You are on page 1of 14

Analysis of Small-signal

Transistor Amplifiers
On completion of this chapter you should be able to predict the behaviour of given transistor
amplifier circuits by using equations and/or equivalent circuits that represent the transistors
a.c. parameters.

Reasons for Adopting this Technique


The gains of an amplifier circuit may be obtained by drawing the load
lines on the plotted output characteristics. However, for a number of
reasons, this is not a truly practical method.
(a) Manufacturers do not provide graphs or data to enable the
characteristics to be plotted.
(b) Even if such data were available, the process would be very time
consuming.
(c) Obtaining results from plotted graphs is not always very
accuratemuch depends upon the skill and interpretation of the
individual concerned.
For these reasons an alternative method, which involves the use of
equations and/or simple network analysis, is preferred. This method
involves the use of the transistor parameters, the data for which is
provided by manufacturers. This information is most commonly
obtained from component catalogues produced by suppliers such as
Radio Spares and Maplin Electronics.

2 BJT Parameters
You should already be familiar with the d.c. parameters such as input
resistance (RIN), output resistance (ROUT), and current gain (hFE), and
their relationship to the transistors output characteristics. In addition,
an a.c. amplifier circuit may be redrawn in terms of the appearance of
the circuit to a.c. signals. This is illustrated in Fig. 1.

67

68

Analysis of Small-signal Transistor Amplifiers

VCC

C

C
RC

RB
RS

b

RS
b

RC

RL

RB Vbe
RL

Vce
VS

Vce

VS

Vbe
RL
(b) a.c. equivalent

(a) circuit

Fig. 1

The a.c. equivalent circuit of Fig. 1(b) is useful in that the current flow
paths of the a.c. signal and the effective a.c. load can be appreciated,
but in order to analyse the complete amplifier circuit the load lines
would still need to be drawn on the characteristics. What is required is
a simple network representation of the transistor itself, which can then
be inserted into Fig. l(b) in place of the transistor symbol.
There are a variety of transistor parameters that may be used in
this way. Amongst these are Z-parameters, Y-parameters, hybrid 
parameters, and h-parameters. For the analysis of small-signal audio
frequency amplifiers the use of h-parameters is the most convenient,
and will be the method adopted here.
Provided that the transistor is correctly biased and the input signal is
sufficiently small so as to cause excursions of currents and voltages
that remain within the linear portions of the characteristics, then the
transistor itself may be considered as a simple four-terminal network as
shown in Fig. 2.

i2

i1
1

Linear
network

Fig. 2

The relationships between the four quantities of a linear network can


be expressed by a number of equations, two of which are:
1  Ai1  B 2 ..................[1]
i2  C i1  D2 ..................[2]

Analysis of Small-signal Transistor Amplifiers

Examination of the units involved in these two equations reveals that A


must be an impedance (ohm), B and C are dimensionless (ratios), and
D must be an admittance (siemen). Since there is a mixture or hybrid
of units involved, they are known as the hybrid or h-parameters, having
the following symbols:
A  hi ohm;

B  hr ;

C  hf ;

D  ho siemen

If the transistor is conected in common emitter configuration the two


equations would be written as follows
1  hie i1  hre 2
i2  h fe i1  hoe 2
If the transistor is connected in common base configuration then the
parameters would be hib, hrb, hfb and hob respectively.
The h-parameters are defined as follows:
hi: is the input impedance with the output short-circuited to a.c.
Thus, hi

1
ohm
i1

hr: is the reverse voltage feedback ratio with the input open-circuited
to a.c.
Thus, hr

1
2

ho: is the output admittance with the input open-circuited to a.c.


Thus, h0

i2
siemen
v2

hf: is the forward current gain with the output short-circuited to a.c.
Thus, h f 

i2
i1

Notes:
1 In modern transistors hr is very small (104) so this parameter
will be ignored.
2 Just as conductance G  1/R siemen, so admittance, Y  1/Z siemen.
3 The h-parameters will vary with temperature, ageing and frequency.
For the analysis at this level we shall consider that they remain
constant.
4 Since the transistor is a current-operated device it is convenient
to represent its collector circuit as a current generator with its
internal impedance (1/ho) in parallel.

69

70

Analysis of Small-signal Transistor Amplifiers

Considering the amplifier circuit of Fig. 1, the complete h-parameter


equivalent circuit would be as shown in Fig. 3.
c

b
i1

hie

RS

i2

hfei1

RB

1/hoe

RL

Fig. 3

For practical purposes it may be assumed that the h-parameters will


have the same numerical values as their d.c. counterparts
i.e. hi  RIN ;

h f  hF ;

1 / ho  ROUT

3 h-parameter Equations
Ignoring hr the original two equations may be written as:
1  hi i1...........[1]
i2  h f i1  ho 2 [2]
and using these equations the following results can be obtained.
Amplifier current gain, Ai 

Amplifier voltage gain, A 

hf

(1)

1  ho RL
h f RL
hi (1  ho RL )

Ai RL
hi

(2)

Thus, knowing the values for a transistors h-parameters, the prediction


of amplifier gains can simply be obtained by either using the above
equations or by simple network analysis using the h-parameter
equivalent circuit.

