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Noise created by resistor used to reduce op amp input offset

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Nicholas Kinar, Aug 2, 2009.

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  1. Hello--

    To preserve bandwidth and slew rate I've selected a high speed op amp
    with low wide-band voltage noise and current noise. The 1/f noise is
    only 7nV/Hz^(1/2) at 10 Hz, which makes the part suitable for lower
    frequency signals extending to DC.

    However, the input offset voltage is typically 40 microvolts (300
    microvolts max), which may need to be nulled since the op amp is being
    used in a non-inverting configuration with high voltage gain.

    On my schematic, I have the op amp wired up in a non-inverting
    configuration. At the negative input, the feedback resistor is
    connected to the output and another resistor is connected to ground.
    I've also connected another resistor (with a value of 1 Megaohm) to
    this negative input. The terminal of the resistor that is not connected
    to the negative input is connected to the output of a 16-bit buffered DAC.

    The idea is that the DAC will be used to adjust the voltage at the
    negative input, thereby nulling the offset voltage without using a trim
    pot. After shunting the positive input of the op amp to GND via a CMOS
    switch and load resistor, I'll use a microcontroller to sample an ADC
    connected to the op amp output and a minimization algorithm to select
    the proper voltage required to reduce the input offset.

    However, I'm concerned about whether the 1 Megaohm resistor will inject
    significant noise into the feedback loop. Although I know how to
    calculate the noise density created by a very large 1 Megaohm resistor,
    I am wondering if this noise will be amplified by the op amp feedback.

    If so, then is there a way to reduce this noise? Might an RC filter be
    an applicable way to go? How do you reduce noise created by a
    mechanical trim pot?
  2. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    I don't quite follow your description but if you have a series R to help
    cancel input bias current effects at DC, simply bypass it with a C or R-C
    series network to reduce the noise.

  3. Yes, the resistor is close to 100 ohms. It's a good observation that
    since the resistor is in parallel, the change is minimal.
    I was thinking of using cascaded RC or LC filters to get rid of noise,
    but this might prevent the DAC from changing the voltage quickly.
    That's a great idea, John! Thank you for suggesting this. Would this
    also be effective for cascaded op amps (i.e. when the output of one op
    amp is fed into another op amp input)? I would think that it would be.
  4. Nick, try this. Instead of resistor voltage-noise, it's often useful

    Hi Winfield,

    Thank you so much for your response! That's an interesting way of
    looking at noise in the system.

    Memorizing the value 4kt is useful for calculations at room temperature.

    It's interesting to note that with higher R, current noise drops. Since
    I work with electronics which must operate at lower temperatures (-40
    deg C), lowering the temperature will reduce the current noise.

    Your reply prompted me to take a look in that book that you've written.
    There's a really good section on noise and noise sources!
  5. Thanks, Graham. The noise can be easily reduced by an RC filter. I
    tried using an LC filter, but some very preliminary spice analysis
    showed that this could cause distortion in the output signal. A simple
    RC filter is probably the way to go.
  6. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    John's idea works IF you have enough headroom in your analog string.
    In my latest 10-bit ADC I capture the input offset voltage on a
    capacitor such that the natural sequence of events (SAR) subtracts out
    the _input_ offset before any gain. (I only have 2.7V minimum VDD to
    work with.)

    ...Jim Thompson
    | James E.Thompson, P.E. | mens |
    | Analog Innovations, Inc. | et |
    | Analog/Mixed-Signal ASIC's and Discrete Systems | manus |
    | Phoenix, Arizona 85048 Skype: Contacts Only | |
    | Voice:(480)460-2350 Fax: Available upon request | Brass Rat |
    | E-mail Icon at | 1962 |

    I love to cook with wine Sometimes I even put it in the food
  7. Thanks, John!

    It's much, much better than trying to reduce offset by adjusting trim
    pots! This could literally take *forever* to achieve. And if a change
    in temperature occurs after you've finally done the adjustment, you
    would have to repeat the process again, and again, and again.
    If the measurement time takes only 1 second (max), then would it be safe
    to assume that the offset is the same over the time of measurement? I
    would imagine the following steps of the sampling process:

    (1) close switch and measure offset voltage;
    (2) open switch and take measurement of signal from transducer;
    (3) apply software autozero filter

    I would suppose that with a MUX, you would not have to worry about this,
    since for every sample that you take, you also have a ZOFF value.

    What's a high quality ground? Could this be created using an RC filter?
    I'm thinking of using an RC filter tied to GND.

    So the ZOFF value will show the maximum error in the analog signal
    processing chain?

    That's a really good idea!
    How would I separate out the contributions from each gain range?
  8. That's an interesting idea, Jim. How do you deal with the input
    impedance of the SAR ADC, which may change with frequency? Did you use
    a network analyzer and an impedance matching network on the input of
    your ADC?
  9. Let me clarify: Does the input impedance of your SAR ADC change with
    sampling frequency?

    Did you use a network analyzer when developing an input matching network
    for the ADC.

    Thanks, Jim.
  10. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    I auto-correct offset at _every_ SAR step. (I'm using the old flying
    capacitor stunt ;-)

    The real stunt is how I get a 10-bit monotonic DAC with a crap
    process, but that has to remain a trade secret for the moment ;-)

    ...Jim Thompson
    | James E.Thompson, P.E. | mens |
    | Analog Innovations, Inc. | et |
    | Analog/Mixed-Signal ASIC's and Discrete Systems | manus |
    | Phoenix, Arizona 85048 Skype: Contacts Only | |
    | Voice:(480)460-2350 Fax: Available upon request | Brass Rat |
    | E-mail Icon at | 1962 |

    I love to cook with wine Sometimes I even put it in the food
  11. Ah yes, the capacitor is connected at the input of the SAR ADC.
    Trade secrets could be traded. ;-)
  12. Thanks, John.
    Sure, what I'll do is simply do is average the noise of the zero-offset
    for a few milliseconds, or I'll wait until the cumulative signal
    variance levels off with respect to time.
    It's interesting how moving a single trace can fix so many problems.

    I suppose that if the system has a fixed gain, then I would require only
    one ZOFF.
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