### Amplifiers for Signal Conditioning

```AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
SECTION 3
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
Walt Kester, James Bryant, Walt Jung
INTRODUCTION
This section examines the critical parameters of amplifiers for use in precision signal
conditioning applications. Offset voltages for precision IC op amps can be as low as
10µV with corresponding temperature drifts of 0.1µV/ºC. Chopper stabilized op amps
provide offsets and offset voltage drifts which cannot be distinguished from noise.
Open loop gains greater than 1 million are common, along with common mode and
power supply rejection ratios of the same magnitude. Applying these precision
amplifiers while maintaining the amplifier performance can present significant
challenges to a design engineer, i.e., external passive component selection and PC
board layout.
It is important to understand that DC open-loop gain, offset voltage, power supply
rejection (PSR), and common mode rejection (CMR) alone should not be the only
considerations in selecting precision amplifiers. The AC performance of the amplifier
is also important, even at "low" frequencies. Open-loop gain, PSR, and CMR all have
relatively low corner frequencies, and therefore what may be considered "low"
frequency may actually fall above these corner frequencies, increasing errors above
the value predicted solely by the DC parameters. For example, an amplifier having a
DC open-loop gain of 10 million and a unity-gain crossover frequency of 1MHz has a
corresponding corner frequency of 0.1Hz! One must therefore consider the open loop
gain at the actual signal frequency. The relationship between the single-pole unitygain crossover frequency, fu, the signal frequency, fsig, and the open-loop gain
AVOL(fsig) (measured at the signal frequency is given by:
A VOL( fsig ) =
fu
.
fsig
It the example above, the open loop gain is 10 at 100kHz, and 100,000 at 10Hz.
Loss of open loop gain at the frequency of interest can introduce distortion,
especially at audio frequencies. Loss of CMR or PSR at the line frequency or
harmonics thereof can also introduce errors.
The challenge of selecting the right amplifier for a particular signal conditioning
application has been complicated by the sheer proliferation of various types of
amplifiers in various processes (Bipolar, Complementary Bipolar, BiFET, CMOS,
BiCMOS, etc.) and architectures (traditional op amps, instrumentation amplifiers,
chopper amplifiers, isolation amplifiers, etc.) In addition, a wide selection of
precision amplifiers are now available which operate on single supply voltages which
complicates the design process even further because of the reduced signal swings
and voltage input and output restrictions. Offset voltage and noise are now a more
significant portion of the input signal. Selection guides and parametric search
engines which can simplify this process somewhat are available on the world-wideweb (http://www.analog.com) as well as on CDROM.
3.1
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
In this section, we will first look at some key performance specifications for precision
op amps. Other amplifiers will then be examined such as instrumentation
amplifiers, chopper amplifiers, and isolation amplifiers. The implications of single
supply operation will be discussed in detail because of their significance in today's
designs, which often operate from batteries or other low power sources.
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
n Input Offset Voltage
<100µV
n Input Offset Voltage Drift
<1µV/°C
n Input Bias Current
<2nA
n Input Offset Current
<2nA
n DC Open Loop Gain
>1,000,000
n Unity Gain Bandwidth Product, fu
500kHz - 5MHz
n Always Check Open Loop Gain at Signal Frequency!
n 1/f (0.1Hz to 10Hz) Noise
<1µV p-p
n Wideband Noise
<10nV/√
√Hz
n CMR, PSR
>100dB
n Single Supply Operation
n Power Dissipation
Figure 3.1
PRECISION OP AMP CHARACTERISTICS
Input Offset Voltage
Input offset voltage error is usually one of the largest error sources for precision
amplifier circuit designs. However, it is a systemic error and can usually be dealt
with by using a manual offset null trim or by system calibration techniques using a
microcontroller or microprocessor. Both solutions carry a cost penalty, and today's
precision op amps offer initial offset voltages as low as 10µV for bipolar devices, and
far less for chopper stabilized amplifiers. With low offset amplifiers, it is possible to
eliminate the need for manual trims or system calibration routines.
3.2
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
Measuring input offset voltages of a few microvolts requires that the test circuit does
not introduce more error than the offset voltage itself. Figure 3.2 shows a circuit for
measuring offset voltage. The circuit amplifies the input offset voltage by the noise
gain (1001). The measurement is made at the amplifier output using an accurate
digital voltmeter. The offset referred to the input (RTI) is calculated by dividing the
output voltage by the noise gain. The small source resistance seen at R1||R2
results in negligible bias current contribution to the measured offset voltage. For
example, 2nA bias current flowing through the 10Ω resistor produces a 0.02µV error
referred to the input.
MEASURING INPUT OFFSET VOLTAGE
R2, 10kΩ
Ω
R1, 10Ω
Ω
+VS
∼
–
VOUT = 1 +
VOS
10Ω
Ω
R2 V
OS
R1
VOUT = 1001• VOS
+
–VS
VOS =
VOUT
1001
10kΩ
Ω
For OP177A:
VOS = 10µV maximum
VOS DRIFT = 0.1µV/°C maximum
VOS STABILITY = 0.2µV/month typical
Figure 3.2
As simple as it looks, this circuit may give inaccurate results. The largest potential
source of error comes from parasitic thermocouple junctions formed where two
different metals are joined. The thermocouple voltage formed by temperature
difference between two junctions can range from 2µV/ºC to more than 40µV/ºC. Note
that in the circuit additional resistors have been added to the non-inverting input in
order to exactly match the thermocouple junctions in the inverting input path.
The accuracy of the measurement depends on the mechanical layout of the
components and how they are placed on the PC board. Keep in mind that the two
connections of a component such as a resistor create two equal, but opposite polarity
thermoelectric voltages (assuming they are connected to the same metal, such as the
copper trace on a PC board) which cancel each other assuming both are at exactly the
3.3
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
same temperature. Clean connections and short lead lengths help to minimize
temperature gradients and increase the accuracy of the measurement.
Airflow should be minimal so that all the thermocouple junctions stabilize at the
same temperature. In some cases, the circuit should be placed in a small closed
container to eliminate the effects of external air currents. The circuit should be
placed flat on a surface so that convection currents flow up and off the top of the
board, not across the components as would be the case if the board was mounted
vertically.
Measuring the offset voltage shift over temperature is an even more demanding
challenge. Placing the printed circuit board containing the amplifier being tested in
a small box or plastic bag with foam insulation prevents the temperature chamber
air current from causing thermal gradients across the parasitic thermocouples. If
cold testing is required, a dry nitrogen purge is recommended. Localized
temperature cycling of the amplifier itself using a Thermostream-type heater/cooler
may be an alternative, however these units tend to generate quite a bit of airflow
which can be troublesome.
In addition to temperature related drift, the offset voltage of an amplifier changes as
time passes. This aging effect is generally specified as long-term stability in
µV/month, or µV/1000 hours, but this is misleading. Since aging is a "drunkard's
walk" phenomenon, it is proportional to the square root of the elapsed time. An
aging rate of 1µV/1000 hours becomes about 3µV/year, not 9µV/year. Long-term
stability of the OP177 and the AD707 is approximately 0.3µV/month. This refers to
a time period after the first 30 days of operation. Excluding the initial hour of
operation, changes in the offset voltage of these devices during the first 30 days of
operation are typically less than 2µV.
As a general rule of thumb, it is prudent to control amplifier offset voltage by device
selection whenever possible, bus sometimes trim may be desired. Many precision op
amps have pins available for optional offset null. Generally, two pins are joined by a
potentiometer, and the wiper goes to one of the supplies through a resistor as shown
in Figure 3.3. If the wiper is connected to the wrong supply, the op amp will
probably be destroyed, so the data sheet instructions must be carefully observed!
The range of offset adjustment in a precision op amp should be no more than two or
three times the maximum offset voltage of the lowest grade device, in order to
minimize the sensitivity of these pins. The voltage gain of an op amp between its
offset adjustment pins and its output may actually be greater than the gain at its
signal inputs! It is therefore very important to keep these pins free of noise. It is
inadvisable to have long leads from an op amp to a remote potentiometer. To
minimize any offset error due to supply current, connect R1 directly to the pertinent
device supply pin, such as pin 7 shown in the diagram.
3.4
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
R1
+VS
R2
2
7
−
1
8
6
3
+
4
−VS
n R1 = 10kΩ
Ω,
R2 = 2kΩ
Ω,
n R1 = 0,
R1 = 20kΩ
Ω,
Figure 3.3
It is important to note that the offset drift of an op amp with temperature will vary
with the setting of its offset adjustment. In most cases a bipolar op amp will have
minimum drift at minimum offset. The offset adjustment pins should therefore be
used only to adjust the op amp's own offset, not to correct any system offset errors,
since this would be at the expense of increased temperature drift. The drift penalty
for a JFET input op amp is much worse than for a bipolar input and is in the order
of 4µV/ºC for each millivolt of nulled offset voltage. It is generally better to control
the offset voltage by proper selection of devices and device grades. Dual, triple, quad,
and single op amps in small packages do not generally have null capability because
of pin count limitations, and offset adjustments must be done elsewhere in the
system when using these devices. This can be accomplished with minimal impact on
drift by a universal trim, which sums a small voltage into the input.
Input Offset Voltage and Input Bias Current Models
Thus far, we have considered only the op amp input offset voltage. However, the
input bias currents also contribute to offset error as shown in the generalized model
of Figure 3.4. It is useful to refer all offsets to the op amp input (RTI) so that they
can be easily compared with the input signal. The equations in the diagram are
given for the total offset voltage referred to input (RTI) and referred to output
(RTO).
3.5
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
OP AMP TOTAL OFFSET VOLTAGE MODEL
GAIN FROM =
"A" TO OUTPUT
B
R1
IB–
VOS
A
NOISE GAIN =
R2
NG = 1 +
R1
R2
∼
–
VOUT
R3
IB+
+
n
OFFSET (RTO) = VOS 1 + R2
R1
n
OFFSET (RTI ) =
VOS
R2
GAIN FROM
= –
"B" TO OUTPUT
R1
+ IB+• R3 1 +
R2
R1
+ IB+• R3
– IB–• R2
– IB–
R1•R2
R1 + R2
FOR BIAS CURRENT CANCELLATION:
OFFSET (RTI) =
VOS
IF IB+ = IB– AND R3 =
R1•R2
R1 + R2
Figure 3.4
For a precision op amp having a standard bipolar input stage using either PNPs or
NPNs, the input bias currents are typically 50nA to 400nA and are well matched.
By making R3 equal to the parallel combination of R1 and R2, their effect on the net
RTI and RTO offset voltage is approximately canceled, thus leaving the offset
current, i.e., the difference between the input currents as an error. This current is
usually an order of magnitude lower than the bias current specification. This
scheme, however, does not work for bias-current compensated bipolar op amps (such
as the OP177 and the AD707) as shown in Figure 3.5. Bias-current compensated
input stages have most of the good features of the simple bipolar input stage: low
offset and drift, and low voltage noise. Their bias current is low and fairly stable
over temperature. The additional current sources reduce the net bias currents
typically to between 0.5nA and 10nA. However, the signs of the + and – input bias
currents may or may not be the same, and they are not well matched, but are very
low. Typically, the specification for the offset current (the difference between the +
and – input bias currents) in bias-current compensated op amps is generally about
the same as the individual bias currents. In the case of the standard bipolar
differential pair with no bias-current compensation, the offset current specification is
typically five to ten times lower than the bias current specification.
3.6
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
INPUT BIAS CURRENT COMPENSATED OP AMPS
UNCOMPENSATED
COMPENSATED
VIN
n
n
n
n
n
VIN
MATCHED BIAS CURRENTS
SAME SIGN
50nA - 10µA
50pA - 5nA (Super Beta)
IOFFSET << IBIAS
n
n
n
n
n
LOW, UNMATCHED BIAS CURRENTS
CAN HAVE DIFFERENT SIGNS
0.5nA - 10nA
HIGHER CURRENT NOISE
IOFFSET ≈ IBIAS
Figure 3.5
DC Open Loop Gain Nonlinearity
It is well understood that in order to maintain accuracy, a precision amplifier's DC
open loop gain, AVOL, should be high. This can be seen by examining the equation
for the closed loop gain:
NG
.
NG
1+
A VOL
Noise gain (NG) is simply the gain seen by a small voltage source in series with the
op amp input and is also the amplifier signal gain in the noninverting mode. If
AVOL in the above equation is infinite, the closed loop gain is exactly equal to the
noise gain. However, for finite values of AVOL, there is a closed loop gain error
given by the equation:
Closed Loop Gain = A VCL =
%Gain Error =
NG
NG
× 100% ≈
× 100% , for NG << AVOL.
NG + A VOL
A VOL
Notice from the equation that the percent gain error is directly proportional to the
noise gain, therefore the effects of finite AVOL are less for low gain. The first
example in Figure 3.6 where the noise gain is 1000 shows that for an open loop gain
of 2 million, there is a gain error of about 0.05%. If the open loop gain stays constant
over temperature and for various output loads and voltages, the gain error can be
calibrated out of the measurement, and there is then no overall system gain error.