Worked Example 1
Q

For the amplifier circuit of Fig. 4, (a) sketch the h-parameter equivalent circuit and, (b) determine the
amplifier current and voltage gains using (i) network analysis, and (ii) h-parameter equations.
The h-parameters are hie  1.5 k; hfe  90; hoe  50 S

Analysis of Small-signal Transistor Amplifiers

VCC  12 V

RC
2.2 k

RB
68 k
RS
VS

RL

600

10 k

100 mV
rms

Fig. 4

A
hie  1.5 k; hfe  90; hoe  50  106 S
(a) The h-parameter circuit will be as shown in Fig. 5.
iS

i2

i1

iL

90i

RS
600
1

1/hoe
20 k

RB
hie
68 k 1.5 k

RC
2.2 k

0.1 V
rms

Rin

RL

Fig. 5

(i)

1/hoe 

RC RL
2.2  10
106
 20 k; RL 
ohm 
k  1.8 k

R
R
2.2  10
50
C
L

Input circuit: Rin 

hie RB
68  1.5

 1.47 k
hie  RB
68  1.5

Using potential divider technique:


v1 

Rin
1.47
 v s volt 
 0.1 V
Rs  Rin
1.47  0.6

v1  71 mV
i1 

v1
71  103

amp  47.3  A
hie
1 .5  1 03

Output circuit: 90i1  90  47.3  106  4.26 mA


Using current divider technique:
i2 

20
1 / hoe
 90i1 amp 
 4.26

20  1.8
1 / hoe  RL

i2  3.91 mA

RL
10 k

71

72

Analysis of Small-signal Transistor Amplifiers

v2  i2 RL volt  4  103  1.8  103


v2 7.2 V

(ii)

Ai 

i2
3.91  103

 82.7 Ans
i1
47.3  106

Av 

v2
7.04

 99 Ans
v1 71  103

Ai 

90
hfe

1  hoe RL
1  (50  106  1800 )

Ai 

90
 82.6 Ans
1.09

Av 

Ai RL
82.6  1.8

1.5
hie

Av  99 Ans
Thus, allowing for the cumulation of rounding errors in part (i), the results from
the equations agree with those from the network analysis.

The actual current that will flow in the load of the previous example
will not in fact be i2, but only a fraction of that, and is shown in Fig. 5
as iL. Thus the power delivered to the external load will be less than
the maximum possible. This problem may be minimised by the use of
a matching transformer connected between the load and the amplifier
circuit output terminals.

Worked Example 2
Q

The transistor used in the circuit of Fig. 6 has the following h-parameters hie  2 k; hoe  60 S;
hfe 100. Calculate (a) the amplifier current gain, (b) the actual power delivered to the external load,
and (c) the turns ratio required for a matching transformer in order to maximise the power delivered
to the load.
VCC
RC
4.7 k

R1
120 k

RS
600

R2
20 k

RE
1 k

VS
0.2 Vp-p

Fig. 6

A
hie  2 k; hoe  60  106 S; hfe  100

RL
5 k

Analysis of Small-signal Transistor Amplifiers

(a) The h-parameter equivalent circuit is shown in Fig. 7.

i1

iS

i2

iL

100i1

Rs
600

R1
120 k

R2
20 k

hie
2 k

1/hoe
16.7 k

RC
4.7 k

S
0.2 Vp-p
Rin

RL

Fig. 7

Input circuit:

1
1
1
1
1
1
1



siemen 

 mS
Rin
R1
R2
hie
120 20 2
67
1
1  6  60


mS
Rin
120
120

so, Rin  1.79 k 


v1 

Rin
1.79
 vs 
 200 mV pk-pk
Rs  Rin
0.6  1.79

v1  150 mV pk-pk
i1 

Output circuit: RL 

v1
0.15
 75 A pk-pk
amp 
hie
2000
RC RL
4.7  5

k
RC  RL
4.7  5

RL  2.42 k 
100i1  7.5 mA pk-pk
i2 

1 / hoe
16.7
 100i1 
 7.5 mA pk-pk
1 / hoe  RL
16.7  2.42

i2  6.55 mA pk-pk
Ai 

i2
6.55  103

i1
75  106

Ai  87.3 Ans
Check: Ai 
(b) iL 

100
hfe

 87.3
1  hoe RL
1  (60  106  2420 )

