Pipeline ADCs Come of Age

Abstract: In the mid 1970s, a new data converter architecture was introduced to the analog and mixed-signal community, called pipeline ADCs. The following article takes the knowledge of advantages and disadvantages of the pipeline architecture and compares its features with four of the most popular architectures (flash, dual-slope, sigma-delta, and successive approximation) for analog-to-digital converters (ADCs). The paper concludes with an applications example for CCD imaging and discusses in detail why a pipeline-based ADC architecture is more desirable in such applications than any of the other commonly used concepts.