If, however, the open loop gain changes, the closed loop gain will also change,
thereby introducing a gain uncertainty. In the second example in the figure, an
AVOL decrease to 300,000 produces a gain error of 0.33%, introducing a gain
3.7
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
uncertainty of 0.28% in the closed loop gain. In most applications, using the proper
amplifier, the resistors around the circuit will be the largest source of gain error.
CHANGES IN DC OPEN LOOP GAIN
CAUSE CLOSED LOOP GAIN UNCERTAINTY
n "IDEAL" CLOSED LOOP GAIN = NOISE GAIN = NG
NG
n ACTUAL CLOSED LOOP GAIN =
1 + NG
A VOL
n % CLOSED LOOP GAIN ERROR =
NG
NG
× 100% ≈
× 100%
A
NG + A VOL
VOL
n Assume AVOL = 2,000,000, NG = 1,000
%GAIN ERROR ≈ 0.05%
n Assume AVOL Drops to 300,000
%GAIN ERROR ≈ 0.33%
n CLOSED LOOP GAIN UNCERTAINTY
= 0.33% – 0.05% = 0.28%
Figure 3.6
Changes in the output voltage level and the output loading are the most common
causes of changes in the open loop gain of op amps. A change in open loop gain with
signal level produces nonlinearity in the closed loop gain transfer function which
cannot be removed during system calibration. Most op amps have fixed loads, so
AVOL changes with load are not generally important. However, the sensitivity of
AVOL to output signal level may increase for higher load currents.
The severity of the nonlinearity varies widely from device type to device type, and is
generally not specified on the data sheet. The minimum AVOL is always specified,
and choosing an op amp with a high AVOL will minimize the probability of gain
nonlinearity errors. Gain nonlinearity can come from many sources, depending on
the design of the op amp. One common source is thermal feedback. If temperature
shift is the sole cause of the nonlinearity error, it can be assumed that minimizing
the output loading will help. To verify this, the nonlinearity is measured with no
An oscilloscope X-Y display test circuit for measuring DC open loop gain nonlinearity
is shown in Figure 3.7. The same precautions previously discussed relating to the
offset voltage test circuit must be observed in this circuit. The amplifier is configured
for a signal gain of –1. The open loop gain is defined as the change in output voltage
divided by the change in the input offset voltage. However, for large values of
AVOL, the offset may change only a few microvolts over the entire output voltage
swing. Therefore the divider consisting of the 10Ω resistor and RG (1M Ω) forces the
voltage VY to be :
3.8
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
R 

VY = 1 + G  VOS = 100,001 • VOS .
 10Ω 
The value of RG is chosen to give measurable voltages at VY depending on the
expected values of VOS.
CIRCUIT MEASURES
OPEN LOOP GAIN NONLINEARITY
VY
10kΩ
Ω
10kΩ
Ω
NONLINEAR
RG
1MΩ
Ω
±10V
RAMP
VOS
VY = 100001•VOS
+15V
IDEAL
–
10Ω
Ω
AVOL =
10kΩ
Ω
–VREF
(–10V)
+VREF
10kΩ
Ω
VX
+
10Ω
Ω
∆VX
VX
∆VOS
RL
–15V
(+10V)
(Multi-Turn Film-Type)
CLOSED LOOP GAIN
NONLINEARITY
≈
NG • OPEN LOOP GAIN
NONLINEARITY
≈
NG •
1
1
–
AVOL,MIN AVOL,MAX
Figure 3.7
The ±10V ramp generator output is multiplied by the signal gain, –1, and forces the
op amp output voltage VX to swing from +10V to –10V. Because of the gain factor
applied to the offset voltage, the offset adjust potentiometer is added to allow the
initial output offset to be set to zero. The resistor values chosen will null an input
offset voltage of up to ±10mV. Stable 10V voltage references (AD688) should be used
at each end of the potentiometer to prevent output drift. Also, the frequency of the
ramp generator must be quite low, probably no more than a fraction of 1Hz because of
the low corner frequency of the open loop gain (0.1Hz for the OP177).
The plot on the right-hand side of Figure 3.7 shows VY plotted against VX. If there
is no gain nonlinearity the graph will have a constant slope, and AVOL is calculated
as follows:
A VOL =
 ∆V 
∆VX
R   ∆V 

= 1 + G   X  = 100,001 •  X  .
∆VOS  10Ω   ∆VY 
 ∆VY 
If there is nonlinearity, AVOL will vary as the output signal changes. The
approximate open loop gain nonlinearity is calculated based on the maximum and
minimum values of AVOL over the output voltage range:
3.9
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
Open Loop Gain Nonlinearity =
1
A VOL,MIN
−
1
A VOL,MAX
.
The closed loop gain nonlinearity is obtained by multiplying the open loop gain
nonlinearity by the noise gain, NG:


1
1
Closed Loop Gain Nonlinearity ≈ NG • 
−
.
 A VOL,MIN A VOL,MAX 
In the ideal case, the plot of VOS versus VX would have a constant slope, and the
reciprocal of the slope is the open loop gain, AVOL. A horizontal line with zero slope
would indicate infinite open loop gain. In an actual op amp, the slope may change
across the output range because of nonlinearity, thermal feedback, etc. In fact, the
slope can even change sign.
Figure 3.8 shows the VY (and VOS) versus VX plot for the OP177 precision op amp.
The plot is shown for two different loads, 2kΩ and 10kΩ. The reciprocal of the slope
is calculated based on the end points, and the average AVOL is about 8 million. The
maximum and minimum values of AVOL across the output voltage range are
measured to be approximately 9.1 million, and 5.7 million, respectively. This
corresponds to an open loop gain nonlinearity of about 0.07ppm. Thus, for a noise
gain of 100, the corresponding closed loop gain nonlinearity is about 7ppm.
OP177 GAIN NONLINEARITY
RL = 10kΩ
Ω
VY
50mV / DIV.
AVOL =
VOS
(0.5µV / DIV.)
(RTI)
–10V
∆VX
∆VOS
Ω
RL = 2kΩ
0
VX = OUTPUT VOLTAGE
+10V
AVOL (AVERAGE) ≈ 8 million
AVOL,MAX ≈ 9.1 million, AVOL,MIN ≈ 5.7million
OPEN LOOP GAIN NONLINEARITY
≈ 0.07ppm
CLOSED LOOP GAIN NONLINEARITY ≈ NG×0.07ppm
Figure 3.8
Op Amp Noise
The three noise sources in an op amp circuit are the voltage noise of the op amp, the
current noise of the op amp (there are two uncorrelated sources, one in each input),
3.10
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
and the Johnson noise of the resistances in the circuit. Op amp noise has two
components - "white" noise at medium frequencies and low frequency "1/f" noise,
whose spectral density is inversely proportional to the square root of the frequency.
It should be noted that, though both the voltage and the current noise may have the
same characteristic behavior, in a particular amplifier the 1/f corner frequency is not
necessarily the same for voltage and current noise (it is usually specified for the
voltage noise as shown in Figure 3.9.
INPUT VOLTAGE NOISE, nV / √Hz
0.1Hz to 10Hz VOLTAGE NOISE
30
25
1/F CORNER
FC = 0.7Hz
20
200nV
15
vnw (WHITE)
10
5
0.1
1
10
TIME - 1sec/DIV.
100
FREQUENCY (Hz)
F 
n Vn,rms (FH , FL ) = v n w FC ln  H  + ( FH − FL )
 FL 
n For FL = 0.1Hz, FH = 10Hz, vnw = 10nV/ √Hz, FC = 0.7Hz:
u Vn,rms = 36nV
u Vn,pp = 6.6 × 36nV = 238nV
Figure 3.9
The low frequency noise is generally known as 1/f noise (the noise power obeys a 1/f
law - the noise voltage or noise current is proportional to 1/√f). The frequency at
which the 1/f noise spectral density equals the white noise is known as the 1/f
corner frequency, FC, and is a figure of merit for an op amp, with low corner
frequencies indicating better performance. Values of 1/f corner frequency vary from
less than 1Hz high accuracy bipolar op amps like the OP177/AD707, several
hundred Hz for the AD743/745 FET-input op amps, to several thousands of Hz for
some high speed op amps where process compromises favor high speed rather than
low frequency noise.
For the OP177/AD707 shown in Figure 3.9, the 1/f corner frequency is 0.7Hz, and
the white noise is 10nV/√Hz. The low frequency 1/f noise is often expressed as the
peak-to-peak noise in the bandwidth 0.1Hz to 10Hz as shown in the scope photo in
Figure 3.9. Note that this noise ultimately limits the resolution of a precision
measurement system because the bandwidth up to 10Hz is usually the bandwidth of
most interest. The equation for the total rms noise, Vn,rms, in the bandwidth FL to
FH is given by the equation:
3.11
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
F 
Vn,rms ( FH , FL ) = v nw FC ln  H  + ( FH − FL ) ,
 FL 
where vnw is the noise spectral density in the "white noise" region (usually specified
at a frequency of 1kHz), FC is the 1/f corner frequency, and FL and FH is the
measurement bandwidth of interest. In the example shown, the 0.1Hz to 10Hz noise
is calculated to be 36nV rms, or approximately 238nV peak-to-peak, which closely
agrees with the scope photo on the right (a factor of 6.6 is generally used to convert
rms values to peak-to-peak values).
It should be noted that at higher frequencies, the term in the equation containing
the natural logarithm becomes insignificant, and the expression for the rms noise
becomes:
Vn,rms ( FH , FL ) ≈ v nw FH − FL .
And, if FH >> FL,
Vn,rms ( FH ) ≈ v nw FH .
However, some op amps (such as the OP07 and OP27) have voltage noise
characteristics that increase slightly at high frequencies. The voltage noise versus
frequency curve for op amps should therefore be examined carefully for flatness
when calculating high frequency noise using this approximation.
At very low frequencies when operating exclusively in the 1/f region,
FC >> (FH –FL), and the expression for the rms noise reduces to:
F 
Vn,rms ( FH , FL ) ≈ v nw FC ln  H  .
 FL 
Note that there is no way of reducing this 1/f noise by filtering if operation extends
to DC. Making FH=0.1Hz and FL= 0.001 still yields an rms 1/f noise of about 18nV
rms, or 119nV peak-to-peak.
The point is that averaging the results of a large number of measurements taken
over a long period of time has practically no effect on the error produced by 1/f noise.
The only method of reducing it further is to use a chopper stabilized op amp which
does not pass the low frequency noise components.
A generalized noise model for an op amp is shown in Figure 3.10. All uncorrelated
noise sources add as a root-sum-of-squares manner, i.e., noise voltages V1, V2, and
V3 give a result of:
V12 + V 22 + V3 2 .
3.12
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
Thus, any noise voltage which is more than 4 or 5 times any of the others is
dominant, and the others may generally be ignored. This simplifies noise analysis.
In this diagram, the total noise of all sources is shown referred to the input (RTI).
The RTI noise is useful because it can be compared directly to the input signal level.
The total noise referred to the output (RTO) is obtained by simply multiplying the
RTI noise by the noise gain.
The diagram assumes that the feedback network is purely resistive. If it contains
reactive elements (usually capacitors), the noise gain is not constant over the
bandwidth of interest, and more complex techniques must be used to calculate the
total noise (see in particular, Reference 12). However, for precision applications
where the feedback network is most likely to be resistive, the equations are valid.
Notice that the Johnson noise voltage associated with the three resistors has been
included. All resistors have a Johnson noise of 4kTBR , where k is Boltzmann's
Constant (1.38×10–23 J/K), T is the absolute temperature, B is the bandwidth in
Hz, and R is the resistance in Ω. A simple relationship which is easy to remember is
that a 1000Ω resistor generates a Johnson noise of 4nV/√Hz at 25ºC.
OP AMP NOISE MODEL
VN,R2
R2
GAIN FROM =
"A" TO OUTPUT
∼
B
VN,R1
R1
IN–
∼
A
VN,R3
∼
–
VN
4kTR1
R3
CLOSED
LOOP BW
= fCL
IN+
∼
NOISE GAIN =
R2
NG = 1 +
R1
4kTR2
VOUT
R2
GAIN FROM
= –
"B" TO OUTPUT
R1
+
4kTR3
VN
n RTI NOISE =
BW
2
+
4kTR3
•
+
IN+2R32
n RTO NOISE = NG • RTI NOISE
n
+
IN–2
R1•R2
R1+R2
+
R2
4kTR1
R1+R2
+
R1
4kTR2
R1+R2
2
2
2
BW = 1.57 fCL
Figure 3.10
3.13
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
The voltage noise of various op amps may vary from under 1nV/√Hz to 20nV/√Hz, or
even more. Bipolar input op amps tend to have lower voltage noise than JFET input
ones, although it is possible to make JFET input op amps with low voltage noise
(such as the AD743/AD745), at the cost of large input devices and hence large
(~20pF) input capacitance. Current noise can vary much more widely, from around
0.1fA/√Hz (in JFET input electrometer op amps) to several pA/√Hz (in high speed
bipolar op amps). For bipolar or JFET input devices where all the bias current flows
into the input junction, the current noise is simply the Schottky (or shot) noise of the
bias current. The shot noise spectral density is simply 2I Bq amps/√Hz, where IB
is the bias current (in amps) and q is the charge on an electron (1.6×10–19 C). It
cannot be calculated for bias-compensated or current feedback op amps where the
external bias current is the difference between two internal current sources.
