Steve Taranovich, EDN
May 04, 2014
The S3 Group provides IP to global system vendors, OEM and semiconductor customers. Their expertise is in analog IP and silicon solutions with RF, power and ADCs architectures.
I was initially attracted to the levels of performance of a recently developed 12 bit SAR ADC (Part # S3ADS160M12BSM40LL) by the S3 Group. This small, very efficient, high-speed SAR ADC performs at 160 Msps at less than 31 fJ energy efficiency. I have been in the semiconductor industry for 26 years and this Energy Efficiency spec is new to me. I had never seen it on a datasheet.
ADCs have come a long way. In times past, high speed ADCs were of the pipeline variety; as a matter of fact S3 designed their high speed ADC IP for telecom infrastructure and other communications applications with that architecture for many years.
Marked energy efficiency improvements in ADCs have been developed over the past few years. Nanometer CMOS processes have made it possible to use the SAR, low latency architectures in lieu of the pipeline architecture burdened with pipeline delays.
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