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# 2 March

Nonlinear Distortion in Feedback Amplifiers*
CHARLES A. DESOERt, SENIOR MEMBER, IRE

Summary-Consider a feedback amplifier F with a nonlinear
output device To and an open-loop amplifier A having the same
gain and the same output device To. If the gains of the forward
amplifier p and feedback network e are independent of frequency,
it is well known that under the usual conditions the nonlinear Fig. l-Schematic representation of the open-loop amplifier A: the
distortion [ of F due to To is related to the nonlinear distortion t box y is the linear part of A and has gain y; the box labelled
To is the memoryless nonlinearity.
of A by ( = i/(1 + ~6). In this paper conditions are determined
under which a similar formula, namely 3 = (1 + @)-I*, appliks
when 0 and @ are strictly stable linear time-invariant amplifiers.
The interpretation of the formula is the following: [ is the function
of time which is output of an amplifier whose gain is l/(1 f &J)
when t is its input, and i is the nonlinear distortion of the open-loop
amplifier A.

I. INTRODUCTION AND ELEMENTARY APPROACH
Fig. 2Schematic representation of the closed loop amplifier F: p
UPPOSE we wish to build an amplifier with gain y and 6 are linear amplifiers, and the box TO is the memoryless
nonlinearity.
using as an output device a specified transistor To.
s This choice specifies the peak value of the output
voltage v,; to be specific, assume that v,, is restricted to As a result of our assumption that ~1and p are independent
the range (- V,, V,). In most practical cases, the signals of frequency (i.e., neglecting the dynamics of the problem
in all but the last transistor To are very small so that only and the stability problem) the output (when E # 0)
T,, contributes to the nonlinear distortion. Suppose that could be calculated as follows: let the output be called
over the, range (-V, + V,) the nonlinearity of T, may x + c, where z is the output that would exist if E = O,i.e.,
be described by the memoryless nonlinear characteristic if the transistor To were linear. Clearly, from (3),
which, after appropriate normalizations, may be written as
z = yx. (4)
vo = v,, + e(v,,)“. (1) The equation satisfied by [ is
Usually E is negative and m = 3. We shall assume that m
is an odd integer. Let us assume that the gain y is inde-
P[X - P@+ !?)I + emu - P(z + S>lI” = 2 + I- (5)
pendent of frequency. For the open-loop amplifier A In this equation, E, I.Land p are constant multipliers; x,
shown in Fig. 1, its output v,, due to an input x is z and { are functions of time; and m is an odd integer.
From the definition of x we have
vo = yx + &x)m. (2)
p(x - pz> = 2. (6)
Observe that in (2), 5 and v, are functions of time since
they are the input signal and the output voltage, re- Hence, using the fact that p and p are constant multipliers,
spectively; Eand y are constant multipliers. In other words, we have, after simplifications,
(2) is an algebraic equation in x when vo, e and y are
42 - PP!T = (1 + P*p)!r. (7)
specified.
Suppose now we build a feedback amplifier F made up Clearly, if E is sufficiently small, p/3{ will be much smaller
of a forward amplifier of gain ~1and feedback network of than z for all t, and we can solve (7) by iteration;’ thus,
gain p (See Fig. 2.) Suppose again that we use To as the first approximation is
output transistor and that the output voltage must be in
the same range (-V,, + V,) as is the previous case.
We assume also that ~1and p are constant multipliers.
In order to have the same gain y as in the previous case Consequently, the output of the feedback amplifier is
when E = 0, we must have
z+eYs+l+pp -.4Y4 ln (8)
(3)
Comparing (8) with (2), we may declare in unison with
many authors [2]-[5] that “feedback reduces the nonlinear
distortion: the nonlinear distortion due to the output
* Received by the PGCT, August 7,. 1961. This research was
supported by the Natl. Science Foundation under Grant G-15965.
t Dept. of Electrical Engineering, University of California, 1 We could also express t as a power series in E by the use of
Berkeley, Calif. Lagrange’s formula (see Edwards [l]).