RC
4.7
 i2 
 6.55 mA pk-pk
RC  RL
9.7

iL  3.17 mA pk-pk
PL  I L2RL watt, where I L is the r.m.s. value
so, I L 

iL
3.17

mA  1.12 mA
2 2
2 2

RL
5 k

73

74

Analysis of Small-signal Transistor Amplifiers

PL  (1.12  103 )2  5000


PL  6.3 mW Ans
(c) For maximum power transfer, RL must match the parallel combination of
1/hoe and Rccall this Rp.
Rp 
Rp 
so,

Np
Ns
Np
Ns

16.7  4.7
k   3.67 k 
16 .7  4 .7
N p2
Ns

RL ohm

Rp
RL

3.67
5

 0.856 : 1 Ans

4 FET Parameters and Equivalent Circuits


Since a FET has an extremely high input impedance then its input
circuit may be represented simply as an open circuit. Also, being a
voltage operated device it is convenient to represent the output circuit
as a voltage source with the internal resistance (rds) in series with it.
The small-signal equivalent circuit will therefore be as shown in Fig. 8.
The FET parameters rds and gm should already be familiar to you.
From Fig. 8: Vo 

RL
 gm rdsVi volt
RL  rds

Vo
g r R
 A  m ds L
Vi
RL  rds

(3)

but in practice, rds RL , so


Vo
g r R
 m ds L
Vi
rds
and, A  gm RL

(4)

d D

rds
Vi gmrdsVi

V0

Fig. 8

RL

Analysis of Small-signal Transistor Amplifiers

Worked Example 3
Q

The FET used in the amplifier circuit of Fig. 9 has parameter values of rds  80 k and gm  4 mS.
Calculate (a) the amplifier voltage gain, and (b) the effective input resistance of the amplifier circuit.

VDD
R1
56 k

RD
2 k
RG
1 M

Vi

RS
1 k

R2
4.6 k

V0

RL
3 k

Fig. 9

A
rds  80  103 ; gm  4  103 S; RL  3 k
RD RL
32
ohm 
k
RD  RL
5
RL  1.2 k 

(a) For this circuit, the effective a.c. load, RL 

and since rds RL , then equation (4) may be used


so, Av  gmRL  4  103  1.2  103
Av  4.8 Ans
In order to check the validity of using the approximation of equation (4),
we can also calculate the gain using equation (3) and compare the two
answers.
Thus, Av 

gmrds RL
4  103  80  103  1.2  103 384 000



03
81 200
rds  R L
80  103  1.2  10

Av  4.73, which confirms the validity of equaation (4)


Note that a FET amplifier provides very much less voltage gain than a
comparable BJT amplifier.
(b) Looking in at the input terminals, for a.c. signals, the gate resistor
RG is in series with the parallel combination of R1 and R2, as shown
in Fig. 10.
Rin  RG 

R1 R2
56  4.7
ohm  106 
R1  R2
60.7

Rin  1.0043 M Ans (say 1 M )

75

76

Analysis of Small-signal Transistor Amplifiers

G
RG
Rin
R1

R2

Fig. 10
Thus, the inherently high input resistance of the FET is preserved in the amplifier
circuit by the inclusion of RG.

5 Practical Implications
It should be borne in mind that when designing an amplifier circuit, the
results of the equations as shown in this chapter give only theoretical
answers. If an amplifier circuit thus analysed is then constructed and
tested, the actual gain figures achieved may well be different to those
predicted. There are a number of reasons for this: the resistors will
have actual values depending upon how close to tolerance they are,
and the transistor parameters cannot be guaranteed to be exactly those
quoted by the manufacturer. Indeed, manufacturers recognise this by
quoting minimum, maximum and typical values for such parameters
as hf. In calculations the typical value is normally used. Thus the
mathematical analysis should be considered as only the first step in the
design process, and component values will then need to be adjusted in
the light of practical tests.

Summary of Equations
BJT amplifier: Current gain, Ai 

hf
1  ho RL

Ai RL
hi
Power gain, Ap  Ai Av

Voltage gain, Av 

FET amplifier: Approx. voltage gain, Av  gmRL


or, more accurately, Av 

gm rds RL
rds  RL

Analysis of Small-signal Transistor Amplifiers

Assignment Questions
1

The h-parameters for the transistor used in the


circuit of Fig. 11 are hfe  250, hie  5 k, and
hoe  40 S.

