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Discrete JFET input stage for op-amps

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by alan, Aug 23, 2005.

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  1. alan

    alan Guest


    I have heard this technique mentioned before to lower the voltage and
    current noise of an op-amp. Can somebody point me to a schematic on how
    to do this? I plan to use this in a high gain current amplifier, so
    that means that the input will act like a virtual ground. It also has
    to work down to DC.
  2. mike

    mike Guest

    The Tektronix 490 series of spectrum analyzers use a biopolar superbeta
    pair in front of a low noise op-amp in the YIG current source.

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  3. Johnson

    Johnson Guest

    Take a look at the schematic of the SSM2019 on Analog Devices website -
    somewhat the same idea with bipolar devices for a 1nV Rt Hz opamp for audio.
  4. Guest

    Farnell list four dual N-channel FETs. Only one - the Vishay U404 - is
    a monlithic dual, while the others are pairs of chips mounted in a
    common package, which works almost as well to minimise temperature
    dependent off-sets.

    National Semiconductor used to make a monlithic dual where the two FETs
    were inter-digitated, which gave very good temperature matching (though
    the drain-to-drain capacitance was a bit too high for good high
    frequency performance) but I don't know a distributor that still stocks

    The standard circuit uses a matched pair of FETs as a long-tailed pair
    in front of the op amp. The current through the long-tailed pair should
    be as high as you can make it - that means that the FET should be
    operating with with the gate only slightly more negative than the
    source, so that the gate-source diode is only just reverse biased.

    The inputs to the op amp are then connected to the drains. The drain
    resistors have to be chosen to keep the DC voltage at the inputs to the
    op amp within the common mode range of the op amp, and then you have to
    check that the gain through the long tailed pair is high enough that
    voltage noise from the FETs is amplified enough to exceed the voltage
    noise contributed by the op amp. Too much gain from the long-tailed
    pair, and the extra phase shift it introduces may make the feedback
    loop unstable = the frequency compensation buit into the op amp is
    only designed to cope with its gain and phase shift - but if your
    amplifier is to provide a high closed loop gain, this shouldn't be a
  5. doug dwyer

    doug dwyer Guest

    Not sure if you are asking for this; but Linear Tech returns time and
    again to a discrete bog standard Philips high gm low noise fet auto
    biassed by a following wide band low noise voltage opamp.
    FET has a narrow vgs0 current range so easy to bias from a modest
    supply, they always show it combining nVroot Hz and attoamp input useful
    for diode or charge input.
  6. alan

    alan Guest

    Thanks for the help, guys. I'll need to read H&H now to learn about the
    various properties of JFETS, and maybe what to watch out for. I suppose
    I can follow this stage with a low voltage noise high current noise
    bipolar amp. Then I don't have to use a high gain on this input stage.
  7. Guest

    Should be possible. It is unlikely that you will be able to use low
    enough drain load resistors to make it worth paying for a really low
    voltage noise op amp like the Linear Technology LT1028 or LT1128, or
    the Analog Devices AD797, whose input voltage noise (around 1nV per
    root Hz) is about that of a 50R resistor. Even with the cheaper OP-27 -
    3nV per root Hz - you will need a fairly high current FET to get the
    load resistors down to the 400R which generates that much Johnson

    The Vishay U404 I mentioned generates some 10nV per root herz with a
    drain current of 200uA - you'd obviously use a higher drain current,
    and probably a bigger FET, like the U430 or the U440 which Farnel also
    stocks, to get something closer to the 4nV per root herz at 10kHz
    quoted on the U440 data sheet for a 5mA current.

    If you went for the U430 or U440, you'd need no more than a gain of two
    from the dual FET stage for their noise to swamp the noise generated by
    an OP-27 or one of its numerous equivalents - I always liked the Linear
    Technology LT-1007.
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