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Original Title: Noise Tutorial

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Noise Tutorial

Fundamentals

Objects capable of allowing the flow of electrical current will exhibit noise. This occurs as

some electrons will have a random motion, causing fluctuating voltage and currents. As noise

is random it can only be predicted by statistical means, usually with a Gaussian probability

density function as shown below:-

F(X)

As noise is random then it’s mean value will be zero, hence we use mean square values,

which are measurements of the dissipated noise power. The effective noise power of a

source is measured in root mean square of rms values.

ie Vn (rms) = Vn 2

Noise power spectral density – describes the noise content in a 1Hz bandwidth. Units are

V2/Hz and denotes as Svn(f). The graph below shows how Svn(f) is defined.

Svn(f)

Filtered noise

White noise

Vn

Freq (f)

f1

Total square noise vn 2 is found by integrating the spectral density function (ie the shaded area)

ie vn 2 = ∫ S VN (f ).df = vn 2 .f1

Sheet

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Equivalent Noise Bandwidth (NBW) - is defined as the frequency span of a noise power

curve with an amplitude equal to the actual peak value, and with the same integrated area. In

other words the NBW describes the bandwidth of a ‘brick wall’ system with the same noise

power as the actual system (f1 is set such that the area of the ‘brick wall’ is ~ equal to the

whole function). The graph below shows a couple of examples.

S(f) S(f)

freq freq

The main constituents of noise in a system, is due to Shot, Thermal, Burst, Avalanche and

Flicker noise.

Shot noise – This noise is generated by current flowing across a P-N junction and is a

function of the bias current and the electron charge. The impulse of charge q depected as a

single shot event in the time domain can be Fourier transformed into the frequency domain as

a wideband noise ie

event

transform to

nq2

frequency

domain

White

noise

t f

Thermal noise – In any object with electrical resistance the thermal fluctuations of the

electrons in the object will generate noise ie

The spectral density of thermal noise is flat with frequency and is known as white noise.

Burst noise – occurs in semiconductor devices, especially monolithic amplifiers and

manifests as a noise crackle.

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Avalanche noise – occurs in Zener diodes are reversed biased P-N junctions at breakdown.

This noise is considerably larger than shot noise, so if zeners have to be used as part of a

bias circuit then they need to be RF decoupled.

Flicker noise – This noise occurs in almost all electronic devices at low frequencies and

takes the form of:-

⎛ Ia ⎞

if 2 = k∆f ⎜ ⎟

⎝ fb ⎠

White noise

k is variable depending on the device process

2q.I b .FL

k=

f f

Corner frequency FL

When analysing a circuit we transform the many possible sources of noise (generating noise

currents and voltages) to an equivalent noise source at the input of the circuit ie

noise =

vno 2 = G.veq 2

Vn

Rs

Rs

G G

Veq

Vns =

4kT.Rs in

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The noise factor (F) of a device specifies how much additional noise the device will contribute

to the noise already from the source.

Noise Factor = = 1 +

vns 2 vns 2

vn 2 + in 2Rs 2

vns 2 = 4kT.Rs F = 1+

4kT.Rs

F= ≈ =

Input noise power due to the source only vns 2 vns 2

Ideally F = 1

SNRIN = = Wher e vns 2 = receive noise from source

Received noise power vns 2

Similarily SNR OUT = = =

Output noise power Gveq 2 veq 2

SNRIN veq 2

Thus, = =F

SNR OUT vns 2

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