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# Op-Amp: reducing the output voltage available to the load.

Real
An Operational Amplifier is basically a three-terminal op-amps have output impedances in the 100-20k
device which consists of two high impedance inputs, range.
one called the Inverting Input, marked with a negative
or minus sign, ( ) and the other one called the Non- Bandwidth, (BW): Infinite An ideal operational
inverting Input, marked with a positive or plus sign amplifier has an infinite frequency response and can
( + ). amplify any frequency signal from DC to the highest AC
frequencies so it is therefore assumed to have an
Voltage Voltage in and Voltage out infinite bandwidth. With real op-amps, the bandwidth is
Current Current in and Current out limited by the Gain-Bandwidth product (GB), which is
Transconductance Voltage in and Current out equal to the frequency where the amplifiers gain
Transresistance Current in and Voltage out becomes unity.

The output voltage signal from an Operational Offset Voltage, (Vio): Zero The amplifiers output
Amplifier is the difference between the signals being will be zero when the voltage difference between the
applied to its two individual inputs. In other words, an inverting and the non-inverting inputs is zero, the same
op-amps output signal is the difference between the or when both inputs are grounded. Real op-amps have
two input signals as the input stage of an Operational some amount of output offset voltage.
Amplifier is in fact a differential amplifier.
From these idealized characteristics above, we
In real amplifiers there is always some variation and can see that the input resistance is infinite, so
the ratio of the change to the output voltage with no current flows into either input terminal (the
regards to the change in the common mode input current rule) and that the differential input
voltage is called the Common Mode Rejection Ratio offset voltage is zero (the voltage rule). It is
or CMRR. important to remember these two properties as
they will help us understand the workings of the
An operational amplifier only responds to the Operational Amplifier with regards to the
difference between the voltages on its two input analysis and design of op-amp circuits.
terminals, known commonly as the Differential Input
Voltage and not to their common potential. Then if the Open-loop Frequency Response Curve:
same voltage potential is applied to both terminals the
resultant output will be zero. An Operational Amplifiers
gain is commonly known as the Open Loop Differential
Gain, and is given the symbol (Ao).

## Open Loop Gain, (Avo): Infinite The main function

of an operational amplifier is to amplify the input signal From this frequency response curve we can see that
and the more open loop gain it has the better. Open- the product of the gain against frequency is constant at
loop gain is the gain of the op-amp without positive or any point along the curve. Also that the unity gain
negative feedback and for such an amplifier the gain (0dB) frequency also determines the gain of the
will be infinite but typical real values range from about amplifier at any point along the curve. This constant is
20,000 to 200,000. generally known as the Gain Bandwidth Product or GBP.
Therefore:
Input impedance, (Zin): Infinite Input impedance is
the ratio of input voltage to input current and is GBP = Gain x Bandwidth = A x BW
assumed to be infinite to prevent any current flowing
from the source supply into the amplifiers input For example, from the graph above the gain of the
circuitry ( Iin = 0 ). Real op-amps have input leakage amplifier at 100kHz is given as 20dB or 10, then the
currents from a few pico-amps to a few milli-amps. gain bandwidth product is calculated as:

## Output impedance, (Zout): Zero The output GBP = A x BW = 10 x 100,000Hz = 1,000,000.

impedance of the ideal operational amplifier is
assumed to be zero acting as a perfect internal voltage Similarly, the operational amplifiers gain at 1kHz =
source with no internal resistance so that it can supply 60dB or 1000, therefore the GBP is given as:
as much current as necessary to the load. This internal
resistance is effectively in series with the load thereby
GBP = A x BW = 1,000 x 1,000Hz = 1,000,000. The
same!.

## In this Inverting Amplifier circuit the operational

amplifier is connected with feedback to produce a
closed loop operation. When dealing with operational
amplifiers there are two very important rules to
An Operational Amplifiers Bandwidth
remember about inverting amplifiers, these are: No
current flows into the input terminal and that
The operational amplifiers bandwidth is the frequency
V1 always equals V2. However, in real world op-
range over which the voltage gain of the amplifier is
amp circuits both of these rules are slightly broken.
above 70.7% or -3dB (where 0dB is the maximum) of
its maximum output value as shown below.
The junction of the input and feedback signal ( X ) is at
the same potential as the positive ( + ) input which is
at zero volts or ground then, the junction is a Virtual
Earth.

