Multi-Channel Amplifier IC converts current to digital output.

Press Release Summary:

Suited for sensors with current output, MDDC 4-channel signal amplifier converts small input currents across high bandwidth and dynamic range and digitizes them on chip via transimpedance amplifier. Transimpedance is independently programmable digitally for each channel above 5 bits in 16 stages via SPI communication interface. Device features conversion time of 1 µsec/channel and sampling rate of up to 100 kS/sec for all 4 channels. MDDC also includes 12-bit A/D conversion on-chip.

Original Press Release:

Multi-Channel Amplifier IC for Fast Digital Power Conversion

MAZeT introduces a new MDDC 4-channel sensor signal amplifier for sensors with current output, which also converts small input currents quickly and across a high bandwidth and dynamic range and digitizes them on chip via a transimpedance amplifier. Transimpedance amplifiers are preferred in industrial measurement technology for their rapid and cyclic conversion and amplification of the very small currents used in optoelectronic sensors. The ASIC MDDC is suitable for fast applications in conjunction with detectors and arrays, such as In-Line (Color) Measurement and control in automated processes, such as printing and analysis.

The transimpedance (gain) is independently programmable digitally for each channel above 5 bits in 16 stages via the SPI interface. The gradation between the transimpedance per channel is implemented in binary with additional intermediate stages in the range of about 1.6 MOhm to 100MOhm. At the maximum transimpedance, even currents in the nA range can be quickly measured and a dynamic range of 30dB (from 11.7 nA to 2µA; LSB down to 2.8pA) covered. The amplifier stages are characterized by low noise levels and operate with high linearity and synchronism of the channels. Beyond the external programming of the amplifier stages, dynamic in-line amplification on all channels is also available separately in the operation.

The ASIC MDDC includes internally a 12-bit A/D conversion on-chip. The A/D converter basically works as a "successive approximation" A/D converter. Also implemented in the A/D converter is a procedure for temperature modulation, which compensates as far as possible for the large temperature variation in the transimpedance of the current-voltage converter.

The reference programming for the conversion (equivalent to a reference voltage for a conventional A/D voltage converter) can be regulated through the programming of the transimpedance. This is done independently for each channel. Thus, each channel can have its own reference current or current range (Full Scale Range - FSR). All necessary references are implemented internally.

A kind of "Track & Hold" circuit with a four-to-one multiplexer is emplaced before the A/D converter. This implementation allows simultaneous parallel sampling and subsequent serial conversion of the analog values of the channels.

The communication to and from the ASIC is realized through a bi-directional 12-bit SPI interface with a clock up to 16MHz. The SPI clock is used simultaneously for the A/D converter. A conversion time of 1 µs per channel and thus a sampling rate of up to 100kS/s for all four channels can be achieved this way.

The MDDC 4-channel current-to-digital converter is very suitable for multi-sensor applications with minimal sensor current. They are typically color sensors and other optical arrays and lines (UV, VIS, NIR, IR-range) in high-speed applications, such as industrial sensors (light grid, length, level, position, thickness and clearance measurement), in dynamic measurement systems for surface analysis (spectral and color measurements, gloss, roughness), temperature measurement (thermal imaging, combustion monitoring) but also with in-line detectors for alpha-, beta-and gamma-rays, X-rays and ions.

The ASIC sensors are available in SMD housing or can be ordered as a naked chip for subsequent hybrid or MCM-processing. In connection with the MAZeT True Color Sensors, the amplifiers are available as full color sensor modules or SMD sensor components.

About MAZeT

MAZeT GmbH is a leading European development and production service provider. The company, founded in 1992 with headquarters in Jena, develops, manufactures and delivers customer-specific electronic modular units, software and ASICs, and markets its own products under the name JENCOLOR(TM) worldwide. Due to its broad technological offerings and application know-how, MAZeT GmbH is a dependable and proven service partner for made-to-measure, customer-specific solutions in the areas of industrial electronics and optical sensors. The company's development competence and the components produced by it for special uses can be found in the whole area of industrial measurement technology, control engineering, automation and medical areas, among others. For more information please see

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