Ask an EE to free associate around the term 'timing solution' and the answer, more than likely, is going to be 'the 555 timer IC.' And no wonder; invented more than 40 years, it is still being produced - in fact it is the largest selling IC ever - with slight variations, by a number of semiconductor manufacturers. The '555' is ubiquitous, found as a timing solution in everything from toys to spacecraft.
But the needs of modern end applications are imposing new demands on clocks and timing solutions. Most systems operate synchronously; voltage levels must rise or fall at a specified time or else the circuit will be out of sync and failures will occur. The 'timing budget' - the tolerable deviation from specified before failure occurs - sets the ultimate limit on the maximum rate at which a system can operate.
In wireless communications systems, clock jitter - the deviations of clock edges from their ideal locations - and local oscillator (LO) phase noise need to be minimized to prevent degradation of the RF signal quality. Clock jitter is also a major bottleneck for maintaining signal integrity in high data rate networking and wired communication. In advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), high-performance phase locked loops (PLLs) can significantly enhance the range and accuracy of radar systems.
The fact is that the performance of a system at any level, on a chip, on a board, or across boards, is predicated on the coordination of clock signals among the components. In synchronous systems, timing really is everything.
In a new Texas Instruments brochure, everything is about timing: Clock and Timing Solutions presents a range of easy to use solutions, tailored to the needs of specific applications, and thus designed to accelerate time to market.