Table of Contents
Advances in Electronics
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 590970, 16 pages
Review Article

Shifting the Frontiers of Analog and Mixed-Signal Electronics

Mixed-Signal Microelectronics Group, Department of Electrical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, Den Dolech 2, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Received 27 February 2014; Revised 19 November 2014; Accepted 20 November 2014; Published 16 December 2014

Academic Editor: Frederick Mailly

Copyright © 2014 Arthur H. M. van Roermund. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Nowadays, analog and mixed-signal (AMS) IC designs, mainly found in the frontends of large ICs, are highly dedicated, complex, and costly. They form a bottleneck in the communication with the outside world, determine an upper bound in quality, yield, and flexibility for the IC, and require a significant part of the power dissipation. Operating very close to physical limits, serious boundaries are faced. This paper relates, from a high-level point of view, these boundaries to the Shannon channel capacity and shows how the AMS circuitry forms a matching link in transforming the external analog signals, optimized for the communication medium, to the optimal on-chip signal representation, the digital one, for the IC medium. The signals in the AMS part itself are consequently not optimally matched to the IC medium. To further shift the frontiers of AMS design, a matching-driven design approach is crucial for AMS. Four levels will be addressed: technology-driven, states-driven, redundancy-driven, and nature-driven design. This is done based on an analysis of the various classes of AMS signals and their specific properties, seen from the angle of redundancy. This generic, but abstract way of looking at the design process will be substantiated with many specific examples.