Absolute Maximum Rating

Analog Devices comments on the topic of Absolute Maximum Rating. They point out that the performance shown in the graphs, tables and plots of most manufacturers’ datasheets is predictable and easy to replicate in new designs, as long as the recommended operating conditions are followed. Additionally, manufacturers specify maxima and minima which are guaranteed by design or through exhaustive testing and yield analysis.

However, datasheets also state ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM RATINGS (ABS) – usually capitalised, as here, to reflect their importance – to specify the maximum values a device can tolerate, but not operate at.

Analog Devices emphasises the importance of always operating components safely below ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM RATINGS limits, because of the likelihood of permanent damage:

“Stresses above those listed under Absolute Maximum Ratings may cause permanent damage to the device. This is a stress rating only; functional operation of the device at these or any other conditions above those indicated in the operational section of this specification is not implied. Exposure to absolute maximum rating conditions for extended periods may affect device reliability.�?

A good general engineering practice is to build margin into your designs. Resist the temptation to operate near the very edge of a device's ABS ratings, as this is likely to cause problems during the product’s operational life, especially related to reliability.