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INTRODUCTION:

An analogtodigital converter (ADC) acts as a bridge between the analog and digital worlds. It is
a necessary component whenever data from the analog domain, through sensors or transducers,
should be digitally processed or when transmitting data between chips through either longrange
wireless radio links or highspeed transmission between chips on the same printed circuit board
(PCB).

The AnalogToDigital ConverterThe conversion of an analog signal to digital quantizes the input in both time and amplitude. Quantization
in time (referred to as sampling) is performed either by an explicit sampleandhold circuit, as is done in
most ADC architectures, or distributed across several comparators as is done in flash ADCs. The
amplitude quantization (referred to just as quantization) approximates the input signal given a set of fixed
reference levels. The number of possible quantization levels determines the resolution of the ADC, which
is typically described with the number of binary bits, n, needed to represent the quantization level.

Figure: Block diagram of an A/D converter

Nyquist Rate:
The sampling of an input signal with bandwidth fb with a sample rate of fs of twice the signal bandwidth
is referred to as Nyquist sampling and given fixed and equidistant sampling instances this process does
not introduce any error as the signal can be ideally reconstructed.

CHARACTERISTICS:
1. QUANTIZATION ERROR:
In contrast to sampling, the quantization introduces errors which cannot be removed. Figure below how a
normalized input between 0 and 1 is mapped to the corresponding output codes using the midriser
convention given in, where the first transition occurs qs above Vmin. Here, qs correspond to the
quantization step size and Vmin is the lower end of the input range. qs = VFS/2n
Where VFS is the fullscale input range and is defined as:
VFS = Vmax Vmin

If the analog input signal is approximated with a corresponding analog output, Vout where Dout is the
decimal value of the output code then the quantization error, , is described by .

Vout=

= Vout Vin

Figure: Quantization of input signal


Ideally, the quantization error is then bound between qs/2 and qs/2 and varies
with the input signal.

Figure: Quantization error as a function of input level

2. RESOLUTION:
The resolution of the converter indicates the number of discrete values it can produce over the range of
analog values. The resolution determines the magnitude of the quantization error and therefore determines
the maximum possible average signal to noise ratio for an ideal ADC without the use of oversampling.
The values are usually stored electronically in binary form, so the resolution is usually expressed in bits.
In consequence, the number of discrete values available, or "levels", is assumed to be a power of two. For
example, an ADC with a resolution of 8 bits can encode an analog input to one in 256 different levels,
since 28 = 256. The values can represent the ranges from 0 to 255 (i.e. unsigned integer) or from 128 to
127 (i.e. signed integer), depending on the application.
Resolution can also be defined electrically, and expressed in volts. The minimum change in voltage
required to guarantee a change in the output code level is called the least significant bit (LSB) voltage.
The resolution Q of the ADC is equal to the LSB voltage. The voltage resolution of an ADC is equal to its
overall voltage measurement range divided by the number of discrete values:where M is the ADC's
resolution in bits and EFSR is the full scale voltage range (also called 'span'). EFSR is given
bywhere VRefHi and VRefLow are the upper and lower extremes, respectively, of the voltages that can be
coded.Normally, the number of voltage intervals is given bywhere M is the ADC's resolution in bits.[1]
That is, one voltage interval is assigned in between two consecutive code levels.
Example:

Coding scheme as in figure 1 (assume input signal x(t) = Acos(t), A = 5V)

Full scale measurement range = -5 to 5 volts

ADC resolution is 8 bits: 28 = 256 quantization levels (codes)

ADC voltage resolution, Q = (10 V 0 V) / 256 = 10 V / 256 0.039 V 39 mV.

3. SIGNAL TO NOISE RATIO:

..
.

HIGHSPEED ADC ARCHITECTURES:


There is a wide variety of different ADC architectures available depending on The requirements
of the application. They can range from highspeed, low Resolution flash converters to the
highresolution, lowspeed oversampled Noiseshaping sigmadelta converters. This deals mainly
with the design Highspeed Nyquist rate converters. The architectures which are considered
highspeed in this context are:

Flash ADCs The most parallel converter architecture. The entire conversion is complete
within one clock cycle.

Folding and Interpolating ADCs These are closely related to flash ADCs but using a
multistep implementation. The conversion is often finished within one clock cycle.

Pipeline ADCs Several algorithmic stages are pipelined to form the pipeline ADC
architecture. The latency is the same as for the algorithmic architecture but the
throughput is increased at the cost of additional area.

