How Small is Small?


What sorts of items come to your mind when you think of small?  We have small cars, small boats, and small trucks (yes, even here in Texas there are small trucks).  There’s also small dogs, small birds, and small ants.  The list goes on and on.  Now think about small integrated circuits (ICs).  What picture comes to your mind?  For me, it’s an image of a microscope.  Because with ever smaller ICs in ever smaller packages, I need a microscope to see our latest devices.

Consider the brand new, state of the art TPS63051.  It flaunts 12 pins on a mere 1.6 mm by 1.2 mm package.  What that means for you, the design engineer, is a ton of functionality in an unbelievably tiny size.  Of course, it has an enable input and power good output, but there’s also a pin for adjusting the soft start time.  And two pins for dynamically changing the current limit, along with a final pin allowing you to make the tradeoff of higher efficiency or lowest noise at light load currents.

All the functionality that solves common application issues in battery powered systems, such as too much inrush current and excessive output noise, is now integrated into a single device.  No longer will clunky discrete circuits take up precious board space in your next smartphone design.  No longer will you have to tweak resistors and capacitors to get the soft start time just right for your next tablet design.  All you have to do is make a little bit of room for this circuit in your next system. 

What systems are you designing that are severely space constrained?  

 

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