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c Copyright 2010. W. Marshall Leach, Jr.

, Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology, School of

Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The Common-Emitter Amplifier


Basic Circuit
Fig. 1 shows the circuit diagram of a single stage common-emitter amplifier. The object is to solve
for the small-signal voltage gain, input resistance, and output resistance.

Figure 1: Single-stage common-emitter amplifier.

DC Solution
(a) Replace the capacitors with open circuits. Look out of the 3 BJT terminals and make Thvenin
equivalent circuits as shown in Fig. 2.
VBB =

V + R2 + V R1
R1 + R2

RBB = R1 kR2

VEE = V

REE = RE

(b) Make an educated guess for VBE . Write the loop equation between the VBB and the VEE
nodes.
IC
IC
VBB VEE = IB RBB + VBE + IE REE =
RBB + VBE +
REE

(c) Solve the loop equation for the currents.


IC = IE = IB =

VBB VEE VBE


RBB / + REE /

(d) Verify that VCB > 0 for the active mode.


VCB = VC VB = (VCC IC RCC ) (VBB IB RBB ) = VCC VBB IC (RCC RBB /)

Figure 2: Bias circuit.

Small-Signal Solution
It will be assumed that the base spreading resistance rx is non zero. This is a resistance in series
with the base lead in the small signal models.
(a) Redraw the circuit with V + = V = 0 and all capacitors replaced with short circuits as
shown in Fig. 3.

Figure 3: Signal circuit.


(b) Calculate gm , r , re , and r0 from the DC solution.
gm =

IC
VT

r =

VT
IB

re =

VT
IE

r0 =

VA + VCE
IC

(c) Replace the circuits looking out of the base and emitter with Thvenin equivalent circuits
as shown in Fig. 4.
vtb = vs

R1 kR2
Rs + R1 kR2

Rtb = Rs kR1 kR2

vte = 0

Rte = RE kR3

(a) Replace the BJT in Fig. 4 with the Thvenin base circuit and the Norton collector circuit
as shown in Fig. 5.
2

Figure 4: Signal circuit with Thvenin base circuit.

Figure 5: Base and collector equivalent circuits.

(b) Solve for Gm .


Gm =

ic(sc) or i0c
1
=
=
1
Rtb + rx
Rte
vtb
vtb
+
+

gm

(c) Solve for the voltage gain Av = vo /vs . A flow graph is shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6: Flow graph for the voltage gain.

Av =
(d) Solve for rout .

vo
vtb
i0
vo
R1 kR2
=
c 0 =
Gm (ric kRtc )
vs
vs
vtb
ic
Rs + R1 kR2

rout = ric kRC

ric = r0 1 +

Rte
Rtb + rx + r + Rte

+ (Rtb + rx + r ) kRte

(e) Solve for rin .


rin = R1 kR2 krib

rib = rx + r + (1 + ) (RE kR3 )

Second Small-Signal Solution for Av


The voltage gain can be written
Av =

vo
vtb
ib
i0
vo
R1 kR2
1
=

c 0 =

(ric kRtc )
vs
vs
vtb ib
ic
Rs + R1 kR2 Rtb + rib

Third Small-Signal Solution for Av


The voltage gain can be written
Av =

vo
vtb
ie
i0
vo
R1 kR2
1
=

c 0 =

(ric kRtc )
vs
vs
vtb ie
ic
Rs + R1 kR2 rie + Rte

Example 1 For the CE amplifier of Fig. 1, it is given that Rs = 5 k, R1 = 120 k, R2 = 100 k,


RC = 4.3 k, RE = 5.6 k, R3 = 100 , RL = 20 k, V + = 15 V, V = 15 V, VBE = 0.65 V,
rx = 20 , = 99, = 0.99, VA = 100 V and VT = 0.025 V. Solve for the gain Av = vo /vs , the
input resistance rin , and the output resistance rout . The capacitors can be assumed to be ac short
circuits at the operating frequency.
Solution. For the dc bias solution, replace all capacitors with open circuits. The Thvenin
voltage and resistance seen looking out of the base are
VBB =

V + R2 + V R1
= 1.364 V
R1 + R2
4

RBB = R1 kR2 = 54.55 k

The Thvenin voltage and resistance seen looking out of the emitter are VEE = V and REE = RE .
The bias equation for IE is
IE =

VBB VEE VBE


= 2.113 mA
RBB / (1 + ) + REE

IC = IE = 2.092 mA

IB =

IE
= 21.13 A
1+

To test for the active mode, we calculate the collector-base voltage

+
IE
RBB = 8.521 V
VCB = VC VB = V IE RC VBB
1+

Because this is positive, the BJT is biased in its active mode.


For the small-signal ac analysis, we need r0 and re . To calculate r0 , we first calculate the
collector-emitter voltage
VCE = VCB + VBE = 9.171 V
It follows that r0 , gm , r , and re have the values
r0 =
r =

VA + VCE
= 52.18 k
IE

gm =

1
IC
2.092
=
S
=
VT
25
11.95

VT
VT
99 25
= 1.183 k
=
=
IB
IC
2.113

re =

VT
= 11.83
IE

For the small-signal analysis, V + and V are zeroed and the three capacitors are replaced with
ac short circuits. The Thvenin voltage and resistance seen looking out of the base are given by
vtb = vs

R1 kR2
= 0.916vs
Rs + R1 kR2

Rtb = Rs kR1 kR2 = 4.58 k

The Thvenin resistances seen looking out of the emitter and the collector are
Rte = RE kR3 = 98.25

Rtc = RC kRL = 3.539 k

Note that the base spreading resistance rx is not zero for this problem. Next, we calculate Gm ,
ric , and rib .
Gm =

1
S
157.7

98.25
4580 + 20
1
Rtb + rx
Rte
+ 11.83 +
+
+
99
0.99

gm

Rte
ric = r0 1 +
+ (Rtb + rx + r ) kRte = 138.6 k
Rtb + rx + r + Rte
rib = rx + r + (1 + ) Rte = 11.03 k
The voltage is
Av =

vo
R1 kR2
1
(138.6kk3.539k) = 20.05
=
Gm (ric kRtc ) = 0.916
vs
Rs + R1 kR2
157.7

The input and output resistances are


rin = R1 kR2 krib = 9.173 k

rout = ric kRC = 4.17 k