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Operational Amplifier

Operational Amplifier



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Published by: SHUBHAM MENDEVELL on Aug 28, 2008
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An Applications Guide forOp Amps
The general utility of the operational amplifier is derived fromthe fact that it is intended for use in a feedback loop whosefeedback properties determine the feed-forward characteris-tics of the amplifier and loop combination. To suit it for thisusage, the ideal operational amplifier would have infiniteinput impedance, zero output impedance, infinite gain andan open-loop 3 dB point at infinite frequency rolling off at 6dB per octave. Unfortunately, the unit cost–in quantity-–would also be infinite.Intensive development of the operational amplifier, particu-larly in integrated form, has yielded circuits which are quitegood engineering approximations of the ideal for finite cost.Quantity prices for the best contemporary integrated ampli-fiers are low compared with transistor prices of five yearsago. The low cost and high quality of these amplifiers allowsthe implementation of equipment and systems functions im-practical with discrete components. An example is the lowfrequency function generator which may use 15 to 20 opera-tional amplifiers in generation, wave shaping, triggering andphase-locking.The availability of the low-cost integrated amplifier makes itmandatory that systems and equipments engineers be famil-iar with operational amplifier applications. This paper willpresent amplifier usages ranging from the simple unity-gainbuffer to relatively complex generator and wave shapingcircuits. The general theory of operational amplifiers is notwithin the scope of this paper and many excellent referencesare available in the literature.
The approach will beshaded toward the practical, amplifier parameters will bediscussed as they affect circuit performance, and applicationrestrictions will be outlined.The applications discussed will be arranged in order of in-creasing complexity in five categories: simple amplifiers,operational circuits, transducer amplifiers, wave shapers andgenerators, and power supplies. The integrated amplifiersshown in the figures are for the most part internally compen-sated so frequency stabilization components are not shown;however, other amplifiers may be used to achieve greateroperating speed in many circuits as will be shown in the text.Amplifier parameter definitions are contained in Appendix I.
The Inverting Amplifier
The basic operational amplifier circuit is shown in
.This circuit gives closed-loop gain of R2/R1 when this ratio issmall compared with the amplifier open-loop gain and, as thename implies, is an inverting circuit. The input impedance isequal to R1. The closed-loop bandwidth is equal to theunity-gain frequency divided by one plus the closed-loopgain.The only cautions to be observed are that R3 should bechosen to be equal to the parallel combination of R1 and R2to minimize the offset voltage error due to bias current andthat there will be an offset voltage at the amplifier outputequal to closed-loop gain times the offset voltage at theamplifier input.Offset voltage at the input of an operational amplifier iscomprised of two components, these components are iden-tified in specifying the amplifier as input offset voltage andinput bias current. The input offset voltage is fixed for aparticular amplifier, however the contribution due to inputbias current is dependent on the circuit configuration used.For minimum offset voltage at the amplifier input withoutcircuit adjustment the source resistance for both inputsshould be equal. In this case the maximum offset voltagewould be the algebraic sum of amplifier offset voltage andthe voltage drop across the source resistance due to offsetcurrent.Amplifier offset voltage is the predominant error termfor low source resistances and offset current causes themain error for high source resistances.In high source resistance applications, offset voltage at theamplifier output may be adjusted by adjusting the value ofR3 and using the variation in voltage drop across it as aninput offset voltage trim.Offset voltage at the amplifier output is not as important inAC coupled applications. Here the only consideration is thatany offset voltage at the output reduces the peak to peaklinear output swing of the amplifier.The gain-frequency characteristic of the amplifier and itsfeedback network must be such that oscillation does notoccur. To meet this condition, the phase shift through ampli-fier and feedback network must never exceed 180˚ for anyfrequency where the gain of the amplifier and its feedbacknetwork is greater than unity. In practical applications, thephase shift should not approach 180˚ since this is the situa-tion of conditional stability. Obviously the most critical caseoccurs when the attenuation of the feedback network is zero.Amplifiers which are not internally compensated may beused to achieve increased performance in circuits where
For minimum error due to input bias current
FIGURE 1. Inverting Amplifier
National SemiconductorApplication Note 20February 1969
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 © 2002 National Semiconductor Corporation AN006822 www.national.com
The Inverting Amplifier
(Continued)feedback network attenuation is high. As an example, theLM101 may be operated at unity gain in the inverting ampli-fier circuit with a 15 pF compensating capacitor, since thefeedback network has an attenuation of 6 dB, while it re-quires 30 pF in the non-inverting unity gain connectionwhere the feedback network has zero attenuation. Sinceamplifier slew rate is dependent on compensation, theLM101 slew rate in the inverting unity gain connection will betwice that for the non-inverting connection and the invertinggain of ten connection will yield eleven times the slew rate ofthe non-inverting unity gain connection. The compensationtrade-off for a particular connection is stability versus band-width, larger values of compensation capacitor yield greaterstability and lower bandwidth and vice versa.The preceding discussion of offset voltage, bias current andstability is applicable to most amplifier applications and willbe referenced in later sections.Amore complete treatment iscontained in Reference 4.
