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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON CIRCUITS AND SYSTEMSI: FUNDAMENTAL THEORY AND APPLICATIONS, VOL. 50, NO. 3, MARCH 2003

Amplifiers: Analysis and Applications

Gaetano Palumbo, Senior Member, IEEE and Salvatore Pennisi, Member, IEEE

harmonic-distortion factors in feedback systems is proposed and

the results obtained are applied to feedback amplifiers. Under

the assumption that transistors are not driven out of their linear

operating regions, small-signal analysis and conventional algebra

are exploited to derive understandable and compact expressions

highly improving the comprehension of harmonic-distortion

generation. The impact of the frequency compensation utilized

(namely, dominant-pole or Miller technique) on linearity performance is evaluated and the high-frequency distortion properties of

closed-loop single-stage and two-stage amplifiers are analyzed and

compared. The accuracy of the analysis, also in view of the given

applications, is confirmed through extensive simulations with

Spectre on idealized models as well as on CMOS transistor-level

circuits. Despite the approximated nature of the analytical models,

predicted data are found in very close agreement with simulations

in nearly all the frequency range of interest.

(a)

harmonic distortion, nonlinear distortion.

(b)

Fig. 1. Nonlinear amplifier in (a) open-loop; (b) closed-loop configuration.

I. INTRODUCTION

customarily evaluated by means of the harmonic-distortion analysis [1]. Let us consider a nonlinear open-loop amin Fig. 1(a). When nonlinplifier, schematized by block

earities are weak, the amplifiers transfer characteristic exhibits

only gradual slope changes. Hence, harmonic distortion can be

easily calculated with the series expansion of the nonlinear dc

input-output characteristic, which can be usually well approximated by the first three power terms

The second and third harmonic-distortion factors versus either input or output fundamental amplitudes (remember that

) are then

(4)

(5)

where and

variables. If we now apply a pure sinusoidal incremental input

, the output signal becomes

tone,

to coefficient , has been neglected [2]. Observe that the last

formulation of (4)(5) can be used to compare the linearity of

amplifiers having the same output fundamental amplitude.

Alternatively, one can represent the input signal by 1

and the output signal, through (1), becomes

(2)

(6)

(1)

(3a)

(3b)

(3c)

(3d)

Manuscript received November 21, 2001; revised September 21, 2002. This

paper was recommended by Associate Editor P. V. A. Mohan.

The authors are with the Dipartimento Elettrico Elettronico e Sistemistico (DEES), Universita di Catania, I-95125 Catania, Italy (e-mail:

gpalumbo@dees.unict.it; spennisi@dees.unict.it).

Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TCSI.2003.808835

useful to simplify the characterization of nonlinear systems in

the frequency domain using conventional algebra [3].

The ability of feedback to improve the closed-loop linearity

performance is widely recognized. The classical theory of

feedback amplifiers asserts that negative feedback reduces

harmonic distortion by an amount related to the loop gain [4],

and

[5]. Indeed, considering the same nonlinear amplifier

assuming a fraction of the output signal fed back to the input

(see Fig. 1(b), the above harmonic-distortion factors referred

to the input signal amplitude are approximately reduced by

and

, respectively. This means a reduction

1The

exact representation is

x = RefX e

g.

329

by a factor (

) of the harmonic-distortion terms referred

to the output signal magnitude. A more accurate analysis yields

the following result [6]:

(7)

(8)

Fig. 2. Amplifier with feedback in the frequency domain.

showing that even if coefficient is negligible, third-order harmonic distortion is still generated via coefficient . We can take

on

by considering an equivinto account the effect of

alent coefficient

(9)

This theory has been extended by the authors to the case

where also a nonlinear feedback network is employed [7]. However, in all these developments, both the amplifier and the feedback network were assumed to be frequency independent. This

hypothesis is clearly only a simplification. Indeed, a real amplifier must be frequency compensated to ensure closed-loop

stability, while the feedback network can include reactive (usually capacitive) components. Therefore, the previous expressions can be used with reasonable accuracy only under the hypothesis of low-frequency input signals.

The exact evaluation of harmonic distortion of a dynamic

system requires complex calculation involving Volterra series

or even Wiener series [8], [9]. An effort to perform the analysis

from a circuit-level point of view was given by Sansen et al.

[10][12], that however requires a huge algebraic manipulation.