Current noise is only important when it flows through an impedance and in turn
generates a noise voltage. The equation shown in Figure 3.10 shows how the current
noise flowing in the resistors contribute to the total noise. The choice of a low noise
op amp therefore depends on the impedances around it. Consider an OP27, a bias
compensated op amp with low voltage noise (3nV/√Hz), but quite high current noise
(1pA/√Hz) as shown in the schematic of Figure 3.11. With zero source impedance,
the voltage noise dominates. With a source resistance of 3kΩ, the current noise
(1pA/√Hz) flowing in 3kΩ will equal the voltage noise, but the Johnson noise of the
3kΩ resistor is 7nV/√Hz and so is dominant. With a source resistance of 300kΩ, the
effect of the current noise increases a hundredfold to 300nV/√Hz, while the voltage
noise is unchanged, and the Johnson noise (which is proportional to the square root
of the resistance) increases tenfold. Here, the current noise dominates.
DIFFERENT NOISE SOURCES DOMINATE
AT DIFFERENT SOURCE IMPEDANCES
EXAMPLE: OP27
Voltage Noise = 3nV / √ Hz
Current Noise = 1pA / √ Hz
T = 25°C
+
OP27
R
CONTRIBUTION
FROM
AMPLIFIER
VOLTAGE NOISE
AMPLIFIER
CURRENT NOISE
FLOWING IN R
VALUES OF R
0
3kΩ
Ω
300kΩ
Ω
3
3
3
0
3
300
0
7
70
–
R2
R1
Neglect R1 and R2
Noise Contribution
JOHNSON
NOISE OF R
RTI NOISE (nV / √ Hz)
Dominant Noise Source is Highlighted
Figure 3.11
3.14
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
The above example shows that the choice of a low noise op amp depends on the
source impedance of the input signal, and at high impedances, current noise always
dominates. This is shown in Figure 3.12 for several bipolar (OP07, OP27, 741) and
For low impedance circuitry (generally < 1kΩ), amplifiers with low voltage noise,
such as the OP27 will be the obvious choice, and their comparatively large current
noise will not affect the application. At medium resistances, the Johnson noise of
resistors is dominant, while at very high resistances, we must choose an op amp
with the smallest possible current noise, such as the AD549 or AD645.
Until recently, BiFET amplifiers (with JFET inputs) tended to have comparatively
high voltage noise (though very low current noise), and thus were more suitable for
low noise applications in high rather than low impedance circuitry. The AD645,
AD743, and AD745 have very low values of both voltage and current noise. The
specifications at 10kHz are 2.0nV/√Hz and 6.9fA/√Hz. These make possible the
design of low noise amplifier circuits which have low noise over a wide range of
source impedances.
DIFFERENT AMPLIFIERS ARE BEST
AT DIFFERENT SOURCE IMPEDANCE LEVELS
100
100
RS = 100Ω
Ω
741
744
744
RS = 10kΩ
Ω
OP27, 645
645
OP07
10
741
10
743
OP07, 743
OP27
1
1
10
100
1k
10k
10
100
1k
10k
10k
741
All Vertical Scales
nV /√
√ Hz
RS = 1MΩ
Ω
All Horizontal Scales
Hz
OP27
1k
744
743
645
OP07
100
10
100
1k
10k
Figure 3.12
3.15
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
Common Mode Rejection and Power Supply Rejection
If a signal is applied equally to both inputs of an op amp so that the differential
input voltage is unaffected, the output should not be affected. In practice, changes in
common mode voltage will produce changes in the output. The common mode
rejection ratio or CMRR is the ratio of the common mode gain to the differentialmode gain of an op amp. For example, if a differential input change of Y volts will
produce a change of 1V at the output, and a common mode change of X volts
produces a similar change of 1V, then the CMRR is X/Y. It is normally expressed in
dB, and typical LF values are between 70 and 120dB. When expressed in dB, it is
generally referred to as common mode rejection (CMR). At higher frequencies, CMR
deteriorates - many op amp data sheets show a plot of CMR versus frequency as
shown in Figure 3.13 for the OP177/AD707 precision op amps.
CMRR produces a corresponding output offset voltage error in op amps configured in
the non-inverting mode as shown in Figure 3.14. Op amps configured in the
inverting mode have no CMRR output error because both inputs are at ground or
virtual ground, so there is no common mode voltage, only the offset voltage of the
amplifier if un-nulled.
160
140
120
CMR
dB
100
CMR =
20 log10 CMRR
80
60
40
20
0
0.01 0.1
1
10
100
1k
FREQUENCY - Hz
Figure 3.13
3.16
10k 100k 1M
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
CALCULATING OFFSET ERROR
DUE TO COMMON MODE REJECTION RATIO (CMRR)
VIN = VCM
+
VOUT
–
ERROR (RTI) =
VCM
=
CMRR
R1
R2
VOUT = 1 +
R2
R1
ERROR (RTO) =
VIN +
1+
R2
R1
VIN
CMRR
VIN
CMRR
VIN
CMRR
Figure 3.14
If the supply of an op amp changes, its output should not, but it will. The
specification of power supply rejection ratio or PSRR is defined similarly to the
definition of CMRR. If a change of X volts in the supply produces the same output
change as a differential input change of Y volts, then the PSRR on that supply is
X/Y. When the ratio is expressed in dB, it is generally referred to as power supply
rejection, or PSR. The definition of PSRR assumes that both supplies are altered
equally in opposite directions - otherwise the change will introduce a common mode
change as well as a supply change, and the analysis becomes considerably more
complex. It is this effect which causes apparent differences in PSRR between the
positive and negative supplies. In the case of single supply op amps, PSR is
generally defined with respect to the change in the positive supply. Many single
supply op amps have separate PSR specifications for the positive and negative
supplies. The PSR of the OP177/AD707 is shown in Figure 3.15.
The PSRR of op amps is frequency dependent, therefore power supplies must be well
decoupled as shown in Figure 3.16. At low frequencies, several devices may share a
10 - 50µF capacitor on each supply, provided it is no more than 10cm (PC track
distance) from any of them. At high frequencies, each IC must have every supply
decoupled by a low inductance capacitor (0.1µF or so) with short leads and PC
tracks. These capacitors must also provide a return path for HF currents in the op
amp load. Decoupling capacitors should be connected to a low impedance large area
inductance and are a good choice.
3.17
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
160
140
120
PSR
dB
100
PSR =
20 log10 PSRR
80
60
40
20
0
0.01 0.1
1
10
100
1k
10k 100k 1M
FREQUENCY - Hz
Figure 3.15
PROPER LOW AND HIGH-FREQUENCY
DECOUPLING TECHNIQUES FOR OP AMPS
+VS
+
C3
LARGE AREA
= GROUND PLANE
< 10cm
H
C1
H
H
+
LOCALIZED HF
DECOUPLING,
C1, C2:
LOW INDUCTANCE
CERAMIC, 0.1µF
–
C2
< 10cm
H
H
C4
+
C3, C4:
–VS
Figure 3.16
3.18
MINIMUM
SHARED LF
DECOUPLING,
ELECTROLYTIC,
10 TO 50µF
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
AMPLIFIER DC ERROR BUDGET ANALYSIS
A room temperature error budget analysis for the OP177A op amp is shown in
Figure 3.17. The amplifier is connected in the inverting mode with a signal gain of
100. The key data sheet specifications are also shown in the diagram. We assume an
input signal of 100mV fullscale which corresponds to an output signal of 10V. The
various error sources are normalized to fullscale and expressed in parts per million
(ppm). Note: parts per million (ppm) error = fractional error × 106 = % error × 104.
Note that the offset errors due to VOS and IOS and the gain error due to finite
AVOL can be removed with a system calibration. However, the error due to open
loop gain nonlinearity cannot be removed with calibration and produces a relative
accuracy error, often called resolution error. The second contributor to resolution
error is the 1/f noise. This noise is always present and adds to the uncertainty of the
measurement. The overall relative accuracy of the circuit at room temperature is
9ppm which is equivalent to approximately 17 bits of resolution.
PRECISION OP AMP (OP177A) DC ERROR BUDGET
VIN
MAXIMUM ERROR CONTRIBUTION, + 25°C
FULLSCALE: VIN=100mV, VOUT = 10V
10kΩ
Ω
–
100Ω
Ω
VOUT
VOS
10µV ÷ 100mV
100ppm
IOS
100Ω
Ω × 1nA ÷ 100mV
1ppm
AVOL
(100/ 5×106) × 100mV
20ppm
AVOL
Nonlinearity
100 × 0.07ppm
7ppm
0.1Hz to 10Hz
1/f Noise
200nV ÷ 100mV
2ppm
Total
Error
≈ 13 Bits Accurate
130ppm
≈ 17 Bits Accurate
9ppm
OP177A
+
Ω
99Ω
SPECS @ +25°C:
VOS = 10µV max
IOS = 1nA max
AVOL = 5×106 min
AVOL Nonlinearity = 0.07ppm
0.1Hz to 10Hz Noise = 200nV
RL
2kΩ
Ω
Resolution
Error
Figure 3.17
3.19
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
SINGLE SUPPLY OP AMPS
Over the last several years, single-supply operation has become an increasingly
important requirement because of market requirements. Automotive, set-top box,
camera/cam-corder, PC, and laptop computer applications are demanding IC
vendors to supply an array of linear devices that operate on a single supply rail,
with the same performance of dual supply parts. Power consumption is now a key
parameter for line or battery operated systems, and in some instances, more
important than cost. This makes low-voltage/low supply current operation critical; at
the same time, however, accuracy and precision requirements have forced IC
manufacturers to meet the challenge of “doing more with less” in their amplifier
designs.
SINGLE SUPPLY AMPLIFIERS
n Single Supply Offers:
u Lower Power
u Battery Operated Portable Equipment
u Requires Only One Voltage
u Reduced Signal Swing Increases Sensitivity to Errors
Caused by Offset Voltage, Bias Current, Finite OpenLoop Gain, Noise, etc.
u Must Usually Share Noisy Digital Supply
u Rail-to-Rail Input and Output Needed to Increase Signal
Swing
u Precision Less than the best Dual Supply Op Amps
but not Required for All Applications
u Many Op Amps Specified for Single Supply, but do not
have Rail-to-Rail Inputs or Outputs
Figure 3.18
In a single-supply application, the most immediate effect on the performance of an
amplifier is the reduced input and output signal range. As a result of these lower
input and output signal excursions, amplifier circuits become more sensitive to
internal and external error sources. Precision amplifier offset voltages on the order
of 0.1mV are less than a 0.04 LSB error source in a 12-bit, 10V full-scale system. In
a single-supply system, however, a "rail-to-rail" precision amplifier with an offset
voltage of 1mV represents a 0.8LSB error in a 5V fullscale system, and 1.6LSB
error in a 2.5V fullscale system.
3.20
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
To keep battery current drain low, larger resistors are usually used around the op
amp. Since the bias current flows through these larger resistors, they can generate
offset errors equal to or greater than the amplifier’s own offset voltage.
Gain accuracy in some low voltage single-supply devices is also reduced, so device
selection needs careful consideration. Many amplifiers having open-loop gains in the
millions typically operate on dual supplies: for example, the OP07 family types.
However, many single-supply/rail-to-rail amplifiers for precision applications
(>10kΩ). Selected devices, like the OP113/213/413 family, do have high open-loop
gains (i.e., > 1M).
Many trade-offs are possible in the design of a single-supply amplifier circuit: speed
versus power, noise versus power, precision versus speed and power, etc. Even if the
noise floor remains constant (highly unlikely), the signal-to-noise ratio will drop as
the signal amplitude decreases.
Besides these limitations, many other design considerations that are otherwise
minor issues in dual-supply amplifiers now become important. For example, signalto-noise (SNR) performance degrades as a result of reduced signal swing. "Ground
reference" is no longer a simple choice, as one reference voltage may work for some
devices, but not others. Amplifier voltage noise increases as operating supply
current drops, and bandwidth decreases. Achieving adequate bandwidth and
required precision with a somewhat limited selection of amplifiers presents
significant system design challenges in single-supply, low-power applications.
Most circuit designers take "ground" reference for granted. Many analog circuits
scale their input and output ranges about a ground reference. In dual-supply
applications, a reference that splits the supplies (0V) is very convenient, as there is
equal supply headroom in each direction, and 0V is generally the voltage on the low
impedance ground plane.
In single-supply/rail-to-rail circuits, however, the ground reference can be chosen
anywhere within the supply range of the circuit, since there is no standard to follow.
The choice of ground reference depends on the type of signals processed and the
amplifier characteristics. For example, choosing the negative rail as the ground
reference may optimize the dynamic range of an op amp whose output is designed to
swing to 0V. On the other hand, the signal may require level shifting in order to be
compatible with the input of other devices (such as ADCs) that are not designed to
operate at 0V input.
