Top Ten: Mixed-signal design books

After some Christmas and New Year holidays as well as wrapping up our course in Mixed-Signal Processing Systems, I think the activity should improve here a bit…

Perhaps starting off with a new Top Ten list…

Since the two courses Analog and Discrete Time Integrated Circuits and Analog Integrated Circuits are to be given this spring (starts in a week or so…) I though it would be nice to start off with a book list. Searching for valid literature within the field of mixed-signal integrated circuit design is a bit tedious. One drawback is that the books are soon outdated. CMOS processes, standards and applications are evolving and the books should feel fairly modern to read. Obviously, some of the basics wrt. filter theory, compensation, etc., do not change, but still … using 10-year old transistor parameters for examples makes the students a bit doubtful.

Anyway, so let’s start (and in this case, no particular order – albeit a bit biased). And the standard disclaimers: The list is not intended to be complete, please add comments with your own examples. And I will not write a complete review, but only give you the link such that you can continue your googling on your own.

So, This is my list of the Top Ten text books for integrated mixed-signal circuit design on an advanced Bachelor’s level, Master level and Ph.D. level.

  • #10: CMOS Data Converters for Communications , by Gustafsson, Wikner, and Tan. and Mixed-Signal Processing Systems, edited by Löwenborg
    We have to start somewhere to get the snowball rolling. and it is perhaps a bit ambitious to put two of our “own” books on this list, but after all there were reasons they were written in the first place. In our case, we needed a book on data converters and then we needed a comprehensive book on the design of mixed-signal systems.

    The data converters book is not a course text book as such, but explains quite well some of the more detailed design aspects of data converters to be put into a telecommunication application. (The book outlines ADSL which was a “hot” topic back in the late 90’s, early 00’s). So, with that said, it is also a bit outdated. The book does not outline any theory behind transistors, etc., so don’t expect that. It is more to be considered as a reference book for data converter design. There are no exercises either.
    The mixed-signal processing book is indeed a dedicated spot-on course book, but without exercises. The book is a compilation of several chapters were each single chapter fills a very important role in the complete design of a mixed-signal communication system (AFE plus parts of PHY). There are chapters on digital-filter design, top-level design, test-driven design, analog filters, data converters, tuning, etc. Each chapter written and compiled by experienced Ph.D. students.

  • #9: CMOS Analog Circuit Design , by Allen and Holberg
    This is my starting book back in 1996 and more or less the first book with integrated CMOS transistors as scope that I ever opened. First, I was a bit scared, since it seemed a bit “dry”, but now after some years, I still claim it is very good book from a theoretical point of view. It has good examples, it has a very good description of how to design an operational amplifier and how to compensate it well. It gives a couple of cookbook recipes for the most common amplifier types.

    The book now exists in a second edition with a few updated chapters and still has a very good theoretical background.
  • #8: Design of Analog CMOS Integrated Circuits, by Razavi.
    This is a somewhat “newer” book which spans more circuits, but perhaps less in detail of things. In this book we find more information on PLLs, bandgaps and the kind of circuits you would expect to find in today’s mixed-signal macros. The book also solely focuses on CMOS circuits.
    Data converters are not covered, which is potentially a drawback with the book. On the other hand, one should also acknowledge the title of the book, which does not imply the digital portion of the circuits.
  • #7: Analog Integrated Circuit Design, by Johns and Martin
    Probably my favourite currently (but I’m a fan of many books, even for courses, especially since the development is so dynamic and one has to stay tuned…). The book has a nice format, easy-to-read, good exercises, etc. The advantage with the book is that it also contains data converters, switched-capacitor circuits, and a short chapter on PLLs. I find it a very good educational book, with a lot of good examples and exercises.
    I use it as the main course book in the two analog courses I give at the University. The book, however, is now some 15 years old and I’m eagerly waiting for a new edition.
  • #6: Analysis and Design of Analog Integrated Circuits, by Gray, Hurst, Lewis, and Meyer.
    The brick. This is is 900 pages of pure analog design. It has excellent chapters on feedback and compensation theory as well as operational amplifier design. It outlines differential design well (which is quite poorly done in most books). The “drawbacks” are that it is very analog and lacks the most important mixed-signal circuits and it has potentially too much of introduction with respect to semiconductors. (Notice that this is not drawbacks as such, but for the mixed-signal design scope … ). The book is now offered in it’s fifth edition which also indicates the robustness and popularity of the book.
    I recommend my students (and you too in case you’re not a student of mine) to read the feedback chapters. Most interesting.
  • #5: Analog Design Essentials by Willy Sansen.
    Now, this is a “new-comer” on the market, well 2006. The main advantage is the nice way of interchanging lecture slides with text and exercises. This is not only a book for a course lecturer, but also for engineers that can get “easy-reading” with clear slides/pictures that guides the reader. Using this presentation method, the book also becomes very easy to read and browse.
    I am now using it as reference material for my courses and my Ph.D. students are also using it.
  • #4: The Design of CMOS Radio-Frequency Integrated Circuits, by Lee.
    Ok, so here we could argue that it is not a mixed-signal book. However, it has a couple of great chapters. Especially those on noise (two chapters on noise) and feedback. Further on, the oscillator chapters and phase-locked loop chapters nowadays would classify as mixed-signal systems in some sense. The book also spans some other “minor” topics that are missing in some of the other books, like performance measures (SNDR, SFDR, etc.) as well as nomenclature also found for normal analog design, such as Class A, B, C, etc. (In Lee’s case, they are referred to in the PA chapter).
    I would also like to recommend the reader to really read the footnotes (as well as the historic “tales”) in the book. There are some really fun comments by Lee in there.
  • #3: CMOS: Mixed-Signal Circuit Design, by Baker
    This is a “hardcore” book getting directly to the point in some sense. There is not that many discussions on the “simplest” building blocks, but instead we get to the filters, data converters, etc. This scope and focus resembles quite a lot the work we do in our mixed-signal processing systems course (which is also the next bullet on this list).