In this paper, a simplified approach for the evaluation of the

second and third harmonic-distortion factors as a function of

frequency, for a feedback circuit involving nonlinear amplifiers

(and linear feedback), is carried out in Section II. The analysis

provides simple closed-form equations that are a direct extension of (7) and (8). These results are applied to single-stage

and two-stage amplifiers in Sections III and IV, respectively.

Moreover, they are used to evaluate the impact on linearity

of the kind of frequency compensation utilized. Section V

reports some validation results and Section VI summarizes the

authors conclusion.

II. PROPOSED ANALYSIS

The assumption of low-distortion conditions means, in practice, that the amplifier output is not saturated and transistors do

not leave their active region of operation. In addition, let us assume that no slew-rate limitations occur. Otherwise, the output

would not be able to adequately follow the input signal resulting

in additional high-frequency distortion. Under these conditions

and as already mentioned, we can use linearization around the

dc operating point to achieve reasonably accurate results.

Consider again the nonlinear closed-loop amplifier in

and the feedback factor are now frequency

Fig. 1(b) where

be characterized by the

dependent. Specifically, let block

frequency-dependent coefficients

,

and

and denote as

the transfer function of linear feedback

block, as illustrated in Fig. 2.

. Due

Apply now a sinusoidal input tone

to the nonlinear block in the direct path the output signal will

include harmonic components that can be described in terms

of the source signal through closed-loop nonlinear coefficients,

,

and

(10)

To derive the above closed-loop coefficients, we will follow first

an intuitive approach that is explained in the next subsection. To

our opinion, compared to the analytical approach which is reported in Section II-B, the intuitive one gives additional details

for the comprehension of the high-frequency nonlinear generation mechanisms. A further generalization of the analysis and

results is carried out in Section II-C.

A. Intuitive Approach

is responsible for the linear closed-loop

Coefficient

behavior and is customarily evaluated. It equals the for, divided by 1 plus the

ward-path transfer function,

loop-gain transfer function

(11)

and

The above equation implies computation of

at the frequency of the input tone (i.e., the fundamental

frequency).

we have to

To evaluate the second-order coefficient

follow a simple, but not trivial, reasoning. The second harmonic

component at the output is produced by the nonlinear block

when a signal at the fundamental frequency is presented to its

input. Now observe that the second harmonics is proportional to

. If the circuit is perfectly linear (i.e.,

),

in module would be equal to

. Therefore, the

nonlinear block produces a second harmonic component with

. This

amplitude equal to

can be viewed as a spurious signal injected at the output of the

nonlinear block, as depicted in Fig. 3, in which the phase variation is neglected for simplicity. The signal is subsequently processed by the feedback loop and appears at the output terminal

330

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON CIRCUITS AND SYSTEMSI: FUNDAMENTAL THEORY AND APPLICATIONS, VOL. 50, NO. 3, MARCH 2003

terms with the same exponential factor in (15) and (17), we get

(18a)

(18b)

(18c)

,

, and

Solving the above system for

exactly yields (11) and (12), while (13) slightly modifies to

distortion in the frequency domain.

harmonic considered, i.e., 2 . From the above discussion we

get

(19)

(12)

A similar procedure can be applied to derive coefficient

. Neglecting the contribute of

we get

.

where the approximation presumes

Using the definition of the harmonic-distortion factors given

in (4)(5) we get

(13)

could be included approximately by substiThe effect of

with the equivalent coefficient

defined

tuting

in (9).

(20)

B. Symbolic Approach

With the representation given in (10), we have separate information regarding the module and the phase of the coeffi. A compact mathematical representation can be

cients

obtained by considering the following input signal [3]

(21)

(14)

and the output signal will be of the form

(15)

The error signal, , is the difference of the source signal and

the output signal times the value of the feedback factor evaluated

at the appropriate frequency

(16)

then, it is processed by the nonlinear block whose output signal

is

(17)

These results are coherent with (7)(8), valid in the case of frequency-independent loop gain or, that is the same for low-frequency input signals (more precisely, for frequencies lower than

the dominant pole of the loop gain). In the present case, distortion of a feedback network in terms of the output signal is reduced of a quantity still equal to the return ratio but evaluated at

the considered harmonic frequency.

C. Further Generalization

It is useful for our purposes to extend the above results to a

more general model in which we put the nonlinear block between two linear blocks in the forward path, as shown in Fig. 4.