Early single-supply “zero-in, zero-out” amplifiers were designed on bipolar processes
which optimized the performance of the NPN transistors. The PNP transistors were
either lateral or substrate PNPs with much less bandwidth than the NPNs. Fully
complementary processes are now required for the new-breed of single-supply/railto-rail operational amplifiers. These new amplifier designs do not use lateral or
substrate PNP transistors within the signal path, but incorporate parallel NPN and
PNP input stages to accommodate input signal swings from ground to the positive
supply rail. Furthermore, rail-to-rail output stages are designed with bipolar NPN
and PNP common-emitter, or N-channel/P-channel common-source amplifiers whose
3.21
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
collector-emitter saturation voltage or drain-source channel on-resistance determine
output signal swing as a function of the load current.
The characteristics of a single-supply amplifier input stage (common mode rejection,
input offset voltage and its temperature coefficient, and noise) are critical in
precision, low-voltage applications. Rail-to-rail input operational amplifiers must
resolve small signals, whether their inputs are at ground, or in some cases near the
amplifier’s positive supply. Amplifiers having a minimum of 60dB common mode
rejection over the entire input common mode voltage range from 0V to the positive
supply are good candidates. It is not necessary that amplifiers maintain common
mode rejection for signals beyond the supply voltages: what is required is that they
do not self-destruct for momentary overvoltage conditions. Furthermore, amplifiers
that have offset voltages less than 1mV and offset voltage drifts less than 2µV/°C
are also very good candidates for precision applications. Since input signal dynamic
range and SNR are equally if not more important than output dynamic range and
SNR, precision single-supply/rail-to-rail operational amplifiers should have noise
levels referred-to-input (RTI) less than 5µVp-p in the 0.1Hz to 10Hz band.
The need for rail-to-rail amplifier output stages is driven by the need to maintain
wide dynamic range in low-supply voltage applications. A single-supply/rail-to-rail
amplifier should have output voltage swings which are within at least 100mV of
either supply rail (under a nominal load). The output voltage swing is very
dependent on output stage topology and load current. The voltage swing of a good
output stage should maintain its rated swing for loads down to 10kΩ. The smaller
the VOL and the larger the VOH, the better. System parameters, such as “zeroscale” or “full-scale” output voltage, should be determined by an amplifier’s VOL (for
zero-scale) and VOH (for full-scale).
Since the majority of single-supply data acquisition systems require at least 12- to
14-bit performance, amplifiers which exhibit an open-loop gain greater than 30,000
Single Supply Op Amp Input Stages
There is some demand for op amps whose input common mode voltage includes both
supply rails. Such a feature is undoubtedly useful in some applications, but
engineers should recognize that there are relatively few applications where it is
absolutely essential. These should be carefully distinguished from the many
applications where common mode range close to the supplies or one that includes one
of the supplies is necessary, but input rail-to-rail operation is not.
In many single-supply applications, it is required that the input go to only one of the
supply rails (usually ground). High-side or low-side sensing applications are good
examples of this. Amplifiers which will handle zero-volt inputs are relatively easily
designed using PNP differential pairs (or N-channel JFET pairs) as shown in Figure
3.19. The input common mode range of such an op amp extends from about 200mV
below the negative supply to within about 1V of the positive supply.
3.22
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
PNP OR N-CHANNEL JFET STAGES
ALLOW INPUT SIGNAL TO GO TO THE NEGATIVE RAIL
+VS
+VS
PNPs
N-CH
JFETs
–VS
–VS
Figure 3.19
The input stage could also be designed with NPN transistors (or P-channel JFETs),
in which case the input common mode range would include the positive rail and to
within about 1V of the negative rail. This requirement typically occurs in
applications such as high-side current sensing, a low-frequency measurement
application. The OP282/OP482 input stage uses the P-channel JFET input pair
whose input common mode range includes the positive rail. Other circuit topologies
for high-side sensing (such as the AD626) use the precision resistors to attenuate the
common mode voltage.
True rail-to-rail input stages require two long-tailed pairs (see Figure 3.20), one of
NPN bipolar transistors (or N-channel JFETs), the other of PNP transistors (or
P-channel JFETs). These two pairs exhibit different offsets and bias currents, so
when the applied input common mode voltage changes, the amplifier input offset
voltage and input bias current does also. In fact, when both current sources remain
active throughout the entire input common mode range, amplifier input offset
voltage is the average offset voltage of the NPN pair and the PNP pair. In those
designs where the current sources are alternatively switched off at some point along
the input common mode voltage, amplifier input offset voltage is dominated by the
PNP pair offset voltage for signals near the negative supply, and by the NPN pair
offset voltage for signals near the positive supply. It should be noted that true railto-rail input stages can also be constructed from CMOS transistors as in the case of
3.23
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
TRUE RAIL-TO-RAIL INPUT STAGE
+VS
Q2
Q1
Q3
Q4
–VS
Figure 3.20
Amplifier input bias current, a function of transistor current gain, is also a function
of the applied input common mode voltage. The result is relatively poor common
mode rejection (CMR), and a changing common mode input impedance over the
common mode input voltage range, compared to familiar dual-supply devices. These
specifications should be considered carefully when choosing a rail-rail input op amp,
especially for a non-inverting configuration. Input offset voltage, input bias current,
and even CMR may be quite good over part of the common mode range, but much
worse in the region where operation shifts between the NPN and PNP devices and
vice versa.
True rail-to-rail amplifier input stage designs must transition from one differential
pair to the other differential pair somewhere along the input common mode voltage
range. Some devices like the OP191/291/491 family and the OP279 have a common
mode crossover threshold at approximately 1V below the positive supply. The PNP
differential input stage is active from about 200mV below the negative supply to
within about 1V of the positive supply. Over this common mode range, amplifier
input offset voltage, input bias current, CMR, input noise voltage/current are
primarily determined by the characteristics of the PNP differential pair. At the
crossover threshold, however, amplifier input offset voltage becomes the average
offset voltage of the NPN/PNP pairs and can change rapidly. Also, amplifier bias
currents, dominated by the PNP differential pair over most of the input common
mode range, change polarity and magnitude at the crossover threshold when the
NPN differential pair becomes active.
Op amps like the OP184/284/484, utilize a rail-to-rail input stage design where both
NPN and PNP transistor pairs are active throughout the entire input common mode
voltage range, and there is no common mode crossover threshold. Amplifier input
offset voltage is the average offset voltage of the NPN and the PNP stages. Amplifier
3.24
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
input offset voltage exhibits a smooth transition throughout the entire input
common mode range because of careful laser trimming of the resistors in the input
stage. In the same manner, through careful input stage current balancing and input
transistor design, amplifier input bias currents also exhibit a smooth transition
throughout the entire common mode input voltage range. The exception occurs at
the extremes of the input common mode range, where amplifier offset voltages and
bias currents increase sharply due to the slight forward-biasing of parasitic p-n
junctions. This occurs for input voltages within approximately 1V of either supply
rail.
When both differential pairs are active throughout the entire input common mode
range, amplifier transient response is faster through the middle of the common
mode range by as much as a factor of 2 for bipolar input stages and by a factor of √2
for JFET input stages. Input stage transconductance determines the slew rate and
the unity-gain crossover frequency of the amplifier, hence response time degrades
slightly at the extremes of the input common mode range when either the PNP
stage (signals approaching the positive supply rail) or the NPN stage (signals
approaching the negative supply rail) are forced into cutoff. The thresholds at which
the transconductance changes occur are approximately within 1V of either supply
rail, and the behavior is similar to that of the input bias currents.
Applications which require true rail-rail inputs should therefore be carefully
evaluated, and the amplifier chosen to ensure that its input offset voltage, input bias
current, common mode rejection, and noise (voltage and current) are suitable.
Single Supply Op Amp Output Stages
The earliest IC op amp output stages were NPN emitter followers with NPN current
sources or resistive pull-downs, as shown in the left-hand diagram of Figure 3.21.
Naturally, the slew rates were greater for positive-going than for negative-going
signals. While all modern op amps have push-pull output stages of some sort, many
are still asymmetrical, and have a greater slew rate in one direction than the other.
Asymmetry tends to introduce distortion on AC signals and generally results from
the use of IC processes with faster NPN than PNP transistors. It may also result in
the ability of the output to approach one supply more closely than the other.
In many applications, the output is required to swing only to one rail, usually the
negative rail (i.e., ground in single-supply systems). A pulldown resistor to the
negative rail will allow the output to approach that rail (provided the load
impedance is high enough, or is also grounded to that rail), but only slowly. Using
an FET current source instead of a resistor can speed things up, but this adds
complexity.
With new complementary bipolar processes (CB), well matched high speed PNP and
NPN transistors are available. The complementary emitter follower output stage
shown in the right-hand diagram of Figure 3.21 has many advantages including low
output impedance. However, the output can only swing within about one VBE drop
of either supply rail. An output swing of +1V to +4V is typical of such stages when
operated on a single +5V supply.
3.25
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
NPN
NMOS
VOUT
NPN
+VS
+VS
+VS
NPN
VOUT
VOUT
NMOS
PNP
–VS
–VS
–VS
Figure 3.21
The complementary common-emitter/common-source output stages shown in Figure
3.22 allow the output voltage to swing much closer to the output rails, but these
stages have higher open loop output impedance than the emitter follower- based
stages. In practice, however, the amplifier's open loop gain and local feedback
produce an apparent low output impedance, particularly at frequencies below 10Hz.
The complementary common emitter output stage using BJTs (left-hand diagram in
Figure 3.22) cannot swing completely to the rails, but only to within the transistor
saturation voltage (VCESAT) of the rails. For small amounts of load current (less
than 100µA), the saturation voltage may be as low as 5 to 10mV, but for higher load
currents, the saturation voltage can increase to several hundred mV (for example,
500mV at 50mA).
On the other hand, an output stage constructed of CMOS FETs can provide nearly
true rail-to-rail performance, but only under no-load conditions. If the output must
source or sink current, the output swing is reduced by the voltage dropped across the
FETs internal "on" resistance (typically, 100Ω for precision amplifiers, but can be
less than 10Ω for high current drive CMOS amplifiers).
For these reasons, it is apparent that there is no such thing as a true rail-to-rail
output stage, hence the title of Figure 3.22 ("Almost" Rail-to-Rail Output Stages).
3.26
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
"ALMOST" RAIL-TO-RAIL OUTPUT STRUCTURES
+VS
+VS
PNP
PMOS
VOUT
VOUT
NMOS
NPN
–VS
–VS
SWINGS LIMITED BY
FET "ON" RESISTANCE
SWINGS LIMITED BY
SATURATION VOLTAGE
Figure 3.22
Figure 3.23 summarizes the performance characteristics of a number of singlesupply op amps suitable for some precision applications. The devices are listed in
order of increasing supply current. Single, dual, and quad versions of each op amp
are available, so the supply current is the normalized ISY/amplifier for comparison.
The input and output voltage ranges (VS = +5V) are also supplied in the table. The
"0, 4V" inputs are PNP pairs, with the exception of the AD820/822/824 which use NChannel JFETs. Output stages having voltage ranges designated "5mV, 4V" are
NPN emitter-followers with current source pull-downs (OP193/293/493,
OP113/213/413). Output stages designated "R/R" use CMOS common source stages
(OP181/281/481) or CB common emitter stages (OP196/296/496, OP191/291/491,
In summary, the following points should be considered when selecting amplifiers for
single-supply/rail-to-rail applications:
First, input offset voltage and input bias currents are a function of the applied input
common mode voltage (for true rail-to-rail input op amps). Circuits using this class of
amplifiers should be designed to minimize resulting errors. An inverting amplifier
configuration with a false ground reference at the non-inverting input prevents
these errors by holding the input common mode voltage constant. If the inverting
amplifier configuration cannot be used, then amplifiers like the OP184/284/OP484
which do not exhibit any common mode crossover thresholds should be used.
3.27
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
PRECISION SINGLE-SUPPLY OP AMP
PERFORMANCE CHARACTERISTICS
**LISTED IN ORDER OF INCREASING SUPPLY CURRENT
**PART NO.
VOS max
VOS TC AVOLmin NOISE (1kHz) INPUT OUTPUT ISY/AMP
OP181/281/481
1500µV
10µV/°C
5M
70nV/√
√Hz
0, 4V
"R/R"
4µA
OP193/293/493
75µV
0.2µV/°C
200k
√Hz
65nV/√
0, 4V
5mV, 4V
15µA
OP196/296/496
300µV
1.5µV/°C
150k
26nV/√
√Hz
R/R
"R/R"
50µA
OP191/291/491
700µV
1.1µV/°C
25k
35nV/√
√Hz
R/R
"R/R"
400µA
400µV
2µV/°C
500k
√Hz
16nV/√
0, 4V
"R/R"
800µA
OP184/284/484
65µV
0.2µV/°C
50k
3.9nV/√
√Hz
R/R
"R/R"
1250µA
OP113/213/413
125µV
0.2µV/°C
2M
4.7nV/√
√Hz
0, 4V
*JFET INPUT
5mV, 4V 1750µA
NOTE: Unless Otherwise Stated
Specifications are Typical @ +25°C
VS = +5V
Figure 3.23
Second, since input bias currents are not always small and can exhibit different
polarities, source impedance levels should be carefully matched to minimize
additional input bias current-induced offset voltages and increased distortion. Again,
consider using amplifiers that exhibit a smooth input bias current transition
throughout the applied input common mode voltage.
