CN-0169: How to Achieve High Precision Voltage Level Setting Using the...

Circuit Note
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16-Bit Voltage Output nanoDAC®
with 1 μs Settling Time
2.5 V XFET® Low Noise, Precision
Voltage Reference
Precision Operational Amplifier
Precision Operational Amplifier
How to Achieve High Precision Voltage Level Setting Using the
AD5542A/AD5541A 16-Bit Voltage Output DAC
and will lead to linearity errors if the DAC reference is not
adequately buffered. With a high open-loop gain of 120 dB, the
AD8675 has been proven and tested to meet the settling time,
offset voltage, and low impedance drive capability required by
this circuit application.
Achieving true 16-bit performance with a voltage output DAC
requires selecting not only the correct DAC but also the correct
complementary supporting components. This circuit provides
a low risk solution for precision 16-bit digital-to-analog
conversion using the AD5542A/AD5541A voltage output
DAC with the ADR421 voltage reference and the AD8675
ultralow offset op amp used as the voltage reference buffer.
The precision, low offset OP1177 can be used as an optional
output buffer if needed.
This combination of parts provides industry-leading 16-bit
integral nonlinearity (INL) of ±1 LSB and differential
nonlinearity (DNL) of ±1 LSB with guaranteed monotonicity,
as well as low power, small PCB area, and cost effectiveness.
The reference buffer is critical to the design because the input
impedance at the DAC reference input is heavily code- dependent
Figure 1. Precision DAC Configuration (Simplified Schematic: All Connections and Decoupling Not Shown)
Rev. 0
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Circuit Note
For a perfect DAC with no errors, output voltage is dependent on
the reference voltage, as shown in the following equation:
where D is the decimal data word loaded in the DAC register,
and N is the resolution of the DAC.
For a reference of 2.5 V, and N = 16, the equation simplifies to
the following:
2. 5 × D
This gives a VOUT of 1.25 V at mid-scale, and 2.5 V at full-scale.
The LSB size is 2.5 V/65,536 = 38.1 µV.
One LSB at 16 bits is also 0.0015% of full-scale or 15 ppm FS.
The initial room temperature accuracy of the ADR421 (B-grade)
reference is 0.04%, which is approximately 27 LSBs at 16 bits.
This initial error can be removed with a system calibration.
The temperature coefficient of the ADR421 (B-grade) is
1 ppm/°C typical, 3 ppm/°C maximum.
Assuming a perfect reference (the reference error removed by
system calibration), the worst-case unipolar output voltage
(including errors) for the AD5542A can be calculated from the
following equation:
× (VREF + VGE ) + V ZSE + INL
2 16
VOUT−UNI is unipolar mode worst-case output.
D is code loaded to the DAC.
VREF is reference voltage applied to the DAC (assumed to have
no errors).
VGE is gain error in volts. (Note that the offset error of the
reference buffer must be included in the gain error, hence the
op amp chosen for the reference buffer must have low input
offset voltage).
VZSE is zero-scale error (offset error) in volts. (Note that the
offset voltage of the optional output buffer amplifier would add
to this error)
INL is integral nonlinearity of the DAC in volts. (Note that the
nonlinearity of the optional output buffer amplifier would add
to this error).
The zero-scale error and gain error of this circuit were
measured to be ±0.7 LBSs and ±2 LSBs, respectively, at ambient
temperature. Over temperature (−40°C to +85°C) the zero-scale
error is ±1.5 LSBs, and the gain error ±3 LSBs. These
measurements were taken directly from the VOUT of the
AD5542A without an output buffer connected.
This circuit utilizes the AD5542A voltage output DAC,
providing true 16-bit INL and DNL. The DAC architecture of
the AD5541A/AD5542A is a segmented R-2R voltage mode
DAC. With this type of configuration, the output impedance is
independent of code, but the input impedance seen by the
reference is heavily code dependent. For this reason, the
reference buffer choice is very important to account for codedependent reference current, which may lead to linearity errors
if the DAC reference is not adequately buffered. The op amp
open-loop gain, offset voltage, offset error temperature
coefficient, and voltage noise are also important selection
criteria when selecting a reference buffer with precision voltage
output DACs. Offset errors in the reference circuit result in gain
error on the DAC output.
This circuit employs an AD8675 op amp in a force and sense
configuration (Kelvin sensing) as the low impedance output
reference buffer for the AD5542A. The AD8675 has an openloop gain of 120 dB and is a precision, 36 V, 2.8 nV/√Hz op
amp. With a typical offset voltage of 10 μV, typical drift of less
than 0.2 μV/°C, and noise of 0.1 μV p-p (0 Hz to 10 Hz), the
AD8675 is well suited for applications where error sources need
to be minimized.
The AD5542A can be operated in either buffered or unbuffered
mode. The application and its requirements on settling time, load
impedance, noise, etc., determine which mode of operation to be
used. The output buffer can be chosen to optimize dc precision or
fast settling time. The optional output amplifier in this circuit is the
high precision OP1177. Output impedance of the DAC is constant
(typically 6.25 kΩ) and code-independent, but to minimize gain
errors, the input impedance of the output amplifier should be as
high as possible. The output amplifier should also have a 3 dB
bandwidth of 1 MHz or greater. The output amplifier adds another
time constant to the system, hence increasing the settling time of
the output. A wider bandwidth op amp results in a shorter effective
settling time of the combined DAC and amplifier.