To obtain distortion factors of the system in Fig. 4, we can

follow the same intuitive procedure described in Section II-A.

to

Let us first evaluate the nonlinear coefficients that relate

. Being

, the firstorder coefficient is

(22)

331

Fig. 4. General model of closed-loop nonlinear amplifier for evaluation of harmonic distortion in the frequency domain.

Fig. 5.

Equivalent representation to evaluate the second harmonic distortion for system in Fig. 4.

to Fig. 5, which shows the second-order component injected at

the output of the nonlinear block. Hence, we get

(23)

A similar procedure can be applied to the third-order coefficient, yielding

Fig. 6. Small-signal model of a single-stage amplifier.

(24)

Hence, the harmonic-distortion factors are expressed by

(25)

(26)

The obtained results can be usefully applied to investigate

the high-frequency distortion properties of closed-loop singlestage and two-stage amplifiers and to highlight the effects of the

chosen frequency compensation technique on linearity.

We shall first study the harmonic distortion of single-stage

amplifiers. These architectures are frequently employed in IC

applications for their high-frequency performance. Indeed, a

single-stage amplifier exhibits only an output high-resistance

node. Moreover, when a high gain is required, this output node

often exploits cascoding, allowing a voltage gain similar to that

of two-stage amplifiers to be achieved. Of course, these amplifiers are used in closed-loop configurations and, due to the internal structure, output dominant-pole compensation is invariably utilized.

The small-signal model of a (open-loop) single-stage ampliis the input transconfier is illustrated in Fig. 6, in which

ductance, is the output resistance and is the load capacitor

also providing compensation.

Generally, there are two sources of harmonic distortion in

such amplifiers: the nonlinear VI conversion accomplished by

the input transconductance and the nonlinear IV conversion of

the output resistance.

Let us first analyze the effect on linearity of the nonlinear

output resistance. To this end, we express the input signal as in

332

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON CIRCUITS AND SYSTEMSI: FUNDAMENTAL THEORY AND APPLICATIONS, VOL. 50, NO. 3, MARCH 2003

nonlinear resistor in terms of its (nonlinear) conductance

(27)

and

are nonlinear coefficients normalwhere

. The addiized to the linear part of the output conductance

tional subscript out was used to avoid confusion with the nonlinear coefficients of the input transconductance that will be

and

used herein after. Nonlinear coefficients

cause harmonic-distortion components to appear in the output

voltage which, taking only the first three terms, is expressed according to

The amplifier is in closed loop with a feedback factor f .

(28)

(37)

(29)

properly updating the block transfer functions. After applying

(25) and (26) we get the following equations in which

and

(expressions in terms of

only are reported for compactness)

found by substituting (28) in (27) in the KCL at the output node

(30)

and equating all the harmonic components with the same fre,

quency, we can derive the expression of coefficients

and

(31)

(38)

(32)

(33)

where only dominant terms were included. The above coefficients could be used to directly find the closed-loop harmonicdistortion coefficients using (20) and (21). However, we prefer

to perform a further decomposition leading to a system model

in which linear and nonlinear blocks are isolated. After normaland given that

izing the second and third coefficient to

, we get

(34)

(35)

(39)

Distortion due to the nonlinear output conductance is effective at low frequencies. Indeed, so long as the loop gain is high,

(the error signal) is small and distortion is mainly

signal

due to nonlinearities arising in the output resistance which is

operated under large-signal conditions. For increasing frequencies, the compensation capacitor shunts the output impedance

to ground, thereby reducing the weight of nonlinearities due to

the output resistance. Moreover, signal increases (due to the

reduction in the loop gain) and the nonlinear effects of the input

transconductance become more pronounced. Thus, at high frequencies, the amplifier is more adequately modeled by the block

diagram in Fig. 8, which includes normalized nonlinear coeffiand

and ascients of the input transconductance

sumes the output resistance to be linear.

Again, by comparing this scheme with that in Fig. 4 and utilizing (25) and (26) we get

Hence, the single-stage amplifier in feedback can be schematized by the block diagram in Fig. 7, where the blocks inside the

dashed area represent the linear and nonlinear contributes of the

RC output node, with the nonlinear coefficients given by

(36)

(40)

transconductance.

333

As a final analysis step, we consider the two distortion mechanisms together in the same block scheme as depicted in Fig. 10.