Third, rail-to-rail amplifier output stages exhibit load-dependent gain which affects
amplifier open-loop gain, and hence closed-loop gain accuracy. Amplifiers with openloop gains greater than 30,000 for resistive loads less than 10kΩ are good choices in
precision applications. For applications not requiring full rail-rail swings, device
families like the OP113/213/413 and OP193/293/493 offer DC gains of 200,000 or
more.
Lastly, no matter what claims are made, rail-to-rail output voltage swings are
functions of the amplifier’s output stage devices and load current. The saturation
voltage (VCESAT), saturation resistance (RSAT) for bipolar output stages, and FET
on-resistance for CMOS output stages, as well as load current all affect the amplifier
output voltage swing.
Op Amp Process Technologies
The wide variety of processes used to make op amps are shown in Figure 3.24. The
earliest op amps were made using standard NPN-based bipolar processes. The PNP
transistors available on these processes were extremely slow and were used
primarily for current sources and level shifting.
3.28
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
The ability to produce matching high speed PNP transistors on a bipolar process
added great flexibility to op amp circuit designs. These complementary bipolar (CB)
processes are widely used in today's precision op amps, as well as those requiring
wide bandwidths. The high-speed PNP transistors have fts which are greater than
one-half the fts of the NPNs.
The addition of JFETs to the complementary bipolar process (CBFET) allow high
input impedance op amps to be designed suitable for such applications as photodiode
or electrometer preamplifiers.
CMOS op amps, with a few exceptions, generally have relatively poor offset voltage,
drift, and voltage noise. However, the input bias current is very low. They offer low
power and cost, however, and improved performance can be achieved with BiFET or
CBFET processes.
The addition of bipolar or complementary devices to a CMOS process (BiMOS or
CBCMOS) adds great flexibility, better linearity, and low power. The bipolar devices
are typically used for the input stage to provide good gain and linearity, and CMOS
devices for the rail-to-rail output stage.
In summary, there is no single IC process which is optimum for all op amps. Process
selection and the resulting op amp design depends on the targeted applications and
ultimately should be transparent to the customer.
OP AMP PROCESS TECHNOLOGY SUMMARY
n BIPOLAR (NPN-BASED): This is Where it All Started!!
n COMPLEMENTARY BIPOLAR (CB): Rail-to-Rail, Precision, High Speed
n BIPOLAR + JFET (BiFET): High Input Impedance, High Speed
n COMPLEMENTARY BIPOLAR + JFET (CBFET): High Input Impedance,
Rail-to-Rail Output, High Speed
n COMPLEMENTARY MOSFET (CMOS): Low Cost, Non-Critical Op Amps
n BIPOLAR + CMOS (BiCMOS): Bipolar Input Stage adds Linearity,
Low Power, Rail-to-Rail Output
n COMPLEMENTARY BIPOLAR + CMOS (CBCMOS): Rail-to-Rail Inputs,
Rail-to-Rail Outputs, Good Linearity, Low Power
Figure 3.24
3.29
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
INSTRUMENTATION AMPLIFIERS (IN-AMPS)
An instrumentation amplifier is a closed-loop gain block which has a differential
input and an output which is single-ended with respect to a reference terminal (see
Figure 3.25). The input impedances are balanced and have high values, typically
109Ω or higher. Unlike an op amp, which has its closed-loop gain determined by
external resistors connected between its inverting input and its output, an in-amp
employs an internal feedback resistor network which is isolated from its signal input
terminals. With the input signal applied across the two differential inputs, gain is
either preset internally or is user-set by an internal (via pins) or external gain
resistor, which is also isolated from the signal inputs. Typical in-amp gain settings
range from 1 to 10,000.
INSTRUMENTATION AMPLIFIER
RS/2
∆RS
RG
COMMON
MODE
VOLTAGE
VCM
+
~
_
VSIG
2
+
VSIG
2
_
IN-AMP
GAIN = G
+
~
~
_
RS/2
VREF
VOUT
~
COMMON MODE ERROR (RTI) =
VCM
CMRR
Figure 3.25
In order to be effective, an in-amp needs to be able to amplify microvolt-level signals,
while simultaneously rejecting volts of common mode signal at its inputs. This
requires that in-amps have very high common mode rejection (CMR): typical values
of CMR are 70dB to over 100dB, with CMR usually improving at higher gains.
It is important to note that a CMR specification for DC inputs alone is not sufficient
in most practical applications. In industrial applications, the most common cause of
external interference is pickup from the 50/60Hz AC power mains. Harmonics of the
power mains frequency can also be troublesome. In differential measurements, this
type of interference tends to be induced equally onto both in-amp inputs. The
interfering signal therefore appears as a common mode signal to the in-amp.
Specifying CMR over frequency is more important than specifying its DC value.
Imbalance in the source impedance can degrade the CMR of some in-amps. Analog
Devices fully specifies in-amp CMR at 50/60Hz with a source impedance imbalance
of 1kΩ.
3.30
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
Low-frequency CMR of op amps, connected as subtractors as shown in Figure 3.26,
generally is a function of the resistors around the circuit, not the op amp. A
mismatch of only 0.1% in the resistor ratios will reduce the DC CMR to
approximately 66dB. Another problem with the simple op amp subtractor is that the
input impedances are relatively low and are unbalanced between the two sides. The
input impedance seen by V1 is R1, but the input impedance seen by V2 is R1' + R2'.
This configuration can be quite problematic in terms of CMR, since even a small
source impedance imbalance (~ 10 Ω) will degrade the workable CMR.
OP AMP SUBTRACTOR
R1
R2
V1
_
VOUT
1+
CMR = 20 log10
+
R1'
R2
R1
Kr
R2'
V2
Where Kr = Total Fractional
Mismatch of R1 - R2
VOUT = (V2 – V1)
R2
R1
R2
R2'
=
CRITICAL FOR HIGH CMR
R1
R1'
EXTREMELY SENSITIVE TO SOURCE IMPEDANCE IMBALANCE
0.1% TOTAL MISMATCH YIELDS
≈
66dB CMR FOR R1 = R2
Figure 3.26
Instrumentation Amplifier Configurations
Instrumentation amplifier configurations are based on op amps, but the simple
subtractor circuit described above lacks the performance required for precision
applications. An in-amp architecture which overcomes some of the weaknesses of the
subtractor circuit uses two op amps as shown in Figure 3.27. This circuit is typically
referred to as the two op amp in-amp. Dual IC op amps are used in most cases for
good matching. The circuit gain may be trimmed with an external resistor, RG. The
input impedance is high, permitting the impedance of the signal sources to be high
and unbalanced. The DC common mode rejection is limited by the matching of
R1/R2 to R1'/R2'. If there is a mismatch in any of the four resistors, the DC common
mode rejection is limited to:
 GAIN × 100 
CMR ≤ 20 log 
.
 %MISMATCH 
3.31
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
TWO OP AMP INSTRUMENTATION AMPLIFIER
V2
+
V1
+
A
_
A1
V1
VOUT
A2
R1'
_
V2
R1
R2'
C
R2
VREF
R2
2R2
G = 1 + R1 + R
G
RG
R2
2R2
VOUT = ( V2 – V1) 1 + R1 + R
G
+ VREF
R2 = R2'
R1
R1'
CMR ≤ 20log
GAIN × 100
% MISMATCH
Figure 3.27
There is an implicit advantage to this configuration due to the gain executed on the
signal. This raises the CMR in proportion.
Integrated instrumentation amplifiers are particularly well suited to meeting the
combined needs of ratio matching and temperature tracking of the gain-setting
resistors. While thin film resistors fabricated on silicon have an initial tolerance of
up to ±20%, laser trimming during production allows the ratio error between the
resistors to be reduced to 0.01% (100ppm). Furthermore, the tracking between the
temperature coefficients of the thin film resistors is inherently low and is typically
less than 3ppm/ºC (0.0003%/ºC).
When dual supplies are used, VREF is normally connected directly to ground. In
single supply applications, VREF is usually connected to a low impedance voltage
source equal to one-half the supply voltage. The gain from VREF to node "A" is
R1/R2, and the gain from node "A" to the output is R2'/R1'. This makes the gain
from VREF to the output equal to unity, assuming perfect ratio matching. Note that
it is critical that the source impedance seen by VREF be low, otherwise CMR will be
One major disadvantage of this design is that common mode voltage input range
must be traded off against gain. The amplifier A1 must amplify the signal at V1 by
1+
3.32
R1
.
R2
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
If R1 >> R2 (low gain in Figure 3.27), A1 will saturate if the common mode signal is
too high, leaving no headroom to amplify the wanted differential signal. For high
gains (R1<< R2), there is correspondingly more headroom at node "A" allowing
larger common mode input voltages.
The AC common mode rejection of this configuration is generally poor because the
signal from V1 to VOUT has the additional phase shift of A1. In addition, the two
amplifiers are operating at different closed-loop gains (and thus at different
bandwidths). The use of a small trim capacitor "C" as shown in the diagram can
improve the AC CMR somewhat.
A low gain (G = 2) single supply two op amp in-amp configuration results when RG
is not used, and is shown in Figure 3.28. The input common mode and differential
signals must be limited to values which prevent saturation of either A1 or A2. In the
example, the op amps remain linear to within 0.1V of the supply rails, and their
upper and lower output limits are designated VOH and VOL, respectively. Using the
equations shown in the diagram, the voltage at V1 must fall between 1.3V and 2.4V
to prevent A1 from saturating. Notice that VREF is connected to the average of
VOH and VOL (2.5V). This allows for bipolar differential input signals with VOUT
referenced to +2.5V.
SINGLE SUPPLY RESTRICTIONS: VS = +5V, G = 2
V2
+
V1
+
A1
VOH=4.9V
VOL=0.1V
A
_
R1
VREF
VOH=4.9V
VOL=0.1V
_
R1
10kΩ
Ω
R2
10kΩ
Ω
R2
10kΩ
Ω
VOUT
A2
10kΩ
Ω
V1,MIN ≥
1 (G – 1)V + V
OL
REF
G
≥ 1.3V
2.5V
V1,MAX ≤ 1 (G – 1)VOH + VREF ≤ 3.7V
G
VREF = VOH + VOL = 2.5V
2
V2 – V1 MAX
≤
VOH – VOL
G
≤ 2.4V
Figure 3.28
A high gain (G = 100) single supply two op amp in-amp configuration is shown in
Figure 3.29. Using the same equations, note that the voltage at V1 can now swing
between 0.124V and 4.876V. Again, VREF is connected to 2.5V to allow for bipolar
differential input and output signals.
3.33
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
SINGLE SUPPLY RESTRICTIONS: VS = +5V, G = 100
V2
+
V1
+
A1
VOH=4.9V
VOL=0.1V
A
_
R1
VREF
VOH=4.9V
VOL=0.1V
_
R1
10kΩ
Ω
R2
10kΩ
Ω
R2
990kΩ
Ω
VOUT
A2
990kΩ
Ω
V1,MIN ≥
1 (G – 1)V + V
OL
REF
G
≥ 0.124V
2.5V
V1,MAX ≤ 1 (G – 1)VOH + VREF ≤ 4.876V
G
VREF = VOH + VOL = 2.5V
2
V2 – V1 MAX
≤
VOH – VOL
G
≤ 0.048V
Figure 3.29
The above discussion shows that regardless of gain, the basic two op amp in-amp
does not allow for zero-volt common mode input voltages when operated on a single
supply. This limitation can be overcome using the circuit shown in Figure 3.30
which is implemented in the AD627 in-amp. Each op amp is composed of a PNP
common emitter input stage and a gain stage, designated Q1/A1 and Q2/A2,
respectively. The PNP transistors not only provide gain but also level shift the input
signal positive by about 0.5V, thereby allowing the common mode input voltage to
go to 0.1V below the negative supply rail. The maximum positive input voltage
allowed is 1V less than the positive supply rail.
The AD627 in-amp delivers rail-to-rail output swing and operates over a wide
supply voltage range (+2.7V to ±18V). Without RG, the external gain setting
resistor, the in-amp gain is 5. Gains up to 1000 can be set with a single external
resistor. Common mode rejection of the AD627B at 60Hz with a 1kΩ source
imbalance is 85dB when operating on a single +3V supply and G = 5. Even though
the AD627 is a two op amp in-amp, a patented circuit keeps the CMR flat out to a
much higher frequency than would be achievable with a conventional discrete two
op amp in-amp. The AD627 data sheet (available at http://www.analog.com) has a
detailed discussion of allowable input/output voltage ranges as a function of gain
and power supply voltages. Key specifications for the AD627 are summarized in
Figure 3.31.
