This article presents a compact analog front-end (AFE) circuit for ultrasound receivers with linear-in-dB continuous gain control for time-gain compensation (TGC). The AFE consists of two variable-gain stages, both of which employ a novel complementary current-steering network (CCSN) as the interpolator to realize continuously variable gain. The first stage is a trans-impedance amplifier (TIA) with a hardware-sharing inverter-based input stage to save power and area. The TIA's output couples capacitively to the second stage, which is a class-AB current amplifier (CA). The AFE is integrated into an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) in a 180-nm high-voltage BCD technology and assembled with a 100 μm-pitch PZT transducer array of 8 × 8 elements. Both electrical and acoustic measurements show that the AFE achieves a linear-in-dB gain error below ±0.4 dB within a 36-dB gain range, which is > 2 × better than the prior art. Per channel, the AFE occupies 0.025 mm2 area, consumes 0.8 mW power, and achieves an input-referred noise density of 1.31 pA/√Hz.
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- Application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC)
- pitch-matched analog front-end (AFE)
- time-gain compensation (TGC)
- trans-impedance amplifier (TIA)
- Ultrasonic imaging
- ultrasound imaging
- variable gain amplifier (VGA)