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   6th Mar 09

 Interview with Mr. Apoorva Awasthy of TI on new low power ADC driver ICs from TI

Texas Instruments (TI) makes few finest amplifiers for instrumentation and medical applications. TI has recently released a new family of differential amplifiers called TSH452X series. Mr. Apoorva Awasthy, Business Development Manager, High Performance Analog, Texas Instruments India, has shared his views on this product family as well as on precision analog semiconductor industry.

Question: What are the applications the TSH452X family is most suitable for? Is this suitable for medical electronics applications like ECG and EEG?

Mr. Awasthy: The TSH452X is targeted at applications across verticals like audio, industrial and medical. The device also finds application in battery-operated devices and other applications with sensitive power budgets, for example, pressure measurement flow meters, ECG and EEG machines, etc. The devices in this family draw a quiescent current of only 1.14 milliamps at a bandwidth of 145 MHz, thereby giving design engineers the flexibility to work on designs where power is a constraint. .

As most of the ECG and EEG machines are becoming portable, the TSH452X family of amplifiers is well suited for these end equipments. These devices enable precision delta sigma and SAR analog-to-digital converters to digitize inputs from sensors and other real world analog input signals while consuming very little power, as is the case with ECG and EEG machines.

Question: Today 'low power' is the most used term by many semiconductor vendors. Other than low power what are the key selling points of this product?
Mr. Awasthy: The THS452x family of amplifiers provides higher sensitivity of operation, in that they improve dynamic/range sensitivity by 44 percent with low input voltage noise of 4.6nV/rtHz and also increases bandwidth by >30 percent, providing 145 MHz and 490 V/µs slew rate to buffer and amplify signals without degradation.

Question: With the release of these devices, are there any other TI ADC driver ICs, which are getting obsolete?
Mr. Awasthy: This is a unique product and is the latest addition to our existing family of products targeted at portable, best-in-class low power devices driving data converters. This product complements the other devices in this family.

Question: Is there a mechanism in this device to switch off unwanted functional blocks, when they are not in use?
Mr. Awasthy: Yes. In dual and quad devices, the unused amplifier section can be put in power-down mode, resulting in saving of power.

Question: In today's semiconductor device market, the analog and digital functions are getting integrated into single chip ICs like SoCs. Is there a future for precision analog ICs such as these in long term?
Mr. Awasthy: For high accuracy and high performance systems, discrete Analog ICs will be a better option than SoCs or such ICs with combination functions for many years to come.

Question: TI has recently acquired Ciclon Semiconductor, How is this going to boost TI's precision analog capabilities?

Mr. Awasthy: Growing Analog (Power) has been an on-going effort for TI. Our customers are now asking for complete power solutions to help them meet stringent energy efficiency requirements. Having the ability to innovate on the power control side, and now on the power delivery side, will enable us to have the most impact in solving our customers' problems. Designers who incorporate Ciclon's state-of-the-art power management technology can double a power system's operating frequency and achieve greater than 90 percent power efficiency in a footprint upto 20 percent smaller than today's power supply.

Question: Finally, about Indian analog VLSI design engineering community, how do Indian engineers fare when compared to other regions?

Mr Awasthy: Indian analog VLSI design community is small but is world class in skills and capabilities. It is a growing community.

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