Atmel unveils industry's smallest laser-diode driver

July 10, 2007, Heilbronn, Germany--Atmel Corporation announced today the availability of the ATR0881 laser-diode-driver integrated circuit for use in combined high-density digital video disk (HD-DVD)/Blu-ray, DVD, and compact disk (CD) drives. The ATR0881 is housed in a 4 x 4 mm quad-flat-no-leads (QFN)24 package. This is the industry's smallest laser-diode driver and is especially suited for small slim drives used in notebook computers as well as for half-height drives in desktop personal computers (PCs) and consumer DVD recorders.

The ATR0881's QFN housing is a lead-free paddle-up package with the exposed paddle on top to improve heat dissipation. A bottom-located exposed paddle, as found in conventional QFN packages, causes difficulties due to its inaccessibility for circuit design, particularly in optical pick-up products. This design restriction is eliminated with Atmel's ATR0881.

Although the ATR0881 has three outputs for connecting three laser diodes--a blue (HD-DVD/Blu-ray), a red (DVD), and an infrared (CD)--which still fit into the same small 24-pin package used by Atmel's laser-diode drivers for two-output combined DVD and CD drives.

The ATR0881 is the first of its kind with a serial interface. Whereas conventional laser-diode drivers have a fixed gain between input and output, the gain of each of the ATR0881's five channels can be individually programmed using the serial interface. As a result, the ATR0881 is extremely flexible and avoids complete re-designs if the users' gain requirements change.

The serial interface can also be used to set all parameters of the integrated oscillator including frequency, amplitude, and spread-spectrum settings. Current laser diode drivers need up to six external resistors and pins to set the oscillator parameters. With the ATR0881, these additional resistors are not required; thus the overall bill of material is reduced.

The requirement for oscillator frequency accuracy is very high to ensure low electromagnetic interference. Due to resistor tolerances, common laser-diode drivers enable a maximum accuracy of +/- 10%. In contrast, designs using the ATR0881 achieve a frequency deviation of less than +/- 5% thanks to the laser-diode driver's integrated frequency counter.

Compared to competitor devices, the ATR0881 can optionally be set to a special synchronization mode, which synchronizes all write channels to the second channel, thus enabling the generation of very sharp output pulses for increased data security.

Availability and Pricing

Samples of the ATR0881 in 4 x 4 mm QFN24 paddle-up packages are now available. Pricing starts at US $5.00 in quantities of 10,000.

For more information, click here.

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