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Common-Emitter Amplifier Stage

Common-Emitter Amplifier Stage

Common-Emitter Amplifier Stage
amplifier stages (BJT) generally comprise three possible terminal
configurations: common emitter, common base, and common collector (emitter
follower). As the names suggest, in each case, the input and output are
referred to the common terminal. The MOSFET equivalents are common source,
common gate, and common drain (source follower), respectively.
As the most
fundamental of transistor amplifier building blocks, the common-emitter stage
is the logical configuration to begin a study of signal amplifiers. The
common-emitter considered initially in this unit is obtainable with a simple
extension of the dc measurement circuit from Unit
B (Fig.
Based on this circuit various aspects germane to signal amplifiers in general
are discussed. In Unit
the common-emitter stage with active load is explored. Both types of
amplifiers, with resistive and active 22422y2416w loads, are investigated extensively in
emitter-follower stage is discussed in Unit
along with a general treatment of the various effects on the common-emitter
stage with an emitter-branch resistor. An entire unit (Unit
is devoted to the source-follower stage, the MOSFET equivalent of the
emitter-follower stage. The common-gate stage, the MOSFET equivalent of the BJT
common-base stage, is considered extensively in conjunction with the role it
plays in the differential amplifier stage (Unit
C.1 DC
(Bias) Analysis
The two
common-emitter amplifier-stage configurations studied in projects are shown in Fig.
We note that the dc circuit of Fig.
is that of Fig.
Amplifier performance analysis can be performed with the two output channels
available from the DAQ in the following manner: Fig.
uses separate channels for the input and output bias circuits and superimposes
the input signal on the input bias. In Fig.
we add a signal-source resistor and coupling capacitor and use one channel for
the input signal and one channel for bias. The capacitor is required to prevent
the connection of the signal source from affecting the dc (bias) operation of
the circuit. The latter represents the classical practical common-emitter
amplifier stage. The signal-source resistor provides for a current-source input
signal and hence linear amplification.
Figure C.1. (a) Base current bias (dc) and input signal applied to the
same node. Collector circuit has a separate power supply. (b) Amplifier with
signal coupling capacitor and single power supply for bias.
In the
experimental project on the common-emitter amplifiers, we measure the voltage
gain as a function of the collector current and compare the results with SPICE.
The bias collector current is swept from 0.1 to 1 mA. The measurement uses the
circuit in Fig.
A DAQ output channel (VBB) sets the bias currents. Another output
channel (VCC) sets the design bias VCE at each bias
current. The gain of the circuit of Fig.
is also measured with particular emphasis on the bias solution and the
frequency response.
C.1.1 DC (bias) Formulation
A formulation
for obtaining the collector current for a given VBB [Fig.
is based on the following: From the input loop equation,
The two
relevant transistor characterization equations are (B.6),
and base -
emitter dc voltage equation, from (B.7), setting VBC = 0 for
The equation
set above has three unknowns, IC, IB, and VBE.
The equations can be combined to obtain a function for IC,
A good
estimate can be obtained with using VBE0.6 V, giving simply
The simple
expression is sufficient, for example, for selecting a value for RB
in the circuit of Fig.
in the BJT amplifier project. We have also neglected the dependence of bDC on VBC of (B.11). This is a reasonable
approximation for establishing the nominal values for the measurement circuit
The collector
- emitter voltage, VCE, is then established with
In designing
a project circuit for a current sweep, RB and RC are
selected for the highest currents and highest DAQ output voltage. In the
amplifier project, the circuit of Fig.
uses the resistors from the circuit of Fig.
It thus has a unique bias variable and VCC solution for a given
design VCE requirement. This is based on (C.3) and (C.5) and is
Equation C.6
In the
amplifier project, the project Mathcad file is used to find the solution for VCC
[with an educated guess for VBE, as in (C.4)]. If the result has VCC
> 10 V, the limit from the DAQ, it is necessary to decrease RC or
increase RB. This may be necessary, as the transistor bDC is not known with precision at the point of
the selection of the resistor values. After measuring the actual VCC,
the result is used in the Mathcad file to compute a value for bDC from a circuit solution.
Linear or Signal Model for the BJT
The primary
function of a transistor in analog circuits is to produce a signal output
current in response to a signal input voltage. In the case of the
common-emitter circuits of Fig.
the transistor input voltage is Vbe and the responding output
current is the collector current Ic. (Variable subscript conventions
are covered in Unit
Uppercase symbols with lowercase subscripts denote RMS or peak magnitude of
periodic signals.) The linear relation between the two variables is the
transconductance, gm. By definition, for the BJT
In some
simple amplifier circuits, this would be all that would have to be known about
the transistor to perform a design or analysis. More generally, however, the
model also includes input and output resistances, ri = rb
+ rp and ro, respectively.
The transistor linear model, which includes these components and a load
resistor (in this case, bias resistor, RC), is shown in Fig.
