LONDON – Mixed-signal and converter IC vendor Analog Devices Inc. (Norwood, Mass.) has announced that it has acquired Multigig Inc. (San Jose, Calif.), a developer of high frequency clock signal technology, for an undisclosed sum.
The all-cash transaction was completed on March 30, 2012 and Multigig engineers will become part of ADI's existing clock design team and will move to ADI's facility in San Jose, California.
Multigig was founded in 2003 and had raised more than $37 million across multiple rounds of venture capital funding. The company's primary technology is a rotary travelling waver oscillator. This innovative circuit derives highly accurate clock signals by sending a pulse around differential transmission lines that are twisted back on themselves like a Mobius loop. Paired back-to-back inverters distributed around the loop keep the pulse strength constant. The length of the path defines the clock period.
"The acquisition of Multigig fits squarely in the middle of our high-speed signal processing strategy and will further strengthen our portfolio of very high performance stand-alone and integrated clocking solutions," said Peter Real, ADI vice president of linear and radio frequency products and technology, in a statement. "Continually evolving end markets, such as wireless and wire line communications, place ever more stringent demands on signal processing solutions and high-performance clocking capabilities are critical to meeting customers’ system requirements."
I'm wondering where to use this technique. Wireless devices often use frequency scaling, which is not viable with this kind of clock generation. Furthermore, since one phase value is available at only one location of the loop, only few clock sinks can be served directly at this location. With digital chips you have thousands of clock sinks, i.e. flipflops, so you need a mini clock tree ... and up goes the power.