Electronic Design

Electronic Design UPDATE: February 23, 2005


Electronic Design UPDATE e-Newsletter Electronic Design Magazine PlanetEE ==> www.planetee.com February 23, 2005


*************************ADVERTISEMENT************************** See Digi’s Wi-Fi, Wired Embedded Modules at ESC Maximize your initial investment--add embedded wired and wireless Ethernet in a single development effort! Digi Connect ME (TM) is pin-compatible, interchangeable with Digi Connect Wi-ME (TM), for a future-proof, customizable solution. Digi Connect (TM) embedded modules and NetSilicon (R) software provide a seamless migration path to a fully integrated system-on-chip solution. See a live demo at ESC booth 3027. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B42:1001CD **************************************************************** Today's Table Of Contents: 1. Industry View *Smart Threshold Switches Could Reduce Standby Losses 2. Focus On Analog *20-MHz CMOS Amplifiers Boast High Precision 3. News From The Editors *Upgraded USB Analyzer Aids Software Development *High-Energy Varistors Satisfy Automotive ESD Protection Needs *Soft-Radio FPGA XMC Handles Switch-Fabric Interfaces 4. Upcoming Industry Events *Embedded Systems Conference *Design, Automation and Test in Europe *Symposium on Quality of Electronic Design 5. Magazine Highlights: February 17, 2005 *Cover Story: Engineering Feature -- You Got Game *Technology Report -- POL Power Supplies Come In Many Flavors *Technology Report -- Latest Scopes Look To Satisfy Engineer Wish Lists *Design View/Design Solution -- Optimize Timing Margins For Your High-Speed Interface Electronic Design UPDATE edited by Lisa Maliniak, eMedia Editor **************************************************************** Free Webcast: Advances in Mixed-Signal Testing March 9 at 2:00 p.m. EST This webcast, sponsored by LeCroy, will present new technology that allows engineers to add 32 digital channels to existing four-channel oscilloscopes. It also will present easy-to-use techniques for testing a mixture of analog and digital signals. Emphasis will be placed on practical examples, including setup, triggering, decoding of digital buses, and making measurements on mixed analog-digital signals. To register, go to: http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B4B:1001CD ***** Free Showcast: Embedded Systems Conference March 10 at 4:00 p.m. EST Embedded designers deal with a host of constraints: low power consumption, high performance, and reliability, to name a few. Not surprisingly, these are the same issues being addressed by the trends expected at this year's Embedded System Conference (ESC). The show features tiny, low-power 8-bit MCUs side by side with the latest boards utilizing high-speed interconnects such as PCI Express. Our ESC showcast, sponsored by Actel and Kontron, will track the latest products and prototypes at the show. To register, go to: http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B4C:1001CD ***** THOUGHT YOU'D MISSED THEM? DON'T WORRY, THEY'RE ARCHIVED Electronic Design's webcasts are available online: Next-Generation Physical Verification -- Beyond DRC to Yield Enablement: Synopsys' techcast explores today's physical verification tools. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B4E:1001CD Signal Integrity Testing: Michael Lauterbach of LeCroy Corp. describes advances in testing for signal integrity. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B4E:1001CD Next-Generation In-House PCB Prototyping: Produce your own PCB prototypes without the use of hazardous chemicals. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B49:1001CD ***** BE SURE TO VISIT Electronic Design's Web site, where the power of Electronic Design is a mouse click away! Read our Web exclusives, enjoy our Quick Poll, discover Featured Vendors, access our archives, share viewpoints in our forums, explore our e-newsletters, and more. TAKE OUR CURRENT QUICK POLL: What do you think could drive the most interesting innovations in gaming technology? -- Enhanced processors and expanded memory for faster action and increased functionality -- Improved graphics and audio technology for a more realistic multimedia experience -- Shrinking size and power requirements for increased portability -- Connectivity advances that enable more multiplayer gaming -- Sensor-equipped input devices for interactive, lifelike action Go to Electronic Design ==> http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B52:1001CD **************************************************************** ********************** 1. Industry View -- Exclusive to Electronic Design UPDATE ********************** Smart Threshold Switches Could Reduce Standby Losses By Roger Franz Standby energy losses have proliferated with the widespread use of power supplies that are always partially on (see "I Turned The Lights Off, But What About Standby Power?" Electronic Design, Dec. 8, 2004, p. 19, ED Online 9258). While the U.S. is focused on requiring a 1-W maximum for standby power losses, the European Code of Conduct will require less than 0.3 W in 2005 for small units like battery chargers. Standby losses also are reaching critical performance limitations in solid-state devices. Leakages from many millions of transistors per chip contribute substantially to current consumption. The challenge is to find solutions to this growing global waste of energy. Sleep transistors and other design approaches have helped minimize off-state current drain. Control chips for analog power supplies also are readily available. All these approaches add complexity and, therefore, cost. What if there were