DN429 - Tiny Amplifiers Drive Heavy Capacitive Loads at Speed

Tiny Amplifiers Drive Heavy Capacitive Loads at Speed
Design Note 429
Keegan Leary and Brian Hamilton
Introduction
Parasitic capacitance lurks behind every corner of an
electronic circuit. FET gates, cabling, ground and power
planes all add to the Farad bottom line. When the capacitive load gets heavy in high speed circuits, careful op amp
selection is paramount for optimizing slew rate, current
output capability, power dissipation, and feedback loop
stability.
Demanding Circuit Requirements
For example, consider a 100MHz, 2VP-P sine wave signal
driving a 350pF capacitive load. The minimum required
slew rate without distortion for this scenario is:
SRMIN = 2πfVPK
SRMIN = 2π(100MHz)(1V)
V
≈ 630
µs
The slew rate sets the maximum output current—the
amplifiers are charging a capacitor, so the maximum
output current occurs at maximum slew.
I= C
dV
dt
⎛
V⎞
I = ( 350pF ) ⎜ 630 ⎟
⎝
µs ⎠
≈ 220mA
Maximum power dissipation is an important consideration. For an op amp operating from ±5V supplies, and
assuming the capacitive load starts at 0V and is charged
at maximum current, peak power is:
P = IV
P = (220mA)(5V)
≈ 1.1W
11/07/429
With a package that has a thermal resistance of 135°C/W,
this much continuous power would result in a 148°C rise
in die temperature. If the ambient temperature is 85°C,
this brings the die to a package-melting 233°C!
To isolate CLOAD from the amplifier, a design could use
a series resistor, RS. This technique ultimately limits
bandwidth when the resistor or capacitive load gets very
large. The bandwidth reduction associated with this RC
time constant may limit performance. With a current feedback amplifier, increasing the feedback resistor, RF, is an
alternative compensation method to reduce peaking.
Tiny Current Feedback Amplifiers
For the high speed, large capacitive load example above,
the 400MHz LT1395/LT1396/LT1397 family of current
feedback amplifiers certainly satisfies the slew rate requirement. The LT1395/LT1396/LT1397 can process large
signals with speed and 80mA minimum guaranteed output
current. However, for the example above, this amplifier
family falls short of the 220mA requirement. In this case
one may not be enough, but four certainly are. Paralleling these amplifiers satisfies current requirements while
maintaining safe power dissipation and stability.
The LT1397 quad was designed to push big loads of
current while maintaining good thermal properties. The
copper underbelly of the tiny 4mm × 3mm DFN package
brings the thermal resistance down to 43°C/W, and a
die temperature rise above ambient of only 47°C for the
given example.
Component Selection and Testing
Without assembling the entire parallel configuration, a
single-amplifier test circuit can be constructed to check
results into the load capacitance divided by the number
of amplifiers to be used, CLOAD/4.
The remaining task is to select appropriate values of the
feedback resistor (RF) and series resistor (RS) to maximize
, LT, LTC and LTM are registered trademarks of Linear Technology Corporation.
All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
the –3dB bandwidth and sufficiently minimize the amount
of peaking in the frequency response. For both RF and
RS, smaller values result in both additional bandwidth
and increased peaking. RF has a practical lower limit of
about 255Ω. As load capacitance increases, RF and/or
RS values must increase to maintain stability.
Figure 2 shows measurement results using the 4-amplifier circuit of Figure 1 with various RF/RS combinations
and 350pF of total load capacitance. Measurements were
performed at a gain of 1, so RG was not used.
The effectiveness of the 4-amplifier circuit topology over
a single amplifier can be seen in Figure 3. For a more
representative effect the load capacitance was tripled to
1000pF. The paralleled 4-amplifier circuit is capable of
slewing 4V into 1000pF in under 10ns. This corresponds
to a slewing output current of 400mA. The single amplifier current limits at about 140mA, reducing the slew rate
into this large capacitive load. The same 4V swing for the
single requires 28ns, almost three times longer than the
4-amplifier configuration.
Conclusion
Always consider using all of the amplifiers available in a tiny
power-enhanced package to provide the muscle needed
to rapidly slew heavy capacitive loads. Also consider
current feedback amplifiers such as the LT1397 to make
it easy to control a very wide bandwidth circuit.
5V
14
180
+
RS
170
1/4 LT1397
12
RS FOR 3dB PEAKING
160
–
RF
RG
5V
+
8
140
6
–3dB BANDWIDTH
130
4
120
RS
1/4 LT1397
110
–
–5V
10
150
RF
IN
OUT
RG
CBIG
RS (7)
BANDWIDTH
–5V
2
VS = ±5
CLOAD = 350pF
100
225 305
355
0
455
405
505
555
605
RF
DN429 F02
5V
+
Figure 2. Selecting RF and RS to Drive 350pF When
Paralleling the Four Amplifiers of the LT1397
RS
1/4 LT1397
–
–5V
RF
RG
5V
+
RS
1/4 LT1397
DN429 F01
–
–5V
RF
RG
Figure 1. Using All Four Amplifiers of the LT1397
to Drive Large Capacitive Loads
Figure 3. Four Amplifiers Out-Race One Amplifier When Driving
a 1000pF Capacitive Load. The Response Time of the Single
Amplifier Lags the Quad by a Factor of Three.
Data Sheet Download
For applications help,
call (408) 432-1900, Ext. 3481
www.linear.com
Linear Technology Corporation
dn429f LT/TP 1107 451K • PRINTED IN THE USA
FAX: (408) 434-0507 ● www.linear.com
© LINEAR TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION 2007
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(408) 432-1900
●
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