Low-power adaptive control scheme using switching activity measurement method for reconfigurable analog-to-digital converters
Ab Razak, Mohd Zulhakimi
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Power consumption is a critical issue for portable devices. The ever-increasing demand for multimode wireless applications and the growing concerns towards power-aware green technology make dynamically reconfigurable hardware an attractive solution for overcoming the power issue. This is due to its advantages of flexibility, reusability, and adaptability. During the last decade, reconfigurable analog-to-digital converters (ReADCs) have been used to support multimode wireless applications. With the ability to adaptively scale the power consumption according to different operation modes, reconfigurable devices utilise the power supply efficiently. This can prolong battery life and reduce unnecessary heat emission to the environment. However, current adaptive mechanisms for ReADCs rely upon external control signals generated using digital signal processors (DSPs) in the baseband. This thesis aims to provide a single-chip solution for real-time and low-power ReADC implementations that can adaptively change the converter resolution according to signal variations without the need of the baseband processing. Specifically, the thesis focuses on the analysis, design and implementation of a low-power digital controller unit for ReADCs. In this study, the following two important reconfigurability issues are investigated: i) the detection mechanism for an adaptive implementation, and ii) the measure of power and area overheads that are introduced by the adaptive control modules. This thesis outlines four main achievements to address these issues. The first achievement is the development of the switching activity measurement (SWAM) method to detect different signal components based upon the observation of the output of an ADC. The second achievement is a proposed adaptive algorithm for ReADCs to dynamically adjust the resolution depending upon the variations in the input signal. The third achievement is an ASIC implementation of the adaptive control module for ReADCs. The module achieves low reconfiguration overheads in terms of area and power compared with the main analog part of a ReADC. The fourth achievement is the development of a low-power noise detection module using a conventional ADC for signal improvement. Taken together, the findings from this study demonstrate the potential use of switching activity information of an ADC to adaptively control the circuits, and simultaneously expanding the functionality of the ADC in electronic systems.