Trade-Offs in Analog Circuit Design

With so many excellent texts about analog integrated circuit design now available, the need for yet another compilation of contributions may be questioned. Nevertheless, this book fills a notable void, in addressing a topic that, while a common aspect of a product designer’s life, is only occasionally addressed in engineering texts. It is about Trade- Offs: What they are; the circumstances in which they arise; why they are needed; how they are managed, and the many ingenious ways in which their conflicting demands can be resolved. We call it a Designer’s Companion, since it is more in the nature of a reference work, to dip into when and where some new perspectives on the topic are needed, rather than a text to be read in isolation and absorbed as a whole. However, it is an aspect of a trade-off that it is peculiar to each situation and there are no recipes for their instant resolution. That being true, their treatment here is frequently by example, suggestive rather than definitive. The personal insights, intuitions and inventiveness of the designer remain vital to the pursuit of a well-balanced solution, but which is even then only one of many, so its selection requires a relative-value judgment.

Understanding how to cope with trade-offs is an indispensable and inextricable part of all engineering. In electronics, and particularly in analog design, the dilemmas arise in the choice of basic cell topology, its biasing, the specific element values and in making performance compromises. For example, wireless communication systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated: they must operate at ever higher carrier frequencies, while using increasingly complex modulation modes, and posing extremely stringent performance demands. Meeting these requirements is only made more difficult as the dimensions of transistors and passive elements in modern IC processes continue to shrink, and as time-to-market and cost pressures mount. Similar trends are found throughout the field of electronics: in power management, fiber-optics, clock generation for CPUs, high-precision instrumentation for signal generation and metrology, and in analytical equipment of numerous kinds in science, industry, medicine and more recently in forensics and security.



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