Thursday, February 13, 2014

IBM Develops Ultra-Fast Analog-to-Digital Converter

IBM Research and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have developed an ultra-fast and energy efficient analog-to-digital converter (ADC) technology to enable complex digital equalization across long-distance fiber channels.

An ADC converts analog signals to digital, approximating the right combination of zeros and ones to digitally represent the data so it can be stored on computers and analyzed for patterns and predictive outcomes.

IBM has awarded a non-exclusive technology license to Semtech, including access to patented designs and technological know-how, to develop the technology for its own family of products ranging from optical and wireline communications to advanced radar systems.

The 64 GS/s (giga-samples per second) chips for Semtech will be manufactured at IBM’s 300mm fab in East Fishkill, New York in a 32 nanometer silicon-on-insulator CMOS process and has an area of 5 mm2. This core includes a wide tuning millimeter wave synthesizer enabling the core to tune from 42 to 68 GS/s per channel with a nominal jitter value of 45 femtoseconds root mean square. The full dual-channel 2x64 GS/s ADC core generates 128 billion analog-to-digital conversions per second, with a total power consumption of 2.1 Watts.

IBM cited a number of Big Data use cases, including radio astronomy projects that are expected to produce 10 times the global internet traffic loads in a few years.

“Our ADC supports IEEE standards for data communication and brings together speed and energy efficiency at 32 nanometers enabling us to start tackling the largest Big Data applications,” said Dr. Martin Schmatz, Systems department manager at IBM Research. “With Semtech as our partner, we are bringing our previous generation of the ADC to market less than 12 months since it was first developed and tested.”

“Through leveraging the IBM 32nm SOI process with its unique feature set, we are developing products that are well-suited for meeting the challenge presented by the next step in high performance  communications systems such as 400 Gb/s Optical systems and Advanced Radar systems. We are also seeing an expanding range of applications in the existing radio frequency communications marketplace where high-speed digital logic is replacing functions that have been traditionally performed by less flexible analog circuitry,” said Craig Hornbuckle, Chief Systems Architect, Semtech.

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/43171.wss

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