The exact resolution of this nonlinear system can be avoided

by considering that the two distortion mechanisms are dominant over different frequency ranges, as previously stated. Consequently, expressions of complete distortion factors

and

which provide asymptotic approximation can be found by

combining (38) with (40) and (39) with (41), as shown in (42)

and (43) at the bottom of the page.

These relationships have simply been obtained by algewith

braically adding, before taking their modules,

and

with

. It is confirmed that at low

frequency second- and third-order distortion components due to

the input transconductance are negligible since they are divided

and

, respectively. These contributions can

by

become dominant at high frequency, as they start to increase at

the frequency of the dominant pole.

IV. TWO-STAGE AMPLIFIERS

and the input transconductance,

.

output resistance,

HD

HD

(41)

Both the above distortion factors increase for frequencies

higher than the amplifier pole. As a consequence, their effects

can be significant at high frequencies.

To qualitatively compare the effects on output distortion due

to the output resistance and the input transconductance, let us

consider the plots in Fig. 9. They illustrate the typical behavior

of second harmonic-distortion factors due to the nonlinear

and due to the input transconductance,

output resistance,

. The frequency determining which contribution is

and

and is close to

dominant is located between

if

approaches

. Similar plots can also be

deduced for the third harmonic-distortion factors.

harmonic distortion in two-stage amplifiers and specifically

in two-stage transconductance amplifiers (OTAs) widely used

in CMOS applications. Fig. 11 shows the small-signal circuit

and

of a typical such architecture, it includes capacitors

that are alternatively used for dominant-pole or Miller

frequency compensation [13]. Of course, Miller compensation

is preferred thanks to its inherent advantages in terms of

lower required capacitance, frequency behavior (due to the

pole-splitting property) and process tracking features. This

makes Miller compensation, when applicable, the technique

of choice. Nevertheless, we believe instructive the comparison

of the effects of both compensation techniques, which will

be analyzed in Sections IV-A and IV-B, respectively. In the

followings and unless otherwise specified, we assume that the

main contribution to harmonic distortion is due to the output

stage. Indeed, so long as the gain of the second stage is high,

is small, while the second stage is operated under

signal

large-signal conditions. We will show that this hypothesis is

verified when using dominant-pole compensation, but leads

to slight inaccurate results for Miller compensation at high

frequency.

A. Dominant-Pole Compensation

The analysis carried out in Section II can be straightforwardly

applied to two-stage amplifiers compensated with the domi-

(42)

(43)

334

Fig. 10.

Model of a single-stage amplifier with both nonlinear input transconductance and output resistance.

C are alternatively used to provide dominant-pole and Miller compensation,

respectively.

(a)

and

assume

(44)

is the voltage gain of the first stage (subscripts and

where

are used to identify parameters of the first and second stage,

respectively).

In our model, we assume also that the second stage is char, equal to

and

acterized by a linear voltage gain,

and

, are independent of

the nonlinear coefficients,

frequency

(45)

From (25) and (26), being

, we get directly

and

(46)

(b)

Fig. 12. Models of a Miller-compensated two-stage amplifier with a nonlinear

second stage: Norton equivalent input stage a), Thvenin equivalent input stage.

loop gain is lower than one and we loose any beneficial effect

from feedback.

An important observation concerns the distortion caused by

the first amplifier stage. Nonlinear contributions of the input

stage are reduced by the loop gain at low frequencies and by

the compensation capacitor at high frequencies (compensation

tends to shunt to ground the output of the first stage). Therefore,

assuming the output stage as a principal source of nonlinearity

is very well justified both at low and high frequencies.

B. Miller Compensation

(47)

Second- and third-order harmonic-distortion factors start

to linearly increase (from their low-frequency values) at a

and

, respectively. Moreover,

frequency equal to

and

they become constant at frequencies equal to

, respectively. At

they begin to decrease. Note

represents the upper limit for the frequency range

that

Let us evaluate the harmonic distortion of a two-stage amplifier employing Miller compensation. At this purpose, to simplify calculations and to focus only on the parameters of interest, we rearrange the model in Fig. 11, first as in Fig. 12(a)

and then as in Fig. 12(b). In the last model, voltage-controlled

voltage-sources are utilized to model both gain stages. Again,

the (open-loop) output voltage is expressed in terms of voltage

by (45).