    One great advantage with the Baker book is the “support” from the CMOSEDU web pages, design examples, etc. are found for a large variety of simulators. There are slides, solutions, forums, etc. Very good backup indeeed.
  • #2:Analog VLSI: Signal and Information Processing, by Ismail and Fiez.
    The last two bullets on this list are perhaps not educational text books as such (well, this one is…) but I add them due to nostalgic reasons. They are also the first two books I kind of read as a fresh Ph.D. students back in 1996.
    The book by Ismail and Fiez is from 1994 and I am not sure if it is available for purchase in new-print anymore (the link above is pointing at used books). It is claimed that: “This book presents the first comprehensive treatment of analog VLSI design for signal and information processing applications by blending the basic design concepts of both traditional and contemporary analog VLSI.”. And in some sense it was true back then… It also contains a few examples to “fun” circuits back then, like the super-MOS component, the neurological circuits, etc. It was an inspiring book by then, as it gave me a completely different view on analog integrated circuit design. Rather than just dull (?) amplifiers, there were new things in it!
  • #1: Analogue IC design: the current-mode approach, , by Toumazou, Lidgey, and Haigh (eds) and Switched-currents: an analogue technique for digital technology, by Toumazou, Hughes, and Battersby (eds).
    As for the previous item, this was an eye-opener too. Back in those days, the switched-current technique was (re-)invented and it was fresh material to read. It also opened up for new types of analyses. At our group, quite a lot of switched-current work was published and resulting in Ph.D. dissertations. (If Bengt E Jonsson reads this, he might be able to fill in some gaps.
    The books are perhaps not course books, but they are inspirational for an analog design engineer with some curiosity in “odd” things.

And/or take this poll:

7 thoughts on “Top Ten: Mixed-signal design books

  1. Pingback: Currentmode Vlsi Analog Filters Design

  2. Thanks for the list. Can you please recommend an order of studying these books for someone who is constantly trying to improve his analog circuit design knowledge and skills?



    • Hi,

      thanks for your comments. Out of this list, I guess some of them have come out in new revisions by now. But nevertheless, going from this list:

      #9, 8, 7 – are the basic ones – for “beginners”.

      I like the new chapters, improvements that came out in Johns&Martin (#7) last year, and perhaps more importantly (as a tutor) they now come with a good educational package (slides, exercises, simulations).
      Also, Allen&Holberg (#8) offers new, nice material in their latest revision.

      For advanced readers, Willy Sansens is really good, #5: Analog Design Essentials. It goes a bit extra, and brings the reader further into the design problems. Not only basic MOS and amplifiers and PLLs, etc., It shows how you would e.g. size the transistors in a D/A converter, and dimension other components in PLLs and amplifiers. It has good chapters on class AB stages that some of the others (arguably deliberately) lack.

      The Lee book (#4) is also a bit for the advanced reader. Perhaps not contents-wise per se, but simply because it is written in such a way. One sort of have to know RF/analog to read it. Is my feeling.

      #6 Gray: Is good because it describes compensation of amplifiers in a good way if one wants to try new ways. #3 has a few comments on that too.

      #9 Holberg has a good template table for compensation, but leaves out a couple of things on the macro-level.

      #10 I added for the fun of it – outdated by now. #2 out of sentimental reasons. Both of these are now outdated.

      #1 Toumazou are outdated, yes. But reading those two books triggers my mind a bit to think out of the box. Not because the stuff in the book is anything extra-ordinary, but just because switched-current and current-conveyors and theories behind that.

      So ordering the books from outdated, through basic (course books) to advance level (phd + extra material):

      ( #10, #2 ) -> #3, #8, #7, #6, #9 -> #4, #5, #1

      Is my vote.

  3. Thanks for the detailed response. I have Martin’s new edition. It is a very good book (in my opinion), but it (and so does Allen & Holberg) lack something crucial for me: teaching intuition, a thing that Razavi is great at, and so is Baker (not so much in his books, but on his courses that are available online).
    Another problem with Martin: When he gets to the more ‘interesting’ topics, such as data converters, he suddenly becomes more telegraphic on many points that I feel need more elaboration.
    Lee is a great read, but I agree he is far more advanced than the others.
    I wanted to ask you what is your opinion on Baker’s mixed signal book (“) and 2 other Razavi volumes: “RF microelectronics” and “Design of integrated circuits for optical communication”?
    The latter is the only book I know of that teaches CDRs for the novice designer.

    I would love to read your take on the above.



    • Hi,

      thanks for the comments. The last weeks or so, I’ve been trying to find my Baker book in my book shelf, but it seems to have diffused out in our group’s corridor. I wanted to revisit it again, before a comment on it.

      The optical communication book by Razawi I have not read.

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