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Improving Accuracy and Energy Efficiency of Pipeline Analog to Digital Converters

Publication Date
  • Analog To Digital Converter
  • A/D Converter
  • Pipeline Adc
  • Communication
  • Computer Science
  • Design
  • Mathematics


Analog-to-Digital converters (ADC) are key building blocks of analog and mixed-signal processing that link the natural world of analog signals and the world of digital processing. This work describes the analysis, design, development and test of novel high-resolution (≥12-bit), moderate speed (10-100MS/s), energy-efficient ADCs. Such ADCs are typically used for communication, imaging and video applications. CMOS process scaling is typically aimed at enabling fast, low-power digital circuits. Scaling leads to lower supply voltages, and to short channel devices with low gain and poor matching between small devices. On the other hand, to process and amplify analog signals analog circuits rely on wide signal swing, large transistor gain and good component matching. Hence, analog circuit performance has lagged far behind digital performance. Analog circuits such as ADCs are therefore nowadays performance bottlenecks in many electronic systems. The pipeline ADC is a popular architecture for implementing ADCs with a wide range of speed and resolution. This work aims to improve the accuracy and energy efficiency of the pipeline architecture by combining it with more accurate or more energy efficient architectures such as Sigma-Delta and Successive-Approximation (SAR). Such novel, hybrid architectures are investigated in this work. In the first design, a new architecture is developed which combines a low-OSR resetting Sigma-Delta modulator architecture with the pipeline architecture. This architecture enhances the accuracy and energy efficiency of the pipeline architecture. A prototype 14-bit 23MS/s ADC, based on this new architecture, is designed and tested. This ADC achieves calibration-free 14-bit linearity, 11.7-bit ENOB and 87dB SFDR while dissipating only 48mW of power. In the second design, new hybrid architecture based on SAR and pipeline architecture is developed. This architecture significantly improves the energy efficiency of the pipeline architecture. A prototype 12-bit 50MS/s ADC is designed based on this new architecture. “Half-gain” and “half-reference” pipeline stages are also introduced in this prototype for the first time to further reduce power dissipation. This ADC dissipates only 3.5mW power.

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