A block representation of the circuit in Fig. 12(b) can be

obtained by adopting different techniques. One of these is the

Rosenstark approach [13], [14] which requires computation of

second and third harmonic-distortion factors 2

335

we get the

(54)

Fig. 13.

mission term,

(48a)

(48b)

(48c)

and the

return ratio. Moreover, the feedback factor is

. The resulting block diagram

gain of the direct path is

is

is depicted in Fig. 13, in which the nonlinear amplifier

characterized by the same nonlinear coefficients in (45). The

diagram in Fig. 13 is similar to that in Fig. 4. Specifically, by

and

comparison we see that

(55)

To better compare the above results with those obtained in the

case of dominant-pole compensation we must express (54)(55)

and

in terms of , that is now equal to

equal to

(56)

(57)

(49)

(50)

Then, from (22)(24) we get the equivalent nonlinear coeffi,

and

which relate to

cients

in Fig. 13, as shown in(51)(53) at the bottom of the page.

The closed-loop Miller-compensated amplifier can then be

modeled with the scheme depicted in Fig. 14(a), where the amplifier studied above is closed in a loop with feedback factor .

Note that to further simplify the scheme, Fig. 14(b) includes

, with its nonlinear coefficients

the new nonlinear block

,

and

defined above. Moreover,

for conformity with the notation used in the previous subsecas equal to

tion, we define the gain of the first block

.

third-order harmonic-distortion factors linearly increase at

and

,

a frequency equal to

respectively. Compared to dominant-pole compensation, we see

that the frequency band where distortion factors remain equal to

their low-frequency values is greater in the Miller-compensated

as illustrated in Fig. 15.

amplifier by a factor equal to

This effect is due to the local negative feedback operated by

around the nonlinear gain stage.

capacitor

Equations (56) and (57) also predict that second- and thirdorder distortion factors become constant at frequencies equal

, and

, respectively. At

, they begin

to

2It is worth noting that the exact relationship derived in [10] includes another

high-frequency zero due to the load capacitance. Equation (54) does not presents

this zero since the adopted amplifier model has a zero output impedance.

(51)

(52)

(53)

336

(a)

(b)

Fig. 14.

Models of two-stage Miller-compensated closed-loop amplifier with nonlinear second stage. Coefficients a

expressed by

(58)

(59)

Fig. 15. Typical behavior of second-order distortion factors in two-stage

amplifiers with dominant-pole compensation (curve a) and Miller compensation

(curve b). Distortion caused by the second stage only is assumed in both cases.

two-stage amplifiers compensated with the dominant-pole approach. In contrast, when using Miller compensation, it is unrealistic. Indeed, the local feedback operated by the Miller capacto decrease with frequency. At

itor causes coefficients

high frequencies, distortion of the first stage becomes dominant

and a nonlinear model of the first stage should then be included

to accurately predict harmonic distortion. To take into account

both effects, we can follow the same approach used in Section III

for single-stage amplifiers. This is developed in the Appendix

for completeness and reveals that including in our model nonlinearities of the first stage causes distortion to increase at frequencies around the gain-bandwidth product approximately of 20 dB

per decade. Then, a simple and rough approximation for the distortion factors including both nonlinear effects is achieved by reand

moving the poles in (56) and (57). As a result,

V. VALIDATION

The proposed analysis was first validated through extensive

simulations with Spectre on the ideal circuit models in Figs. 6

and 11 and using nonlinear controlled generators to simulate

the nonlinear circuit elements. All schemes were simulated in

open- and closed-loop conditions and under different degrees of

nonlinearity. Moreover, the sources of distortion were first simulated separately and then altogether. The error between simulated and calculated data was always within the simulator relative tolerance for a wide range of frequencies, even above the

gain-bandwidth product of the loop.

The same amplifier architectures were subsequently simulated at the transistor level, using the schematic circuits illustrated in Figs. 16 and 17 and implemented in a 0.35- m CMOS

process.

Supply voltages, bias currents, transistors dimensions, and

compensation capacitors of the two schemes were set according

to Tables I and II. Note that rather large quiescent currents were

used to avoid slew-rate limitations in the frequency range of

interest.

337

TABLE II

DESIGN PARAMETERS OF CIRCUIT IN FIG. 17

TABLE III

PERFORMANCE PARAMETERS OF CIRCUIT IN FIG. 16

Fig. 16.

Fig. 17. CMOS two-stage OTA used for the simulations. Capacitors C and

C are alternatively used to provide dominant-pole and Miller compensation,

respectively.

