From Concept through Production,
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ASIC: (Application Specific Integrated Circuit)
An Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) is, as inferred by the name, designed for a specific application. Often, it is designed and produced for a specific customer.
Many technologies can be used to produced the ASIC, but CMOS is by far the most common. It provides the highest density and lowest cost for most applications.
Today, ASICS are usually thought of as consisting of only digital circuits. These ASICS are designed almost entirely by logic synthesis programs and the physical layout completed by automated place and route programs. No analog circuitry is included.
A Mixed Signal ASIC does include analog circuitry. Analog is typically used as the interface to the real world and allows for most of an electronic system to be included in only one Integrated Circuit.
CSS specializes in Mixed Signal ASICS, and we add a third feature - non-volatile memory. Non-volatile memory is often referred to as EEPROM (Electrical Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory). This technology allows for permanently storing information in the IC. Typical applications include ID codes, configuration data and one that is especially useful - "trimming" of analog circuitry.
The IC shown above is a typical Custom Mixed Signal ASIC designed by CSS. This ASIC is used for instrumentation on an electric vehicle. The various analog, digital and non-volatile memory functions are indicated.