Non-Inverting Op-Amp:
Feedback control of the non-inverting operational
amplifier is achieved by applying a small part of the
output voltage signal back to the inverting ( ) input
terminal via a R R2 voltage divider network, again
producing negative feedback. This closed-loop
configuration produces a non-inverting amplifier circuit
with very good stability, a very high input impedance,
Rin approaching infinity, as no current flows into the
positive input terminal, (ideal conditions) and a low
output impedance, Rout as shown below.

Inverting Op-Amp:
Negative Feedback is the process of feeding back a
fraction of the output signal back to the input, but to
make the feedback negative, we must feed it back to
the negative or inverting input terminal of the op-
amp using an external Feedback Resistor called R . This
feedback connection between the output and the
inverting input terminal forces the differential input
voltage towards zero.

## This effect produces a closed loop circuit to the

amplifier resulting in the gain of the amplifier now
being called its Closed-loop Gain.

Summing Amplifier:
If we add more input resistors to the input, each equal
in value to the original input resistor, Rin we end up
with another operational amplifier circuit called a
Summing Amplifier, summing inverter or even a
voltage adder circuit as shown below.

## Digital to Analog convertor:

The Voltage Subtractor Op-amp Circuit:

Differential Amplifier:
Transresistance Amplifier Circuit: All op-amps are Differential Amplifiers due to their
A Transresistance Amplifier also known as a input configuration. But by connecting one voltage
transimpedance amplifier, is basically a current-to- signal onto one input terminal and another voltage
voltage converter (Current in and Voltage out). signal onto the other input terminal the resultant
They can be used in low-power applications to convert output voltage will be proportional to the Difference
a very small current generated by a photo-diode or between the two input voltage signals of V1 and V2.
photo-detecting device etc, into a usable output
voltage which is proportional to the input current as
shown.
If all the resistors are all of the same ohmic value, that
is: R1 = R2 = R3 = R4 then the circuit will become a
Unity Gain Differential Amplifier and the voltage gain of
the amplifier will be exactly one or unity. Then the
output expression would simply be Vout = V2 - V1. Also
note that if input V1 is higher than input V2 the output
voltage sum will be negative, and if V2 is higher than Op-Amp Integrator:
V1, the output voltage sum will be positive. By replacing this feedback resistance with a capacitor
we now have an RC Network connected across the
operational amplifiers feedback path producing
another type of operational amplifier circuit commonly
called an Op-amp Integrator circuit as shown below.

## Wheatstone Bridge Differential Amplifier:

Instrumentation Amplifiers:
Instrumentation Amplifiers (in-amps) are very high gain
differential amplifiers which have a high input As its name implies, the Op-amp Integrator is an
impedance and a single ended output. Instrumentation operational amplifier circuit that performs the
amplifiers are mainly used to amplify very small mathematical operation of Integration, that is we can
differential signals from strain gauges, thermocouples cause the output to respond to changes in the input
or current sensing devices in motor control systems. voltage over time as the op-amp integrator produces
an output voltage which is proportional to the integral
Unlike standard operational amplifiers in which their of the input voltage.
closed-loop gain is determined by an external resistive
feedback connected between their output terminal and As the impedance of the capacitor at this point is very
one input terminal, either positive or negative, low, the gain ratio of Xc/Rin is also very small giving an
instrumentation amplifiers have an internal feedback overall voltage gain of less than one, ( voltage follower
resistor that is effectively isolated from its input circuit ).
terminals as the input signal is applied across two
differential inputs, V1 and V2. As the feedback capacitor, C begins to charge up due
to the influence of the input voltage, its impedance Xc
The instrumentation amplifier also has a very good slowly increase in proportion to its rate of charge. The
common mode rejection ratio, CMRR (zero output when capacitor charges up at a rate determined by the RC
V1 = V2) well in excess of 100dB at DC. A typical time constant, ( ) of the series RC network. Negative
example of a three op-amp instrumentation amplifier feedback forces the op-amp to produce an output
with a high input impedance ( Zin ) is given below: voltage that maintains a virtual earth at the op-amps
inverting input.
Since the capacitor is connected between the op-amps
inverting input (which is at earth potential) and the op-
amps output (which is negative), the potential voltage,
Vc developed across the capacitor slowly increases
causing the charging current to decrease as the
impedance of the capacitor increases. This results in
the ratio of Xc/Rin increasing producing a linearly
increasing ramp output voltage that continues to
increase until the capacitor is fully charged.

