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A filter is a frequency selective circuit that, passes a specified band of frequencies and blocks or
attenuates signals of frequencies out side this band. Filter may be classified on a number of ways.

1. Analog or digital
2. Passive or active
3. Audio or radio frequency

Analog filters are designed to process only signals while digital filters process analog signals
using digital technique. Depending on the type of elements used in their consideration, filters
may be classified as passive or active.

Elements used in passive filters are resistors, capacitors and inductors. Active filters, on the other
hand, employ transistors or OPAMPs, in addition to the resistor and capacitors. Depending upon
the elements the frequency range is decided.

RC filters are used for audio or low frequency operation. LC filters are employed at RF or high

The most commonly used filters are these:

1. Low pass filters

2. High pass filter
3. Band pass filter
4. Band reject filter.
5. All pass filter

Fig. 1, shows the frequency response characteristics of the five types of filter. The ideal response
is shown by dashed line. While the solid lines indicates the practical filter response.
Fig. 1

A low pass filter has a constant gain from 0 Hz to a high cutoff frequency fH. Therefore, the
bandwidth is fH. At fH the gain is down by 3db. After that the gain decreases as frequency
increases. The frequency range 0 to fH Hz is called pass band and beyond fH is called stop band.

Similarly, a high pass filter has a constant gain from very high frequency to a low cutoff
frequency fL. below fL the gain decreases as frequency decreases. At fL the gain is down by 3db.
The frequency range fL Hz to is called pass band and bleow fL is called stop band.
First Order Low Pass Filter:

Fig. 2, shows a first order low pass Butter-worth filter that uses an RC network for filtering,
opamp is used in non-inverting configuration, R1 and Rf decides the gain of the filter.

According to voltage divider rule, the voltage at the non-inverting terminal is:
Fig. 2

Thus the low pass filter has a nearly constant gain Af from 0 Hz to high cut off frequency fH. At
fH the gain is 0.707 Af and after fH it decreases at a constant rate with an increases in frequency. fH
is called cutoff frequency because the gain of filter at this frequency is reduced by 3dB from

Filter Design:

A low pass filter can be designed using the following steps:

1. Choose a value of high cutoff frequency fH.

2. Select a value of C less than or equal to 1 F.
3. Calculate the value of R using .

4. Finally, select values of R1 and RF to set the desired gain using .

Example - 1

Design a low pass filter at a cutoff frequency of 1 kH z with a pass band gain of 2.


Given fH = 1 kHz. Let C = 0.01 F.

Therefore, R can be obtained as

A 20 k potentiometer can be used to set the resistance R.

Since the pass band gain is 2, R1 and RF must be equal. Let R1 = R2 = 10 k.

Low pass filter with adjustable corner frequency

One advantage of active filter is that it is often quite simple to vary parameter values. As an
example, a first-order low-pass filter with adjustable corner frequency is shown in fig. 3.

Fig. 3

The voltage at the opamp inputs are given by

Setting v + = v -, we obtain the voltage, v1, as follows:


The second opamp acts as an inverting integrator, and

Note that we use upper case letters for the voltages since these are functions of s. K is the
fraction of V1 sent to the integrator. That is, it is the potentiometer ratio, which is a number
between 0 and 1.

The transfer function is given by

The dc gain is found by setting s = 0 (i.e., j =0)

The corner frequency is at KA2 / RC. Thus, the frequency is adjustable and is proportional to K.
Without use of the opamp, we would normally have a corner frequency which is inversely
propostional to the resistor value. With a frequency proportional to K, we can use a linear taper
potentiometer. The frequency is then linearly proportional to the setting of the potentiometer.

Example - 2

Design a first order adjustable low-pass filter with a dc gain of 10 and a corner frequency
adjustable from near 0 t0 1 KHz.


There are six unknowns in this problems (RA, RF, R1, R2, R and C) and only three equations
(gain, frequency and bias balance). This leaves three parameters open to choice. Suppose we
choose the following values:

C = 0.1 F
R = 10 K
R1 = 10K

The ratio of R2 to R1 is the dc gain, so with a given value of R1 = 10K, R2 must be 100 k. We
solve for A1 and A2 in the order to find the ratio, RF / RA.
The maximum corner frequency occurs at K = 1, so this frequency is set to 2 x 1000. Since R
and C are known, we find A2 = 6.28. Since A2 and A1 are related by the dc gain, we determine
A1 / A2 = 10 and A1 = 62.8. Now, substituting the expression for A2, we find

and since

we find RF / RA = 68. RA is chosen to achieve bias balance. The impedance attached to the non-
inverting input is 10 K || 100 K = 10 K.

Fig. 4

If we assume that RF is large compared with RA ( we can check this assumption after solving for
these resistors), the parallel combination will be close to the value of RA. We therefore can
choose RA = 10 K. With this choice of RA, RF is found to be 680K and bias balance is
achieved. The complete filter is shwn in fig. 4.

Second Order Low-Pass Butterworth filter:

A stop-band response having a 40-dB/decade at the cut-off frequency is obtained with the
second-order low-pass filter. A first order low-pass filter can be converted into a second-order
low-pass filter by using an additional RC network as shown in fig. 1.
Fig. 1 Fig. 2

The gain of the second order filter is set by R1 and RF, while the high cut-ff frequency fH is
determined by R2, C2, R3 and C3 as follows:

Furthermore, for a second-order low pass Butterworth response, the voltage gain magnitude is
given by


Except for having the different cut off frequency, the frequency response of the second order low
pass filter is identical to that of the first order type as shown in fig. 2.

Filter Design:

The design steps of the second order filter are identical to those of the first order filter as given

1. Choose a value of high cutoff frequency fH.

2. To simplify the design calculations, set R2 = R3 = R and C2 = C3 = C. Then choose
a value of C less than 1 F.

3. Calculate the value of R using .

4. Finally, because of the equal resistor (R2 = R3) and capacitor (C2 = C3) values, the
pass band voltage gain AF has to be equal to 1.586. This gain is necessary to
guarantee Butterworth response. Therefore, RF = 0.586 R1. Hence choose a value
of R1= 100 k and calculate the value of RF.
First Order High Pass Butterworth filter:

Fig. 3, shows the circuit of first order high pass filter.This is formed by interchanging R and C in
low pass filter.

The lower cut off frequency is fL. This is the frequency at which the magnitude of the gain is
0.707 times its pass band value. All frequencies higher than fL are pass band frequencies with the
highest frequency determined by the closed loop bandwidth of the OPAMP.

The magnitude of the gain of the filter is

Fig. 3