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NATIONAL COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND

TECHNOLOGY
Amafel Building, Aguinaldo Highway Dasmarias City, Cavite

Experiment No. 3
ACTIVE LOW-PASS and HIGH-PASS FILTERS

Cauan, Sarah Krystelle P.


2011
Signal Spectra and Signal Processing/BSECE 41A1

Engr. Grace Ramones

July 14,
Score:

Instructor

OBJECTIVES:

Plot the gain-frequency response and determine the cutoff frequency of

a second-order (two-pole) low-pass active filter.


Plot the gain-frequency response and determine the cutoff frequency of

a second-order (two-pole) high-pass active filter.


Determine the roll-off in dB per decade for a second-order (two-pole)

filter.
Plot the phase-frequency response of a second-order (two-pole) filter.

SAMPLE COMPUTATIONS:
Step 3 Computation of voltage gain based on measured value:
AdB = 20 log A
4.006 = 20 log A
10

4.006
20

= A=1.586

Step 4 Computation of voltage gain based on circuit:


A v =1+

R1
5.86 k
=1+
=1.586
R2
10 k

Q in Step 4 Percentage Difference

|1.5861.586
|x 100=0
1.586

difference=

Step 6 Computation of cutoff frequency:


f c=

1
1
=
=5.305 kHz
2 RC 2 ( 30 k ) ( 0.001 F )

Q in Step 6 Percentage Difference


kHz
|5.321 kHz5.305
|x 100=0.30
5.321 kHz

%difference=

Q in Step 7 Roll Off


-36.146 dB 0.968 dB = -37.106 dB

Step 14 Calculated the actual voltage gain (A) from the dB gain

10

3.776
20

=A

A = 1.54
Step 15 Computation of expected voltage gain based on circuit:
A v =1+

R1
5.86 k
=1+
=1.586
R2
10 k

Q in Step 15 Computation of percentage difference:

|1.541.586
|x 100=2.98
1.54

difference=

Step 17 Computation of expected cutoff frequency:


f c=

1
1
=
=5.305 kHz
2 RC 2 ( 30 k ) ( 0.001 F )

Q in Step 17 Computation of percentage difference:

|5.1565.307
|x 100=2.87
5.156

difference=

Q in Step 18 Roll Off


-36.489 dB 0.741 dB = -37.23 dB

DATA SHEET:
MATERIALS
One function generator
One dual-trace oscilloscope
One LM741 op-amp
Capacitors: two 0.001 F, one 1 pF
Resistors: one 1k, one 5.86 k, two 10k, two 30 k
THEORY
In electronic communications systems, it is often necessary to separate
a specific range of frequencies from the total frequency spectrum. This is
normally accomplished with filters. A filter is a circuit that passes a specific
range of frequencies while rejecting other frequencies. Active filters use
active devices such as op-amps combined with passive elements. Active
filters have several advantages over passive filters. The passive elements
provide frequency selectivity and the active devices provide voltage gain,
high input impedance, and low output impedance. The voltage gain reduces
attenuation of the signal by the filter, the high input prevents excessive
loading of the source, and the low output impedance prevents the filter from
being affected by the load. Active filters are also easy to adjust over a wide
frequency range without altering the desired response. The weakness of
active filters is the upper-frequency limit due to the limited open-loop
bandwidth (funity) of op-amps. The filter cutoff frequency cannot exceed the
unity-gain frequency (funity) of the op-amp. Ideally, a high-pass filter should
pass all frequencies above the cutoff frequency (f c). Because op-amps have a
limited open-loop bandwidth (unity-gain frequency, f unity), high-pass active
filters have an upper-frequency limit on the high-pass response, making it
appear as a band-pass filter with a very wide bandwidth. Therefore, active
filters must be used in applications where the unity-gain frequency (f unity) of
the op-amp is high enough so that it does not fall within the frequency range
of the application. For this reason, active filters are mostly used in lowfrequency applications.
The most common way to describe the frequency response
characteristics of a filter is to plot the filter voltage gain (V o/Vin) in dB as a
function of frequency (f). The frequency at which the output power gain
drops to 50% of the maximum value is called the cutoff frequency (f c). When
the output power gain drops to 50%, the voltage gain drops 3 dB (0.707 of
the maximum value). When the filter dB voltage gain is plotted as a function
of frequency using straight lines to approximate the actual frequency
response, it is called a Bode plot. A Bode plot is an ideal plot of filter
frequency response because it assumes that the voltage gain remains
constant in the passband until the cutoff frequency is reached, and then

