Category Archives: IC’s

Choosing a Regulator – Switching or LDO

Unlike AC circuits where a simple transformer can change the incoming voltage to a different level, DC circuits need an active device to change the voltage to the desired level. In general, there are two types of circuits to do this—switching and linear. Switching regulators are highly efficient and work on buck, boost, or buck-boost technology to change the voltage level. On the other hand, linear regulators such as LDOs are ideal for powering very low power devices or applications where the difference Read more [...]

What is BiCMOS Technology?

CMOS and Bipolar are two of the pioneering technologies of the electronics field. Components fabricated with the CMOS technology dissipate lower power, have smaller noise margins, and are physically smaller. On the other hand, components fabricated with the bipolar technology operate at higher speeds, switch faster, and offer good noise performance. By combining the two, scientists have created the BiCMOS technology that offers a combination of advantages from both processes. For instance, BiCMOS Read more [...]

What Are Super-Junction MOSFETs?

Switching power-conversion systems such as switching power supplies and power factor controllers increasingly demand higher energy efficiencies. For such energy-conscious designers, super-junction MOSFETs are a favored solution, as the technology allows smaller die sizes when considering key parameters such as on-resistance. This leads to an increase in current density while enabling designers to reduce circuit size. With increasing market adoption of this new technology goes up, other challenges Read more [...]

Accurate Power Monitoring with LTC2992

Linear Technology Corporation, now a part of Analog Devices, Inc., has recently placed on the market a power monitoring IC, LTC2992, which offers a wide-range, dual monitoring system for current, voltage, and power for 0-100 VDC rails. The IC is self-contained and does not need additional circuitry for functioning. Users get a variety of options for operating the LTC2992. For instance, they can derive power from a 3-100 VDC monitored supply, or from a 2.7-100 VDC secondary supply, or from the shunt Read more [...]

Advanced PCB Technologies — High Density Interconnect

Engineers often face a peculiar dilemma. On one hand, they need to enhance the functionalities of electronic gadgets they design so that customers have more value for their money, while they are constrained to use a sleek form factor. Not only does this impose a tremendous challenge to cram many components within a highly restricted space, but the challenge extends to maintaining the quality and integrity of the design as well. Designers meet the challenge in different ways. They use subminiature Read more [...]

What is a Programmable Logic Controller?

Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are miniature industrial computers. The hardware and software in a PLC are meant to perform control functions. Specifically, a PLC helps in the automation of industrial electromechanical processes. This includes controlling machinery on assembly lines in a factory, rides in an amusement park, or instruments in a food processing industrial establishment. Most PLCs are designed to facilitate multiple arrangements of analog and digital inputs and outputs. They Read more [...]

The Energy Efficient RRAMs

Engineers at Stanford are making 3-D memory chips that can offer faster and more energy efficient solutions for computer memory. These are the Resistive random Access Memory or RRAMs, which are based on a new semiconductor material. It stores data based on temperature and voltage. However, the actual workings of RRAMs continued to be a mystery until a team at Stanford used a new tool for their investigations. They found the optimal temperature range to be lower than they had expected. This could Read more [...]

AT21CS01 from Atmel: This EEPROM Does Not Require External Power Source

AT21CS01 from Atmel is a two pin serial EEPROM. Astonishingly, it does not have a Vcc or power supply pin characteristic of any IC and does not require an external power source to work. This amazing memory IC operates with only a data pin and a ground pin. The memory in the IC is organized as 128x8 bits, that is, a total of 1-kbits. The single-wire device, AT21CS01, operates with only an SI/O and GND pin. The SI/O signal functions as a combination of data and power line. That means, apart from Read more [...]

Why Do ICs Need Bypass Capacitors?

Any electronic design engineer will vouch for the necessity of supplementing integrated circuits on their PCB with bypass capacitors, although they may not understand the reason to do so very well. As a rule of thumb, engineers provide every IC with a 0.1µF ceramic capacitor next to its power pins in each circuit board they design. Along with proper PCB layout techniques, adding a bypass capacitor improves circuit performance and maximizes the efficacy of the ICs. The trouble lies with transition Read more [...]

How Does Switching Affect Semiconductors?

Even though ICs rule the world of electronics, the transistor does all the work. Within each IC are millions upon millions of transistors perpetually switching on and off so that the IC can carry out its intended functions. Even if one of the multitudes of transistors were to stop switching, the IC could lose part or all of its functionality. Circuits handling digital signals most often use transistors to switch from a high state to a low state and vice versa. It is usual to call a circuit point Read more [...]