3.34
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
RG
25kΩ
Ω
V1
(–)
Q1
25kΩ
Ω
V2
(+)
+VS
_
100kΩ
Ω
Q2
+VS
_
VOUT
A1
100kΩ
Ω
A2
+
+
–VS
–VS
G = 5+
+
200kΩ
Ω
RG
VB
–
VREF
VOUT = G(V2 – V1) + VREF
–VS
Figure 3.30
n Wide Supply Range : +2.7V to ±18V
n Input Voltage Range: –VS – 0.1V to +VS – 1V
n 85µA Supply Current
n Gain Range: 5 to 1000
n 75µV Maximum Input Offset Volage (AD627B)
n 10ppm/°C Maximum Offset Voltage TC (AD627B)
n 10ppm Gain Nonlinearity
n 85dB CMR @ 60Hz, 1kΩ
Ω Source Imbalance (G = 5)
n 3µV p-p 0.1Hz to 10Hz Input Voltage Noise (G = 5)
Figure 3.31
For true balanced high impedance inputs, three op amps may be connected to form
the in-amp shown in Figure 3.32. This circuit is typically referred to as the three op
amp in-amp. The gain of the amplifier is set by the resistor, RG, which may be
internal, external, or (software or pin-strap) programmable. In this configuration,
CMR depends upon the ratio matching of R3/R2 to R3'/R2'. Furthermore, common
mode signals are only amplified by a factor of 1 regardless of gain (no common mode
voltage will appear across RG, hence, no common mode current will flow in it
3.35
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
because the input terminals of an op amp will have no significant potential
difference between them). Thus, CMR will theoretically increase in direct proportion
to gain. Large common mode signals (within the A1-A2 op amp headroom limits)
may be handled at all gains. Finally, because of the symmetry of this configuration,
common mode errors in the input amplifiers, if they track, tend to be canceled out by
the subtractor output stage. These features explain the popularity of the three op
amp in-amp configuration.
THREE OP AMP INSTRUMENTATION AMPLIFIER
+
R2'
+
R3'
A1
VSIG
~
2 _
_
_
VCM
R1'
VOUT
RG
A3
R1
+
~
+
VSIG
~
2
_
_
A2
+
CMR ≤ 20log
R3
R2
GAIN × 100
% MISMATCH
2R1
VOUT = VSIG • R3 1 +
RG
R2
IF R2 = R3, G = 1 +
VREF
+ VREF
2R1
RG
Figure 3.32
The classic three op amp configuration has been used in a number of monolithic IC
instrumentation amplifiers. Besides offering excellent matching between the three
internal op amps, thin film laser trimmed resistors provide excellent ratio matching
and gain accuracy at much lower cost than using discrete op amps and resistor
networks. The AD620 is an excellent example of monolithic in-amp technology, and
a simplified schematic is shown in Figure 3.33.
The AD620 is a highly popular in-amp and is specified for power supply voltages
from ±2.3V to ±18V. Input voltage noise is only 9nV/√Hz @ 1kHz. Maximum input
bias current is only 1nA maximum because of the Superbeta input stage.
Overvoltage protection is provided by the internal 400Ω thin-film current-limit
resistors in conjunction with the diodes which are connected from the emitter-tobase of Q1 and Q2. The gain is set with a single external RG resistor. The
appropriate internal resistors are trimmed so that standard 1% or 0.1% resistors can
be used to set the AD620 gain to popular gain values.
3.36
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
+VS
49.4kΩ
Ω
RG = G – 1
VB
_
+
_
+
A1
A2
10kΩ
Ω
10kΩ
Ω
_
10kΩ
Ω
Q1
400Ω
Ω
24.7kΩ
Ω
24.7kΩ
Ω
10kΩ
Ω
Q2
–IN
VO
VREF
400Ω
Ω
RG
A3
+
+IN
–VS
Figure 3.33
As in the case of the two op amp in-amp configuration, single supply operation of the
three op amp in-amp requires an understanding of the internal node voltages.
Figure 3.34 shows a generalized diagram of the in-amp operating on a single +5V
supply. The maximum and minimum allowable output voltages of the individual op
amps are designated VOH (maximum high output) and VOL (minimum low output)
respectively. Note that the gain from the common mode voltage to the outputs of A1
and A2 is unity, and that the sum of the common mode voltage and the signal voltage
at these outputs must fall within the amplifier output voltage range. It is obvious that
this configuration cannot handle input common mode voltages of either zero volts or
+5V because of saturation of A1 and A2. As in the case of the two op amp in-amp,
the output reference is positioned halfway between VOH and VOL in order to allow
for bipolar differential input signals.
This chapter has emphasized the operation of high performance linear circuits from
a single, low-voltage supply (5V or less) is a common requirement. While there are
many precision single supply operational amplifiers, such as the OP213, the OP291,
and the OP284, and some good single-supply instrumentation amplifiers, the
highest performance instrumentation amplifiers are still specified for dual-supply
operation.
3.37
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
THREE OP AMP IN-AMP
SINGLE +5V SUPPLY RESTRICTIONS
VCM +
+
R2'
+
_
R1'
VOH=4.9V
VOL=0.1V
_
VOUT
RG
A3
R1
~
+
VSIG
~
2
_
R2'
A1
VSIG
~
2 _
VCM
GVSIG
2
VOH=4.9V
VOL=0.1V
VOH=4.9V
VOL=0.1V
+
_
VOUT= GVSIG + VREF
R2
R2
A2
VREF = 2.5V
+
2R1
G = 1+
RG
VCM –
GVSIG
2
Figure 3.34
One way to achieve both high precision and single-supply operation takes advantage
of the fact that several popular sensors (e.g. strain gauges) provide an output signal
centered around the (approximate) mid-point of the supply voltage (or the reference
voltage), where the inputs of the signal conditioning amplifier need not operate near
“ground” or the positive supply voltage.
Under these conditions, a dual-supply instrumentation amplifier referenced to the
supply mid-point followed by a “rail-to-rail” operational amplifier gain stage provides
very high DC precision. Figure 3.35 illustrates one such high-performance
instrumentation amplifier operating on a single, +5V supply. This circuit uses an
AD620 low-cost precision instrumentation amplifier for the input stage, and an
AD822 JFET-input dual rail-to-rail output operational amplifier for the output
stage.
In this circuit, R3 and R4 form a voltage divider which splits the supply voltage in
half to +2.5V, with fine adjustment provided by a trimming potentiometer, P1. This
voltage is applied to the input of A1, an AD822 which buffers it and provides a lowimpedance source needed to drive the AD620’s reference pin. The AD620’s Reference
pin has a 10kΩ input resistance and an input signal current of up to 200µA. The
other half of the AD822 is connected as a gain-of-3 inverter, so that it can output
±2.5V, “rail-to-rail,” with only ±0.83V required of the AD620. This output voltage
3.38
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
level of the AD620 is well within the AD620’s capability, thus ensuring high
linearity for the “dual-supply” front end. Note that the final output voltage must be
measured with respect to the +2.5V reference, and not to GND.
A PRECISION SINGLE-SUPPLY COMPOSITE
IN-AMP WITH RAIL-TO-RAIL OUTPUT
+5V
_
~
VCM =
+2.5V
~
VSIG
2
+
+
VSIG
2
10µF
+
_
0.22µF
P1
5kΩ
Ω
47kΩ
Ω
R3 24.9kΩ
Ω
_
RG
+
~
R1
REF
_
A2
+
+
10Hz
NOISE
FILTER
0.1µF
49.9kΩ
Ω
R4
A1
_
75.0kΩ
Ω
R2
VOUT
10mV TO 4.98V
VREF
+2.5V
1µF
Figure 3.35
The general gain expression for this composite instrumentation amplifier is the
product of the AD620 and the inverting amplifier gains:
 49.4 kΩ
  R2 
GAIN = 
+ 1 
.
 RG
  R1 
For this example, an overall gain of 10 is realized with RG = 21.5kΩ (closest
standard value). The table (Figure 3.36) summarizes various RG/gain values and
performance.
In this application, the allowable input voltage on either input to the AD620 must
lie between +2V and +3.5V in order to maintain linearity. For example, at an overall
circuit gain of 10, the common mode input voltage range spans 2.25V to 3.25V,
allowing room for the ±0.25V full-scale differential input voltage required to drive
3.39
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
The inverting configuration was chosen for the output buffer to facilitate system
output offset voltage adjustment by summing currents into the A2 stage buffer’s
feedback summing node. These offset currents can be provided by an external DAC,
or from a resistor connected to a reference voltage.
The AD822 rail-to-rail output stage exhibits a very clean transient response (not
shown) and a small-signal bandwidth over 100kHz for gain configurations up to 300.
Note that excellent linearity is maintained over 0.1V to 4.9V VOUT. To reduce the
effects of unwanted noise pickup, a capacitor is recommended across A2’s feedback
resistance to limit the circuit bandwidth to the frequencies of interest.
PERFORMANCE SUMMARY OF THE +5V SINGLE-SUPPLY
CIRCUIT
GAIN
RG
(Ω)
VOS, RTI
(µV)
TC VOS, RTI
(µV/°C)
10
21.5k
1000
1000
< 50
600
30
5.49k
430
430
< 50
600
100
1.53k
215
215
< 50
300
300
499
150
150
< 50
120
1000
149
150
150
< 50
30
NONLINEARITY BANDWIDTH
(kHz)**
(ppm) *
* Nonlinearity Measured Over Output Range: 0.1V < VOUT < 4.90V
** Without 10Hz Noise Filter
Figure 3.36
In cases where zero-volt inputs are required, the AD623 single supply in-amp
configuration shown in Figure 3.37 offers an attractive solution. The PNP emitter
follower level shifters, Q1/Q2, allow the input signal to go 150mV below the negative
supply and to within 1.5V of the positive supply. The AD623 is fully specified for
single power supplies between +3V and +12V and dual supplies between ±2.5V and
±6V (see Figure 3.38). The AD623 data sheet (available at http://www.analog.com)
contains an excellent discussion of allowable input/output voltage ranges as a
function of gain and power supply voltages.
3.40
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
+VS
+
50kΩ
Ω
50kΩ
Ω
A1
–IN
Q1
_
50kΩ
Ω
_
–VS
A3
RG
+VS
Ω
50kΩ
+
_
50kΩ
Ω
50kΩ
Ω
A2
+IN
VOUT
VREF
+
Q2
–VS
Figure 3.37
n Wide Supply Range: +3V to ±6V
n Input Voltage Range: –VS – 0.15V to +VS – 1.5V
n 575µA Maximum Supply Current
n Gain Range: 1 to 1000
n 100µV Maximum Input Offset Voltage (AD623B)
n 1µV/°C Maximum Offset Voltage TC (AD623B)
n 50ppm Gain Nonlinearity
n 105dB CMR @ 60Hz, 1kΩ
Ω Source Imbalance, G ≥ 100
n 3µV p-p 0.1Hz to 10Hz Input Voltage Noise (G = 1)
Figure 3.38
3.41
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
Instrumentation Amplifier DC Error Sources
The DC and noise specifications for instrumentation amplifiers differ slightly from
conventional op amps, so some discussion is required in order to fully understand
the error sources.
The gain of an in-amp is usually set by a single resistor. If the resistor is external to
the in-amp, its value is either calculated from a formula or chosen from a table on
the data sheet, depending on the desired gain.
Absolute value laser wafer trimming allows the user to program gain accurately
with this single resistor. The absolute accuracy and temperature coefficient of this
resistor directly affects the in-amp gain accuracy and drift. Since the external
resistor will never exactly match the internal thin film resistor tempcos, a low TC
(<25ppm/°C) metal film resistor should be chosen, preferably with a 0.1% or better
accuracy.
Often specified as having a gain range of 1 to 1000, or 1 to 10,000, many in-amps
will work at higher gains, but the manufacturer will not guarantee a specific level of
performance at these high gains. In practice, as the gain-setting resistor becomes
smaller, any errors due to the resistance of the metal runs and bond wires become
significant. These errors, along with an increase in noise and drift, may make higher
single-stage gains impractical. In addition, input offset voltages can become quite
sizable when reflected to output at high gains. For instance, a 0.5mV input offset
voltage becomes 5V at the output for a gain of 10,000. For high gains, the best
practice is to use an instrumentation amplifier as a preamplifier then use a post
amplifier for further amplification.
In a pin-programmable gain in-amp such as the AD621, the gain setting resistors
are internal, well matched, and the gain accuracy and gain drift specifications
include their effects. The AD621 is otherwise generally similar to the externally
The gain error specification is the maximum deviation from the gain equation.
Monolithic in-amps such as the AD624C have very low factory trimmed gain errors,
with its maximum error of 0.02% at G = 1 and 0.25% at G = 500 being typical for
this high quality in-amp. Notice that the gain error increases with increasing gain.
Although externally connected gain networks allow the user to set the gain exactly,
the temperature coefficients of the external resistors and the temperature
differences between individual resistors within the network all contribute to the
overall gain error. If the data is eventually digitized and presented to a digital
processor, it may be possible to correct for gain errors by measuring a known
reference voltage and then multiplying by a constant.
Nonlinearity is defined as the maximum deviation from a straight line on the plot of
output versus input. The straight line is drawn between the end-points of the actual
transfer function. Gain nonlinearity in a high quality in-amp is usually 0.01%
(100ppm) or less, and is relatively insensitive to gain over the recommended gain
range.
