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Frequently Asked Question

What are the benefits of iCoupler technology?

iCoupler technology provides benefits in five key areas:

Integration benefits are provided by the ability to readily combine iCoupler channels with other semiconductor functions or to combine multiple iCoupler channels in a common package thereby reducing size and cost relative to optocoupler implementations. Performance benefits are provided in the form of increased timing accuracy, transient immunity, and data rates relative to optocoupler components. Power consumption benefits are provided in the form of 10-to-50 times lower power consumption as well as the accompanying reduction in thermal dissipation.

Ease-of-use benefits are provided by the elimination of many of the difficulties presented by optocoupler technology as well as the addition of new features that facilitate the use of iCoupler isolators in new designs. Optocoupler problem areas that iCouplers eliminate include their characteristic of widely-varying current transfer ratios, their LED wear-out phenomenon and the design burdens this imposes, and their need (in most optocouplers) to drive their input with high current to turn on the LED. Additional ease-of-use features that iCouplers provide include the ability to operate at reduced supply voltages, the ability to translate an input signal of one voltage into an output signal of a different voltage, the use of voltage-based digital interfaces, and the ability to operate over a wide temperature range.

Lastly, reliability benefits are achieved by the elimination of the LEDs contained within optocouplers. By using only standard CMOS process technology, iCoupler devices provide the same lifetime characteristics as other standard CMOS products.