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VLSI Design
Volume 2008 (2008), Article ID 657207, 8 pages
Research Article

Simple Evaluation of the Nonlinearity Signature of an ADC Using a Spectral Approach

Centro Nacional de Microelectrónica (CNM-CSIC), Instituto de Microelectrónica de Sevilla (IMSE), University of Sevilla, Edificio CICA, Avenue Reina Mercedes s/n, 41012 Sevilla, Spain

Received 17 October 2007; Revised 30 March 2008; Accepted 16 May 2008

Academic Editor: Marcelo Lubaszewski

Copyright © 2008 E. J. Peralías et al. 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.


This work presents a new method to estimate the nonlinearity characteristics of analog-to-digital converters (ADCs). The method is based on a nonnecessarily polynomial continuous and differentiable mathematical model of the converter transfer function, and on the spectral processing of the converter output under a sinusoidal input excitation. The simulation and experiments performed on different ADC examples prove the feasibility of the proposed method, even when the ADC nonlinearity pattern has very strong discontinuities. When compared with the traditional code histogram method, it also shows its low cost and efficiency since a significant lower number of output samples can be used still giving very realistic INL signature values.