Handheld devices are shrinking while simultaneously using more power, creating a challenge for power management chips. Somehow, those chips need to manage batteries, motors, LCD drives, keyboards, USB connections, microphones, speakers and a multitude of other inputs and outputs.
To do that, more such chips are integrating analog and digital capabilities along with intelligent power management. Meanwhile, their dimensions are shrinking.
“Clearly, it's possible to shrink the digital portion of these chips,” says Saied Tehrani, SmartMOS and MRAM Technology fellow at Freescale Semiconductor. “But the real challenge is being able to achieve analog- and power-shrink.”
Engineers are doing that, however, and it's opening the door for new applications in cell phones, automobiles and digital cameras, as well as for control of motors in mobile devices, such as laptop computers.
On this page, we've collected three new devices from Freescale Semiconductor, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments that integrate power with analog and digital capabilities.
Freescale's New SmartMOS 10
Freescale Semiconductor's new SmartMOS 10 is an integrated power chip that combines 0.13-µm feature size with optimized power, analog and digital capabilities. Aimed at applications in which device size, battery life and sound quality are key considerations, the SmartMOS 10 reportedly reduces battery leakage by 20 times compared to previous technology generations. It also doubles the performance of analog matching across field-effect transistors, resistors and capacitors, resulting in improved analog-to-digital conversion resolution. The technology is capable of supporting 30V for improved LED backlighting performance brightness and uniformity.
STMicro's Hard Disk Drive Motor Controller
STMicroelectronics' L7208 Hard Disk Drive (HDD) Motor Controller is designed for 1.8-inch and sub-1.8-inch drives used in portable consumer electronic products, such as MP3 players and video players. The L7208 integrates all the circuits needed to control and drive the HDD spindle motor and voice coil actuator — including all the necessary field-effect transistor devices. It includes a Smooth Drive pseudo sinusoidal digital drive technique for minimizing acoustic noise from a spindle motor and a free-fall sensor interface. It is register-controlled and connects to the host system through a serial bus running at up to 50 MHz.
Ti's Power management IC for DaVinci
Texas Instruments' TPS65023 is the first power management IC targeted at DaVinci digital signal processor technology. Aimed at portable media players, digital still cameras and other lithium power-based electronics, the TPS65023 provides dynamic voltage scaling and up to 95 percent power conversion efficiency. The device, which comes in a small 5 x 5 mm QFN package, integrates three step-down converters to support the system's core voltage, peripheral, I/O and memory voltage. All three of the step-down converters enable the TPS65023 to operate in a power-save mode at light-load currents and allow for devices to be placed in a shutdown mode when power consumption drops to less than 1 µA.