A Note From the Editor

One of my favorite places is not far from home. A 15-minute bike ride will take you to the barrage of the Lech river, which is called Mandichosee. It was built not that long ago, in 1984, and its water turbine generates 57 MWh of electric energy each year. The land itself is protected to help conserve rare species like kingfishers and beavers. Rare butterflies and orchids have also returned to the wider surrounding area. On the eastern shore, a Bavarian-style beer garden opens during summertime. What is better than enjoying a fresh tapped beer in a stein, or a nice glass of wine, together with friends while watching the sunset during a warm summer night? I hope these simple pleasures return soon.


Back to the technology and our Analog Dialogue articles. 

Discrete and integrated components represent the functional building blocks that underpin RF signal chains across all application domains. In the first part of this series, we considered the main properties and performance metrics used for their characterization. In “RF Signal Chain Discourse—Part 2: Essential Building Blocks,” we give a concise overview of the key types of individual elements used in a typical RF signal chain. We will consider the distinguishing features of different types of RF amplifiers, mixers, filters, switches, attenuators, detectors, and frequency generation products to help guide the RF system designer on selecting the right building blocks for the final RF application.

Time of Flight System Design—Part 1: System Overview” is the first article in our time of flight (ToF) series and it provides an overview of continuous-wave CMOS time of flight camera system technology and its advantages over traditional 3D imaging solutions for machine vision applications. Many machine vision applications now require higher resolution 3D depth images to replace or augment standard 2D imaging. Such solutions rely on the 3D camera for reliable depth information to guarantee machine safety, especially when operating in challenging environments. Subsequent articles will further detail some of the system-level components introduced in this article, including the illumination subsystem, optics, power management, and depth processing. 

Automotive application circuits must meet strict EMI standards to avoid interfering with broadcast and mobile service frequency bands. In many cases, Silent Switcher® and Silent Switcher 2 solutions can make a significant difference in the ability to meet these standards. In all cases, careful layout is imperative. In this article, “4-Switch Buck-Boost Controller Layout for Low Emissions—Single Hot Loop vs. Discrete Silent Switcher Dual Loop,” we investigate two possible solutions for a 4-switch buck-boost controller and compare EMI chamber results. 

A point-of-load (POL) converter is a power supply DC-to-DC converter placed as close to the load as possible to achieve proximity to power. Applications that benefit from POL converters include high performance CPUs, SoCs, and FPGAs—all of which require ever increasing power levels. Many of these digital systems operate at high current and low voltages, increasing the need to minimize the distance from power supply to load. One problem with high currents is trace-induced voltage drops from converter to load. The article “Point-of-Load DC-to-DC Converters Solve Voltage Accuracy, Efficiency, and Latency Issues” describes the advantages of using POL power supplies. 

Using two NMOS transistors as a differential pair of transistors is one of the most basic and commonly used schematics. A pair of NMOS transistors can form the input stage of an op amp. In this article, “ADALM2000 Activity: MOS Differential Pair,” we will use two discrete transistors allowing us to measure individual signals at the breadboard. You may remember the June article, “ADALM2000 Activity: BJT Differential Pair.” Now, instead of BJTs we will use NMOS type transistors. Let’s see how the result changes.

And as we have for 55 years, we invite you to be part of the dialogue in Analog Dialogue. You can get in touch through our blog, Facebook page, or email. Let us know how we’re doing and what you’d like to see from us in the coming months.