Applied input voltage Vbe and responding Ic are
Figure C.2. Linear signal model for the BJT. Model parameters are rb,
rp, gm, and ro.
Added to the model are circuit components RC and applied voltage Vbe.
The input
resistance relates the input signal base current Ib to the signal
emitter – base voltage, Vbe, that is
Parameter rb
is the actual physical resistance through which the base current must flow to
arrive at the true, internal physical base – emitter junction. The signal
voltage across the internal base – emitter junction is . Parameter rp is the linear relation between Ib
and and is not a physical resistance.
We assume in
the following discussion that rp
>> rb. This is especially true in the low current range of our
BJT transistor projects. As will be seen below, rp is inversely proportional to bias collector current, IC,
whereas rb is close to a constant and could be significant at
currents corresponding to midrange or higher for the transistor. (As a rule, rb
must be taken into consideration when the model is applied in very high
frequency applications.) Note that neglecting rb compared to rp is equivalent to , as assumed below.
output-resistance parameter, ro, accounts for the fact that total
collector current, iC, increases with increasing total collector -
emitter voltage, vCE. According to the output resistance parameter
relationship, the current through this resistance is
Including ro,
the current through the load, in this case bias resistor, RC, is
This current
flows up through RC such that Vce is negative for
positive Vbe. Thus, the current associated with ro
subtracts from gmVbe to reduce the current through RC.
For a positive Vbe, there is an increase in the total vBE,
thus causing the total collector current to increase. The result is a decrease
in the total vCE and hence a negative incremental Vce.
The two
components of (C.10) are illustrated graphically in Fig.
The output characteristics are for two values of base – emitter voltage: bias
only, VBE, and bias plus base – emitter signal voltage, VBE
+ Vbe. They are designated Bias and Signal. The solution to iC
and vCE is constrained to the „load line,” which is iRc
= iC = VCC/RC – vCE/RC
Figure C.3. Transistor output characteristic with no signal and signal.
Also plotted is the RC load line. The solution for iC and
vCE is always the intersection.
At a constant
vCE = VCE, the change in the current-source current for
the applied Vbe is gmVbe [(C.7)]. The net collector current change
(signal current), Ic, though, is as given by (C.10); that is, it includes the
component associated with ro. Since the output characteristic slopes
downward for decreasing vCE, the actual transconductance decreases,
but the linear model treats this effect with a constant gm combined
with the effect of the output resistance, ro.
C.2.1 Determination of the Linear
Model Parameters
We can relate
the values of the two parameters in (C.10) to the SPICE model parameters
using (B.7) with the substitution vBC
= -(vCE – vBE). This is
(C.11) with respect to vBE
(with vCE = VCE, Vce = 0), gm is
found to be
approximate form only ignores a term on the order of IC/VAF,
where VAF >> VT.
The output
resistance is obtained with vBE = VBE (bias value) or Vbe
= 0. This is
where, from (C.11), IC(vCE = VBE)
= ISexp(VBE/VT). For simplicity, the bias
collector current, from (C.11), IC = iC(VCE),
is usually used for the calculation for ro. Finally, a relation for
rp comes directly from (C.7), Ic = gmVbe,
and (B.41), Ic = bacIb. Equating
the two gives
Hence, from
the definition rp = Vbe/Ib
(with )
Note that the
right-hand side of (C.14) is the alternative
current-dependent current source of the linear model of Fig.
As discussed
in Unit
B.9, bac can be slightly different from bDC, but the distinction usually need not be made
in analysis or design. This is due to the fact that bDC tends
to be quite variable among devices and that most analog designs are based on
making the results as independent of bDC as possible. Signal parameter bac will be used in the following, but it is
understood that bDC can be used in the calculations without
serious penalty in precision.
Amplifier Voltage Gain
transistor amplifier stage has a gain from the input terminal to its output
terminal (base and collector, respectively, for this case). But the circuit
gain, from the source to the output, takes into consideration the possible
finite input resistance at the transistor input terminal. Due to the finite
signal-source resistance, an attenuation results from the signal-source to the
transistor input terminal. The example of this case of the common-emitter
amplifier stage is considered here.
C.3.1 Gain from Base of Transistor
to Output at Collector
The midband
(frequency-independent) signal version of the circuit of Fig.
is shown in Fig.
It is obtained from the general circuit by converting dc voltages to zero. This
includes the capacitor voltage, which ideally, remains at its constant dc
(bias) value. The rule followed here is that if there is no incremental
variation between any two nodes with a signal applied at the input, then the
component between the two nodes is superfluous. In Fig.
the output voltage is Vo = Vce and the signal source is
designated Vs along with its source resistance, Rs. In
the case of an actual signal source, Rs is probably an equivalent
rather than an actual resistor. Thus, it is assigned a lowercase subscript.