u. as in (5).T)X(T) do for . i. but Similarly.4 +CO For convenience.03 < t < m. a more basic and less sophomoric approach is boring points of E. the output would be x + {. but this assumption is not neces. were not unique.“. soon all kinds of questions arise: the assumption that p and p/3 are independent of frequency is highly unrealistic and prevents the consideration of all the important problems llall=~~~lb(r)ld~< “. This assumption assert. the linear operators pL:0. if in the system functions of time defined for . what of assumption (3) and therefore they are continuous linear then? operators:3 they map neighboring points of E into neigh- Clearly. p. by 2”. the points is the input to P.T)?J<(T)dr for . 4 It is an interesting exercise for the reader to write (5) using the’convolution notation as in (10) rather than the operator notation 2 See Kolmogorov and Fomin [S]. With these interpretations in mind. on the one hand. gain shaping.continuous output y there is a unique bounded continuous sary for this derivation. They may be considered as points in a Banach space E shown on Fig. respectively.e. etc. now if x(t) is a sine wave of frequency wi. A first attempt in this direction already exists In this new interpretation px is. it is desirable to slightly modify (5). 97. This assumption is 3) ~1. y are bounded as a result a sum of three sine waves of different frequencies. More Fig. If we suppose p and p/3 do depend on w. REINTERPRETATION OF THE DERIVATION each t by 0F THE FUNDAMENTAL EQUATION (5) The derivation leading to (5) may be repeated under the y(t) = j--l’ m(t .1962 Desoer: Nonlinear Distortion in Feedback Amplifiers device is (1 + CL/~)times smaller for the feedback amplifier than for the open amplifier which has the same gain. pulse responses be m(t). p. and y = ~~12 is defined for II.’ is given by 3 Ibid. then the (nonzero) difference x” be- tween two inputs x and x’ which produce the same output -y I 44 I d7 < 03. time- invariant linear amplifiers with transfer functions M(u). on the other.p I 40 I. independent of frequency. following point of view. From (10) it is easy to see that the norm )/ H 11of the linear operator . at what frequency should one then evaluate 1/l + pLp? If x(t) is Thus. although it also assumes that P is result of the operator p operating on x.a.n oscillation represented and two similar inequalities involving b(t) and c(t). if yi Therefore. .. The uniqueness of the amplifiers P. for example.” At first sight this presentation seems plausible. in Kolmogrov and Fomin [8].e. 3 the signal x were fed into the input and if we define the following norm: II x I I = -. we assume that they represent.. (5) is meaningful 1) x. Y&) = s -co m(t . response m(t)) due to the input signal x(t). 2.“. precisely. 2) P. without affecting the output z + {.p and y are strictly stable. Y-The loop of amplifier F is opened in order to interpret (5) when both p and fl depend on frequency. This circumstance is certainly ruled out in any application of feedback amplijlers. b(t) and c(t). Let their im. p and y are linear operators mapping points of the space E into points of the same space E. say ?J. is given by A and B may be connected together thus restoring the feedback configuration of Fig. the output y. allows both p and p to depend on frequency. desirable. (lib-c) such as stability. therefore PX is a function of time. it is the output of the amplifier of gain M(U) (and impulse however.0~ < t < ~0. 96. This is equivalent to requiring that [see (lo)]. i. and. thus. would satisfy (1 + ~~)r” = 0. < t < 00. The analysis that follows. b and c (1 + @p>-‘. (9) The completeness of the space is well known and is justified. what is the meaning of (5)? Suppose (8) is true.. the linear feedback s amplifier (E = 0) would sustain a. (10) For this purpose. let us make an additional assumption: 4) The operator 1 + p/3 has an inverse which we write In physical amplifier the time functions m. x and p are bounded continuous real valued because it merely states the fact that. input z such that (1 + j&)x = y. to any bounded input satisfied approximately by amplifiers. the in the literature [6].s that to every bounded are zero for t < 0. z + { into the p network. /3 and y corresponds a bounded of the input follows from the following consideration: if it output. B(w) and C(U).