The combination of parts shown in Figure 1 minimizes PC
board area. The AD5542A is available in a 3 mm × 3 mm 16-lead
LFCSP or 16-lead TSSOP package. The AD5541A is available
in 3 mm × 3 mm, 10-lead LFCSP or 10-lead MSOP.
Note that the AD5541A does not contain the Kelvin sense lines on
the reference and the ground, the Clear function, or the RFB and
RINV resistors.
The AD8675 and ADR421 are available in an 8-lead MSOP or
SOIC , and the OP1177 is available in an 8-lead MSOP.
The optional output op amp is the OP1177 in a unity gain
configuration, which includes a 6.19 kΩ resistor in series
with the inverting input. This resistor is used for bias current
cancellation and matches the output resistance of the AD5542A,
which is approximately 6.25 kΩ ± 20%.
Measured results show that the AD5542A/AD5541A is an
excellent candidate for high accuracy, low noise performance
Rev. 0 | Page 2 of 4
Circuit Note
Figure 2. Differential Nonlinearity
Figure 3. Integral Nonlinearity
level setting applications. The level of dc performance is
maintained using the ADR421 reference and the AD8675 as a
reference buffer in this high accuracy, high performance
system. The measurements were made directly at VOUT without
the optional output buffer connected.
Integral Nonlinearity and Differential Nonlinearity
INL error is the deviation in LSB of the actual DAC transfer
function from an idealized transfer function. DNL error is the
difference between an actual step size and the ideal value of
1 LSB. The circuit in Figure 1 provides 16-bit resolution with
±1 LSB DNL and INL. Figure 2 and Figure 3 show the DNL
and INL performance of the circuit.
Zero-Code and Gain Error Measurements
The zero-scale error (VZSE) and gain error (VGE) were measured
to be ±0.7 LBSs and ±2 LSBs, respectively, at ambient
temperature. Over temperature (−40°C to +85°C) the zero-scale
error is ±1.5 LSBs, and the gain error ±3 LSBs.
Layout Considerations
In any circuit where accuracy is important, it is important to
consider the power supply and ground return layout on the
board. The printed circuit board (PCB) containing the circuit
should have separate analog and digital sections. If the circuit is
used in a system where other devices require an AGND-toDGND connection, the connection should be made at one
point only. This ground point should be as close as possible to
the AD5542A/AD5541A. The circuit should be constructed on
a multilayer PCB with a large area ground plane layer and a
power plane layer. See the MT-031 Tutorial for more discussion
on layout and grounding.
The power supply to the AD5542A/AD5541A should be
bypassed with 10 μF and 0.1 μF capacitors. The capacitors
should be as physically close as possible to the device, with the
0.1 μF capacitor ideally right up against the device. The 10 μF
capacitor should be either the tantalum bead type or ceramic
type. It is important that the 0.1 μF capacitor have low effective
series resistance (ESR) and low effective series inductance
(ESL), such as is typical of common ceramic types of capacitors.
Rev. 0 | Page 3 of 4
Circuit Note
This 0.1 μF capacitor provides a low impedance path to ground
for high frequencies caused by transient currents due to internal
logic switching. See the MT-101 Tutorial for more details on
proper decoupling techniques.
Kester, Walt. 2005. The Data Conversion Handbook. Analog
Devices. Chapters 3 and 7.
The power supply line should have as large a trace as possible to
provide a low impedance path and reduce glitch effects on the
supply line. Clocks and other fast switching digital signals
should be shielded from other parts of the board by digital
MT-016 Tutorial, Basic DAC Architectures III: Segmented DACs,
Analog Devices.
The AD8628 is another excellent op amp for use as the
reference buffer in this circuit. It provides a low offset voltage
and ultra low bias current with an open-loop gain of 125 dB.
The ADR421 (2.5 V) can be replaced by either the ADR423
(3.00 V) or ADR424 (4.096 V), which are low noise references
available from the same reference family as the ADR421. The
ADR441 and ADR431 ultralow noise references are also
suitable substitutes, which provide 2.5 V.
MT-015 Tutorial, Basic DAC Architectures II: Binary DACs.
Analog Devices.
MT-031 Tutorial, Grounding Data Converters and Solving the
Mystery of AGND and DGND. Analog Devices.
MT-035 Tutorial, Op Amp Inputs, Outputs, Single-Supply, and
Rail-to-Rail Issues, Analog Devices.
MT-101 Tutorial, Decoupling Techniques. Analog Devices.
Voltage Reference Wizard Design Tool.
Data Sheets and Evaluation Boards
AD5542A Data Sheet
The AD8661 is a good alternate choice for the optional output
buffer. This is a CMOS op amp that uses the ADI patented
DigiTrim® technique to achieve low offset voltage. It features
low input bias current and wide signal bandwidth.
AD5541A Data Sheet
The AD8605 or AD8655 (both are single supply, +2.7 V to
+5.5 V) would also be options, but their outputs will have
nonlinearity near zero-volts output because of the output stage
limitations of all rail-to-rail op amps (see the MT-035 Tutorial).
ADR421 Data Sheet
The AD5542A contains internal resistors (RFB and RINV),
which can be used with an external op amp to provide a
bipolar voltage output. (See the AD5542A data sheet for
further details).
AD5542A Evaluation Board
AD5541A Evaluation Board
AD8675 Data Sheet
OP1177 Data Sheet
7/10—Revision 0: Initial Version
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