Figure C.4. Signal equivalent circuit for the amplifier. dc nodes have been
grounded and the capacitor has been shorted.
the output resistance, the signal collector current for a signal voltage
applied at the base reverts to (C.7), which is
with gm
= IC/VT [(C.12)]. IC is the bias
current with uppercase subscript, not the
signal, with lowercase subscript. (Recall that signal voltage and currents can
be, for example, periodic peak or RMS values or instantaneous values, as these
are all proportional throughout the linear circuit. To be specific, as in the
experiment on the common-emitter amplifier, we consider them to be
periodic-signal peak values.)
The signal
voltage developed at the collector is (still assuming that ro
>> RC)
From (C.16) and (C.7), the gain of the transistor in the
circuit (input at the base of the transistor and output at the collector) is
We note that
the magnitude of the result is the dc voltage drop across the bias resistor
divided by VT. For example, for VRc = 5 V and VT
= 26 mV (room temperature), the gain magnitude is about 200. The BJT circuit is
capable of providing very substantial voltage gains.
C.3.2 Overall Gain Magnitude from
Signal Source Voltage to Output
The circuit
input resistance looking into the base of the transistor, Rb, is the
transistor input resistance, rp (still
neglecting rb), in parallel with the bias resistor RB,
that is,
The gain from
the signal source to the output at the collector of the transistor is thus
When the
input-signal source resistance is large (Rs >> Rb),
a good approximation for av is
approximation can be made using RB >> rp, to obtain
using bac = gmrp [(C.15)],
This result
is intuitive on the basis of IbIs, IsVs/Rs, and Ic
= bacIb. The sequence of approximations
for the gain magnitude is
Equation C.23
An additional
approximation is with bac bDC.
Note that the
requirement for the voltage gain to be greater than unity is that Rs
< bacRC. Thus, for sources with a large Rs,
an amplifier design should have a high input resistance stage such as an
emitter-follower stage. The emitter-follower stage is discussed in Unit
In the Project
the gain of the amplifier as a function of bias current, IC, is
measured using the circuit of Fig.
This is made possible with the use of LabVIEW and the DAQ, with two output
channels, to provide a signal source superimposed on the input bias voltage. In
this case, the overall gain from the signal source is restricted (input bias
and signal source resistor are the same) and av–bacRC/RB. Since RB
of the circuit is roughly bDCRC, the gain is on the order of
Accuracy of Transistor Gain Measurements
We want now
to consider the measurement of the gain of the transistor amplifier (Fig.
based on the linear model. This model is not valid if the signals are too
large, such as to cause an unacceptable degree of nonlinearity. If the linear
model is valid, the signal input voltage magnitude, between the base and
emitter of the transistor, is related to the fraction Ic/IC
according to [combining (C.7) and (C.12)]
This voltage
must be large enough for a good measurement using the DAQ board in the computer
(i.e., at least a few millivolts), yet small enough so as not to cause
substantial nonlinearity, which would invalidate the measurement of signal
gain. Again, the signal-gain concept is based on the linear model. In the
following, we will find the conditions under which the linear model is valid
and to what extent.
The general
expression (active region) between total collector current and total base -
emitter voltage, vBE = VBE + Vbe, is
(neglecting the VAF factor) [from (B.7)]
where the
limit form for |Ic/IC|<<1 gives (C.24). The plus sign is for Ic
and Vbe positive, and vice versa.
Since the
signal output voltage is Vo = -IcRC, the
signal "gain" is
which reduces
to the linear form, (C.17), when |Ic/IC|<<1.
In the
amplifier project, the gain is obtained by dividing the measured signal Vo
by the measured signal Vbe. The circuit has Rs (=RB)
>> rp, such that IcbacVs/Rs [as in (C.23)]. As a result, for the positive
and negative peaks of Vs, the positive and negative peak magnitudes
of Ic are equal. Thus, the fraction |Ic/IC| is
the same for both signal polarities. Incremental voltage Vbe will
respond nonsymmetrically according to (C.26). We note that this does not
constitute a form of distortion at the output, as is evident from the
approximate form of (C.23) (neglecting a very small effect
due to variation of bac).
For output
currents on the order of, for example, |Ic/IC| = 0.5, the
plus and minus peak values of Vbe are significantly different. In
the amplifier-gain measurement project, the ac voltmeter indicates a peak
voltage, which is the average of the plus and minus peak values. To some
extent, in this manner, the error is canceled. A comparison is made of the
average value of the peaks, Vbeavg, with the distortion-free Vbe,
as shown in Fig.
Figure C.5. Plot of calculated measured Vbeavg as a function
of frac = Ic/IC and distortion-free Vbe. The
measured value exhibits a 10% error at |Ic/IC| = 0.5 and
Vbe = 12.9 m and Vbeavg = 14.2 mV.
In the
amplifier project, the measurement base – emitter voltage is limited to about
|Ic/IC| = 0.2. This corresponds to Vbe5 mV. The measurement error, due to
the distortion discussed here, is only about 1% for this case.
measurement circuit is configured to be able to measure the signal voltage with
the dc base – emitter voltage removed. Therefore, the DAQ conversion limit can
be set at the minimum of 50 mV, where the resolution is much less than Vbe5 mV.