&{I”. 5.&-‘[z ./&I” = p. The assumed loop gain.5 III. and the zeros -a. if v satisfies certain conditions. ’ where both the poles -b. where @ and @ of Fig. Fig.be non-negative for all v(z. The purpose here is to show how to skip Section III and read Section IV! Conclusion. Fig. (16) The loop gain M(w)B(w) is assumed to be designed in the usual fashion. The interpreta. E(1 + /. Hence. M. The transfer-function repre- sentation (15) of the operator P has a positive-unit im- pulse response for t > 0. It is easy to check that that its impulse response will. II ccII = Mo. 4. it seems reasonable to assume [with the norm defined by (9)]. typically.. w> and we show it in Fig. (17) IIY II-2 (19) Typically. 6 These arguments are admittedly sketchy and probably incorrect in a number of instances. 6 Let z& {) = ~(1 + &3)-l [z . the sufficient conditions of Zemanian [9] for the correspond- ing step response to be monotonic. II (8 + 4J II a. 4. 7 display two functions of o whose E is the Banach space of the signal x [with norm defined by difference is ] 1 + M(w)B(u) 1-l. a good estimate of these norms can be obtamed from scope pictures of the 6 The reader not interested in the mathematical details is urged impulse response by using (10). as shown in Fig. it is a matter of experience that they satisfy Fig. be the value of M(w)B(w) at o = 0.A and & in a usual feedback gain ccand the loop gain p/3 are plotted vs log frequency amplifier. hence. in Fig. (14) may be solved by successive approxima- tions. 4-DB vs log-frequency plots of . (18) P = 4% s-1. where MB is the loop gain. so that we have rI (8 + a”> IT hl M(s)B(s) N L. Let L. plotted in db vs log w. SUFFICIENT CONDITIONS FOR CONVERGENCE We shall consider a rough approximation to a Bode design of the feedback amplifier. are real.e. Hence. we have the following estimate: is of the form ]I(1 +/J/3>-’ II=1 +j+pJ2. is easily approximated by suitable lead-lag networks. The sufficient conditions (A) and (B) for con- vergence of the successive approximations scheme are given in the appendix. L. we rewrite (7) as From Fig. A similar argument would lead to the estimate6 II PPII = Lo. 8 will be of most Interest. Eq. (12) t > 0. we put and.. they can be used to find the domain of applicability of the formula tion of (30) and Fig. T-Curves 1 and 2 have a difference equal to 11 + M(w)B(w) 1-l. As a typical example. However. we deduce the behavior of the transfer- function representation l/l + M(w)B(w) of (1 + clp)-‘. The forward amplifier Fig. stated in the summary. 04) It is a fact that (see Appendix). 4. 5-DB versus log-frequency plot of l/( 1 + MB).MB) vs frequency. {) is a continuous mapping of E X F into F.!3 ON CIRCUIT THEORY March Using this assumption. we may take as the norm of the operator &?. . The function v shows a plot of ] 1 + M(u)B(w) 1-l vs u. The third linear operator that enters (12) is (1 + p/3)-‘. Fig. The curves maps any point of the Banach space E X F into F. as is well known by experience. Furthermore. In the next section we shall consider a rough approximation to a Bode-type feedback-amplifier design in order to obtain sufficient conditions of con- vergence that are meaningful in engineering terms. from (ll). the loop gain at w = 0. i. and F’ is the Banach space of the output distortion [ decreasing nature of 0.4 IRE TRANSACTION. might be as high as 100 in a communications amplifier. = 104. g-Plot of l/(1 -I. In view of the slowly (9)]. in any specific case.