## At this point the capacitor acts as an open circuit,

blocking any more flow of DC current. The ratio of
feedback capacitor to input resistor ( Xc/Rin ) is now
infinite resulting in infinite gain. The result of this high
gain (similar to the op-amps open-loop gain), is that
the output of the amplifier goes into saturation as
shown below. (Saturation occurs when the output
voltage of the amplifier swings heavily to one voltage
supply rail or the other with little or no control in
between).

Differentiator Amplifier:
Operational amplifier circuit performs the
mathematical operation of Differentiation, that is it
produces a voltage output which is directly
proportional to the input voltages rate-of-change with
respect to time. In other words the faster or larger the
change to the input voltage signal, the greater the
input current, the greater will be the output voltage
The rate at which the output voltage increases (the change in response, becoming more of a spike in
rate of change) is determined by the value of the shape.
resistor and the capacitor, RC time constant. By
changing this RC time constant value, either by
changing the value of the Capacitor, C or the Resistor,
R, the time in which it takes the output voltage to
reach saturation can also be changed for example.

## At low frequencies the reactance of the capacitor is

High resulting in a low gain ( R/Xc ) and low output
voltage from the op-amp. At higher frequencies the
reactance of the capacitor is much lower resulting in a
higher gain and higher output voltage from the
differentiator amplifier.

## However, at high frequencies an op-amp differentiator

circuit becomes unstable and will start to oscillate. This
is due mainly to the first-order effect, which
determines the frequency response of the op-amp
circuit causing a second-order response which, at high
frequencies gives an output voltage far higher than
what would be expected. To avoid this the high
frequency gain of the circuit needs to be reduced by
adding an additional small value capacitor across the
feedback resistor R.

## The AC Op-amp Integrator with DC Gain Control:

Op-Amp Multivibrator:

## The Op-amp Multivibrator is an astable oscillator circuit

that generates a rectangular output waveform using an
RC timing network connected to the inverting input of
The Op-amp Differentiator circuit in its basic form has the operational amplifier and a voltage divider network
two main disadvantages compared to the previous connected to the other non-inverting input.
operational amplifier integrator circuit. One is that it
suffers from instability at high frequencies as Unlike the monostable or bistable, the astable
mentioned above, and the other is that the capacitive multivibrator has two states, neither of which are
input makes it very susceptible to random noise signals stable as it is constantly switching between these two
and any noise or harmonics present in the source states with the time spent in each state controlled by
circuit will be amplified more than the input signal the charging or discharging of the capacitor through a
itself. This is because the output is proportional to the resistor.
slope of the input voltage so some means of limiting
the bandwidth in order to achieve closed-loop stability In the op-amp multivibrator circuit the op-amp works
is required as an analogue comparator. An op-amp comparator
compares the voltages on its two inputs and gives a
positive or negative output depending on whether the
input is greater or less than some reference value, Vref.

## However, because the open-loop op-amp comparator is

very sensitive to the voltage changes on its inputs, the
output can switch uncontrollably between its positive,
+V(sat) and negative, -V(sat) supply rails whenever the
input voltage being measured is near to the reference
voltage, Vref.

## To eliminate any erratic or uncontrolled switching

operations, the op-amp used in the multivibrator circuit
is configured as a closed-loop Schmitt Trigger circuit.