As noted, a
possible nonlinearity in bac could be a contributor to nonlinearity in the
gain function (C.22). The effect from including the bac nonlinearity in the development of (C.27) is also, to a degree, canceled in
the averaging process of measuring the gain.
Effect of Finite Slope of the Transistor Output Characteristic
As discussed
in Unit
the signal model contains an output resistance, which reflects the fact that
the output characteristic of the transistor has a finite slope. This is
characterized with the SPICE parameter VAF. It was noted that the effect of the
finite slope is to place a resistance effectively across the output of the
amplifier. It is calculated from ro = VAF/IC,
increasing bias current, ro may not be negligible compared to RC.
In the project on the gain of the amplifier, we will read the experimental data
into a Mathcad file and adjust VAF to make the SPICE calculation and
measured data match. The gain expression that includes transistor output
resistance is
Equation C.28
In a
representative transistor, VAF100. The circuit design could call
for ICRC5 V for a 10-V supply voltage. In
this case, the output resistance has about a 5% effect on the gain value.
Selection of Coupling Capacitors
capacitors are added to the circuits of this unit for two purposes. One, shown
in Fig.
is to connect the signal input source to the amplifier. The other is a
special-purpose capacitor of the amplifier project. It is attached to
facilitate measurement of the base – emitter voltage with high resolution.
Design considerations for selection of the capacitor values are discussed in
the following.
C.6.1 Coupling Capacitor for the
Common-Emitter Amplifier
The linear
equivalent circuit of the amplifier of Fig.
is shown in Fig.
The selection of the value of the capacitor Cb is based on the
requirement that it has negligible effect on the signal current at any
frequency at which the amplifier will be operated. Including the reactance of
the capacitor, the input signal current is
Figure C.6. Signal model of the circuit for the determination the
characteristic frequency of the frequency response associated with the coupling
The input
signal current magnitude is
Frequency f3dB
is defined as the frequency where the response magnitude is
It follows
that for this case, f3dB = fb. Note that at f = 10f3dB,
C.6.2 Coupling Capacitor for Measuring the Base Input Voltage
In Project
measurement of the base input voltage is made at the signal side of the
coupling capacitor. This is the node designated by Vx in Fig.
Good measurement precision is provided, as the dc component of the base voltage
is blocked by the coupling capacitor. The maximum voltage sensed by the input
channel is only the signal voltage VbVx5 mV, as discussed in Unit
This value is much smaller than dc VBE0.5 V. In this configuration, the
limit setting for the input channel is set at 0.1 V, for a resolution of about
48 mV with the input channel in the bipolar mode.
If the peak signal voltage is, for example 5 mV, the resolution is about 1% of
the measured voltage
The required
capacitor, Cb, for this case and for same f3dB, is
substantially larger than that obtained from (C.31). As will be shown, at f f3dB, the requirement is
that |XCb| rp. It follows that at f near f3dB, Rs >> |XCb|
since Rs >> Rbrp. The input signal current is thus given approximately by
Equation C.33
This includes
the good assumption that Rs >> Rb and that, by
design, |XCb| Rb for f f3dB. (Technically, the
pole of the transfer function is ignored.)
The signal
voltage, Vx(f), at the input signal source side of the capacitor is
the sum of the voltage at the base plus the voltage across the capacitor, that
is, with (C.33),
The ratio Vx(f)/Vb
is thus
Note that the
form of Vx(f) is falling, for increasing frequencies, to a plateau
(Vb). We will define f3dB as the frequency where the
magnitude of this ratio is . This could qualify as a type of corner frequency, as it represents the frequency
where the frequency response function is times the asymptotic value. A solution for f3dB then comes from
At f=10f3dB,
Vx = 1.005Vb. Note that for this case of a current source
[(C.33)], the value of the capacitor can
be obtained simply to satisfy |XCb| = rp.
C.6.3 Coupling Capacitor for the
Base Voltage Measurement of the DC Sweep Circuit
The project
circuit for making a precision measurement of the gain of the amplifier of Fig.
is shown in Fig.
The circuit has the addition of Cb and Rs for measuring
the base signal voltage without the dc component. The selection of Rs
in the amplifier project is made to satisfy if Rs >> rp such that the effect on the gain referred to Vs
is small. The choice is, on the other side, Rs < RB,
such that the charging time of Cb is not prohibitively long during
the bias sweeps. The f3dB frequency at Vx for this case
is (C.31) with fb = f3dB.
In the amplifier project, the capacitor is selected from (C.37) to satisfy the requirement for the
amplifier of Fig.
using (C.37). The capacitor will thus certainly
be adequate for the amplifier of Figs.
and C.7.
Figure C.7. Common-emitter amplifier for measuring the amplifier gain as
a function of bias current. The signal base - emitter voltage is measured
at Vx.