/JP~lr’-k(~ ./2)“-‘L. (20) II 4% 0) II < I EI2 II 2 IIn hence. CONCLUSION dz. l2) We summarize this example by the following. labelled (A) and (B) in the Appendix.. rJ . The technique converges if II 4% 0) II < 3u . The result then < 2 I EI 41 + Lo/2)“-‘Lo II . In other words we put an upper bound on the and condition (B) of the Appendix is satisfied. Suppose that the linear time-invariant Since amplifier whose gain is (1 + pLp)-l is a strictly-stable II x .e. 2. i.PPi-1).Q!rII i I12II + II PPII.f4%C2)II input signal is smaller than 1 over the gain (at o = 0) of the closed-loop linear feedback amplifier. II PPII = Lo. (22) relationship is v.. let us adopt the following norm: = II Pm* .dz. is a memoryless nonlinearity whose input output 2 (x . 0) so that the output stage will not overload. i. For this reason we take range.LP)-‘&r):)“.e. and (18). fier. time-invariant. . then Hence.. II (1 + km1 II = 2 II (x . 0) II < 2 I EI for all z such that (21) The next step is to apply a successive-approximation technique to obtain the distortion of the feedback ampli. z(t) A ~(1 + @-lx and c(t). as long if (25) holds.I I !?2.e. the first term of the satisfied. and (B) hold..Cl 11./4x*) II For the signals z(t). we have Assume I] z /I < Lo/MO.(2 .196. 0) = (1 + /. the “peak” value of the II dz. = I]~ + EV:. Consider = 4 + /49-1K~. the condition (A) for contraction reads: 1) The first approximation to the actual distortion !: is 2 I E I mL. We shall now use the norms (16)-(19) to find the maximum value of e for which conditions (A) !lz/l < 1. with (25). (24) .(2 . II 5 II = sup IdO I. Furthermore.T2. II h. algebraic decomposition (note: m is odd) Iv. we have II2 II < 1 and II P II < 3.rl = (1 + &)-leXm = (1 + /..rPP1).Cl II (23) is then if for all 1 IEI < Sm(1 + Lo/2)m-‘Lo ’ II i.N {I = (1 + /Jp)-‘V(Z.i-1)II 5 II PPI1. and T. because of (4) and (19). the input signal 2 will be always small enough Consider now condition (B): we must check that U(X. and.’ (25) !:Plfl = fJ(5 rn) n=1.2 > .2 Desoer: Nonlinear Distortion in Feedback Anaplijiers 5 In practice.(l + L. From (12). where p and /3 are linear. the output is not too large because if it were the successive approxi- voltage o0 should not be much bigger than 1 at any time mations might lead us to values of { outside the allowed [see (al)]. (30) As a practical matter. in order that the first approxima- tion give a fairly good estimate of the distortion. 3) the successive approximations are given by 1 ICI 5 8m(l + L./a8 ../2)“-’ < 1.. strictly-stable amplifiers. since k _< \$.II < 4. the first approxi- successive approximations will be a good estimate of the mation ll leads to a good estimate of the actual distortion p: amount of distortion present in the feedback amplifier. Let and II P II = 440. II x II < 1. we require 2) The second approximation is the contraction parameter k of condition (A) to be i-2 = 4 + k4q-Y~ . for all x such that are satisfied. the feedback amplifier shown in Fig. i-1) . The condition (A) for contraction becomes.Q)-le(yZ)m. The technique is based on a fixed-point theorem (described in the Appendix). after a trivial i. amount of nonlinearity present in the device T. /m-2)1. /m-l)” 52. i. conditions (A) and (B) of the Appendix are as E is smaller than this upper bound. Therefore./.t> two conditions. (E is a constant and m an odd integer). II r II < 1 + +Lo amplifier.