The Non-Inverting Amplifier
Figure 2 
shows a high input impedance non-inverting circuit.This circuit gives a closed-loop gain equal to the ratio of thesum of R1 and R2 to R1 and a closed-loop 3 dB bandwidthequal to the amplifier unity-gain frequency divided by theclosed-loop gain.The primary differences between this connection and theinverting circuit are that the output is not inverted and thatthe input impedance is very high and is equal to the differ-ential input impedance multiplied by loop gain. (Open loopgain/Closed loop gain.) In DC coupled applications, inputimpedance is not as important as input current and its volt-age drop across the source resistance.Applications cautions are the same for this amplifier as forthe inverting amplifier with one exception. The amplifier out-put will go into saturation if the input is allowed to float. Thismay be important if the amplifier must be switched fromsource to source. The compensation trade off discussed forthe inverting amplifier is also valid for this connection.
The Unity-Gain Buffer
The unity-gain buffer is shown in
Figure 3 
. The circuit givesthe highest input impedance of any operational amplifiercircuit. Input impedance is equal to the differential inputimpedance multiplied by the open-loop gain, in parallel withcommon mode input impedance. The gain error of this circuitis equal to the reciprocal of the amplifier open-loop gain or tothe common mode rejection, whichever is less.Input impedance is a misleading concept in a DC coupledunity-gain buffer. Bias current for the amplifier will be sup-plied by the source resistance and will cause an error at theamplifier input due to its voltage drop across the sourceresistance. Since this is the case, a low bias current amplifiersuch as the LH102
should be chosen as a unity-gain bufferwhen working from high source resistances. Bias currentcompensation techniques are discussed in Reference 5.The cautions to be observed in applying this circuit are three:the amplifier must be compensated for unity gain operation,the output swing of the amplifier may be limited by theamplifier common mode range, and some amplifiers exhibita latch-up mode when the amplifier common mode range isexceeded. The LM107 may be used in this circuit with noneof these problems; or, for faster operation, the LM102 maybe chosen.
R2 = R
For minimum error due to input bias current
FIGURE 2. Non-Inverting Amplifier
= V
R1 = R
For minimum error due to input bias current
FIGURE 3. Unity Gain Buffer
R5 = R1
R4For minimum offset error due to input bias current
FIGURE 4. Summing Amplifier
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Summing Amplifier
The summing amplifier, a special case of the inverting am-plifier, is shown in
. The circuit gives an invertedoutput which is equal to the weighted algebraic sum of allthree inputs. The gain of any input of this circuit is equal tothe ratio of the appropriate input resistor to the feedbackresistor, R4.Amplifier bandwidth may be calculated as in theinverting amplifier shown in
Figure 1
by assuming the inputresistor to be the parallel combination of R1, R2, and R3.Application cautions are the same as for the inverting ampli-fier. If an uncompensated amplifier is used, compensation iscalculated on the basis of this bandwidth as is discussed inthe section describing the simple inverting amplifier.The advantage of this circuit is that there is no interactionbetween inputs and operations such as summing andweighted averaging are implemented very easily.
The Difference Amplifier
The difference amplifier is the complement of the summingamplifier and allows the subtraction of two voltages or, as aspecial case, the cancellation of a signal common to the twoinputs. This circuit is shown in
and is useful as acomputational amplifier, in making a differential tosingle-ended conversion or in rejecting a common modesignal.Circuit bandwidth may be calculated in the same manner asfor the inverting amplifier, but input impedance is somewhatmore complicated. Input impedance for the two inputs is notnecessarily equal; inverting input impedance is the same asfor the inverting amplifier of
Figure 1
and the non-invertinginput impedance is the sum of R3 and R4. Gain for eitherinput is the ratio of R1 to R2 for the special case of adifferential input single-ended output where R1 = R3 and R2= R4. The general expression for gain is given in the figure.Compensation should be chosen on the basis of amplifierbandwidth.Care must be exercised in applying this circuit since inputimpedances are not equal for minimum bias current error.
The differentiator is shown in
Figure 6 
and, as the nameimplies, is used to perform the mathematical operation ofdifferentiation. The form shown is not the practical form, it isa true differentiator and is extremely susceptible to highfrequency noise since AC gain increases at the rate of 6 dBper octave. In addition, the feedback network of the differen-tiator, R1C1, is an RC low pass filter which contributes 90˚phase shift to the loop and may cause stability problemseven with an amplifier which is compensated for unity gain.A practical differentiator is shown in
.Here both thestability and noise problems are corrected by addition of twoadditional components, R1 and C2. R2 and C2 form a 6 dBper octave high frequency roll-off in the feedback networkand R1C1 form a 6 dB per octave roll-off network in the inputnetwork for a total high frequency roll-off of 12 dB per octaveto reduce the effect of high frequency input and amplifiernoise. In addition R1C1 and R2C2 form lead networks in the
For R1 = R3 and R2 = R4R1
R2 = R3
R4For minimum offset error due to input bias current
FIGURE 5. Difference Amplifier
R1 = R2For minimum offset error due to input bias current
FIGURE 6. Differentiator
FIGURE 7. Practical Differentiator
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