Common-Emitter Amplifier with Active Load
In the early
days of electronic amplifiers, the voltage amplification device was, of course,
the vacuum tube. It existed in only one polarity configuration, that is, with
positive plate (bus or rail) voltage. With the appearance of semiconductor
transistors came the availability of the dual set of devices with opposite
terminal voltage polarities. This is the case for BJTs, JFETs, and MOSFETs.
(Vacuum tubes were implemented in class B amplifiers. The application required
a pair of inputs, one 180 ° out of phase with the other, normally derived from a
The dual set
has provided the versatility for a wide range of electronic system
applications, including the amplifier with active load shown in Fig.
This can be compared with the circuit of Fig.
which in place of the pnp transistor, has a bias collector resistor, RC.
Figure C.8. Common-emitter amplifier with active (transistor) load. The
npn is the driver transistor and the pnp is the load transistor. The input signal
source could be moved to the base of the pnp, in which case the two transistors
play opposite rolls.
Note that
either transistor base could serve as the input such that the opposite
transistor becomes the load. In Fig.
the npn is chosen as the driver transistor and
the pnp as the load transistor.
A dc output
characteristic plot is shown in Fig.
Since the collector current of the individual transistors is the same, the
solution to bias voltage VCE for the npn is the intersection of the
two curves, that is, 5 V. This would be a good choice for a bias output voltage
for the power supply voltage of this case, which is 10 V. For the plots, VAFn
= 100 V and VAFp = 20 V were used. (In the discussion of the npn -
pnp amplifier, the added subscript n or p will denote npn or pnp,
Figure C.9. Output characteristics for the npn and pnp transistors. The
pnp emitter - collector voltage is vEC = VCC - vCE,
where vCE is the collector - emitter voltage of the npn. The bias
variables VCE, VEC, and IC are at the
intersection of the two plots.
A signal
impressed at the base of the npn causes the npn curve to move up or down while
the pnp curve remains in place. Note that the pnp acts like a load line of a
resistive load; however, an extension of the active-region characteristic of
the pnp intersects the zero-current axis at VCC + VAFp =
30 V. The pnp active-load transistor thus provides the equivalent of a bias
resistor with a power supply of 30 V instead of the actual 10 V.
C.7.1 Gain of the NPN - PNP
Common-Emitter Amplifier with Active Load
The gain
benefit for the case of the active load is apparent from the following. The
equation for the gain of the BJT common-emitter amplifier with resistor RC,
which includes the output resistance of the driver transistor (in this case,
npn), is a form of (C.28)
where ron
is the output resistance of the npn and is given by [generalization of (C.13)]
where VCE
and VBE are the transistor bias voltage variables and IC
is the collect bias current of the amplifier. Parameters VAFn and VAFp
are used in this unit for the slope parameter for the npn and pnp,
The output
resistance expression is generalized here to emphasize that strictly speaking,
the collector currents and voltages must match as suggested in the expression.
Voltages VBE and VCE are bias values. In the following,
as is standard in electronics circuit analysis, we approximate the output
resistance, for example, for the npn as follows:
It follows
that for the pnp
where ICIC(VCE), that
is, the actual bias collector current.
For the pnp
active load, the resistor RC is now replaced with the output resistance
of the pnp, to obtain
where the far
right-hand side uses gm = IC/VT.
The gains for
the resistive load and active load cases can readily be compared with the
substitution of gm = IC/VT in (C.38) (gain with load RC) and
(C.40) for ron to obtain
For the
example of VCC = 10 V and bias VCE = 5 V, VRc
= 5 V. Using VAFn = 100 V and VAFp = 20 V, the
room-temperature gain magnitudes are |avbRc| = 4.76 V/0.026 V=183
for the amplifier with Rc load compared to an npn - pnp amplifier
gain magnitude of |avb| = 16.7 V/0.026 V=641. In practice, the
advantage will be considerably more, as the value for VAFp used here
is smaller than normal for BJTs. The small number was used above in the plot (Fig.
to exaggerate the effect of the slope.
C.7.2 Output Resistance at the
Collector with an Emitter Resistor
In Project
the effect of an emitter resistor in the emitter branch of the pnp, REp,
on the output resistance of the pnp will be explored. The circuit is shown in Fig.
The effect of the emitter resistor is to increase the output resistance, due to
the negative feedback effect, at the collector of the pnp. This increase can be
made to be substantial; in fact, to a good approximation, the load on the
amplifier is only ron of the npn.
Figure C.10. Amplifier with an emitter resistor in emitter branch of pnp
to increase the output resistance at the collector of the pnp. Also included is
a capacitor, Cb, for grounding (signal) the base voltage of the pnp.
The generalized
gain expression, which includes the effect of the emitter resistor, is
where Rop
is the output resistance at the collector of pnp, for the circuit with REp.
Here, we
develop an expression for the output resistance of a BJT with the emitter
resistor. This is a function of both REp and RBp. In the Project
the amplifier gain is measured with and without a base shunt capacitor, Cb.
