Barrie. They all perform pure-current-mode signal processing, which was a very basic insight. Today, translinear circuits in both the original bipolar form, as well as CMOS embodiments, are found throughout analog design.”
Also notable is his pioneering work on three radically different types of variable-gain amplifier, the H-AMP, X-AMP and Z-AMP, now used widely to enable ultrasound image capture, in other medical imaging applications, and in RF (radio frequency) power measurement and control. He opened up new business lines based on novel IC concepts, particularly the integrated logarithmic amplifiers (log amps) and RMS-to-DC converters. Among their many uses, these ubiquitous products have enabled designers to achieve precise signal strength measurement over ranges of many orders of magnitude, which is a need critical in today’s communications systems that need to operate at the highest efficiency – and within safe limits in cell phones. Recently, he has pioneered new forms of translinear log amps for use in optical instrumentation in fiber-based communications systems.
“It is indeed a rewarding honor to be inducted into this body of clever and productive people,” Gilbert said. “If I could be allowed to offer advice to those who have yet to be elected, it would be this: In all that you choose to do in your work-life, pursue what you enjoy most. Be sure to have fun in your work, at all times. Think of your company as your personal success machine. And never cease to ask lots of questions, the most powerful of which are ‘Why?’, ‘What if?’ and ‘How about?’ It is such questions--compulsively posed and then addressed as we each ponder our next step--that lead to the breakthroughs that will fuel tomorrow's world.”
Gilbert speaks out on his career in the SSCS IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society News; see “The Gears of Genius” on page 10. This issue also includes a reprint of his breakthrough paper on the Gilbert mixer/multiplier.
Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions that can be bestowed on an engineer. According to the NAE, the honor recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice, or education, including significant contributions to engineering literature. Barrie Gilbert, who is one of 65 new academy members chosen this year through a vote of NAE members, will be formally inducted into the NAE during the academy’s annual meeting on October 5, 2009, in Irvine, Calif.
NAE Honor Recognizes a Distinguished Career
Gilbert has been awarded almost 100 patents at Analog Devices, Tektronix and elsewhere, and is a Life Fellow of the IEEE. He was awarded an honorary degree in engineering from Oregon State University in 1997. He has authored and reviewed numerous papers for professional journals, co-authored, contributed to and edited several books related to analog circuit design, and has entries in the Wiley Encyclopedia of Engineering. He was awarded the Patent Impact Award in 2008 and the Innovation Award in 2005 for his numerous contributions to ADI product development.
Gilbert was inducted into Microwave & RF magazine’s Microwave Legends in 2006 and named EDN magazine’s Innovator of the Year in 1999. He received the Solid-State Circuits Award in 1992 and the Oregon Center for Advanced Technology Education Globe Award for Researcher of the Year in 1990. He has received the ISSCC Outstanding Paper Award on numerous occasions, along with the Best Paper Award at ESSCIRC. For his contributions to nonlinear signal processing, Gilbert received the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Council Outstanding Development Award in 1986, and for his work on superintegrated circuits and merged logic leading to the invention of I2L (integrated injection logic) he received the IEEE Outstanding Achievement Award in 1970. He regularly appears under the pseudonym Dr. Leif, in a series about circuit ideas published in Analog Dialogue, the technical magazine of Analog Devices.
About the NAE
Founded in 1964, the National Academy of Engineering provides engineering leadership in service to the United States. It operates under the same congressional act of incorporation that established the National Academy of Sciences, signed in 1863 by President Lincoln. According to the charter, whenever called upon by any department or agency of the government, the NAE is directed to investigate, examine, experiment and report upon any subject of science or art. In addition to its role as adviser to the federal government, the NAE conducts independent studies to examine important topics in engineering and technology. The NAE includes senior professionals in business, academia and government who are among the world’s most accomplished engineers.
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