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Finding the Perfect Op-Amp

Finding the Perfect Op-Amp

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Published by: steve_y on Mar 16, 2011
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04/18/2012

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 Finding the Perfect Op-Amp for Your Perfect Circuit 
Bonnie Baker 
CHAPTER 4
The operational amplifi ers operation and circuits are easy to fi nd in the books in yourlocal university library. The amplifi er operation and circuit descriptions found in thesereference books take you through computational algorithms that theoretically will providethe solutions to your analog amplifi er design woes. If there were a perfect amplifi er onthe market today, the designs found in these books would indeed be easy to implementsuccessfully. But there isnt a perfect amplifi eryet. Throughout the history of analogsystem design, circuits have required special care in key areas in order to ensure success.As luck would have it, a little common sense and bench sense will pull you out of most of your amplier design disasters.In an ideal world, the perfect amplifi er would look like the one described in
Figure 4-1
 .The input stage design of this perfect amplifi er would use devices whose inputs (
IN 
 
and
IN 
 –) extend all the way to the power supply rails. Some single-supply amplifi ers are ableto do this with some distortion, but the perfect amplifi er would be distortion-free. As amatter of fact, it would be nice if the inputs operated beyond the rails. If this were thecase, the common-mode range would go beyond the rails as well.Additionally, the inputs would not source or sink currentthat is, they would have zero-input bias current. This allows source impedances to the amplifi er to be infi nite. Thisimplies no common-mode or differential-mode input capacitance. Since voltage errorsacross the two inputs are usually gained by closed-loop circuit congurations around theamplifi er, any DC voltage error (offset voltage) or AC error (noise) would be zero. Theabsence of these errors removes all your calibration worries!
“Perfect op-amp”? I just want one that is good enough, and doesn’t cost much. /rap
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www.newnespress.com
Chapter 4
 As for the power supply requirements of this ideal amplifi er, there would be none. Asyou know, industry trends are always working on requests for lower supply voltages,and consequently, lower power consumption from active components. The idealamplifi er wouldnt need a voltage supply across
DD
 
and
SS
 
and would have zero powerdissipation in its quiescent state.The output of this amplier would be capable of really swinging rail to rail or evenbeyond. This would eliminate the problem of losing bits on the outer rim in the followingA/D conversion. The output impedance would be zero at DC as well as over frequency,ensuring that the device connected to the input of the amplifi er is perfectly isolated fromthe external output device. The op-amp would respond to input signals instantaneouslythat is, the slew rate would be infi nite and it would be able to drive any load (resistiveor capacitive) while maintaining an infi nite open-loop gain and rail-to-rail output swingperformance. Finally, in the frequency domain, the open-loop gain would be innite atDC as well as over frequency, and the bandwidth of the amplifi er would also be infi nite.Oh, did I forget price? We would all love to have this ideal amplifi er for $0.00.Welcome to Op-Amp 101! This describes the textbook amplier.If Im able to gure out how to design this amplifi er, I guarantee you, I will become amultizillionaire. At this point, you are probably saying “Only in your dreams!” Well,maybe not a multizillionaire, mainly because the profi ts are $0.00. However, it is certainthat I will become a very popular (though still poor) person.
POWER SUPPLY
• No voltage supplies required• I
SUPPLY
0 Amps• Power supply rejection
(dB)
OUTPUT
OUT 
Swings beyond rails
OUT 
 
• Slew rate
 
OUT 
 
0
 
SIGNAL TRANSFER
• Open loop gain
(dB)• Bandwidth
0
 
→ ∞
• Zero harmonic distortion
INPUT
• Input current (
)
0• Input voltage (
IN 
)
no limits• Zero voltage and current Noise• Zero offset voltage error• Common-mode rejection
(dB)$0.00
DD 
SS 
IN 
 
IN 
OUT 
 Figure 4-1: A perfect amplifi er has an infi nite input impedance, open-loop gain,power supply rejection ratio, common-mode rejection ratio, bandwidth, slew rate,and output current. It also has zero offset voltage, input noise, output impedance,power dissipation, and most important, zero cost.
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89Finding the Perfect Op-Amp for Your Perfect Circuit 
 It is interesting to note that many of these design imperfections are used to an advantageby most designers. For example, an amplifi er circuit design uses a less than infi nitebandwidth to limit the noise and high-speed transients in circuits. An infi nite slew rateis not as good as it sounds. The amplifi er users enjoy slower signals. This reduces theglitches further down the signal path and simplifi es the layout.So, for today, we know that there isnt an ideal amplifi er for all circuit situations. Thebest we can do with the choices available is to pick the best amplifi er for our applicationcircuit and then use it properly.
Choose the Technology Wisely 
CMOS and bipolar are the two silicon technologies that single-supply operationalamplifi ers commonly use.
Figure 4-2
shows the differences between these twooperational amplifi er technologies. The most important difference between CMOS andbipolar is in the input stage transistors. These transistors have a profound effect on theoverall operation of the amplifi er.Because of the difference between the input transistors of these two types of amplifi ers, theCMOS amplifi er has lower input current noise and higher input impedance. Because of thehigh input impedance, the input bias current of the CMOS amplifi er is much lower. In fact,the electrostatic discharge (ESD) cells at the input of the CMOS amplifi er cause the inputbias current errors. As will be shown in circuits later in this chapter, we can use this to anadvantage for high-impedance sources such as photosensing transimpedance amplifi ers.The CMOS amplifi er typically has a higher open-loop gain than bipolar amplifi ers. Thiscan minimize gain error in applications where the closed-loop gain is extremely high(60 dB or greater).
BiPOLARCMOS
• Lower inputcurrent noise• Higher voltagegain• High
IN 
• Lower inputvoltage noise• Lower offsetvoltage• High CMRR• High outputdrive• Wide BW• Single supply• Rail-to-rail• Micropower
 Figure 4-2: The two silicon technologies with which single-supply amplifi ers aremanufactured are CMOS or bipolar processes. By using the CMOS process, you canmanufacture bipolar amplifi ers. In these designs, the input transistors are bipolar, and theremaining transistors are CMOS.
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