Flash ADCs:
The flash ADC architecture offers the highest potential sample rate of all the different architectures . The
correct quantization level is decided through the parallel comparison of the input signal to all 2n1
reference levels. The reference levels are typically generated through a resistor ladder where 2n equally
sized resistor are used to generate the reference voltages. Each comparator will then decide whether the
input signal is larger than this reference level, generating a 1 on the output if this is case and a 0
otherwise. The output from the comparator array will then be thermometer coded, named from the
analogy with the mercury level in a classical thermometer. In the thermometer code, the transition from
1s to 0s is indicating the best approximation of the input signal. A decoder is then used in order to
convert the thermometer code to an nbit digital output word. The flash ADC is most suitable for low
resolutions as the hardware needed doubles for a resolution increase of 1 bit, whereas the power
dissipation increases by more than a factor of two. The flash architecture often results in a high input
capacitance, in comparison with other architectures, due to the high parallelism.

Figure: Flash ADC architecture.

Interpolating and Folding ADCs


Interpolation and folding are two techniques which are often used together to increase the linearity and
reduce the hardware of flash ADCs. The goal is to design fast converters with higher resolution than full
flash ADCs, without the expensive powerresolution tradeoff that comes with the flash architecture.
Interpolation is used to reduce the number of required comparator preamplifiers. This is done by
interpolating the output of the preamplifiers in order to generate additional zerocrossing points which
can be detected by the comparators. This is valid as long as the both theadjacent preamplifiers are still
operating in their linear region. Depending on the output impedance of the preamplifiers, there is also a
certain amount of averaging between all the preamplifiers. This has the benefits ofsuppressing the
preamplifier offsets while it also generates significant distortion near the edges of the input region
reducing the useful input range to about 70% . In order to compensate for this, additional preamplifiers
needs to be added to restore the input range. Also different values for the interpolation resistances can be
used, but this makes the ADC more susceptibleto process variations because matching is best for resistors
of equal physical dimensions.
Folding is another technique to reduce the hardware needed to achieve a certain resolution at the cost of
increased conversion time. In order to achieve a resolution of n+m bits the work is divided into two parts.
A course quantizer decides the most significant n bits. In parallel with this, a folding circuit folds the
input range according to the Figure, shown for n = 2. The fine quantizer, which has fixed reference levels,
decide the least significant m bits. In Figure 3.4 the ideal folding function is indicated by the dashed line,
the real implementations of the folding circuits will result in smoothing of the folding signal near the
edges indicated by the solid line. This smoothing will decrease the linearity and limits the achievable
resolution. The folding and interpolating ADC finish the conversion within one clock cycle, therefore
there is, as was the case for flash ADCs, no need to include a frontend sampleandhold. Another
potential bandwidth limitation, besides those seen in full flash ADCs, is that the signal delay through the
folding circuit must be handled by the ADC in order to prevent the coarse and fine ADCs to process
different sets of data.

Figure:The principle of interpolating in ADCs

Figure: The folding ADC architecture and functionality.

Pipeline ADCs
The pipeline ADC architecture combines the benefits of high throughput and an input capacitance bound
by noise constraints. This is at the cost of extra hardware, power dissipation and the same high latency
associated with the SAR ADCs. The architecture is shown in Figure 3.6. Each stage samples the
inputsignal and generates ak additional bits of information of the input. An output residue is sent to the
succeeding stages with the last stage typically implemented as a flash ADC. Each stage, known as a
multiplying DAC (MDAC), is based on the same principle as the algorithmic ADC and is shown in
Figure. The input signal is sampled and quantized by an abit subADC, this is converted back to analog
and subtracted from the input signal, resulting in the subADC quantization error. This is amplified to
cover the full input range which has the advantage that all pipeline stages can be designed identically,
simplifying the implementation.
As with SAR ADCs, redundancy can be utilized in order to remove the effect of comparator offset and
noise. A common scheme is to use 1.5 bit stages withsignal and generates ak additional bits of information
of the input. An output residue is sent to the succeeding stages with the last stage typically implemented
as a flash ADC. Each stage, known as a multiplying DAC (MDAC), is based on the same principle as the
algorithmic ADC and is shown in Figure. The input signal is sampled and quantized by an abit subADC,
this is converted back to analog and subtracted from the input signal, resulting in the subADC
quantization error. This is amplified to cover the full input range which has the advantage that all pipeline
stages can be designed identically, simplifying the implementation. As with SAR ADCs, redundancy can
be utilized in order to remove the effect of comparator offset and noise. A common scheme is to use 1.5
bit stages withtwo comparators and a gain of two in the multiplier. With this, the architecture is immune
to comparator noise and offsets within a magnitude of VFS/8.

Figure: The architecture of a pipeline ADC.

Figure: Basic single stage of pipeline ADC

Advantages and disadvantages:


intepolating ADC:
Advantages:
It has less no. of comparators or amplifiers connected to the input.
It has less capacitance on the input.
It enhances the analog input signal bandwidth.
Disadvantages:
Voltage Interpolation is that the delay from the amplifier output to
each comparator can be different due to different resistance.