Ultrasound VGA Integrated with CW Octal Mixer

Industry's First Fully Integrated Octal VGA + CW Doppler Beamformer IC Enables the Industry's Highest Levels of Integration

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The MAX2036 8-channel variable-gain amplifier (VGA) and programmable octal mixer array is designed for high linearity, high dynamic range, and low-noise performance targeting ultrasound imaging and Doppler applications. Each amplifier features differential inputs and outputs and a total gain range of 50dB (typ). In addition, the VGAs offer very low output-referred noise performance suitable for interfacing with 10-bit ADCs.

The MAX2036 VGA is optimized for less than ±0.5dB absolute gain error to ensure minimal channel-to-channel ultrasound beamforming focus error. The device's differential outputs are designed to directly drive ultrasound ADCs through an external passive anti-aliasing filter. A switchable clamp is also provided at each amplifier's output to limit the output signals, thereby preventing ADC overdrive or saturation.

Dynamic performance of the device is optimized to reduce distortion to support second-harmonic imaging. The device achieves a second-harmonic distortion specification of -62dBc at VOUT = 1.5VP-P and fIN = 5MHz, and an ultrasound-specific* two-tone third-order intermodulation distortion specification of -52dBc at VOUT = 1.5VP-P and fIN = 5MHz.

The MAX2036 also integrates an octal quadrature mixer array and programmable LO phase generators for a complete CW beamforming solution. The LO phase selection for each channel can be programmed using a digital serial interface and a single high-frequency clock or the LOs for each complex mixer pair can be directly driven using separate 4 x LO clocks. The serial interface is designed to allow multiple devices to be easily daisy-chained in order to minimize program interface wiring. The LO phase dividers can be programmed to allow 4, 8, or 16 quadrature phases. The input path of each CW mixer consists of a selectable lowpass filter for optimal CWD noise performance. The outputs of the mixers are summed into I and Q differential current outputs. The mixers and LO generators are designed to have exceptionally low noise performance of -155dBc/Hz at 1kHz offset from a 1.25MHz carrier.

The MAX2036 operates from a +5.0V power supply, consuming only 120mW/channel in VGA mode and 269mW/channel in normal power CW mode. A low-power CW mode is also available and consumes only 226mW/channel. The device is available in a lead-free 100-pin TQFP package (14mm x 14mm) with an exposed pad. Electrical performance is guaranteed over a 0°C to +70°C temperature range.
MAX2036: Pin Configuration MAX2036: Pin Configuration Enlarge+

Key Features

  • 8-Channel Configuration
  • High Integration for Ultrasound Imaging Applications
  • Pin Compatible with the MAX2035 Ultrasound VGA
  • VGA Features
    • Maximum Gain, Gain Range, and Output-Referred Noise Optimized for Interfacing with 10-Bit ADCs
      • Maximum Gain of 39.5dB
      • Total Gain Range of 50dB
      • 60nV/ Ultra-Low Output-Referred Noise at 5MHz
  • ±0.5dB Absolute Gain Error
  • 120mW Consumption per Channel
  • Switchable Output VGA Clamp Eliminating ADC Overdrive
  • Fully Differential VGA Outputs for Direct ADC Drive
  • Variable Gain Range Achieves 50dB Dynamic Range
  • -62dBc HD2 at VOUT = 1.5VP-P and fIN = 5MHz
  • Two-Tone Ultrasound-Specific* IMD3 of -52dBc at VOUT = 1.5VP-P and fIN = 5MHz
  • CWD Mixer Features
    • Low Mixer Noise of -155dBc/Hz at 1kHz Offset from 1.25MHz Carrier
    • Serial-Programmable LO Phase Generator for 4, 8, 16 LO Quadrature Phase Resolution
    • Optional Individual Channel 4 x fLO LO Input Drive Capability
    • 269mW Power Consumption per Channel (Normal Power Mode) and 226mW Power Consumption per Channel (Low-Power Mode)


  • Sonar
  • Ultrasound Imaging
Product Reliability Reports: MAX2036.pdf 
Device   Fab Process   Technology   Sample size   Rejects   FIT at 25°C   FIT at 55°C   Material Composition  

Note : The failure rates are summarized by technology and mapped to the associated material part numbers. The failure rates are highly dependent on the number of units tested.

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