Today I want to point your attention to one technology: MEMS devices. The integration of a free-swinging mass at silicon enables mechanical devices on chip. I am sure you all know that the airbag sensor is an accelerometer that measures negative acceleration in case of a crash and provides the pulse that triggers the airbag. For stability control, you could use MEMS gyroscopes, for example, to stabilize a drone or a Segway. Even standard microphones are nowadays built to include MEMS sensors and are used in our mobile phones. If you ever opened up your mobile, you would see how tiny such a MEMS microphone is compared to a standard microphone. The next revolution in MEMS technology is relay replacements. Free swinging contacts connect and disconnect on silicon. They function like a relay but at a much higher speed. More details are discussed in this issue of Analog Dialogue.
And now, let’s dive deeper into the featured topics this month:
The first article, “Accelerate Your Test Capability and System Productivity with New MEMS Switches,” covers advancements in MEMS technology. Advanced digital processor chips require separate DC parametric and high speed digital automatic test equipment (ATE) passes for quality assurance. One additional critical aspect is the increasing number of transmission (Tx)/receiver (Rx) channels that require both high speed digital and DC parametric testing. This article explains how a new technology of SPDT MEMS switches facilitates a one pass single insertion test for both DC parametric and high speed digital tests, reducing test costs and simplifying logistics for digital/RF system on chip (SoC) testing.
The next article, “High IF Sampling Puts Wideband Software-Defined Radio Within Reach,” explains the technology advancements enabled by the new ICs of wideband software-defined radio that are expected to change and enhance multiband radar architectures. In the past, high performance integrated frequency translation ICs employing suboctave RF filtering and gain control were hard to define because everybody’s use case, frequency plan, and resulting RF/IF filtering was different. New monolithic radio tuners will be natively wideband with on-chip adaptive RF filtering capability and AGC. The vast, fragmented application realm of wideband tuning will converge to common hardware blocks within application-specific adaptive software loops.
“What Are the Best Applications for IoT In the New World of IC Power Management?” With the growth of IoT devices used in industrial equipment, home automation, and medical applications, there is increasing pressure to optimize power management. This article explores IoT battery technology, describes some of the problems that designers face with power sourcing, and presents highly efficient solutions. These solutions can simultaneously help address other design challenges in IoT devices including size, weight, and temperature.
Next, the Rarely Asked Question of the month is addressed in our article “How to Measure Op Amp Input Capacitance to Minimize Noise.” Operational amplifiers are used in a wide variety of electronic circuits. Their task is to amplify (very small) electrical voltages for further signal processing. To maximize the accuracy of a corresponding circuit, it is necessary to know the input capacitance of the op amp. However, data sheets often do not provide this information and it can be difficult to determine (as the input capacitance in many cases is only a few pF). This article presents an effective method for calculating the actual input capacitance of an operational amplifier.
Our StudentZone series continues with “ADALM2000 Activity: Silicon Controlled Rectifiers (SCR).” The objective of this lab activity is to examine the structure and operation of the silicon controlled rectifier (SCR). SCRs are mainly used in devices where the control of high power, possibly at high voltage, is needed. The ability to switch large currents on and off makes the SCR suitable for use in medium to high voltage AC power control applications, such as lamp dimming, regulators, and motor control.
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.