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Editors' NotesVolume 39, Number 2, 2005



In 1969, the acquisition of Pastoriza Electronics launched ADI into the world of analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters. Hot products at the time were the ADC-F 10-bit, 1-μs A/D converter and the MDA-L 12-bit current-output D/A converter. Over the succeeding years, Analog Devices engineers have produced a series of breakthrough products, including the monolithic AD7520 10-bit CMOS DAC in 1974, DAC1138 18-bit modular DAC in 1977, and an endless stream of ICs: AD7541 12-bit multiplying DAC in 1978, AD574 complete 12-bit ADC in 1980, AD7546 16-bit DAC in 1981, AD9000 6-bit, 100-MHz ADC in 1984, AD671 12-bit, 2-MHz ADC in 1990, and AD771x 24-bit sigma-delta ADCs in 1992, to mention but a few of a great many firsts. Today, commanding a 45% share of the worldwide converter market, Analog Devices is the unquestioned leader in data-conversion technology.

To many engineers, op amps were—and data converters still are—a mystery, the latter combining the behavioral quirks of both analog and digital designs. Thus, from the first issue of Analog Dialogue in 1967 and the first printing of the Analog-Digital Conversion Handbook in 1972, Analog Devices has continually been a champion of education and training, augmenting its state-of-the-art converters with world-class data sheets, handbooks, magazines, and technical seminars. In this issue of Analog Dialogue, featuring data conversion, you’ll read about some flagship ADCs, such as the multi-chip 12-bit, 500-Msps AD12500 and 16-bit, 80-Msps AD10678; and the monolithic 16-bit, 3‑Msps AD7621 and 18-bit, 2-Msps AD7641. You’ll also read about ADC architectures, learn how to choose an A/D converter to fit your application, and discover some tricks for designing a wideband transformer-coupled ADC front end.

Scott Wayne (scott.wayne@analog.com)



At our 2005 General Technical Conference, significant awards were given to three outstanding Analog Devices technologists. Two new Fellows were named, and—in celebration of our 40th anniversary in business (1965-2005)—Board Chairman and co-Founder, Ray Stata, named the recipient of the first Analog Devices Founder’s Award. The details of the awards follow below.

Dan Sheingold (dan.sheingold@analog.com)


Two New Fellows Named

Two ADI senior engineers, Dr. Michael Coln and Dr. Katsu Nakamura, were named to the distinguished position of ADI Fellow during the company’s 2005 General Technology Conference (GTC), which attracted more than 1500 engineers from the company’s design sites worldwide.

The Fellows honor is awarded when an engineer has contributed significantly to ADI’s business and demonstrated important qualities, such as innovation, leadership, entrepreneurial ability, and consulting skills. In addition, an ADI Fellow must be a company ambassador, bridging across organizations and demonstrating an unparalleled ability to teach and mentor others within the company. With the latest inductions, Analog Devices has a total of 30 Fellows out of more than 3,000 engineers worldwide.

“A commitment to engineering excellence is the lifeblood of Analog Devices, and the talent and dedication that Mike and Katsu bring to every project they undertake is testimony for that core belief,” said Sam Fuller, Vice President of Research & Development for ADI. “But what really singles them out is their constant innovation. It’s this drive that solves our customers’ problems, generates the revenue that enables ADI to maintain an aggressive R&D schedule, and sets inspirational goals for our employees.” Between them, Coln and Nakamura have received 26 patents for inventions created at Analog Devices.

Mike Coln joined Analog Devices in 1988, after earning a PhD from MIT. Since then, he has been involved in design, leadership, and mentoring roles, contributing to all areas of precision data converter development within the company. A holder of 12 patents (with another four in development), Coln was the chief architect of ADI’s PulSAR® analog-to-digital-converter (ADC) family, which overcame perceived architectural barriers then boxing-in the specifications of speed, resolution, power consumption, and size of successive-approximation converters. The PulSAR self-calibrating architecture was the first to enable 16-bit ADCs to reach throughput of 1 Msps (million samples per second), and it resulted in the first SAR ADC to reach 18-bit resolution.

Katsu Nakamura received his PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1994 before joining Analog Devices as a design engineer. He has been a pivotal force and the chief architect of technologies leading ADI to well over 50% share of the market for analog front-ends (AFEs) in digital still cameras. Nakamura, who holds 14 patents, guided ADI’s migration of AFE technology to deep-submicron CMOS processes, integrating components formerly only available using bipolar manufacturing techniques. The fifth generation of these products is now available with outstanding performance, integrated with complex digital circuitry. Our AFE customer list has grown to include all major camera manufacturers—among the most demanding in our industry for quality, performance, and price.

PulSAR® is a registered trademark of Analog Devices, Inc.


Winner of First Founder’s Innovation Award

In honor of our 40th anniversary, Analog Devices has established a new award, the Founder’s Innovation Award. Steve Sherman was named as the first recipient of this award, at the 2005 GTC, by Ray Stata, ADI’s co-founder (in 1965) and Board Chairman.

Every day, somewhere in the world, an airbag reliably deploys during a car crash and saves a life—thanks to the vision and determination of a certain Analog Devices employee. To honor the engineer who championed the development of iMEMS® (integrated microelectromechanical systems) technology and helped pioneer its application to automobile airbags, ADI awarded the first Founder’s Innovation Award to Steve Sherman.

Announcing the award, Ray said:  “It’s really rare that the imagination, dedication, persistence and innovative skills of a single individual would create an entirely new business—now with profitable sales of over $100 million, would have established ADI as the largest manufacturer of MEMS devices in the world, and would have gained for this company the recognition as a leader in that technology. It simply would not have happened at ADI if Steve did not passionately embrace and champion a vision of opportunity in an area outside of his responsibilities—one which had nothing to do with the business of the company.”

The path leading up to the launch of the ADXL50 accelerometer was not an easy one, recalled Ray. “It started during a ‘brown bag seminar’ (which Steve had organized), when a professor from Boston University spoke about his work with micromachined devices. Afterwards, Steve was inspired to think about the possibility of integrating signal-conditioning circuits with sensors to produce the world’s first fully integrated accelerometers—a vision that ultimately launched ADI into micromachining and, within ten years, a market-leading position in airbag crash sensors.”

 “Quite simply, Analog is the kind of a place that will roll the dice. Ours was an ideal culture for the accelerometer to take shape in. We were the right size, in that there were tons of people with technical expertise that we could draw in to get the job done,” said Sherman during his acceptance speech. Turning to Stata, he acknowledged the magnitude of the financial risk, “Ray, you … stayed with the project long past when other people would have folded. And, I appreciated how resources would magically appear.”

Sherman, who works in the Micromachined Products Division in Cambridge, joined ADI in 1978 as one of the company’s earliest IC designers. He has a Bachelors’ degree in electrical engineering from the University of Rhode Island, and a Masters’ degree in engineering from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. EDN Magazine recently named the ADXL50 accelerometer as one of the six most important electronic innovations in the last 15 years, the only non-digital product so recognized.

ADI, which owns the largest share of the world’s air-bag crash sensor market, shipped its milestone two hundred millionth inertial sensor in March, as a result of wide market acceptance of its iMEMS® Motion Signal Processing™ technology. In the automotive industry, iMEMS® technology is used in over 160 car platforms worldwide for safety-critical applications. and it is starting to gain wide use in the consumer products industry.

Future ADI Founder’s Innovation Awards will be given to persons judged to have been responsible for initiating and following through on the development of outstanding, innovative, and commercially successful products.



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