drops in a straight line. The filter network voltage gain in dB is calculated


from the actual voltage gain (A) using the equation
AdB = 20 log A
where A = Vo/Vin.
An ideal filter has an instantaneous roll-off at the cutoff frequency (f c),
with full signal level on one side of the cutoff frequency. Although the ideal is
not achievable, actual filters roll-off at -20 dB/decade or higher depending on
the type of filter. The -20 dB/decade roll-off is obtained with a one-pole filter
(one R-C circuit). A two-pole filter has two R-C circuits tuned to the same
cutoff frequency and rolls off at -40 dB/decade. Each additional pole (R-C
circuit) will cause the filter to roll off an additional -20 dB/decade. In a onepole filter, the phase between the input and the output will change by 90
degrees over the frequency range and be 45 degrees at the cutoff frequency.
In a two-pole filter, the phase will change by 180 degrees over the frequency
range and be 90 degrees at the cutoff frequency.
Three basic types of response characteristics that can be realized with
most active filters are Butterworth, Chebyshev, and Bessel, depending on the
selection of certain filter component values. The Butterworth filter provides a
flat amplitude response in the passband and a roll-off of -20 dB/decade/pole
with a nonlinear phase response. Because of the nonlinear phase response, a
pulse wave shape applied to the input of a Butterworth filter will have an
overshoot on the output. Filters with a Butterworth response are normally
used in applications where all frequencies in the passband must have the
same gain. The Chebyshev filter provides a ripple amplitude response in the
passband and a roll-off better than -20 dB/decade/pole with a less linear
phase response than the Butterworth filter. Filters with a Chebyshev
response are most useful when a rapid roll-off is required. The Bessel filter
provides a flat amplitude response in the passband and a roll-off of less than
-20 dB/decade/pole with a linear phase response. Because of its linear phase
response, the Bessel filter produces almost no overshoot on the output with
a pulse input. For this reason, filters with a Bessel response are the most
effective for filtering pulse waveforms without distorting the wave shape.
Because of its maximally flat response in the passband, the Butterworth filter
is the most widely used active filter.
A second-order (two-pole) active low-pass Butterworth filter is shown in
Figure 3-1. Because it is a two-pole (two R-C circuits) low-pass filter, the
output will roll-off -40 dB/decade at frequencies above the cutoff frequency. A
second-order (two-pole) active high-pass Butterworth filter is shown in Figure
3-2. Because it is a two-pole (two R-C circuits) high-pass filter, the output will
roll-off -40 dB/decade at frequencies below the cutoff frequency. These two-

pole Sallen-Key Butterworth filters require a passband voltage gain of 1.586


to produce the Butterworth response. Therefore,
1+ RR =1.586
A v =
1
2

and
R1
=0.586
R2
At the cutoff frequency of both filters, the capacitive reactance of each
capacitor (C) is equal to the resistance of each resistor (R), causing the
output voltage to be 0.707 times the input voltage (-3 dB). The expected
cutoff frequency (fc), based on the circuit component values, can be
calculated from
X c =R

1
=R
2fcC

wherein,

f c=

1
2 RC

FIGURE 3 1

Second-order (2-pole) Sallen-Key Low-Pass Butterworth


Filter

FIGURE 3 2

Second-order (2-pole) Sallen-Key High-Pass Butterworth


Filter

PROCEDURE
Low-Pass Active Filter
Step 1

Open circuit file FIG 3-1. Make sure that the following Bode plotter
settings are selected: Magnitude, Vertical (Log, F = 10dB, I = -40dB),
Horizontal (Log, F = 100 kHz, I = 100 Hz).