With the capacitor in place, the base resistance in the signal circuit is
effectively zero, and this alters Rop significantly. The linear
circuit for the general case of a BJT common-emitter amplifier with emitter
resistor is shown in Fig.
The circuit includes a base resistor, RB.
Figure C.11. Linear circuit for the determination of the output
resistance at the collector for a circuit with emitter and base resistor.
A test
voltage, Vo, is applied at the collector with the base resistor and
emitter resistor at signal ground. In response, a current Io flows
from Vo through RE in parallel with RB + rp. This induces a voltage VRE = (Io
- Ib)RE across RE that is applied to rp in series with RB. Base current Ib
is a fraction of Io as given by
voltage Vo sums up to
approximation is based on ro >> RE and is
consistent with the fact that the signal voltage drop across the output of the
transistor is much greater than across the emitter resistor.
Eliminating Ib
in (C.46) using (C.45) results in the solution for Ro,
which is
The result
has two limiting forms based on the relative value of RB: When RB
>> rp + RE,
approximate form uses ICIE.
for RB, the feedback current, gmIbrp, goes to zero.
For RB0,
alternative forms on the right in (C.48) and (C.49) use (C.15), bac = gmrp. Again, the approximate form uses ICIE. Note that the
solution corresponds to the maximum fraction of Io that can flow
through rp(RB = 0), to induce a
feedback current.
When applied
specifically to the npn – pnp circuit of Fig.
the limiting case is, for RBp zero,
where Rop
is the signal resistance looking up into the collector of the pnp. For example,
if REp is selected to produce VREp = 1 V and bacp = 50, the denominator is roughly 2, such that
In this case, the load on the amplifier is due almost entirely to the output
resistance looking into the collector of the npn (Ron = ron),
with the result that the gain is [from C.44]
The other
extreme is for RBp >> rpp + REp, where Roprop [(C.48)]. The gain
reverts to (C.42), repeated here
The npn – pnp
amplifier circuit of Fig.
is used in the project on the amplifier to investigate the signal-derived
magnitude of the slope parameters of npn and pnp transistors. Using a bypass
capacitor at the base of the npn, as discussed below, the signal circuit will
effectively have RB = 0, and a gain measurement along with (C.51) yields VAFn. The gain
will also be measured for the circuit without the capacitor and with RBp
>> rpp + REp (by design). For this case, (C.42) applies and the gain measurement
provides information on the combination output resistance parameter, VAFnp.
Between the two measurements, values for both parameters are determined.
In the
measurement circuit of the npn – pnp amplifier, the gain referred to the signal
source (amplifier circuit gain) is
where Ronp
is the signal resistance at the output node (Fig.
that is, the combined resistance looking back into the collects of the npn and
pnp transistors. In general, this is
With RBp
effectively made zero with the shunting capacitor, Ronpron = VAFn/IC.
Without the capacitor, Rop is obtainable from (C.47) for use in (C.53).
In the
amplifier project, the circuit-gain equation (C.52) is used to convert measured gain
into Ronp and then information on VAFn and VAFp.
With the availability of these numbers, we can then calculate the gain produced
by the transistor (base to collector), using (C.44).
C.7.3 DC (Bias) of the NPN – PNP
The circuit
equations for the circuit of Fig.
are (collector power supply through pnp base)
and (npn
Equation C.55
In the
project on the amplifier, RBp is determined for a design collector
current. The selection uses (C.54) with, for example, VCC9 V, that is, less than the maximum
available from the DAQ output. Then with RBn = RBp, VBBn
will be less than VCC by the amount of the drop across REp
(for example, 1 V). This makes the good assumption that bDCn bDCp, A LabVIEW program then sets up the circuit
for the design collector current by adjusting two supply voltages (DAQ output
Frequency Response of NPN – PNP Amplifier Due to the Base Shunt Capacitor
In the npn -
pnp amplifier project, we determine VAFn directly through a gain
measurement for a circuit configuration in which (C.51) is valid. The requirement that RBp0 will be implemented by shunting the
base of the pnp transistor to ground with a capacitor, Cb, as shown
in Fig.
The capacitor must be sufficiently large to hold the base at ground at the
frequency of the gain measurements.
Figure C.12. Segment of the npn – pnp amplifier of Fig.
C.10 showing the addition
of a pnp base-bypass capacitor, Cb.
expression to determine the required value of Cb can be obtained as
follows: We start with the expression for Ro without Cb,
which is (C.47) and repeated here (referring to
the generalized circuit Fig.
With the
capacitor in parallel with RBp, RB in (C.47) is replaced with the impedance of
the parallel combination of RBp and Cb. The resulting Rop
is frequency dependent and is given by
Equation C.56
This can be
manipulated into the form
approximate form uses RBp >> rpp + REp. At f f1, Rop(f1)
rop, such that a good
approximation is obtained with dropping the „1″ in the numerator. The approximate form is then
rearranging leads to
Equation C.61
approximate form again uses RBp >> rpp + REp.
plots of the magnitude of Rop(f) using (C.57) (and f2 and fz
exact) and (C.61) (with the approximate forms for f2
and fz) are shown in Fig.
