Mixed signal devices are those that can process both analog and digital systems in a single system. The system can be in the form of a hybrid microcircuit, single integrated circuit chip or a printed circuit board. DACs and ADCs are applications of mixed signal processors as both digital and analog functions are implemented in each. Very large scale Integration(VLSI) is another application that employs processing complex digital signals and analog processing on the chip simultaneously.
Improving technology trends and current markets have increased the demand for mixed signal integration. They have significant benefits and can result in innovative System on chip (SoC) solutions. Integrating analog with digital modules have efficient functionality and power consumption owing to better distribution Single chip solutions. Mixed Signal devices have reduced system noise and faster switching times. They also have simple system designs. Analog modules within these devices can be easily controlled by installing inbuilt software.
Creating special functions by leveraging analog modules and integrating it with mixed signals can push performance to new levels and can spur many innovations. These modules available in the market can be integrated into systems to produce special system function solutions can provide high degree of analog integration variables along with low power performance that can reduce costs. These enhancements in the system can provide unique solutions that are fully programmable that are accountable for a substantial cost savings.
Crossover filters in loudspeakers, stereos and controls on TV are other applications of analog processing. Capacitors, resistors, inductors and transistors are common analog processing elements. Analog signal devices can be used in a various market that include aerospace, communication, healthcare, automotive, motor power control, instrumentation and measurement, security and surveillance, Consumer market and Energy sector. Analog processors are significantly cheaper than other technologies available. One challenge with analog system that are exposed to high temperatures is managing their complexity while maintaining the stability of the system.
They play a crucial role in the semiconductor industry where analog to digital conversions are extensively used for the purpose of micro-controllers and signal processing.
One of the important examples of Mixed Signal devices is the mixed single Integrated chips that form a necessary part of the FM tuning in digital devices such as music players that have amplifiers. Introduction of 3G cell phones along with other technologies that are handy, with their increasing usage have a scope of significant growth in the telecommunications market. Availability of ADC and DAC provide a flexible platform for mixed Signal devices as per requirements and are energy efficient.
Considering the advancements in the Mixed signal device market, the task of combining analog and digital signals to optimize performance and integrate them into a single technology has been simplified. New technologies like CMOS, BiCMOS, CMOS SOI and SiGe have nullified many complexities that were faced previously. Availability of different alternatives to cancel out noise disturbances such as fully differential amplifiers, P+ guard rings and on chip coupling have also simplified tasks.
Every industry has specific requirements and configurations. The consumer electronics include touchscreen devices, display drivers, LED drivers, audio and video codes. The Industrial sectors includes devices like energy monitoring, LED Lighting, ADC, RF and line drivers. The automobile industry includes ADC and sensors. In the computer and storage devices market, Analog and mixed signal devices can be found in SATA, HDMI and Thunderbolt. Communications sector constitutes clock and timing control.
Power management sector, Signal processing sector are segments than can be expected to have high growth. The power sector accounted for over 52% of Analog Integrated Circuit Consumption. This sector emphasizes on efficient utilization of power used by electronic devices. Analog ICs are majorly used in portable devices which are extensively used. Other major functionality includes reduction in the battery drain that indirectly reduce costs. Hence with the growth in the wireless communication market can lead to growth in the Analog IC market.
Increase in the usage of application specific Analog ICs can bring about a sales growth of these devices. They constitute for 60% of the Analog ICs Market. With the advent of new technologies in Sensor ASICs and Power Management ASICs, there are wide variety of applications in each of them which include consumer electronic devices such as digital cameras, LCD and LED screens, cell phones and other devices that work on battery.
Market pertaining to analog and mixed signal devices have a diversified customer base. New product innovation and launch of sophisticated instruments can provide new avenues for growth in this industry. Health care industry has wide application of analog and mixed signal devices. They are used as monitoring equipment, medical instrumentation and diagnosis. Firms can differentiate their products by collaborating and integrating different functionalities of design tools and application support systems. Increasing usage of smart phone devices is also a major market for analog and mixed signal devices they are used as chips within smartphones.
New product Developments are expected to play a major role with the introduction of EDA tools that are specifically made for analog/mixed signal market. The Market is expected to grow at a rate of 5%. Costs associated with processes are usually balanced out with the new avenues in the various product developments in the market.
With the focus of these technologies seen in Europe, Asia, Japan and U.S., the market is majorly driven by best.tools and methodologies that can be employed in the field of aviation, automobiles, communications, multimedia sectors and telecommunications. Opportunities include new modelling techniques, Analog Modeling and RF Modeling. Modularizing capabilities and enhanced integration with different systems of advanced packaging and SoCs.
Competitors in this market include Analog devices that is a market leader in National Semiconductors, Maxim Integrated Products Inc., and Texas Instruments, BroadComm QualComm, Linear and Maxim. Most competitors are characterized by high operating margins and gross margins. Analog and Mixed device manufacturing firms are highly resource intensive employing many applications that are involved in development, sales, sales reps, and distributors.
Research Support Specialist, USA