TABLE IV

PERFORMANCE PARAMETERS OF CIRCUIT IN FIG. 17

TABLE I

DESIGN PARAMETERS OF CIRCUIT IN FIG. 16

the amplifiers are summarized in Tables III and IV.

Preliminary Fourier analyses, with a weak and low-fre, 10 Hz) and with the

quency input signal (500 V

amplifiers in open-loop configuration, were made to identify

the low-frequency values of the open-loop nonlinear coefficients. Specifically, for the cascode amplifier, parameters

and

were obtained by evaluating the output

and

were obtained by evaluating

voltage, while

the short-circuit output current. These values are reported in the

last four rows of the open-loop section in Table III. For the

two-stage amplifier, we evaluated the open-loop low-frequency

distortion factors of the second stage only. The last two rows of

the open-loop section in Table IV report the values of these

parameters (note that they are not normalized).

The low-frequency open-loop parameters were used to

evaluate the frequency behavior of harmonic-distortion factors

for the amplifiers in closed-loop configuration with a feedback

factor, , equal to 1/11. To be more precise, the amplifiers were

used in noninverting configuration, feedback was accomplished

by an ideal voltage-controlled voltage source and a 100-mV

input signal was applied. Fig. 18 shows predicted (in solid

and

lines) and simulated (marked points) values of

for the single-stage amplifier. An excellent agreement

is found between calculated and simulated data within the

338

Fig. 18.

Fig. 20. Third harmonic-distortion factors of circuit in Fig. 17 closed in

feedback. Curves (a) and (b) refer to dominant-pole and Miller compensation,

respectively.

the third harmonic-distortion factors in Fig. 20 and are caused

by the extensive approximations adopted in modeling the amplifier distortion.

Although outside the frequency band of interest, the beand

in the Miller OTA for frequencies

haviors of

require a final comment. The monotonic increase

above

and

is not predicted by our models. The

of both

fact that curves (b) in Figs. 19 and 20 exhibit this behavior

is caused by the artificial elimination of the poles in (53) and

(54), respectively.

VI. CONCLUSION

feedback. Curves (a) and (b) refer to dominant-pole and Miller compensation,

respectively.

). Note

and caused

also that the negative peaking exhibited by

by the interaction of the two different distortion mechanisms

discussed in Section III, is precisely anticipated. It is simply

and

have opposite sign, as

due to the fact that

can be deduced from Table III.

The plots in Figs. 19 and 20 show, respectively, factors

and

for the two-stage amplifier employing the two types

of compensation. The curves labeled with (a) refer to the dominant-pole compensation, while those labeled with (b) refer to

the Miller compensation. Even if Fig. 19 (Fig. 20) does not show

(

), they are the same inthe low-frequency values of

dependently of the two compensation approaches. In contrast,

the frequency behaviors differ substantially in the two cases but

they are still predicted with excellent accuracy, at least up to

. Specifically, the better linearity of the Miller OTA is

distortion in feedback systems was presented in this paper.

The approach presumes low-distortion conditions and, by exploiting small-signal analysis, avoids the reference to complex

mathematical tools like the Volterra series. Given the system dc

loop gain and dominant pole and the low-frequency open-loop

second and third harmonic-distortion factors, the frequency

behaviors of the related closed-loop distortion factors are

analytically determined. An intuitive method of analysis was

also illustrated to further corroborate formal results. All these

derivations gave a simple but effective means to deeply understand the mechanism of harmonics generation in nonlinear

feedback systems.

As a useful application, the frequency behavior of distortion

in single-stage and two-stage CMOS amplifiers was studied and

simple equations were found. Moreover, the effect of frequency

compensation was investigated. It was analytically shown that

the Miller compensation is better than the dominant-pole one in

order to enhance the linearity performance of two-stage amplifiers. Based on the comparison between computer simulations

and calculations, it was seen that the models produce highly

339

input stage.

(60)

(61)

parameter a

0: curve (a). Setting the ratio a =a equal to 0.5, 1 and

2 V : curves (b), (c) and (d), respectively. Setting parameter a

= 0 and

removing the two poles: curve (e).

product, thus covering nearly all the frequency range of interest.

It was also demonstrated that the principal mechanisms influencing the frequency behavior of the distortion factors in the analyzed architectures were correctly identified, thus minimizing

the modeling effort. The extension of the analysis to other more

sophisticated amplifier topologies also including nonlinear capacitors is currently under study.