a less costly and complex approach to limiting standby leakages? One possible solution, threshold switching, does not appear to be widely recognized. A voltage-controlled threshold switch can change from low to high conductivity above a characteristic voltage. This behavior also is called bistability, which refers to two distinct operating regions. In another variation, threshold switches may be used in current-controlled, rather than voltage-controlled, mode. The characteristic current-voltage operating curves are referred to as N-shaped and S-shaped, respectively. A thyristor is a familiar example of a current-controlled switch having a third terminal. Another way to describe threshold switching is negative differential resistance. In contrast to a linear Ohmic device, resistance in some materials may change dramatically over current or voltage. These devices function with only two terminals, which means they could be used as smart switches requiring no additional control lines. Unwanted standby leakage might therefore be reduced without cost and complexity, if only the devices could be found. Now where do you go to buy a threshold switch? Unfortunately, none seems to be available anywhere on the market. This condition exists even though many types of materials that may be used in the fabrication of voltage-controlled threshold switches are reported in industry literature. One of the often-cited classes of materials having threshold properties is the chalcogenides (selenium and tellurium, for example). The memory switching effect of chalcogenides recently has been commercialized in phase-change memory devices. Other promising materials include noncrystalline silicon, III-V semiconductors, and more recently, organic semiconductors. These materials are likely to be more compatible with current and future IC technologies than the chalcogenides. A material thus can be chosen to match the particular device or system in need of leakage control. Although extensive literature exists on threshold switching and related technologies, these structures have not been applied to solving practical leakage problems. One reason is that researchers have focused mainly on highly crystalline materials rather than the amorphous structures that have threshold-switching properties. Another reason seems to be that the non-Ohmic behavior that is the unique property of a threshold switch has not even been recognized as having useful applications. Nonlinear resistance is not exactly a household term for most of us schooled in traditional electronics. Finally, threshold devices must be optimized to achieve the on-off ratios required for effective leakage control while off, but not to contribute to unwanted losses that could negate their usefulness while on. The development of threshold switches to reduce leakage represents a new approach that could address some of the energy wasted by today's power-supply designs, as well as today's silicon and tomorrow's advanced IC materials. Who will take up the challenge? Roger Franz has held positions in analytical chemistry, quality assurance, and project management and has published papers in trade magazines and technical journals. His background in materials is being brought to bear in his current position as environmental data manager at Motorola, where heavy metals like lead, cadmium, mercury, and hexavalent chromium are being phased out. He holds degrees from Grinnell College and Northwestern University and is a Six Sigma Green Belt. He can be reached at mailto:[email protected] To comment on this Editor's View, go to Reader Comments at the foot of the Web page: Electronic Design UPDATE ==> http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B43:1001CD **************************************************************** *************************ADVERTISEMENT************************** SPONSORED BY: TRUE CIRCUITS, INC. True Circuits, Inc. offers a family of award-winning clock generator, deskew, low-bandwidth and spread-spectrum PLLs and DDR DLLs that spans nearly all performance points and features typically requested by ASIC and FPGA designers. These high-quality, low-jitter, silicon-proven hard macros are available for immediate delivery in a range of frequencies, multiplication factors, sizes and functions in TSMC, UMC and Chartered processes from 0.25um to 90nm. Call (650) 691-2500 or visit http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B4F:1001CD **************************************************************** ********************** 2. Focus On Analog ********************** ***20-MHz CMOS Amplifiers Boast High Precision The 12-V CMOS op amps in the OPA series are laser-trimmed during final assembly to calibrate offset voltage and temperature drift. The OPA727 is specified for a maximum 150-microvolt offset with 1.5-microvolt/degree C drift, comparable to precision bipolar amplifiers. AC performance specs include 20-MHz bandwidth, 30-V/microsecond slew rate, 600-ns settling time, and 0.0003% harmonic distortion. The input common-mode range extends to ground for true single-supply operation and output swings to within 150 mV of the rails, maximizing dynamic range. A shutdown version, the OPA728, reduces the quiescent current to 6 microamps (typically) and features a digital ground reference pin for easy interface to standard logic levels in dual-supply applications. The OPA727 (single version) and OPA728 (single with shutdown) are packaged in an MSOP-8 and 3- by 3-mm DFN-8. The OPA2727 (dual) is packaged in a 3- by 3-mm DFN-8 and SO-8. The OPA727 and OPA728 are priced from $1.45 in 1000-piece quantities. The OPA2727 pricing is $2.20 in 1000-piece