3.42
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
The total input offset voltage of an in-amp consists of two components (see Figure
3.39). Input offset voltage, VOSI, is that component of input offset which is reflected
to the output of the in-amp by the gain G. Output offset voltage, VOSO, is
independent of gain. At low gains, output offset voltage is dominant, while at high
gains input offset dominates. The output offset voltage drift is normally specified as
drift at G=1 (where input effects are insignificant), while input offset voltage drift is
given by a drift specification at a high gain (where output offset effects are
negligible). The total output offset error, referred to the input (RTI), is equal to
VOSI + VOSO/G. In-amp data sheets may specify VOSI and VOSO separately or
give the total RTI input offset voltage for different values of gain.
IN-AMP OFFSET VOLTAGE MODEL
RS/2
∆RS
VOSI
RG
~
~
~
VSIG
2
VOSO
IB+
VSIG
2
IN-AMP
GAIN = G
VOUT
~
IB–
VCM
VREF
RS/2
IOS =
IB+ – IB–
OFFSET (RTI) =
VOSO
G
+ VOSI + IB∆RS + IOS(RS + ∆RS)
OFFSET (RTO) = VOSO + G VOSI + IB∆RS + IOS(RS + ∆RS)
Figure 3.39
Input bias currents may also produce offset errors in in-amp circuits (see Figure
3.39). If the source resistance, RS, is unbalanced by an amount, ∆RS, (often the case
in bridge circuits), then there is an additional input offset voltage error due to the
bias current, equal to IB∆RS (assuming that IB+ ≈ IB– = IB). This error is reflected
to the output, scaled by the gain G. The input offset current, IOS, creates an input
offset voltage error across the source resistance, RS+∆RS, equal to IOS( RS+∆RS),
which is also reflected to the output by the gain, G.
In-amp common mode error is a function of both gain and frequency. Analog Devices
specifies in-amp CMR for a 1kΩ source impedance unbalance at a frequency of 60Hz.
The RTI common mode error is obtained by dividing the common mode voltage,
VCM, by the common mode rejection ratio, CMRR.
Power supply rejection (PSR) is also a function of gain and frequency. For in-amps,
it is customary to specify the sensitivity to each power supply separately. Now that
all DC error sources have been accounted for, a worst case DC error budget can be
calculated by reflecting all the sources to the in-amp input (Figure 3.40).
3.43
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
INSTRUMENTATION AMPLIFIER AMPLIFIER DC
ERRORS REFERRED TO THE INPUT (RTI)
ERROR SOURCE
RTI VALUE
Gain Accuracy (ppm)
Gain Accuracy × FS Input
Gain Nonlinearity (ppm)
Gain Nonlinearity × FS Input
Input Offset Voltage, VOSI
VOSI
Output Offset Voltage, VOSO
VOSO ÷ G
Input Bias Current, IB, Flowing in ∆RS
IB∆RS
Input Offset Current, IOS, Flowing in RS
IOS(RS + ∆RS)
Common Mode Input Voltage, VCM
VCM ÷ CMRR
Power Supply Variation, ∆VS
∆VS ÷ PSRR
Figure 3.40
Instrumentation Amplifier Noise Sources
Since in-amps are primarily used to amplify small precision signals, it is important
to understand the effects of all the associated noise sources. The in-amp noise model
is shown in Figure 3.41. There are two sources of input voltage noise. The first is
represented as a noise source, VNI, in series with the input, as in a conventional op
amp circuit. This noise is reflected to the output by the in-amp gain, G. The second
noise source is the output noise, VNO, represented as a noise voltage in series with
the in-amp output. The output noise, shown here referred to VOUT, can be referred
to the input by dividing by the gain, G.
There are two noise sources associated with the input noise currents IN+ and IN–.
Even though IN+ and IN– are usually equal (IN+ ≈ IN– = IN), they are
uncorrelated, and therefore, the noise they each create must be summed in a rootsum-squares (RSS) fashion. IN+ flows through one half of RS, and IN– the other
half. This generates two noise voltages, each having an amplitude, INRS/2. Each of
these two noise sources is reflected to the output by the in-amp gain, G.
The total output noise is calculated by combining all four noise sources in an RSS
manner:
2R 2 I
2R 2 

I
NOISE ( RTO) = BW VNO2 + G2  VNI 2 + N + S + N − S  .


4
4


If IN+ = IN– = IN ,
3.44
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING

I 2R 2
NOISE ( RTO) = BW VNO2 + G2  VNI2 + N S

2


.


The total noise, referred to the input (RTI) is simply the above expression divided by
the in-amp gain, G:
NOISE ( RTI ) = BW
I 2R 2 
VNO2 
+ VNI2 + N S  .


2
G2


IN-AMP NOISE MODEL
RS/2
VNI
RG
~
~
~
VSIG
2
VSIG
2
+
VNO
IN+
IN-AMP
GAIN = G
IN–
VOUT
~
REF
_
VCM
VREF
RS/2
IF IN+ = IN–
NOISE (RTI) =
NOISE (RTO) =
BW •
BW •
VNO2
G2
+ VNI2 +
IN2RS2
VNO2 + G2 VNI2 +
2
IN2RS2
2
BW = 1.57 × IN-AMP Bandwidth @ Gain = G
Figure 3.41
In-amp data sheets often present the total voltage noise RTI as a function of gain.
This noise spectral density includes both the input (VNI) and output (VNO) noise
contributions. The input current noise spectral density is specified separately. As in
the case of op amps, the total noise RTI must be integrated over the in-amp closedloop bandwidth to compute the RMS value. The bandwidth may be determined from
data sheet curves which show frequency response as a function of gain.
In-Amp Bridge Amplifier Error Budget Analysis
It is important to understand in-amp error sources in a typical application. Figure
3.42 shows a 350Ω load cell which has a fullscale output of 100mV when excited
with a 10V source. The AD620 is configured for a gain of 100 using the external
499Ω gain-setting resistor. The table shows how each error source contributes to the
3.45
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
total unadjusted error of 2145ppm. The gain, offset, and CMR errors can be removed
with a system calibration. The remaining errors - gain nonlinearity and 0.1Hz to
10Hz noise - cannot be removed with calibration and limit the system resolution to
42.8ppm (approximately 14-bit accuracy).
AD620B BRIDGE AMPLIFIER DC ERROR BUDGET
+10V
VCM = 5V
499Ω
Ω
MAXIMUM ERROR CONTRIBUTION, +25°C
FULLSCALE: VIN = 100mV, VOUT = 10V
RG
+
VOS
55µV ÷ 100mV
550ppm
IOS
350Ω
Ω × 0.5nA ÷ 100mV
1.8ppm
Gain Error
0.15%
1500ppm
Gain
Nonlinearity
40ppm
40ppm
CMR Error
120dB
1ppm × 5V ÷ 100mV
50ppm
0.1Hz to 10Hz
1/f Noise
280nV ÷ 100mV
2.8ppm
Total
Error
≈ 9 Bits Accurate
2145ppm
Resolution
Error
≈ 14 Bits Accurate
42.8ppm
–
REF
G = 100
350Ω,
Ω, 100mV FS
VOSI + VOSO/G = 55µV max
IOS = 0.5nA max
Gain Error = 0.15%
Gain Nonlinearity = 40ppm
0.1Hz to 10Hz Noise = 280nVp-p
CMR = 120dB @ 60Hz
Figure 3.42
In-Amp Performance Tables
Figure 3.43 shows a selection of precision in-amps designed primarily for operation
on dual supplies. It should be noted that the AD620 is capable of single +5V supply
operation (see Figure 3.35), but neither its input nor its output are capable of rail-torail swings.
Instrumentation amplifiers specifically designed for single supply operation are
shown in Figure 3.44. It should be noted that although the specifications in the
figure are given for a single +5V supply, all of the amplifiers are also capable of dual
supply operation and are specified for both dual and single supply operation on their
The AD626 is not a true in-amp but is a differential amplifier with a thin-film input
attenuator which allows the common mode voltage to exceed the supply voltages.
This device is designed primarily for high and low-side current-sensing applications.
It will also operate on a single +3V supply.
3.46
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
PRECISION IN-AMPS:
DATA FOR VS = ±15V, G = 1000
Gain
Gain
Accuracy Nonlinearity
*
100ppm
0.5% / P
VOS
Max
VOS
TC
CMR
Min
0.1Hz to 10Hz
p-p Noise
50µV
0.5µV/°C
120dB
0.3µV
0.5% / R
40ppm
50µV
0.6µV/°C
120dB
0.28µV
0.05% / P
10ppm
50µV
1.6µV/°C
100dB
0.28µV
0.5% / R
40ppm
125µV
1µV/°C
103dB
0.3µV
0.25% / R
50ppm
25µV
0.25µV/°C
130dB
0.2µV
0.02% / R
50ppm
25µV
0.25µV/°C
125dB
0.2µV
AMP01A
0.6% / R
50ppm
50µV
0.3µV/°C
125dB
0.12µV
AMP02E
0.5% / R
60ppm
100µV
2µV/°C
115dB
0.4µV
* / P = Pin Programmable
* / R = Resistor Programmable
1
2
G = 100
G = 500
Figure 3.43
SINGLE SUPPLY IN-AMPS:
DATA FOR VS = +5V, G = 1000
VOS
Gain
Gain
Accuracy Nonlinearity Max
*
50ppm
100µV
VOS
TC
CMR
Min
1µV/°C
105dB
1.5µV
575µA
0.1Hz to 10Hz Supply
p-p Noise
Current
0.35% / R
10ppm
75µV
1µV/°C
85dB
1.5µV
85µA
AMP04E
0.4% / R
250ppm
150µV
3µV/°C
90dB
0.7µV
290µA
200ppm
2.5mV
6µV/°C
80dB
2µV
700µA
* / P = Pin Programmable
* / R = Resistor Programmable
1
Differential Amplifier, G = 100
Figure 3.44
3.47
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
In-Amp Input Overvoltage Protection
As interface amplifiers for data acquisition systems, instrumentation amplifiers are
often subjected to input overloads, i.e., voltage levels in excess of the full scale for
the selected gain range. The manufacturer's "absolute maximum" input ratings for
the device should be closely observed. As with op amps, many in-amps have absolute
maximum input voltage specifications equal to ±VS. External series resistors (for
current limiting) and Schottky diode clamps may be used to prevent overload, if
necessary. Some instrumentation amplifiers have built-in overload protection
circuits in the form of series resistors (thin film) or series-protection FETs. In-amps
such as the AMP-02 and the AD524 utilize series-protection FETs, because they act
as a low impedance during normal operation, and a high impedance during fault
conditions.
An additional Transient Voltage Suppresser (TVS) may be required across the input
pins to limit the maximum differential input voltage. This is especially applicable to
three op amp in-amps operating at high gain with low values of RG. A more detailed
discussion of input voltage and EMI/RFI protection can be found in Section 10 of this
book.
INSTRUMENTATION AMPLIFIER
INPUT OVERVOLTAGE CONSIDERATIONS
+VS
RLIMIT
+
INPUTS
RLIMIT
IN-AMP
OUTPUT
–
–VS
n Always Observe Absolute Maximum Data Sheet Specs!
n Schottky Diode Clamps to the Supply Rails Will Limit
Input to Approximately ±VS ±0.3V, TVSs Limit Differential Voltage
n External Resistors (or Internal Thin-Film Resistors) Can Limit
Input Current, but will Increase Noise
n Some In-Amps Have Series-Protection Input FETs for Lower Noise
and Higher Input Over-Voltages (up to ±60V, Depending on Device)
Figure 3.45
3.48
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
CHOPPER STABILIZED AMPLIFIERS
For the lowest offset and drift performance, chopper-stabilized amplifiers may be the
only solution. The best bipolar amplifiers offer offset voltages of 10µV and 0.1µV/ºC
drift. Offset voltages less than 5µV with practically no measurable offset drift are
obtainable with choppers, albeit with some penalties.
The basic chopper amplifier circuit is shown in Figure 3.46. When the switches are
in the "Z" (auto-zero) position, capacitors C2 and C3 are charged to the amplifier
input and output offset voltage, respectively. When the switches are in the "S"
(sample) position, VIN is connected to VOUT through the path comprised of R1, R2,
C2, the amplifier, C3, and R3. The chopping frequency is usually between a few
hundred Hz and several kHz, and it should be noted that because this is a sampling
system, the input frequency must be much less than one-half the chopping
frequency in order to prevent errors due to aliasing. The R1/C1 combination serves
as an antialiasing filter. It is also assumed that after a steady state condition is
reached, there is only a minimal amount of charge transferred during the switching
cycles. The output capacitor, C4, and the load, RL, must be chosen such that there is
minimal VOUT droop during the auto-zero cycle.
CLASSIC CHOPPER AMPLIFIER
CHOPPER
SWITCH
DRIVER
VIN
R1
R2
S
C2
S = SAMPLE
Z = AUTO-ZERO
C3
R3
S
VOUT
AMP
Z
Z
C1
C4
RL
Figure 3.46
3.49
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
The basic chopper amplifier of Figure 3.46 can pass only very low frequencies
because of the input filtering required to prevent aliasing. The chopper-stabilized
architecture shown in Figure 3.47 is most often used in chopper amplifier
implementations. In this circuit, A1 is the main amplifier, and A2 is the nulling
amplifier. In the sample mode (switches in "S" position), the nulling amplifier, A2,
monitors the input offset voltage of A1 and drives its output to zero by applying a
suitable correcting voltage at A1's null pin. Note, however, that A2 also has an input
offset voltage, so it must correct its own error before attempting to null A1's offset.
