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Linear IC Design CHPTR5

Linear IC Design CHPTR5

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5-1
Chapter 5
Linear IC Design
Designing linear (bipolar) integrated circuits is first of all different. Different from digital design
and different from designing with discrete components and standard ICs.
There are some principles - we counted six of them. We will go through them first, slowly and
carefully.

Using these design principles a lot of clever linear IC designers have come up with bits and
pieces of circuits which form useful functions. If you take a close look at the schematics of
some of the standard linear ICs you will recognize many of them. Even the most expert of IC
designers use them. It is because of these circuitelements that linear IC design is manageable.
You select the elements best suited for your design and connect them together so that they
perform the function you desire.

That is why we have put together a large library of these linear IC design elements in the
second section of this chapter, with detailed explanations and comments.
In the third section of this chapter we have collected some design examples, which we call
functions. We intend to add to this section gradually ourselves, but most of the additions will
come from the users of the 700 Series. So, if you have created a useful function or circuit, send
it to us. We'll add it to the collection, with credit, of course.
All of the circuits in this chapter are contained in a zipped file. You can pull them directly into
your design.
The following two books we consider the best for linear IC design:

Gray and Meyer: "Analysis and Design of Analog Integrated Circuits", John Wiley & Sons, 1984,
ISBN 0-471-87493-0
Grebene: "Bipolar and MOS Analog Integrated Circuit Design", John Wiley & Sons, 1984, ISBN
0-471-08529-4

Part of 700 Series Manual
Copyright 1991 - 2003 Array Design Inc., San Francisco. This manual is protected by copyright law, but may be
reproduced for the purpose of design or teaching. Any such reproduction must include this legal notice.
5-2
Design Principles
Examining the Bipolar Transistor
How does a transistor really work? Well, there are three layers: in the case of the NPN
transistor the outer ones are p-type; sandwiched in between is a thin n-type region.

P-type means that, in the silicon crystal lattice, there are also a few atoms which have one less
electron in the outermost shell than silicon (which has 4). Thus Boron, Aluminum or Gallium,
which have three electrons in the last orbit, fill the bill. This makes for adeficiency of electrons.
Since electrons have a negative charge, the resulting charge is positive, hence p-type.
Likewise, the presence of atoms with 5 electrons in the outermost shell (Phosphorus, Arsenic or
Antimony) causes an oversupply of electrons, i.e. the silicon becomes n-type.

These "dopant" atoms can be inserted into the silicon by diffusion (at very high temperature,
which causes the dopants to penetrate even solid materials, or by ion implantation, i.e.
"shooting" the atoms into the crystal lattice).

Current can flow from p to n, but only if a certain voltage (about 0.6 Volts for silicon) is exceeded (this is the conventional current flow; the electrons actually flow the other way). There is no (or very little) current-flow from n to p, except for one very important case:

If we apply a positive voltage to the base (p) and a
negative one to the emitter (n) current will flow from
base to emitter once about 0.6 Volts is exceeded. The
electrons now flow through the thin base region. With
a positive voltage applied to the collector, some of
these (negatively charged) electrons are attracted by
the positive collector voltage and flow toward it, rather
than out the base. This flow takes place despite the
fact that the collector-base junction is reverse biased; it
does so solely because the base region is thin, which
forces some of the electrons too close to the collector
region. The thinner we make the base, the more of the
electrons end up at the collector terminal rather than
the base. With the base thickness used in an average
transistor (about 0.2 microns) more than 100 times as many electrons flow to the collector as do
to the base. The ratio of the two we call the current gain:

hFE (or beta) = Ic/Ib
5-3

This is a (fairly) linear relationship. If we increase
the base current by a factor of 10 we can expect
the collector current to increase by a factor of 10
also. On the other hand, look at the base-emitter
voltage. This is a forward-biased diode. Hardly
any current flows below about 0.3 Volts. At about
0.6 Volts there is a substantial amount of current
and at higher voltages the current increases
drastically. In fact, this is an exponential
relationship: at any point on the curve, an
increase of about 60mV (at room temperature)
causes the current to increase tenfold. If we were
to plot this curve with the current on a logarithmic scale, it would be a straight line.

The formula for a diode is:
V = kT/q ln (I1/Is)

where
V is the diode voltage in Volts
k is the Boltzman constant (1.38E-23 Joules/Kelvin)
q is the electron charge (1.6E-19 Coulombs)
T is the (absolute) temperature in Kelvin
ln is the natural logarithm

Is is the diffusion current, which depends on the doping concentrations of
the two layers, and the diode area
and
I1 is the diode current
Note: 1.38E-23 is the notation for 1.38x10-23. Since it is required for Spice, we will be using this
notation throughout.

At first glance one might think that the diode voltage has a positive temperature coefficient
because of the presence of T. However, "Is" has a much strongernegative temperature
coefficient, so that the overall change is about -2mV/oC

We are forced to conclude from all of this that the bipolar transistor is a good current amplifier
but, as a voltage amplifier, it is very non-linear.

Let's look at another aspect of the current gain, though. As we noted above, to obtain a current
gain of 100 or more, the base region must be very thin. How is this base region created? Well,
first the (p-type) base region is diffused in. Then the (n-type) emitter follows and is made a little
shallower. The difference between the two creates the actual base region (see chapter 2).
Now, all this diffusing happens at a very high temperature, above 900oC. It needs to be this
high to get the dopants to move into the silicon within a reasonable time.

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