quantities. Texas Instruments ==> http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B58:1001CD ********************** 3. News -- From The Editors ********************** ***Upgraded USB Analyzer Aids Software Development USB Explorer 200PRO is an enhanced version of the Explorer 200 USB 2.0 protocol analyzer. New capabilities include a hardware trigger, fully comprehensive USB class decoding, data export functionality, and a software development kit that enables time-saving customizable USB software analysis. The decoding function helps developers of embedded software, drivers, and applications to easily visualize various USB protocol subsystem layers. The device supports all USB classes. Some additional features include automatic speed discovery of device-under-test memory, 32 Mbytes of FIFO memory, and a timestamp with 16.67-ns (60-MHz) precision. Made in Switzerland by Ellisys, the USB Explorer 200PRO is available now from the company's U.S. agents, Saelig Co. It costs $5999. Saelig Co. Inc. ==> http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B56:1001CD ***High-Energy Varistors Satisfy Automotive ESD Protection Needs Automotive applications are increasingly looking for answers to electrostatic-discharge (ESD) protection. The CANbus series of high-energy varistors is designed specifically for that reason. The surface-mount devices are part of the TransGuard line of transient-voltage suppressors. They can handle high in-rush (peak) currents of 4 A (8 by 20 ms) and feature a rate of 0.1 failures per billion hours. They also boast transient-energy ratings of 0.015 Joules (10/1000 ms), a working-voltage rating range of up to 18 V, and a capacitance value of 22 pF at 1 MHz. Devices come in 0603 size discrete chips, as well as in 0405 two-element arrays and 0612 four-element arrays. Price starts at $0.055, with a lead time of stock to eight weeks. AVX Corp. ==> http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B54:1001CD ***Soft-Radio FPGA XMC Handles Switch-Fabric Interfaces The 7140 PMC incorporates a Virtex II-Pro FPGA. With the FPGA, customization as well as support for VITA 42 switch fabrics like Serial RapidIO are incorporated. The front end couples two +4-dBm full-scale analog RF inputs to 14-bit, 105-MHz analog-to-digital converters that can work with Texas Instruments’ Graychip GC4016 quad downconverters. There’s a matching TI DAC5686 upconverter with dual digital-to-analog converters, enabling the module to handle reception and transmission. The module has 512 Mbytes of SDRAM and a PCI interface. The 7140 PMC costs $6995. Pentek Inc. ==> http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B55:1001CD *************************ADVERTISEMENT************************** Register Now for the Embedded Systems Conference San Francisco 2005! The Embedded Systems Conference San Francisco will be held March 6-10, 2005 at the Moscone Convention Center. See more than 300 leading vendors at the largest systems design exhibition in North America. Register now for a FREE exhibits pass and discounted conference rates. Register by March 3rd to save up to $150 on conference rates or for a free exhibits pass, use code UX21. Go to: http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B51:1001CD **************************************************************** ********************** 4. Upcoming Industry Events ********************** March 6-10, Embedded Systems Conference San Francisco, Calif. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B53:1001CD March 7-11, Design, Automation and Test in Europe (DATE) Munich, Germany http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B50:1001CD March 28-30, IEEE International Symposium on Quality of Electronic Design (ISQED 2005) San Jose, Calif. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B57:1001CD ********************** 5. Magazine Highlights ********************** In case you missed them, here are some of the high points of our most recent issue. February 17, 2005: * Cover Story: Engineering Feature -- You Got Game Tap into the design secrets behind the next generation of gaming systems. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B45:1001CD * Technology Report -- POL Power Supplies Come In Many Flavors An influx of novel point-of-load converters wrangles with tougher semiconductor demands. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B44:1001CD * Technology Report -- Latest Scopes Look To Satisfy Engineer Wish Lists Making the desiger's job simpler is the driving force behind many DSO "dream" features. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B46:1001CD * Design View/Design Solution -- Optimize Timing Margins For Your High-Speed Interface http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B47:1001CD For the complete Table of Contents, go to Electronic Design ==> http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B48:1001CD **************************************************************** SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TO ELECTRONIC DESIGN If you're reading this e-newsletter, then you are either a current Electronic Design subscriber, or should be (145,000 of your peers are). To apply for or renew a subscription to Electronic Design absolutely FREE and without paperwork or hassle, click on the link below. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=2B4D:1001CD ****************************************************************




Editorial: Mark David, Editor-in-Chief mailto:[email protected] Advertising/Sponsorship Opportunities: Bill Baumann, Publisher: mailto:[email protected]

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