A Universal High-Performance Analog Interface for Signal Processing SOCs

Eric E. FabrisLuigi CarroSergio Bampi

Integrated circuit technology evolution boosts the development of system-on-a-chip (SOC) applications. These applications usually integrate digital blocks and may, for extended functionality, include also analog interface circuits in the same die. However, the evolution of design automation tools from system specification to implementation of digital systems has reached a much higher level of maturity than their analog counterparts. This lower degree of automation of the analog subsystem has become a bottleneck in the development of complete systems. In spite of the past efforts to develop analog design automation tools, the general solution for the analog part synthesis has not been found. In this work, we propose a new look at the design problem, by the use of a universal analog architecture for the SOC analog interface. Moreover, the proposed architecture leads to programmable analog processing within the digital modules domain. Several linear and nonlinear applications can be mapped over the proposed interface architecture. A prototype was built and some measurements results are shown to support the potential for universal interfacing and programmable analog processing. Practical results show constant performance over a large frequency range of the input signal. Some guidelines are addressed on how the proposed architecture can lead to greater level of analog design automation.

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