Daily Archives: June 6, 2011

Reader question(s): Novelty of folding amplifier ADC architecture, big houses approach to external innovations, and academic vs. commercial specs

Blog reader Cole posted a question in the Q&A section, and I felt it was well worth a separate post:

Hi Dr. Jonsson, I am wondering the following things in general about the ADC industry:

–Are folding amplifiers a new concept? Why when I look at the TI website, for example, they do not sell any ADCs with a folding amplifier architecture?
–How open are the big houses to outside designs? If a small design house comes up with someone innovative, do the big houses adopt, buy-out, or ignore the small houses?
–What is the main difference between academic specs and industrial specs? How would I “convert” between the two? It seems like when I read academic papers, they claim high speeds at a certain bitrate, but industrial numbers all seem a bit more conservative (i.e. MSPS rather than GSPS).

As you can see, there are several interesting questions in there. What do you think? How hot are folding ADCs today? Do you have any experience from start-up innovation in relation to the big companies? How do you translate between data sheet specs and academic paper performance?

Anyone from “the big houses” wish to comment? How would you handle great innovations emerging in a small start-up external to your company? Adopt, buy-out or ignore? And how should we view commercial data sheet specs compared to scientific papers? Should we even try to “translate” between the two, or are these better seen as parallel universes?