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High-speed ADC, DAC target next-gen digital microwave systems

Posted: 18 Sep 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Semtech  ADC  DAC  SOI technology  IBM 

Semtech Corp. has revealed 64GSPS ADC and DAC cores that use IBM's 32nm SOI technology for integration in high performance digital microwave SoC solutions. According to the company, the compact and highly-efficient analogue-digital converters (ADCs) and digital-analogue converters (DACs), integrated into versatile chipsets with digitally programmable poly-phase filtering and interpolation techniques, enable extremely wide bandwidths to be digitally processed.

Specific spectral regions extending as high as 34GHz may be selectively processed, for dramatic increase in system SNR and SFDR performance. Digital tuning with fine frequency resolution and channelisation may then be performed in an extremely efficient manner, thus fully leveraging the performance and integration advantages of deep-submicron CMOS SOI technologies.

Semtech's high performance ADCs and DACs allow the analogue/digital boundary in advanced microwave systems to be moved to the RF frequency, thereby enhancing flexibility, reducing analogue distortion, and enabling more stable and higher-performance systems to be realised, the company indicated. This digital microwave architecture revolution fully leverages commercially-available CMOS IC technology, disrupts more traditional analogue-based microwave architectures, and is predicted to become the new implementation standard for most microwave radio applications in the coming years.

Semtech has been chosen by Northrop Grumman Corp. (NGC) as a subcontractor on its Arrays on Commercial Timescales program (ACT), which is intended to develop the key technologies for affordable, next-generation active electronically scanned arrays (AESAs) by designing a reusable digital common module that contains the critical integrated circuits required for next-generation AESAs. As part of the program, NGC was selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop and demonstrate advanced wideband digital antenna technology for the next generation RF sensors using active electronically scanned arrays. NGC will integrate Semtech's ultra-high speed ADC and DAC technology into the project.

Semtech's converters will be available as cores in November 2014 and operate from 42-68GS/s. The company is also designing significantly lower power and higher performance converters in 14nm FinFET technology, with availability of these cores expected in early 2016.

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