## The basic single resistor and single capacitor op-amp

differentiator circuit is not widely used to reform the
mathematical function of Differentiation because of the
The op-amp comparator circuit above is configured as
two inherent faults mentioned above, Instability and
a Schmitt trigger that uses positive feedback provided
Noise. So in order to reduce the overall closed-loop
by resistors R1 and R2 to generate hysteresis. As this
gain of the circuit at high frequencies, an extra resistor,
resistive network is connected between the amplifiers
Rin is added to the input as shown below.
output and non-inverting (+) input, when Vout is
saturated at the positive supply rail, a positive voltage
Adding the input resistor Rin limits the differentiators
is applied to the op-amps non-inverting input. Likewise,
increase in gain at a ratio of R/Rin. The circuit now
when Vout is saturated to the negative supply rail, a
acts like a differentiator amplifier at low frequencies
negative voltage is applied to the op-amps non-
and an amplifier with resistive feedback at high
inverting input.
frequencies giving much better noise rejection.
Additional attenuation of higher frequencies is
As the two resistors are configured across the op-amps
accomplished by connecting a capacitor C in parallel
output as a voltage divider network, the reference
with the differentiator feedback resistor, R.
voltage, Vref will therefore be dependant upon the
fraction of output voltage fed back to the non-inverting
input. This feedback fraction, is given as:
By replacing either resistor R1 or R2 with a
potentiometer we could adjust the feedback fraction,
and therefore the reference voltage value at the non-
inverting input to cause the op-amp to change state
anywhere from zero to 90o of each half cycle so long
as the reference voltage, Vref remained below the
maximum amplitude of the input signal.

Op-amp Multivibrator:
We can take this idea of converting a periodic
waveform into a rectangular output one step further by
replacing the sinusoidal input with an RC timing circuit
Where +V(sat) is the positive op-amp DC saturation connected across the op-amps output. This time,
voltage and -V(sat) is the negative op-amp DC instead of a sinusoidal waveform being used to trigger
saturation voltage. the op-amp, we can use the capacitors charging
voltage, Vc to change the output state of the op-amp as
Then we can see that the positive or upper reference shown.
voltage, +Vref (i.e. the maximum positive value for the
voltage at the inverting input) is given as: +Vref =
+V(sat) while the negative or lower reference voltage
(i.e. the maximum negative value for the voltage at the
inverting input) is given as: -Vref = -V(sat).

## So if Vin exceeds +Vref, the op-amp switches state and

the output voltage drops to its negative DC saturation
voltage. Likewise when the input voltage falls below
-Vref, the op-amp switches state once again and the
output voltage will switch from the negative saturation
voltage back to the positive DC saturation voltage. The
amount of built-in hysteresis given by the Schmitt
comparator as it switches between the two saturation
voltages is defined by the difference between the two
trigger reference voltages as: VHYSTERESIS = +Vref -
(-Vref). Firstly lets assume that the capacitor is fully discharged
and the output of the op-amp is saturated at the
Sinusoidal to Rectangular Conversion: positive supply rail. The capacitor, C starts to charge
One of the many uses of a Schmitt trigger comparator, up from the output voltage, Vout through resistor, R at
other than as an op-amp multivibrator, is that we can a rate determined by their RC time constant.
use it to convert any periodic sinusoidal waveform into
a rectangular waveform providing the value of the We know from our tutorials about RC circuits that the
sinusoid is greater than the voltage reference point. capacitor wants to charge up fully to the value of Vout
(which is +V(sat)) within five time constants. However,
In fact the Schmitt comparator will always produce a as soon as the capacitors charging voltage at the op-
rectangular output waveform independent of the input amps inverting (-) terminal is equal to or greater than
signal waveform. In other words, the voltage input the voltage at the non-inverting terminal (the op-amps
does not have to be a sinusoid, it could be any wave output voltage fraction divided between resistors R1
shape or complex waveform. Consider the circuit and R2), the output will change state and be driven to
below. the opposing negative supply rail.

## But the capacitor, which has been happily charging

towards the positive supply rail (+V(sat)), now sees a
negative voltage, -V(sat) across its plates. This sudden
reversal of the output voltage causes the capacitor to
discharge toward the new value of Vout at a rate
dictated again by their RC time constant.

## As the input waveform will be periodical and have an

amplitude sufficiently greater than its reference
voltage, Vref, the output rectangular waveform will
always have the same period, T and therefore
frequency, as the input waveform.
Once the op-amps inverting terminal reaches the new
negative reference voltage, -Vref at the non-inverting
terminal, the op-amp once again changes state and the
output is driven to the opposing supply rail voltage,
+V(sat). The capacitor now sees a positive voltage
across its plates and the charging cycle begins again.
Thus, the capacitor is constantly charging and
discharging creating an astable op-amp multivibrator
output.

