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Review of Camenzind: Designing Analog Chips

Download Designing Analog Chips (Hans Camenzind, 2005, 242 pages, 2.6 MB pdf file)

Camenzind gives you a good and relatively easy to understand introduction to analog circuit design. He uses nearly no mathematics and keeps the theory to a minimum. Instead he offers many (good) explanations and simulation plots. This is an interesting approach, but you should be aware that if you have to pass an analog circuit design exam, you will need to master more theory than this text teaches you. Nevertheless, I think that as an introduction to the topic it is very nice.

Chapter 1 offers an introduction to semiconductors and the basic processes and circuit elements of analog integrated circuits. There are also some interesting remarks about the early history of the semiconductor industry. Chapter 2 discusses some simulation topics, with an emphasis on the available models.

The basic building blocks of analog ICs are covered in some detail, after an explanation of the basic circuits several different variants are shown and their pros and cons are discussed for current mirrors (chapter 3), the differential pair (chapter 4) and current sources (chapter 5).

Chapter 6 is somehow unusual, as it contains short introductions to some basic concepts in the middle of the text: Decibel, RMS, noise, Fourier analysis and frequency compensation.

Chapter 7 continues with analog ICs, discussing several variants of bandgap references. Chapters 8 to 10 discuss op amps, comparators and transconductance amplifiers (if you would like a refresher of the basic op amp concepts, take a look at one of the General Op Amp resources).

In chapter 11 about timers and oscillators Camenzind tells the story of how he designed the famous 555 timer IC. Especially interesting is a “Second Version” 555 (page 11-6): Camenzind shows the circuit diagram of an improved 555 where he uses some more modern design techniques (the 555 was introduced in 1971) discusses the changes in detail, together with the improved parameters. It is, however, a purely theoretical design study, as far as I know this circuit has never been produced.

Chapters 12 to 14 discuss phase locked loops, filters, voltage regulators and amplifiers. Chapter 15 discusses A-D and D-A converters (for a more detailed treatment of them you might be interested in Analog-Digital Conversion by Kester). Chapter 16 shows some miscellaneous circuits: The Gilbert cell, multipliers, peak detectors, rectifiers, an interesting type of thermometer (PTAT) and zero crossing detectors.

Chapter 16 contains an introduction to the layout of analog ICs. Very interesting is the box on page 17-9 “Matching: Myths and Misconceptions”: Here Camenzind contrasts 3 popular beliefs with the results of his own measurements: The first is, that elements that are close together match better because of diffusion gradients. Camenzind found this to be untrue (though for practical reasons it does not matter much: Close elements are less effected by thermal gradients, so elements where matching is important really should be placed close to each other.) The second belief is that matching devices should be divided into smaller pieces to benefit from statistical effects, and the third is that dummy devices should be added at the periphery – Camenzind claims that both believes are not true.

You might also be interested in some other Introductions to Analog IC Design.

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