IC

Investigating ICs for Tomorrow’s Radios

Portable applications such as high-frequency radios require integrated circuits (ICs) for transmit and receive functions that conserve power as much as power. Fortunately, application note AN629 from Silicon Labs, “Si4460/61/63/64/67/68 RF ICs Layout Design Guide,” uses some of the firm’s transmit and receive ICs to examine different radio circuit layouts. Specifically, it looks at how layouts and choices of components can affect power consumption for the final radio design.

Some of the rules of thumb provided for the firm’s ICs can be applied to many different radio designs and IC products. These include using as much continuous ground-plane metallization as possible; avoiding separation of ground-plane metallization; avoiding the use of overly long transmission lines to connect components (since the distributed parasitic inductance from long transmission lines can cause detuning effects); and trying to avoid placing nearly inductors in the same orientation, so as to reduce coupling between them.

The application note provide several example circuit layouts based on the topic ICs and explains how these layouts can be refined for improved performance. These corrective actions can be as simple as adding a few capacitors to improve the grounding effects.

The 32-page application note provides practice guidance for improving circuit performance with these devices and transmit and receive ICs like them, such as using 50-{CAP OMEGA} grounded coplanar transmission lines whenever possible for connecting SMA connectors to a matching network, as well as for reducing radiation and coupling effects in the connection.

The application note is generously illustrated with different types of layouts and schematic diagrams to provide specific advice for the company’s ICs, but the advice is also applicable to many other transmit and receive ICs from many other vendors.

Silicon Laboratories, Inc., 400 West Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78701; (512) 416-8500, (877) 444-3032, FAX: (512) 416-9669

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