APPENDIX

COMPLETE EVALUATION OF THE MILLER OTA

DISTORTION FACTORS

The Miller OTA, in which both the first and the second stage

are nonlinear can be studied in a similar manner as made in

Section III for a single-stage amplifier. First each contribution

is separately evaluated and then the effects combined by using

superposition. This method gives reasonably accurate results

when the two distortion mechanisms are dominant over different

frequency ranges. In our case distortion due to the input stage is

effective at high frequencies, whilst distortion due to the output

stage is dominant at low frequencies.

The effects of nonlinearities in the second stage have been

already studied, leading to (56)(57). Let us now consider the

amplifier under study with a nonlinear input stage and a linear

output stage, as modeled in Fig. 21.

both input and output stage) we obtain the overall expressions

(62)(63), shown at the top of the next page.

These equations modify the frequency behavior predicted by

(56) and (57). Indeed, the value of both harmonic-distortion fac. This is qualtors now increases for frequencies around

. Curve (a) shows

itatively illustrated in Fig. 22 for factor

the typical behavior obtained through (62) setting

or, which is the same, through (56). The curve shows that the

. Curves

second harmonic distortion decreases for

(b), (c), and (d) are obtained through (62), for increasing (and

. Curve (e)

reasonably acceptable) values of the ratio

and after removing the two poles or,

is obtained for

now increases

which is the same, through (58). Factor

, roughly apwith a slope of 20 dB per decade around

proximating the behavior of curves (b)(d).

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The authors wish to thank Dr. G. Giustolisi for the valuable

help in performing computer simulations.

REFERENCES

[1] K. Simons, The decibel relationship between amplifier distortion products, Proc. IEEE, vol. 58, pp. 10711086, July 1970.

[2] R. Meyer and A. Wong, Blocking and desensitization in RF amplifier,

IEEE J. Solid-State Circuits, vol. 30, pp. 944946, Aug. 1995.

[3] F. OpEynde and W. Sansen, Analog Interfaces for Digital Signal Processing Systems. Norwell, MA: Kluwer , 1993.

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Catania, Italy, in 1964. He received the laurea degree

in electrical engineering and the Ph.D. degree from

University of Catania, Catania, Italy, in 1988, and

1993, respectively.

In 1994, he joined the Dipartimento Elettrico

Elettronico e Sistemistico (DEES), University of

Catania as Assistant Professor, where he became

Associate Professor in 1998, and in 2000, a Full

Professor. His primary research interest has been

analog circuits with particular emphasis on feedback

circuits, compensation techniques, current-mode approach, and low-voltage

circuits. In recent years, his research has also embraced digital circuits with

emphasis on bipolar and MOS current-mode digital circuits, adiabatic circuits,

and high-performance building blocks focused on achieving optimum speed

within the constraint of low-power operation. In all these fields, he has

collaborated with STMicroelectronics, Catania. He is coauthor of CMOS

Current Amplifiers (Norwell, MA: Kluwer, 1999), and Feedback Amplifiers:

Theory and Design (Norwell, MA: Kluwer, 2002), and is a contributor to the

Wiley Encyclopedia of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, and the author

or coauthor of more than 180 scientific papers in international journals (over

70) and in conferences.

Dr. Palumbo was awarded a grant from AEI of Catania in 1989. From

June 1999 to the end of 2001, he served as Associated Editor of the IEEE

TRANSACTIONS ON CIRCUITS AND SYSTEMSPART IFUNDAMENTAL

THEORY AND APPLICATIONS for Analog Circuits and Filters.

in 1965. He received the laurea degree in electronics

engineering and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering, from the University of Catania, Catania,

Italy, in 1992, and 1997, respectively.

In 1996, he joined the Dipartimento Elettrico

Elettronico e Sistemistico (DEES) at the University

of Catania, as a researcher, where, since 2002, he

is an Associate Professor. His primary research

interests include circuit theory and analog design

with emphasis on current-mode techniques. More

recently, his research activities have involved low- voltage/low-power circuits,

multi-stage amplifiers (with related optimized frequency compensation) and

IF CMOS blocks.

He is the author or coauthor of more than 80 publications in international

journals and conferences, as well as of the books CMOS Current Amplifiers

(Norwell, MA: Kluwer, 1999) and Feedback Amplifiers-Theory and Design

(Norwell, MA: Kluwer, 2002) and has written an entry in the Wiley Encyclopedia of Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

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