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A high-precision CMOS time-to-digital converter IC has been designed. Time interval measurement is based on a counter and two-level interpolation realized with stabilized delay lines. Reference recycling in the delay line improves the integral nonlinearity of the interpolator and enables the use of a low frequency reference clock. Multi-level interpolation reduces the number of delay elements and registers and lowers the power consumption. The load capacitor scaled parallel structure in the delay line permits very high resolution. An INL look-up table reduces the effect of the remaining nonlinearity. The digitizer measures time intervals from 0 to 204 μs with 8.1 ps rms single-shot precision. The resolution of 12.2 ps from a 5-MHz external reference clock is divided by means of only 20 delay elements.
Date of Publication: June 2006