## The period of the output waveform is determined by

the RC time constant of the two timing components
and the feedback ratio established by the R1, R2
voltage divider network which sets the reference By adjusting the central potentiometer between 1 and
voltage level. If the positive and negative values of the 2 the output frequency will change by the following
amplifiers saturation voltage have the same amounts.
magnitude, then t1 = t2 and the expression to give the
period of oscillation becomes:

## Then we can see from the above equation that the

frequency of oscillation for an Op-amp Multivibrator
circuit not only depends upon the RC time constant but
also upon the feedback fraction. However, if we used
resistor values that gave a feedback fraction of 0.462,
( = 0.462), then the frequency of oscillation of the
circuit would be equal to just 1/2RC as shown because
the linear log term becomes equal to one.

Op-Amp Monostable:
Op-amp Monostable Multivibrator (one-shot
multivibrator) circuits are positive-feedback (or
regenerative) switching circuits that have only one
stable state, producing an output pulse of a specified
duration T. An external trigger signal is applied for it to
change state and after a set period of time, either in
microseconds, milliseconds or seconds, a time period
which is determined by RC components, the
monostable circuit then returns back to its original
stable state were it remains until the next trigger input
signal arrives.

## The basic monostable multivibrator block diagram is

given as:
Variable Op-amp Multivibrator:
diodes forward voltage drop. We can show this effect
graphically as:

## Then we can see that a negative-going trigger input,

will switch the op-amp monostable circuit into its
temporary unstable state. After a time delay, T while
the capacitor, C charges up through the feedback
resistor, R, the circuit switches back to its normal
stable state once the capacitor voltage reaches the
required potential.
At initial power on (that is t = 0), the output (V OUT) will
saturate towards either the positive rail, (+V cc) or to This time delay period (T) of the rectangular pulse at
the negative rail, -Vcc, since these are the only two the output, the unstable state time, is given as:
stable states allowed by the op-amp. Lets assume for
now that the output has swung towards the positive
supply rail, +Vcc. Then the voltage at the non-inverting
input, VB will be equal to +Vcc. where is the
feedback fraction.

The inverting input is held at 0.7 volts, the forward volt If the two operational amplifiers feedback resistors are
drop of diode, D1 and clamped to 0v (ground) by the of the same value, that is: R1 = R2, then the above
diode, preventing it from going any more positive. Thus equation simplifies down too:
the potential at VA is much less than that at V B and the
output remains stable at +Vcc. At the same time, the
capacitor, (C) charges up to the same 0.7 volts
potential and is held there by the forward-biased The charging recovery time is given as:
voltage drop of the diode.

## If we were to apply a negative pulse to the non-

inverting input, the 0.7v voltage at VA now becomes
greater than the voltage at V B since VB is now negative.
Thus the output of the Schmitt configured op-amp
switches state and saturates towards the negative In order to ensure that the op-amp monostable circuit
supply rail, -Vcc. The result is that the potential at V B is has a good negative trigger signal which starts the
now equal to -Vcc.. timing period on the leading edge of the negative
going pulse, and also to stop any false triggering of the
This temporary meta-stable state causes the capacitor circuit when it is in its stable state, we can add a RC
to charge up exponentially in the opposite direction differentiating circuit to the input.
through the feedback resistor, R from +0.7 volts down
to the saturated output which it has just switched too, A differentiator circuit is useful in producing a negative
-Vcc. Diode, D1 becomes reverse-biased so has no output spike from a square or rectangular input
effect. The capacitor, C will discharge at a time waveform. The sharp and abrupt reduction of the
constant = RC. comparators threshold voltage below its feedback
fraction, value drives the op-amp monostable into its
As soon as the capacitor voltage at V A reaches the timing period. A differentiator circuit is formed using a
same potential as VB, that is -Vcc., the op-amp resistor-capacitor (RC network as shown).
switches back to its original permanent stable state
with the output saturated once again at +Vcc.

## Note that once the timing period is complete and the

RC Differentiator circuit:
op-amps output changes back to its stable state and
saturates towards the positive supply rail, the capacitor
tries to charge up in reverse to +V cc but can only
charge to a maximum value of 0.7v given by the
The differentiator circuit above uses another resistor-
capacitor (RC) network whose output voltage is the
derivative of the input voltage, with respect to time.
When the input voltage changes from 0 to -Vcc, the
capacitor begins to charge exponentially. Since the
capacitor voltage, Vc is initially zero, the differentiator
output voltage suddenly jumps from 0 to -Vcc 2. Capacitor recovery time:
producing a negative spike and then decays
exponentially as the capacitor charges up.