These are for VAFp = 150 V, bacp = 50, RBp = 330 KW, REp = 800 W, Cb = 2 mF and IC = 1 mA. Characteristic frequencies are fz
= 1.9 Hz and f2 = 38.2 Hz. The approximate form is very close to the
exact form except in the lowest frequency range. For f 0, Rop(f) rop in both cases. For
example, in the exact and approximate cases, Rop(f) = 1.12rop
and Rop(f) = 1.05rop, respectively, for f = 0.
Figure C.13. Mathcad-generated plots of the magnitude of Rop(f)
using (57) and (61). The calculation made with the approximate form, (61), also
uses the approximate forms for f2 and fz.
Rop(f) for Rop in (C.52), we obtain the frequency-dependent
amplifier-circuit gain
Then using (C.61) for Rop(f) in (C.64) results in
approximate form uses Ropmax >> ron and the
approximate f2 and fz.
The design
frequency f3dB is obtained from [(6.8)]. Utilizing the approximate forms
of f2, fz, and fp, f3dB simplifies
The result is
significantly lower than f2 in (C.61) because Rop(f) is in
parallel with ron, which is much smaller than the high-frequency
value of Rop(f). The parameter bacp
appears from the association bacp = gmrpp [(C.15)].
plots of (C.65) for the exact and approximate
values for fp and fz are shown in Fig.
The parameter and component values are from the plots of Fig.
with the addition of VAFn = 250 V, bacn = bacp = 50, and RBn = RBp =
330 kW. With capacitor Cb = 2 mF, f3dB = 3.8 H (exact fp and fz) and f3dBapprox
= 4.5 Hz [(C.67)].
Figure C.14. Plots of (C.65) with approximate and exact values for fz, (C.63), and fp, (C.66). The approximate form is sufficiently close for selecting Cb.
Common-Emitter Stage with Emitter Resistor and the Emitter-Follower Amplifier
It was shown
that the emitter resistor of the measurement circuit of Fig.
can have a significant effect on output resistance. The emitter resistor has
the effect of increasing the input resistance as well, such that it is
compatible with high-resistance sources and the resistor adds to the bias
stability. The common-emitter stage with an emitter resistor is, in fact, a
very common configuration in BJT electronics.
Here, we
analyze the effect of the emitter resistor on the input resistance (at the
base) and on the gain of the common-emitter stage. The development leads
directly to an assessment of the signal performance of the emitter-follower
(common-collector) stage. The two aspects of the circuit with the emitter
resistor are discussed in the following.
C.9.1 Input Resistance in the
Common-Emitter Emitter-Resistor Circuit
discussion is applicable to the circuit of Fig.
where the input resistance is at the base of the pnp. In this circuit, REREp and, for the
analysis, a base signal voltage, Vb, is applied directly to the base
of the pnp. A general signal circuit for a common-emitter stage (output, Voce)
with emitter resistor is shown in Fig.
Also indicated is the output for the emitter-follower stage (Voef).
Figure C.15. Linear circuit for deriving the input resistance of the
common-emitter stage with emitter resistor. The amplifier output nodes for the
common-emitter stage (Voce) and the emitter-follow (Voef)
stage are indicated.
Assume that ro
>> RL, such that we can neglect the current through ro.
(This assumption is violated in the circuit of Fig.
as the load is the output resistance of the npn, ron.) With this
simplification, the loop equation at the input of the circuit is
having used Vbe
= Ibrp. The input resistance at the base
is thus (with respect to signal ground)
The following
form of the result provides a convenient way of assessing the effect of the
resistor on the input resistance:
The result
shows that with RE in the circuit, the input resistance is increased
over that of the circuit without RE by a factor of approximately VRE/VT.
For example, with VRE = 1 V, VRE/VT is about
40 at room temperature.
For the npn -
pnp circuit of Fig.
Rib at the base of the pnp is somewhat less than given by (C.70) because the effective load, that
is, ron, is so large and the simplification made above, ro
>> RL, is not valid. However, as is usually the case in
design, such approximate forms are sufficient. This takes into consideration
that exact solutions are not required or justified, given the variation in the
model and circuit parameters that naturally occur.
If better
precision is, however, required, a good approximation for (C.70) is readily obtained by replacing,
in (C.70), 1 + bac with . This is specifically applied to
the circuit of Fig.
where the input is at the base of the pnp and ronRL and the output
resistance of the pnp is rop. The approximation is based on the
expectation that Voce >> VoefFig.
such that the voltages across ron and rop are similar.
