"Fusing Performance and Productivity: New Design Strategies in Analog-to-Digital Converters" by Shaolan Li

Shaolan Li

The thriving market of ubiquitous sensing and connectivity creates strong demands for low-cost, yet powerful and efficient analog-to-digital converters (ADCs). Under existing ADC design practices, however, meeting these emerging requirements turns out to be highly challenging. The obstacles lie in multiple aspects. Technical-wise, the performance and energy efficiency targets are being pushed beyond what classic architectures can achieve. Logistics-wise, the productivity of circuit development is stressed by the declining analog designer workforce, which leads to cost increase. This motivates us to explore innovative ADC design solutions that can simultaneously overcome the performance and productivity barrier.

In this talk, we will navigate two unconventional ADC design mindsets under this context. The first topic to discuss is an interesting ADC architecture called the noise-shaping SAR (NS-SAR). It unlocks many techniques that are inapplicable to traditional ADCs, leading to high performance and a wide application space with very simple circuitry (ISSCC 2021, ISSCC 2022). We will next introduce the time-domain ADC architecture. We will showcase how this approach enables ADCs to be constructed through using digital standard cell and digital design flow with robust performance (CICC 19, JSSC 20).  Potential applications of each architecture will also be highlighted. The audience will learn how these approaches can pave the way towards agile development of high-performance analog systems.


Dr. Shaolan Li joined the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech as an Assistant Professor in 2019. He received his B.Eng. degree with highest honor from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in 2012, and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin in 2018, all in electrical engineering. Prior to joining GaTech, he was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UT Austin from 2018-2019. He also held intern positions in Broadcom Ltd. in Sunnyvale, California, and NXP in Tempe, Arizona during 2013-2014.

Dr. Li serves on the Technical Program Committee of the IEEE Custom Integrated Circuits Conference (CICC), the ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference (DAC), and as an Associate Editor for IET Electronics Letters. He is the recipient of the IEEE Solid-State Circuit Society Predoctoral Achievement Award in 2018. He also received the HKUST Academic Achievement Medal in 2012 and the UT Austin Cockrell School of Engineering Fellowship in 2017, respectively. He is a member of the IEEE Solid-State Circuit Society and the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society, and chairs the IEEE Atlanta SSCS/CASS Joint Chapter.

Please email Michele Tharp for Zoom link

Seminar sponsored by the Department of Electrical Engineering