Milestone-Proposal:16-bit Monolithic DAC

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Docket #:2008-20

This is a draft proposal, that has not yet been submitted. To submit this proposal, click on the edit button in toolbar above, indicated by an icon displaying a pencil on paper. At the bottom of the form, check the box that says "Submit this proposal to the IEEE History Committee for review. Only check this when the proposal is finished" and save the page.

To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation?

Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old?

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy.

Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity?

Was it of at least regional importance?

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)?

Has the IEEE Section(s) in which the plaque(s) will be located agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony?

Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated?

Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an IEEE Milestone? Yes

Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:


Title of the proposed milestone:

16-bit Monolithic DAC

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

200-250 word abstract describing the significance of the technical achievement being proposed, the person(s) involved, historical context, humanitarian and social impact, as well as any possible controversies the advocate might need to review.

IEEE technical societies and technical councils within whose fields of interest the Milestone proposal resides.

In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?

IEEE Dallas Section

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):

Unit: Dallas Section
Senior Officer Name: Larry Zhang

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):

Milestone proposer(s):

Proposer name: Gene A Frantz
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates in decimal form of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

Texas Instruments, North Campus

Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need. The milestone plaque would be installed outside the Semiconductor Building that has other TI landmarks installed. The outside location is chosen so that anyone at the building can easily see the milestone and its significance. If awarded, a duplicate marker would be placed in TI Tucson where the product design and manufacturing actually happened.

Are the original buildings extant?


Details of the plaque mounting:

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

The building is one of many at TI’s North Campus in Dallas, Texas, which is guarded electronically and by booths staffed with security personnel. The public can enter the campus after showing personal identification.

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?

Texas Instruments Incorporated

What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)? If personal names are included in citation, include justification here. (see section 6 of Milestone Guidelines)

In April of 1981, Jim Naylor, William J Lillis, Anthony D. Wang, and Robert L. White from Burr-Brown Research Corporation (Tucson, AZ) which later on become part of Texas Instruments, Inc.; filed 2 US patents 4,381,497 and 4,423,409 on a monolithic Digital to Analog converter design. Later on Jim Naylor wrote a paper in 1983 [1] on PCM53/DAC700 - The World's First Monolithic 16-bit DAC that the TI Burr-Brown team designed. Paul Prazak has presented the paper at the WESCON 82. This product played a key role in transforming the music industry from analog vinyl disc to Digital Compact Disc and was a monumental change. The PCM53/DAC700 is the World's First Monolithic 16-bit DAC. Designed by Jimmy Naylor and TI / Burr-Brown data converter design team [1], this product played a key role in transforming the music industry from analog audio tapes and Vinyl long Play Discs (LPs) into digital audio Compact Discs. This 16bit DAC was designed in to almost all major manufacturers of CD players when the Compact Disc Player was emerging as an superior Digital Audio apparatus and led TI / Burr-Brown to dominate the digital audio data converter market with more than 80% share for several years. The TI burr brown DACs was mentioned in the movie “The Italian Job”. This unique monolithic chip and its fundamental achievement together with the technical advances in Audio and Speech processing, digital signal processing, which occurred in the 1970s and 1980s [2] resulted in digital audio overtaking analog audio and spawning a new digital audio industry that we still expanding today.

What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?

To reduce a multichip hybrid converter design to a single chip, several obstacles had to be overcome in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s: Power consumption changes on a single chip will cause thermal gradients that affect temperature sensitive components introducing offset, gain, and/or linearity errors. Since thermal gradients on the chip surface take a few hundred microseconds to stabilize after a power change, the settling time of the DAC output could be adversely affected. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as a thermal settling “tail.” Minimizing the die size precluded the use of large capacitor values that is common in a hybrid design, for the compensation of amplifiers or for suppressing switching transient. To realize the new single chip monolithic DAC, and holding the die size to less than 20000 square mils to minimize the cost per die, required an innovative process technology. Rather than using a conventional 40 V bipolar process used for many analog circuits, a thinner epi process yielding 20 V BVCEO transistors was chosen. This saved considerable die area as typical transistor geometries are approximately 50 percent smaller.

What features set this work apart from similar achievements?

For the first time, a complete 16-bit monolithic DAC has been integrated into a single chip with all the components necessary for a high performance Digital to Analog converter. Up until this point all 16-bit DACs were multi-chip hybrids that are not functionally complete because external components must be added and they were very costly to build. When Sony and Philips were designing the Digital Audio players, there were three fundamental problems that needed to be solved: 1) A medium that could store the amount of information needed for high fidelity audio. They started with digital tape, but settled on the compact disc (CD) format. 2) Lowering the cost of the read mechanism (laser) to read the CD. 3) A low cost, high performance DAC to play back the music! TI / Burr-Brown’s design team were already working on a monolithic DAC for industrial markets, but we really stepped up the pace and were first to market. The differential linearity laser trim algorithm made the DAC

Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation.

Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.

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