Step 2

Run the simulation. Notice that the voltage gain has been plotted
between the frequencies of 100 Hz and 100 kHz by the Bode plotter.
Draw the curve plot in the space provided. Next, move the cursor to
the flat part of the curve at a frequency of approximately 100 Hz and
measure the voltage gain in dB. Record the dB gain on the curve
plot.
AdB

dB gain = 4.006 dB
Question:
why.

Is the frequency response curve that of a low-pass filter? Explain


The response curve shown above is a low-pass filter response.
I said so because low-pass filter only allows the frequencies
below the cutoff frequency and block the frequencies above
the cutoff frequency.

Step 3
gain.

Calculate the actual voltage gain (A) from the measured dB


A = 1.586

Step 4

Based on the circuit component values in Figure 3-1, calculate the


expected voltage gain (A) on the flat part of the curve for the lowpass Butterworth filter.
A = 1.586

Question:

How did the measured voltage gain in Step 3 compared with the
calculated voltage gain in Step 4?
There is no difference between the measured voltage gain and
the calculated voltage gain.

Step 5

Move the cursor as close as possible to a point on the curve that is


3dB down from the dB gain at the low frequencies. Record the dB
gain and the frequency (cutoff frequency, fc) on the curve plot.
dB gain= 0.968 dB
fc = 5.321 kHz

Step 6

Calculate the expected cutoff frequency (fc) based on the circuit


component values.
fc = 5.305 kHz

Question:

How did the calculated value for the cutoff frequency compare with
the measured value recorded on the curve plot for the two-pole lowpass active filter
The difference between the calculated cutoff frequency and
the measured value has 0.30%. They are almost equal.

Step 7

Move the cursor to a point on the curve where the frequency is as


close as possible to ten times fc. Record the dB gain and frequency
(fc) on the curve plot.

dB gain = -36.146 dB
fc = 53.214 kHz

Questions: Approximately how much did the dB gain decrease for a one-decade
increase in frequency? Was this what you expected for a two-pole
filter?
The dB gain decrease approximately 37.106 dB for a onedecade increase in frequency I am expecting 40 dB decrease
per decade increase in frequency.
Step 8

Click Phase on the Bode plotter to plot the phase curve. Change the
vertical axis initial value (I) to 180 degrees and the final value (F) to
0 degree. Run the simulation again. You are looking at the phase
difference () between the filter input and output wave shapes as a
function of frequency (f). Draw the curve plot in the space provided.

Step 9

Move the cursor as close as possible on the curve to the cutoff


frequency (fc). Record the frequency (fc) and phase () on the curve.
fc = 5.321 kHz
= -90.941

Question:

Was the phase shift between input and output at the cutoff
frequency what you expected for a two-pole low-pass filter?

Phase shift between input and output at the cutoff frequency is


what I expected because the phase at cutoff frequency is 90o
Step 10
Click Magnitude on the plotter. Change R to 1 k in both places and
C to 1 pF in both places. Adjust the horizontal final frequency (F) on the Bode
plotter to 20 MHz. Run the simulation. Measure the cutoff frequency (fc) and
record your answer.
fc = 631.367 kHz
Step 11

Based on the new values for resistor R and capacitor C, calculate the
new cutoff frequency (fc).
fc = 159.1549 MHz

Question: Explain why there was such a large difference between the
calculated and the measured values of the cutoff frequency when R = 1k and C
= 1pF. Hint: The value of the unity-gain bandwidth, f unity, for the 741 op-amp is
approximately 1 MHz.
There is a large difference between the calculated and
measured value because the cutoff frequency exceed the
unity-gain frequency of the op-amp. And op-amp has a limited
open-loop bandwidth that causes the active filter to have an
upper-frequency limit.