Suppose that
the gain expression is applied to the circuit of Fig.
but with an emitter resistor installed. From the signal source, the gain is
Equation C.72
where the
resistance at the base, Rb, is now
With (C.71) for the base-to-output gain,
The result
shows that the maximum gain is approximately RL/RE.
Therefore, although the circuit can have good bias stability, the emitter
resistor seriously reduces the signal gain. The circuit with a bypass capacitor
would have a gain given by (C.19). The circuit with a bypass
capacitor would still have the advantage of bias stability. Essentially all
practical common-emitter circuits have the emitter resistor, with or without
the bypass capacitor. A two-stage-circuit significant voltage gain without a
capacitor is discussed in the next unit.
C.9.2 Emitter-Follower Amplifier
When the
output is taken at the emitter instead of at the collector (Fig.
the circuit becomes an emitter-follower amplifier stage. (The collector
resistor is unnecessary and the collector terminal is connected to the power
supply.) The output voltage in this case is
emitter-follower stage gain (transfer ratio) is the ratio of (C.75) and (C.68), that is
A magnitude
assessment can be made from
For example,
with VRE = 1 V, avef = 0.97 at room temperature. The
input resistance, from (C.70), for the same conditions in
addition to IC = 0.1 mA and bac = 100 is Rib = 1 MW. The emitter-follower stage is seen to have a gain of approximately
unity and a very high input resistance. Its primary role is therefore that of a
buffer stage.
alternative form for the emitter-follower stage gain is
This is
equivalent to a unity-gain amplifier with an output resistance of 1/gm.
The output resistance is, for example, about 26 W at IC = 1 mA. Therefore, when an external load is attached
to the emitter-follower stage output, the gain remains near unity for very
small load values.
An example of
an application that takes advantage of the characteristics of the
emitter-follower stage is shown in Fig.
This is a cascade of an emitter-follower stage
and a common-emitter stage. The overall gain is the product of the input
network function and the gains of the two stages. That is,
where . For example, suppose that bac = 100 and that the bias collector currents are
IC1 = 0.1 mA and IC2 = 10IC1 = 1 mA. The
emitter resistor is RE = VBE/IC1 = 6000W (neglecting the base current, IB2) with VBE = 0.6
V such that and the gain of the emitter-follower
stage is 0.87. With VCC = 10 V and VCE = 5 V, the gain of
the common-emitter stage is -192. Both gains are at room temperature.
Therefore, the gain from the base of the emitter-follower stage to the output
is -168.
Figure C.16. Cascade of an emitter-follower stage and a common-emitter
stage. The overall gain is the product of the gains of the separate stages. The
load on the emitter-follower stage is rp2 of the common-emitter stage.
The input
resistance at the base of the emitter follower is Rib500 kW. Assume, for example, that RB50 kW. The overall gain for this case is -136. By comparison, the circuit,
which omits the emitter-follower stage (RB connected directly to the
base of the common-emitter stage), has a gain of -9.5.
Summary of BJT Model Parameter Relations
junction common-emitter stage input resistance.
Collector – emitter output resistance.
Total base
- emitter input resistance.
C.11 Summary of Circuit Equations
current equation for common-emitter amplifier.
current equation for common-emitter amplifier.
power-supply voltage solution common-emitter amplifier with single power
gain. Neglect internal output resistance of driver transistor.
gain from function generator (signal source).
gain with very large source resistor, Rs, as in amplifier gain
experiments. Rs >> rp, RB
>> rp.
gain expression that includes the output resistance of the transistor.
large-signal „gain” that includes nonlinearity of IC, VBE
relationship. Linear relation applies when Ic/IC ratio
is small enough for ln(1 + Ic/IC) Ic/IC.
solution for base-to-collector gain for npn – pnp amplifier with emitter
resistor, REp.
resistance at collector with emitter resistor (general).
gain of npn – pnp amplifier, REp = 0.
base-to-collector gain of npn – pnp amplifier with emitter resistor REp
(and RBp = 0).
output resistance at the collector of pnp with REp
frequencies of Rop(f) function.
amplifier gain of npn – pnp amplifier with emitter resistor and base-bypass
frequency of av(f) function.
output resistance at the collector of the pnp with emitter resistor.
equation for selecting Cb for npn – pnp measurement circuit.
resistance at base of common-emitter stage with emitter resistor.
Gain of the
emitter-follower stage.
form of the gain of the emitter-follower stage.
C.12 Exercises and Projects
Project Mathcad Files - – ExerciseC2 –
Laboratory Project
Common-Emitter Amplifier
DC Circuit Setup and Parameter Determination
Amplifier Gain at One Bias Current
Amplifier Gain versus Bias Current
Frequency Response
Laboratory Project
NPN – PNP Common-Emitter Amplifier with
Current-Source Load
Measurement of the PNP Parameters
DC Circuit
Measurement of the Amplifier Gain

Common-Emitter Amplifier Stage
Common-Emitter Amplifier Stage

Common-Emitter Amplifier Stage

  • Date: Kwiecień 18, 2013
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