A switched-capacitor delta-sigma ADC (Analog-to-Digital Converter) is a type of oversampling converter widely used for high-resolution and high-precision applications. It employs a combination of switched-capacitor and delta-sigma modulation techniques to achieve high-resolution digitization of analog signals. Let's discuss its operation step-by-step:
The analog input signal is sampled at a high frequency using a sample-and-hold circuit. The sample-and-hold circuit captures the analog voltage at discrete intervals and holds it constant during the conversion process.
Switched-Capacitor Integrator (Delta-Sigma Modulator):
The heart of the switched-capacitor delta-sigma ADC is the delta-sigma modulator. It is a feedback loop that continuously integrates the difference between the sampled analog input and the output of the digital-to-analog converter (DAC) inside the ADC.
The sampled analog input and the feedback DAC output are subtracted to obtain the input error signal.
The error signal is integrated over time using a switched-capacitor integrator. This integration process smooths the quantization noise and pushes it to higher frequencies.
The delta-sigma ADC operates at a much higher sampling frequency than the Nyquist rate (2 times the highest frequency of the input signal). Oversampling helps to shift the quantization noise further up the frequency spectrum, making it easier to filter out later.
Digital Decimation Filter:
The output of the delta-sigma modulator is a high-frequency, high-resolution bitstream. A digital decimation filter, often a low-pass filter, is used to remove the high-frequency noise components and reduce the data rate. The decimation filter also shapes the quantization noise to emphasize the signal band while attenuating the noise outside the signal band.
After the decimation filter, the high-resolution bitstream is converted back into an analog signal using a digital-to-analog converter (DAC). This reconstructed analog signal represents the original analog input with enhanced resolution.
The digital output of the ADC may undergo further digital signal processing, such as filtering or digital down-conversion, to extract the desired information accurately.
Advantages of Switched-Capacitor Delta-Sigma ADCs:
High resolution: Delta-sigma ADCs can achieve high effective resolution by pushing quantization noise to higher frequencies and using oversampling.
Low harmonic distortion: The noise shaping inherent in delta-sigma modulation helps reduce harmonic distortion in the output signal.
Linearization: The integration process in the delta-sigma modulator inherently linearizes the input signal, making it less sensitive to non-linearities in the components.
However, there are some trade-offs and challenges associated with delta-sigma ADCs, such as higher power consumption and longer conversion times due to the oversampling and filtering requirements. Nonetheless, for applications where high-resolution and high-precision are essential, switched-capacitor delta-sigma ADCs are a popular choice.