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Intro to Differential Pairs

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B. Razavi HO #2

Differential Amplifiers

Differential & Single-Ended Operation - A single-ended signal is taken with respect to a fixed potential (usually ground). - A differential signal is taken between two nodes that have equal and opposite signals with respect to a common mode voltage and also equal impedances to a fixed potential (usually ground).

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o Maximum voltage swing almost twice that in single-ended operation; o Even-order distortion suppressed (discussed later); o Biasing is easier. Basic Differential Pair

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Common-Mode Behavior:

Observations: The small-signal gain drops as the difference between Vin1 and Vin2 increases. The input and output common-mode levels must be chosen carefully. The current source requires some voltage so as to exhibit a high output impedance. How large can the output swings be?

- Quantitative Analysis

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Note: If neglect sub-threshold behavior, for some Vin1 - Vin2 one transistor completely turns off. This occurs for a differential input of :

This can be related to the overdrive at equilibrium: To achieve a wider linear range for Vin1 - Vin2, need greater (equilibrium) overdrive. For a given bias current, this translates to lower transconductance for each device. How does the input-output characteristic change as W changes?

Small-Signal Analysis Method I Treat circuit as cascade of two stages and use superposition.

For VY,

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Method II If the circuit is perfectly symmetric and Vin1 and Vin2 change by equal and opposite amounts from equilibrium, then we can use the concept of half circuit. Lemma In the following symmetric circuit, if Vin1 changes from V0 to V0+V and Vin2 changes from V0 to V0-V, then Vx does not change.

From another point of view, one transistor wants to pull Vx up while the other wants to pull it down. => Vx can be grounded.

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Use superposition to find the effect of differential and common-mode signals. Other Types of Loads

How do we increase the gain of diff pair with current source loads?

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In analog design (and sometimes digital design), we may need to generate many well-defined bias currents. For example:

If we apply a self-defined voltage to the gate or the base, the current is NOT well-defined. In MOSFETs, VTH can vary by tens of millivolts from wafer to wafer, causing significant error. Better approach:

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So, all we need to generate is one reference current. IREF is established by precision bandgap techniques or sometimes provides externally.

Example:

Cascode Current Mirrors Channel-length modulation causes error if the voltage across the diodeconnected device is not equal to VDS of current sources.

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What is the minimum allowable voltage across the current source? Example:

Low-Voltage Cascode

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Active Load with Current Mirror Suppose we need a high-gain differential amplifier with single-ended output:

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Large-Signal Behavior:

Small-Signal Behavior:

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What is the dc output voltage in equilibrium? How do we increase the voltage gain? Common-Mode Rejection

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In practice, random mismatches between the two sides result in a finite CMRR.

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