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Reference: Bobrow, pp. 650-659

INTRODUCTION 2. DC AN A L Y S I S

In this lab, you will build and analyze a Construct the circuit of figure 1, for which

differential amplifier, or "differential pair". It has you have already calculated the voltages at the

this name because this circuit amplifies the lettered nodes. Leaving v1 and v2 unconnected,

difference between two input voltages. measure the voltages at the lettered nodes and

This two-transistor configuration is at the compare to your calculated values. Put this in

heart of the operational amplifier or "op amp" your report.

which we have already encountered in the ideal

form in our circuit analysis. Most real-world lab 3. AC AN A L Y S I S

amplifiers use op amps or some sort of

differential amplification scheme. Now use the function generator to supply

the AC input voltages for v1 and v2 . Use three

1 . P RELAB (!) separate configurations: one with v1 receiving

input and v2 grounded, one the opposite of this

Before coming to lab, do the DC

calculations for the differential amplifier, shown (v2 receiving input and v1 grounded), and one

in figure 1. Assume v1 = v2 = 0V, the emitter with both v1 and v2 connected together receiving

currents are the same in the two transistors, and input. The first two configurations are

both transistors are in the active region. Also "differential modes" and the latter is "common

assume IC≈IE. Use the following values for the mode". For each of these configurations,

resistors: measure the small signal gain. For each

measurement, try to use an output signal that is

RC = RB = R' = 4 .7 kΩ - 10kΩ

several volts peak-to-peak and is centered on 7.5

(pick a single value for the R’s above), volts. Compare these measured gains to the

RE = 100Ω. values calculated in class (if they have been

Calculate the voltages at points A, B, C, D, E, calculated in class).

and F. Also for each of these three configurations,

For your lab report, show your calculations. note the phase of the output with respect to the

input. Which configurations invert (180 degree

+15V +15V phase shift) and which do not? The v1 input is

called the "noninverting input" and v2 is called

R

C

the "inverting input". Do these names agree with

what you observe?

F For your lab report, include the calculated

vout

and measured gains and phase shifts, a brief

v1 A v2 B discussion comparing them (in the standard error-

Q1 Q2 analysis way), and a brief discussion on the

naming of the inputs.

C D

RB RB

R E RE

R'

-15V

10

4. QUALITY OF O UTPUT

Measure the output signal rise time. To do

this, put a high frequency square wave on the

noninverting input and ground the inverting

input. Adjust the input voltage so the output is

a fairly large amplitude. ("Large amplitude"

means close to the power supply limits.) For

your report, sketch the output and identify and

measure the rise time.

Ideally, an amplifier will be linear. That is,

it will very accurately obey

vout = Av vin + Voffset.

(Compare to the equation for a line, y = m x + b

from linear algebra.) Real amplifiers approach

linearity only for a limited range of output

voltages.

Find the range of output voltages for which

this amplifier is reasonably linear. To do this,

put a large amplitude, medium frequency triangle

wave on one of the inputs and ground the other.

The output waveform will be very straight where

the amplifier is linear and will appear curved

where it is nonlinear. For your report, sketch a

sample output waveform showing linear and

nonlinear regions and mark the approximate

voltage range where the output is linear.

Last, increase the gain of the amplifier and

see if this affects its linearity. To do this, short

out the emitter resistors. Measure the gain (in

noninverting differential mode only) of this new

circuit and repeat the linearity check described

above. R E provides negative feedback which

should improve linearity and reduce gain. Is this

what you observe? For your lab report, include

the new measured gain, a new sketch of the

output indicating nonlinearities, and a brief

discussion of how R E affects linearity and gain.

11

Physics 116A: Diﬀerential Ampliﬁer:

Analysis of Operation

David E. Pellett

UC Davis Physics Department

v. 1.0, 2/24/2000

• it provides voltage gain for diﬀerential signals on the inputs, Vd ≡ V1 − V2 , while

attenuating interfering common-mode signals, Vc ≡ (V1 + V2 )/2;

• it provides the inverting and non-inverting inputs needed for operational ampliﬁers.

With slight variations, the circuit can also be made with pnp BJTs or FETs. A current

source can replace R and VEE for better common mode signal rejection.

VCC VCC

RC

VOUT

V1 V2

I1 RE RE

Typical Values: I2

VA V1 = V 2 = 0 V

VCC = 15 V I1 = I2 = I0 ≈ |VEE|/2R'

VEE = –15 V VA ≈ –0.7 V – I0RE

I' R'

RC = 7.5 KΩ VOUT ≈ VCC – I2RC

RE = 100 Ω (assumes |VEE| >> 0.7 V

R' = 7.5 KΩ and R' >> RE.)

VEE

Figure 1: Diﬀerential ampliﬁer circuit diagram with representative component values and Q

point parameters for npn BJTs.

The diﬀerential ampliﬁer operation can be understood qualitatively as follows. VEE and

R form an approximate constant current source, I ≈ |VEE |/R , with

I1 + I2 = I .

When both inputs are at 0 V, the current splits equally in the two branches.

If V1 is raised slightly while holding V2 = 0, KVL going from input 1 to input 2 (ground)

by way of point A tells us:

V1 − 0.7 V − I1 RE + I2RE + 0.7 V = 0.

1

This reduces to

I1 = I2 + V1 /RE .

I1 is now greater than I2, so I2 must have decreased since the total, I , is approximately

constant. Reducing I2 lowers the voltage drop across RC , so Vout increases. V1 is the non-

inverting input.

In the same way, raising V2 slightly with V1 grounded increases I2 . This now increases

the voltage drop across RC and lowers Vout . V2 is the inverting input.

A more complete analysis can be done using the small signal AC model for the circuit,

shown in Fig. 2.

RC vout

v1 αi1 αi2 v2

re re

i1 RE RE

vA i2

α≈1

i' R' re ≈ 26 Ω mA/IE

Q

Here, all voltages and currents have been replaced by the deviations from their values

at the quiescient point. For example, i1 = I1 − I0. The transistors have been replaced by

simple active region models.

Deﬁne vd ≡ v1 − v2 . The diﬀerential mode gain is

Avd ≡ vout /vd .

Apply the following input voltages to the ampliﬁer: v1 = vd /2 and v2 = −vd/2. Use

KVL:

v1 = i1(re + RE ) + (i1 + i2)R = vd /2,

v2 = i2 (re + RE ) + (i1 + i2)R = −vd/2.

Adding the equations and collecting terms results in i2 = −i1, which also leads to

vA = (i1 + i2)R = 0. Therefore,

i2 = v2/(re + RE ) = −vd /2(re + RE ).

2

vout = −RC i2, so vout = −RC (−vd )/2(re + RE ). We can now solve for the diﬀerential

mode gain:

Deﬁne vc ≡ 12 (v1 + v2 ). The common mode gain is

vc = i2(re + RE ) + 2i2 R ,

i2 = vc /(re + RE + 2R ).

Since vout = −i2RC ,

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