Selecting an ADC driver to achieve optimized signal chain performance

Precision high-speed data-acquisition systems used in multichannel applications require state-of-the-art performance. This analog tip covers the specifications that are critical to consider when selecting an ADC driver to optimize signal chain performance. 

The figure shows a high-precision, low-noise, 18-bit data-acquisition signal chain that features ±0.8-LSB integral nonlinearity (INL), ±0.5-LSB differential nonlinearity (DNL), and 99-dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). The AD7960 18-bit, 5-MSPS PulSAR differential ADC uses a capacitive digital-to-analog converter (CAPDAC) to provide unprecedented noise and linearity without latency or pipeline delay. It provides the wide bandwidth, high accuracy (100 dB DR), and fast sampling (200 ns) required for multiplexed applications, while significantly reducing power dissipation and cost in multichannel applications.

Precision, fast-settling signal chain using
AD7960, ADA4899, AD8031, and ADR4550

ADC Driver

The acquisition time of the ADC determines the settling time requirements for the ADC driver. The table shows some specifications that must be considered when selecting an ADC driver. As always, the signal chain performance should be verified on the bench to ensure that the desired performance is achievable.

AD7960 ADC Driver Selection Benchmark

ADC Driver Specifications General Formula Minimum Requirements
Bandwidth formula
Slew Rate Slew rate formula
100 V/µs
Settling Time From data sheet
100 ns
SNR formula
105.5 dB
Notes: N = 18, tacq = 100 ns, Vrms_in2 = 52/2 = 12.5 V2, en_amp = 2 nV/√Hz,  f–3dB_ADC = 28 MHz.

The op amp data sheet usually specifies the settling time as the combined time for linear settling and slewing; the formulas given are first-order approximations assuming 50% for linear settling and 50% for slewing (multiplexed application) using a 5-V single-ended input. 

The ADA4899-1 rail-to-rail amplifier features 600-MHz bandwidth, –117-dBc distortion @ 1 MHz, and 1-nV/√Hz noise. It settles to 0.1% within 50 ns when configured as a unity-gain buffer driving the inputs of the AD7960 with a 5-V differential signal.


Maithil Pachchigar

Maithil Pachchigar

Maithil Pachchigar是ADI公司麻萨诸塞州威明顿市仪器仪表与精密技术事业部的系统应用工程师。2010年加入ADI公司以来,他致力于仪器仪表、工业和医疗健康行业的精密转换器产品组合工作和客户支持。自2005年以来,Maithil一直在半导体行业工作,并已独立及合作发表多篇技术文章。Maithil于2003年获印度S.V.国家技术学院电子工程学学士学位,2006年获圣何塞州立大学的电气工程硕士学位,2010年获硅谷大学MBA学位。