Commun. 4547.lc)Rr for all z E U. 1953. N. [l] J.. “Electronic and Radio Engineering. .” version of the well-known fixed point theorem7 which is McGraw-Hill Book Co. . “Foundations of Modern Analysrs. i-1) + . May. Inc. This statement answers all the questions stated at the end of Section I. . 26. . (3 mind: we illustrate it by the block diagram shown in Fig. z is Since k < 1. ln(4 = v(z. 1949. and by definition (9). [lo] J. f(z)) for any 2 E U.. vol. 0) I I < (1 . y is a linear amplifier with gain images v(x. (3) where M(w)B(w) is the loop gain of the feedback ampli\$er.-l(4> for n 2 1.. Bartlett. (resp R. N.” Wireless Engr. example 5. . the distortion 3) For all z E U.. CT-6. pp.. 259. for any z in U. in the paper. 4th ed. c> Condition (A) is the usual contraction condition:7 it Fig. Inc. “Applications of negative feedback spaces E and F. T2 II Rochester. 1892. N. within the first approximation. I21 II 5 k II Cl . 1938.’ “IRE TRANS. p.. Dieudonne. p. “Distortion in negative feedback amplifiers. vol. Z. Eng. et al. 173-178. Gumowski. and any n 2 2 cl of the feedback ampli\$er of Fig.. r. r2> + *** + (m+. N. 1958. 1959. S-Block diagram for the computation of the lirst approxima. London. 1955.. Sloane. Consider two Banach [6] P. “Comments on ‘A necessary and sufficient for any 2 E U. Note that t = (1 + @)ll is the distortion of the where the ti’s are defined recurrently as follows: open-loop amplifier having the same gain as the feedback PO= 0. ~(2. New York.) of the It should be obvious that the met’hod is not restricted space F. where k is the constant k defined in condition (A). II ln+l . 4 Condition (B) is required in order to guarantee that. F. rd . 8. June. 14.i-n-1II the distortion of the open-loop amplijier of Fig. First. the distance between the tion II to the true distortion. amplifier and using the same output transistor To.. New York.k)R{.” Graylock Press. E. 12&V. article 518. II ~(2. and of radius R.. Terman. the peak value of each term (0 is less than one-fourth the peak value of the preceding Furthermore. s. 1. 15.” The MacMillan Co. . term. the ci’s remain in the ball V (of radius R.l(z). The last loop is a linear amplifier whose gain is l/(1 + M(w)B(o)).” Academic 7 See Kolmogorov and Fomin [8]. and To is a memoryless nonlinearity larger than k times the distance between cl and c2. vol. let us state the theorem [lo]. Press. e) be a continuous [7] I. The interpretation of (30) is very important to keep in + (m . “Radio and Radar Technique. 2 can be obtained from f. “Effect of feedback on nonlinear amplifiers. 90. an open ball U (resp V) of center 0 to frequency modulation techniques.. rd + O-3 . Fomin. throughout the successive approximations defined in Z). “A note on negative feedback.” the basis of the method of successive approximations used Wireless Engr.m II 5 k II 5+n .. the input signal and rr is the approximate distortion of the feed- back amplifier of Fig. vol. 1. whose input-output characteristic is ?JO= yr + TV. 1937. 43. March. f is continuous. APPENDIX [2] A..[9] A. and Cl + (r2 . mapping of U X V into F. 37. 1957. b) (3) is useful in that it gives an upper bound on the rate of convergence: the rate of convergence may be faster but no slower than that specified by (3). ch. [S] A. states that.* . 18. W. (4 condition for a bounded nondecreasing step response. 2) f(4 = to + G-l .” Elec. by passing it through a linear ampliJier whose gain is l/l + M(w)B(w). . (B) then is convergent at such a rate that the norm of each term is less than one-fourth the norm of the preceding 1) There exists a unique mapping f of U into V such that term. This Section states and comments on a generalized [3] F. Y. vol. the mapping v is a contraction. dG. 1960. If Telecommun. Let v(. Comments a>(2) is equivalent to f(z) = lim. Ethat depend on the REFERENCES type of nonlinearity. m> + .. H. 13. Kolmogorov and S. Dite.” Ann. pp. V.” Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons. to the type of nonlinearity considered in this paper: it is only the bounds on the norms of x. ON CIRCUIT THEORY. January. II dz1.6 IRE TRANSACTIONS ON CIRCUIT THEORY March and the series where k is a constant such that 0 5 k < 1. [4] R. any 11. pp. p. Inc.. < kn(1 ... January-February. “Elements of the Theory of Functions and Functional Analysis. pp. In other words. C. Y. “An Elementary Treatise of Differential Calculus. m-1) . Edwards. 129-130.. Zemanian. Y. New York. Panter and W. i-.). 2.M(w)B(w)). N..). 2. [5] A. Y. Since each term represents a time function f(x) = ~(2. T. Starr. . i-0) + (12 .. c2) of p1 and l2 (of V) must be no d4(w)/( 1 -l.