High-Pass Active Filter


Step 12

Step 13

Open circuit file FIG 3-2. Make sure that the following Bode plotter
settings are selected: Magnitude, Vertical (Log, F = 10dB, I = -40dB),
Horizontal (Log, F = 100 kHz, I = 100 Hz).
Run the simulation. Notice that the voltage gain has been plotted
between the frequencies of 100 Hz and 100 kHz by the Bode plotter.
Draw the curve plot in the space provided. Next, move the cursor to
the flat part of the curve at a frequency of approximately 100 kHz
and measure the voltage gain in dB. Record the dB gain on the curve
plot.
AdB

dB gain = 3.776 dB
Question:
why.

Is the frequency response curve that of a high-pass filter? Explain


The response curve shown above is a high-pass filter response.
I said so because high-pass filter only allows the frequencies
above the cutoff frequency and block the frequencies below
the cutoff frequency.

Step 14

Calculate the actual voltage gain (A) from the measured dB gain.

A = 1.54
Step 15

Based on the circuit component values in Figure 3-2, calculate the


expected voltage gain (A) on the flat part of the curve for the high
-pass Butterworth filter.
Av = 1.586

Question:

How did the measured voltage gain in Step 14 compare with the
calculated voltage gain in Step 15?
The measured voltage gain and the calculated voltage gain
has a percentage difference of 2.98%. Yet, it is still
approximately the equal.

Step 16

Move the cursor as close as possible to a point on the curve that is


3dB down from the dB gain at the high frequencies. Record the dB
gain and the frequency (cutoff frequency, fc) on the curve plot.
dB gain = 0.741 dB

Step 17

fc = 5.156 kHz

Calculate the expected cutoff frequency (fc) based on the circuit


component values.
fc = 5.305 kHz

Question:

How did the calculated value of the cutoff frequency compare with
the measured value recorded on the curve plot for the two-pole lowpass active filter?
They are almost equal. The percentage difference between the
calculated and measured value is 2.89%

Step 18

Move the cursor to a point on the curve where the frequency is as


close as possible to one-tenth fc. Record the dB gain and frequency
(fc) on the curve plot.
dB gain = -36.489 dB
fc = 515.619 Hz

Questions: Approximately how much did the dB gain decrease for a one-decade
decrease in frequency? Was this what you expected for a two-pole
filter?
It decreases 37.23 dB per decade. It is approximate -40 dB per
decade so it was what I am expecting.

Step 19

Change the horizontal axis final setting (F) to 50 MHz on the Bode
plotter. Run the simulation. Draw the curve plot in the space
provided.

AdB

Step 20
Measure the upper cutoff frequency (fc2) and record the value on the
curve plot.
fc2 = 92.595 kHz
Question:

Explain why the filter frequency response looked like a band-pass


response when frequencies above 1 MHz were plotted. Hint: The
value of the unity-gain bandwidth, funity, for the 741 op-amp is
approximately 1 MHz
The filter frequency response appears like a band-pass filter
because the cutoff frequency exceeds the unity-gain frequency

of the active filter. The active filters have an upper frequency


limit on the high-pass response.

CONCLUSION
After performing the experiment, I conclude that active filter uses
op-amps and other passive elements. This filter has several advantages
over the passive filter such as providing a frequency selectivity, voltage
gain, high input impedance, and low output impedance.

However, the

weakness of this kind of filter is having an upper-frequency limit because


of the limited open-loop funity of the op-amp.
I also notice that the frequency response curve of passive and active
filters appear the same except in high-pass response. In high-pass
response, the frequency looked like a band-pass filter because of the f unity
of the op-amp.
I also notice that two-pole filter which has two R-C circuits rolls-off at
approximately -40 dB per decade. Furthermore, this filter has a phase
frequency response of 90 degrees at the cutoff frequency and 180 degrees
over the frequency range.
Lastly, the circuit we have performed is a Butterworth filter because
it has a passband voltage gain of 1.586. That is why the curve has a flat
amplitude response in the passband and then rolls-off at approximately
-40dB per decade.