VCC

3.9 k

56 k

(a) sketch the h-parameter equivalent circuit


and hence, or otherwise,
(b) calculate the amplifier current, voltage
and power gains.
0.2 V V
1
pk-pk

VCC

4.7 k

7.5 k

500

4.7 k

120 k

Fig. 13
V0

0.25 V V1
pk-pk

The parameters for the FET in Fig. 14 are


rds  85 k and gm  4.1 mS.
(a) calculate the amplifier voltage gain, and
(b) the power dissipated in the external 15 k
load.

Fig. 11

VDD  30 V

The circuit of Fig. 11 is now reconnected so that


the transistor is connected in common base
configuration. If the common base parameters
hib and hob are 100  and 20 S respectively,

1.2 M

(a) sketch the equivalent circuit, and

V1

(b) calculate the amplifier current, voltage


and power gains.
3

10 k

56 k

Figure 12 shows a simply biased common


source FET amplifier, where the transistor
parameters are gm  3 mS, and rds  75 k.
Calculate the amplifier voltage gain.

VDD
15 k

15 k

3V
pk-pk

4.7 k

4.7 k

Fig. 14
6

For the two equivalent circuits shown in


Figs. 15(a) and (b), sketch the amplifier circuits
that they represent, showing component
values, and also identify the values for the
transistor parameters in each case.
90 k

120 V1

20 k

5 k

V1
1.2 M

1 M

6.8 k

RS
(a)
i1

Fig. 12

600 82 k
10 k

The transistor of the amplifier circuit shown


in Fig. 13 has the following parameters:
hie  2.5 k, hfe  120, and hoe  100 S.
Sketch the equivalent circuit and determine
the amplifier current and voltage gains, and the
power dissipated in the external 7.5 k load.

50i1
3 k

V1

(b)

Fig. 15

25 k 4.7 k 10 k

77

78

Analysis of Small-signal Transistor Amplifiers

Supplementary Worked Example 1


Q

Calculate the minimum value of hfe required for the transistor in Fig. 16 in order that a power
of 3.5 mW is dissipated in the 10 k load resistor. The values for hie and hoe are 4 k and 50 S
respectively.
VCC
100 k

0.25 V
pk-pk

4.7 k

600

10 k

Fig.16

A
The h-parameter equivalent circuit is shown in Fig. 17. Since RB hie then the
shunting effect of RB will be negligible, and it has therefore been omitted from
the calculation.
hie  4000 ; hoe  50  106 S; Vi  0.25 V pk-pk; Po  3.5  103 W
i1
hfei1

VS

RB
V1 100 k

1/hoe
20 k

hie
4 k

V2

RC
4.7 k

0.25 V
pk-pk

Fig. 17
P0 

V22
watt so V2  P0 RL volt  3.5  103  10 4
RL

V2  5.916 V
V1 

4
hie
 Vs volt pk-pk 
 0.25
4.6
hie  Rs

V1  0.21 7V pk-pk
so, V1 

0.217
7
 76.8mV r.m.s.
2 2

V2
5.916
Voltage gain required, Av  V  0.768
1
Av  77

RL
10 k

Analysis of Small-signal Transistor Amplifiers

Av 
so, hfe 

1/hoe  RL
47
hfe RL
where RL 

 3.2 k 
1 / hoe  RL
14.7
hie (1  hoe RL )
Av {hie (1  hoe RL )} 77{4(1  50  106  3.2  103 )}

3.2
RL

hie  112 Ans

Supplementary Worked Example 2


Q

The FET in the circuit of Fig. 18 has rds 50 k and gm 5 mS. Determine the value of the output
voltage, V2, and the power developed in the 25 k load.

A
rds  50  103 ; gm  5  103 S
VDD  40 V
39 k
100 k

V2

V1
4V
pk-pk

25 k

2 M
2.2 k

Fig. 18
RL 

25  3.9
RD RL
ohm 
 15.2 k 
RD  RL
25  3.9

Now, since rds is NOT RL , then the approximate equation for voltage gain
should not be used, hence
Av 

gmrds RL
1.5  103  50  103  15.2  103

rds  RL
65.2

Av  17.48
Thus, V2  17.48  4 V pk-pk  70 V pk-pk
so, V2  24.75 V Ans
P0 

V22
24.752
watt 
RL
25  103

P0  0.2 mW Ans
Note that had the approximate equation Av  gm RL been used in this case an
error of about 22% would have resulted in the value for Av. This would be an
unacceptably large error.
The approximate form of the equation should be used only when rds is at least
10 times larger than RL .

79

80

Analysis of Small-signal Transistor Amplifiers

Answers to Assignment Questions


1
2
3
4
5

(b) Ai  210; Av  197; Ap  41 370


(b) Ai  0.91; Av  42.8; Ap  39
25.7
Ai  95.5; Av  98.1; Po  6.5 mW
Av  24.6; Po  45.4 mW