## Generally for a RC differentiator circuit, the peak value

of the negative spike is approximately equal to the
magnitude of the trigger waveform. Also, as a general
rule-of-thumb, for an RC differentiator circuit to
produce good sharp narrow spikes, the time constant, (
) should be at least ten times smaller than the input
pulse width. So for example, if the input pulse width is
10 ms, then the 5RC time constant should be less than
1 ms (10%).
The advantage of using a differentiator circuit is that
any constant DC voltage or slowly varying signal will be
blocked allowing only rapidly varying trigger pulses to
3. Total time between trigger pulses:
initiate the monostable timing period. Diode, D ensures
that the trigger pulse arriving at the op-amps non-
inverting input is always negative.

## Adding the RC differential circuit to the basic op-amp

monostable gives:

## 4. The input pulse is given as 10ms, therefore the

negative spike duration will be 1ms (10%). If we
assume a capacitance value of 0.1uF, then the
differentiator RC values are calculated as :

Example:
An op-amp monostable circuit is constructed using the
following components. R1 = 30k, R2 = 30k, R =
150k and C = 1.0uF. If the op-amp monostable is
supplied from a 12V supply and the timing period is
initiated with a 10ms pulse.

## Calculate the circuits timing period, capacitor recovery

time, total time between trigger pulses and the
differentiator network values. Draw the completed
circuit.

## Data given: R1 = R2 = 30k, R = 150k, C = 1.0uF

and pulse width equals ten milliseconds, (10ms).

1. Timing Period, T:
Op-Amp comparator:
Voltage comparators on the other hand, either use
positive feedback or no feedback at all (open-loop
mode) to switch its output between two saturated
states, because in the open-loop mode the amplifiers
voltage gain is basically equal to A.V O. Then due to this
high open loop gain, the output from the comparator
swings either fully to its positive supply rail, +V cc or
fully to its negative supply rail, -V cc on the application Non-inverting Comparator circuit:
of varying input signal which passes some preset
threshold value.

## The open-loop op-amp comparator is an analogue

circuit that operates in its non-linear region as changes
in the two analogue inputs, V+ and V- causes it to
behave like a digital bistable device as triggering
causes it to have two possible output states, +V cc or
-Vcc. Then we can say that the voltage comparator is
essentially a 1-bit analogue to digital converter, as the
input signal is analogue but the output behaves
digitally.

## Window comparator circuit:

Comparator voltage level detector: the Lower Upper Trip Point (UTP) and the other being
called the Lower Trip Point (LTP). The difference
between these two trip points is called Hysteresis.

Hysteresis:

## We have seen here that operational amplifiers can be

configured to operate as comparators in their open-
loop mode, and this is fine if the input signal varies Example:
rapidly or is not too noisy. However if the input signal, An operational amplifier is to be used with positive
VIN is slow to change or electrical noise is present, then feedback to produce a Schmitt trigger circuit. If
the op-amp comparator may oscillate switching its resistor, R1 = 10k and resistor, R2 = 90k, what will
output back and forth between the two saturation be the values of the upper and lower switching points
states, +Vcc and -Vcc as the input signal hovers around of the reference voltage and the width of the hysteresis
the reference voltage, VREF level. One way to if the op-amp is connected to a dual 10v power
overcome this problem and to avoid the op-amp from supply.
oscillating is to provide positive feedback around the
comparator. Given: R1 = 10k, R2 = 90k. Power supply +V cc =
10v and -Vcc = 10v.
As its name implies, positive feedback is a technique
for feeding back a part or fraction of the output signal Feedback Fraction:
that is in phase to the non-inverting input of the op-
amp via a potential divider set up by two resistors with
the amount of feedback being proportional to their
ratio.

The use of positive feedback around an op-amp Upper Voltage Trip Point, VUTP:
comparator means that once the output is triggered
into saturation at either level, there must be a
significant change to the input signal VIN before the
output switches back to the original saturation point.
This difference between the two switching points is
called hysteresis producing what is commonly called a
Schmitt trigger circuit. Consider the inverting Lower Voltage Trip Point, VLTP:
comparator circuit below.

## We can see that when the output changes state, the

reference voltage at the non-inverting input also
changes creating two different reference voltage
values and two different switching points. One called