Category Archives: IC’s

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 [...]

What is Emitter-Coupled Logic?

When multiple digital signals have to be combined, engineers use several types of logic gates. One of the most popular and widely used types of logic gates made of transistors is called the Emitter-Coupled Logic or ECL. It makes use of a transistor-based differential amplifier to amplify and combine digital signals. Usually, these circuits or gates, as they are commonly known, have multiple inputs and most are single output. Circuit design ensures that none of the transistors in the gate ever saturates Read more [...]

Different Types of Digital Logic Gates

In the presence of different digital signals that need to be combined to make a logical decision, engineers use different types of digital logic gates. Usually, these gates have several inputs but a single digital output. Where a larger logic gate function or a sequential or combinational circuit is required, it is usual for individual logic gates to be connected together. Digital logic gates in standard commercial form are available in two basic forms or families – TTL or Transistor-Transistor Read more [...]

Versatile Chip to Convert Temperature to Bits Directly

One of the most fundamental aspects of our lives is temperature. As yet, measuring temperature accurately is difficult. Galileo was possibly the first person to have invented a thermometer that could measure changes in temperature. Two hundred years after Galileo, Seebeck discovered the principle of thermocouples – a device that generates a tiny voltage related to temperature gradients in dissimilar metals. Today, we use many elements such as semiconductor elements and temperature dependent resistive Read more [...]

How to Select Voltage References

Sensing applications use Analog to Digital Converters and Digital to Analog Converters and the accuracy of their readings depends on the voltage reference used. Most often the voltage reference used are very simple components with only two or three pins. However, the performance of these references depends on several parameters and careful attention is necessary when selecting the proper one. Typically, applications use either a shunt or a series voltage reference. A series voltage reference is Read more [...]

DC-DC converter with increased efficiency & reduced noise

The new Synchronous Buck-Boost DC/DC converter LTC3111 available from Linear Technology is very significant in many respects. The most important factor being that it is able to operate at 95% efficiency and that too at a very low noise level. It can give a power output of 1.5A when used from a very wide range of power sources. These include multiple or single cell batteries, wall adapter and super-capacitor stacks. This convertor accepts 2.5 to 15V as the input and outputs 5V with the regulated output Read more [...]

Demystifying the A/D and D/A Converters

Analog and Digital Signals Analog signals represent a physical parameter in the form of a continuous signal. In contrast, digital signals are discrete time signals formed by digital modulation. Most natural signals, like human voice and other sounds are analog in nature. Traditionally, communication systems were based on analog systems. As demand for systems capable of carrying more information over longer distances kept soaring, the drawbacks of analog communication systems became increasingly Read more [...]