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Time-encoding analog-to-digital converters : bridging the analog gap to advanced digital CMOS? Part 2: architectures and circuits

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

The scaling of CMOS technology deep into the nanometer range has created challenges for the design of highperformance analog ICs: they remain large in area and power consumption in spite of process scaling. Analog circuits based on time encoding [1], [2], where the signal information is encoded in the waveform transitions instead of its amplitude, have been developed to overcome these issues. While part one of this overview article [3] presented the basic principles of time encoding, this follow-up article describes and compares the main time-encoding architectures for analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) and discusses the corresponding design challenges of the circuit blocks. The focus is on structures that avoid, as much as possible, the use of traditional analog blocks like operational amplifiers (opamps) or comparators but instead use digital circuitry, ring oscillators, flip-flops, counters, an so on. Our overview of the state of the art will show that these circuits can achieve excellent performance. The obvious benefit of this highly digital approach to realizing analog functionality is that the resulting circuits are small in area and more compatible with CMOS process scaling. The approach also allows for the easy integration of these analog functions in systems on chip operating at "digital" supply voltages as low as 1V and lower. A large part of the design process can also be embedded in a standard digital synthesis flow.
Journal: IEEE Solid-State Circuits Magazine
ISSN: 1943-0582
Issue: 3
Volume: 12
Pages: 18 - 27
Publication year:2020