|Reference||STATE OF THE ART||Stan Augarten|
|A High-Voltage Driver|
AMERICAN MICROSYSTEMS INC.
Not all the components in an electronic system operate at the same level of voltage. For example, a microprocessor in a robot on an automotive assembly line might need from five to twelve volts, whereas some of the devices it's controlling, like electric motors and clocks, might require much more voltage. So a special chip is needed to mediate between the microprocessor and the higher-voltage devices - to boost the impulses sent out by the microprocessor to the right levels - and that chip is a high-voltage driver, like the Persian rug of an IC on the right.
Operating under the direction of a microprocessor, this chip can control the operation of as many a thirty-two pieces of equipment by raising the microprocessor's low-level signals into higher-level ones. It can increase those signals to as much as sixty volts and, as a result, control motors, clocks, relays, solenoids, and many other mechanisms. (However, a high-voltage driver doesn't provide the actual power; that must come from a battery or wall socket.) By cascading several high-voltage drivers together, engineers can assemble complicated electronic systems with dozens of separate devices.
|A bright blue light directed at the chip produced the dramatic colors seen here. Actual size: 0.123 x 0.228 inches.|
|STATE OF THE ART
©Copyright Stan Augarten
|This book is provided for general reference. The National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Institution make no claims as to the accuracy or completeness of this work.|
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