This is achieved in the auto-zero mode (switches in "Z" position) by momentarily
disconnecting A2 from A1, shorting its inputs together, and coupling its output to its
own null pin. During the auto-zero mode, the correction voltage for A1 is
momentarily held by C1. Similarly, C2 holds the correction voltage for A2 during the
sample mode. In modern IC chopper-stabilized op amps, the storage capacitors C1
and C2 are on-chip.
CHOPPER STABILIZED AMPLIFIER
_
–IN
VOUT
A1
NULL
+
+IN
S
C1
S
C2
Z
S = SAMPLE
Z = AUTO-ZERO
Z
_
NULL
A2
+
Figure 3.47
Note in this architecture that the input signal is always connected to the output
through A1. The bandwidth of A1 thus determines the overall signal bandwidth,
and the input signal is not limited to less than one-half the chopping frequency as in
the case of the traditional chopper amplifier architecture. However, the switching
action does produce small transients at the chopping frequency which can mix with
the input signal frequency and produce in-band distortion.
3.50
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
It is interesting to consider the effects of a chopper amplifier on low frequency 1/f
noise. If the chopping frequency is considerably higher than the 1/f corner frequency
of the input noise, the chopper-stabilized amplifier continuously nulls out the 1/f
noise on a sample-by-sample basis. Theoretically, a chopper op amp therefore has no
1/f noise. However, the chopping action produces wideband noise which is generally
much worse than that of a precision bipolar op amp.
Figure 3.48 shows the noise of a precision bipolar amplifier (OP177/AD707) versus
that of the AD8551/52/54 chopper-stabilized op amp. The peak-to-peak noise in
various bandwidths is calculated for each in the table below the graphs. Note that as
the frequency is lowered, the chopper amplifier noise continues to drop, while the
bipolar amplifier noise approaches a limit determined by the 1/f corner frequency
and its white noise (see Figure 3.9). At a very low frequency, the noise performance
of the chopper is superior to that of the bipolar op amp.
NOISE: BIPOLAR VS. CHOPPER AMPLIFIER
INPUT VOLTAGE NOISE, nV / √Hz
30
80
25
70
1/F CORNER
FC = 0.7Hz
20
60
15
50
vnw (WHITE)
10
40
5
30
0.1
1
10
FREQUENCY (Hz)
NOISE BW
0.1Hz to 10Hz
0.01Hz to 1Hz
0.001Hz to 0.1Hz
0.0001Hz to 0.01Hz
100
0.01
0.1
1
FREQUENCY (Hz)
10
0.238µV p-p
1.04 µV p-p
0.135µV p-p
0.33µV p-p
0.120µV p-p
0.104µV p-p
0.118µV p-p
0.033µV p-p
Figure 3.48
The AD8551/8552/8554 family of chopper-stabilized op amps offers rail-to-rail input
and output single supply operation, low offset voltage, and low offset drift. The
storage capacitors are internal to the IC, and no external capacitors other than
standard decoupling capacitors are required. Key specifications for the devices are
given in Figure 3.49. It should be noted that extreme care must be taken when
applying these devices to avoid parasitic thermocouple effects in order to fully realize
the offset and drift performance. A further discussion of parasitic thermocouples can
be found in Section 10.
3.51
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
RAIL-TO-RAIL INPUT/OUTPUT AMPLIFIERS
n Single Supply: +3V to +5V
n 5µV Max. Input Offset Voltage
n 0.04µV/°C Input Offset Voltage Drift
n 120dB CMR, PSR
n 800µA Supply Current / Op Amp
n 50nV/√
√Hz Input Voltage Noise
n 1.5MHz Gain-Bandwidth Product
Figure 3.49
ISOLATION AMPLIFIERS
There are many applications where it is desirable, or even essential, for a sensor to
have no direct ("galvanic") electrical connection with the system to which it is
supplying data, either in order to avoid the possibility of dangerous voltages or
currents from one half of the system doing damage in the other, or to break an
intractable ground loop. Such a system is said to be "isolated", and the arrangement
which passes a signal without galvanic connections is known as an "isolation
barrier".
The protection of an isolation barrier works in both directions, and may be needed in
either, or even in both. The obvious application is where a sensor may accidentally
encounter high voltages, and the system it is driving must be protected. Or a sensor
may need to be isolated from accidental high voltages arising downstream, in order
to protect its environment: examples include the need to prevent the ignition of
explosive gases by sparks at sensors and the protection from electric shock of
patients whose ECG, EEG or EMG is being monitored. The ECG case is interesting,
as protection may be required in both directions: the patient must be protected from
accidental electric shock, but if the patient's heart should stop, the ECG machine
must be protected from the very high voltages (>7.5 kV) applied to the patient by
the defibrillator which will be used to attempt to restart it.
3.52
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
APPLICATIONS FOR ISOLATION AMPLIFIERS
n Sensor is at a High Potential Relative to Other Circuitry
(or may become so under Fault Conditions)
n Sensor May Not Carry Dangerous Voltages, Irrespective
of Faults in Other Circuitry
(e.g. Patient Monitoring and Intrinsically Safe Equipment
for use with Explosive Gases)
n To Break Ground Loops
Figure 3.50
Just as interference, or unwanted information, may be coupled by electric or
magnetic fields, or by electromagnetic radiation, these phenomena may be used for
the transmission of wanted information in the design of isolated systems. The most
common isolation amplifiers use transformers, which exploit magnetic fields, and
another common type uses small high voltage capacitors, exploiting electric fields.
Opto-isolators, which consist of an LED and a photocell, provide isolation by using
light, a form of electromagnetic radiation. Different isolators have differing
performance: some are sufficiently linear to pass high accuracy analog signals across
an isolation barrier, with others the signal may need to be converted to digital form
before transmission, if accuracy is to be maintained, a common application for V/F
converters.
Transformers are capable of analog accuracy of 12-16 bits and bandwidths up to
several hundred kHz, but their maximum voltage rating rarely exceeds 10kV, and is
often much lower. Capacitively coupled isolation amplifiers have lower accuracy,
perhaps 12-bits maximum, lower bandwidth, and lower voltage ratings - but they
are cheap. Optical isolators are fast and cheap, and can be made with very high
voltage ratings (4 -7kV is one of the more common ratings), but they have poor
analog domain linearity, and are not usually suitable for direct coupling of precision
analog signals.
Linearity and isolation voltage are not the only issues to be considered in the choice
of isolation systems. Power is essential. Both the input and the output circuitry
must be powered, and unless there is a battery on the isolated side of the isolation
barrier (which is possible, but rarely convenient), some form of isolated power must
be provided. Systems using transformer isolation can easily use a transformer
(either the signal transformer or another one) to provide isolated power, but it is
impractical to transmit useful amounts of power by capacitive or optical means.
Systems using these forms of isolation must make other arrangements to obtain
isolated power supplies - this is a powerful consideration in favor of choosing
transformer isolated isolation amplifiers: they almost invariably include an isolated
power supply.
The isolation amplifier has an input circuit that is galvanically isolated from the
power supply and the output circuit. In addition, there is minimal capacitance
3.53
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
between the input and the rest of the device. Therefore, there is no possibility for DC
current flow, and minimum AC coupling. Isolation amplifiers are intended for
applications requiring safe, accurate measurement of low frequency voltage or
current (up to about 100kHz) in the presence of high common-mode voltage (to
thousands of volts) with high common mode rejection. They are also useful for linereceiving of signals transmitted at high impedance in noisy environments, and for
safety in general-purpose measurements, where DC and line-frequency leakage
must be maintained at levels well below certain mandated minimums. Principal
applications are in electrical environments of the kind associated with medical
equipment, conventional and nuclear power plants, automatic test equipment, and
industrial process control systems.
In the basic two-port form, the output and power circuits are not isolated from one
another. In the three-port isolator shown in Figure 3.51, the input circuits, output
circuits, and power source are all isolated from one another. The figure shows the
circuit architecture of a self-contained isolator, the AD210. An isolator of this type
requires power from a two-terminal DC power supply. An internal oscillator (50kHz)
converts the DC power to AC, which is transformer-coupled to the shielded input
section, then converted to DC for the input stage and the auxiliary power output.
The AC carrier is also modulated by the amplifier output, transformer-coupled to the
output stage, demodulated by a phase-sensitive demodulator (using the carrier as
the reference), filtered, and buffered using isolated DC power derived from the
carrier. The AD210 allows the user to select gains from 1 to 100 using an external
resistor. Bandwidth is 20kHz, and voltage isolation is 2500V RMS (continuous) and
± 3500V peak (continuous).
FB
–IN
+IN
INPUT
T1
_
+
OUTPUT
_
DEMOD
FILTER
MOD
+
ICOM
+VISS
–VISS
OCOM
T2
POWER
INPUT
POWER
SUPPLY
T3
OUTPUT
POWER
SUPPLY
POWER
OSCILLATOR
PWR
PWR COM
Figure 3.51
3.54
VO
+VOSS
–VOSS
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
The AD210 is a 3-port isolation amplifier: the power circuitry is isolated from both
the input and the output stages and may therefore be connected to either - or to
neither. It uses transformer isolation to achieve 3500V isolation with 12-bit
accuracy. Key specifications for the AD210 are summarized in Figure 3.52.
n Transformer Coupled
n High Common Mode Voltage Isolation:
u 2500V RMS Continuous
u ±3500V Peak Continuous
n Wide Bandwidth: 20kHz (Full Power)
n 0.012% Maximum Linearity Error
n Input Amplifier: Gain 1 to 100
n Isolated Input and Output Power Supplies, ±15V, ±5mA
Figure 3.52
A typical isolation amplifier application using the AD210 is shown in Figure 3.53.
The AD210 is used with an AD620 instrumentation amplifier in a current-sensing
system for motor control. The input of the AD210, being isolated, can be connected
to a 110 or 230 V power line without any protection, and the isolated ±15 V powers
the AD620, which senses the voltage drop in a small current sensing resistor. The
110 or 230V RMS common-mode voltage is ignored by the isolated system. The
AD620 is used to improve system accuracy: the VOS of the AD210 is 15mV, while
the AD620 has VOS of 30µV and correspondingly lower drift. If higher DC offset and
drift are acceptable, the AD620 may be omitted, and the AD210 used directly at a
closed loop gain of 100.
3.55
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
MOTOR CONTROL CURRENT SENSING
HIGH VOLAGE
AC INPUT < 2500V RMS
+15V
0.01Ω
Ω
RG
–IN
+IN
REF
_
INPUT
FB
+
T1
_
+
OUTPUT
_
DEMOD
FILTER
MOD
+
OUTPUT
VO
OCOM
ICOM
–15V
+VISS
–VISS
M
RG = 499Ω
Ω
FOR G = 100
INPUT
POWER
SUPPLY
POWER
T2
OUTPUT
POWER
SUPPLY
POWER
OSCILLATOR
PWR
+15V
Figure 3.53
3.56
T3
PWR COM
+VOSS
–VOSS
AMPLIFIERS FOR SIGNAL CONDITIONING
REFERENCES
1.
Walter G. Jung, IC Op amp Cookbook, Third Edition,
Prentice-Hall, 1986, ISBN: 0-672-22453-4.
3.
Amplifier Applications Guide, Analog Devices, Inc., 1992.
4.
System Applications Guide, Analog Devices, Inc., 1994.
5.
Linear Design Seminar, Analog Devices, Inc., 1995.
6.
Practical Analog Design Techniques, Analog Devices, Inc., 1995.
7.
High Speed Design Techniques, Analog Devices, Inc., 1996.
8.
James L. Melsa and Donald G. Schultz, Linear Control Systems,
McGraw-Hill, 1969, pp. 196-220.
9.
Thomas M. Fredrickson, Intuitive Operational Amplifiers, McGraw-Hill,
1988.
10.
Paul R. Gray and Robert G. Meyer, Analysis and Design of Analog
Integrated Circuits, Second Edition, John Wiley, 1984.
11.
J. K. Roberge, Operational Amplifiers-Theory and Practice,
John Wiley, 1975.
12.
Lewis Smith and Dan Sheingold, Noise and Operational Amplifier Circuits,
Analog Dialogue 25th Anniversary Issue, pp. 19-31, 1991. (Also AN358)
13.
D. Stout, M. Kaufman, Handbook of Operational Amplifier Circuit
Design, New York, McGraw-Hill, 1976.
14.
Joe Buxton, Careful Design Tames High-Speed Op Amps, Electronic
Design, April 11, 1991.
15.
J. Dostal, Operational Amplifiers, Elsevier Scientific Publishing,
New York, 1981.
16.
Sergio Franco, Design with Operational Amplifiers and Analog
Integrated Circuits, Second Edition, McGraw-Hill, 1998.
17.
Charles Kitchin and Lew Counts, Instrumentation Amplifier
Application Guide, Analog Devices, 1991.
18.