TABLE 11
DIFFERENTIALAmPLIFIER EQUIVALENT INPUT DRIFT, USING
HA7500 FUSED UNITS
NUMBER 8(dc) co
A Vill MV 250C to 1250C 25"C 1250C '250C Rbi
Transistor Pair Vi,, At 25'C mv 27 35 3m,4A 2.2K
Measurements Calculations 10
2 18 23 5m.LA
1 2 9 2 3
3 18 +24 +7 +8 lKfl
4 5  8 3.5 2.7 5
5 6  5 0.5 i.7 Rbl=
7 19 21 6 7 b2=0
8 9 +10 +2.5 +3.3 o Rb2'
10 16  8 2.5 2.7 0
270D
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92 IRE TRANSACTIONS ON INSTRUMENTATION December
the transition occurs at a breakpoint, Xb, Yb, determined y (OUTPUT)
by specifying the intercept a. The two line segments are
described by
y =mx for Xb _ > xX 0 (1)
y= sx + a for x. Xb. (2) Yb
The breakpoint of a stage is therefore located at y
Xb = a/(m  s), Yb = ma/(m  s). (3) /__
Suppose n identical stages are connected in cascade Kb X (INPUT)
and suppose the kth stage of the cascade is operating at Fig. 1Amplitude characteristic of individual stage.
its breakpoint; its input is therefore Xb. If mr> 1, then the
stages preceding the kth stage will be operating in the PO
mgain region. The input to the first stage corresponding
to the breakpoint of the kth stage (X1,k) is therefore ob c
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1959 Solms: Logarithmic Amplifier Design 93
l l l BREAKPOINT LINE /X/ overall gain. From (10) and with the use of the same
MEDIAN LINE Yes assumptions, it is easily shown that for inlog amplifier
design the optimum number for maximization of small
TANGENT LINE signal bandwidth is
Yn2 X  */Bno = In X1 + [(ln X  1)2 I1/2 (14)
provided X > e2. For X < e2, the optimum number is one.
CIRCUIT DESIGN
4? LOG X,
LOG xi Nonlinear feedback in a transistor operational ampli
Fig. 3Overall characteristic in semilogarithmic plot.
.fier in the common emitter configuration, as in Fig. 5, .
is one possibility for approximating the required two
_._    _ slope characteristic. This configuration has the advant
a04_l_
z
_
_
.
  I  



age that with sufficient feedback the output impedance
is much smaller than the input impedance which is es
 . 1 {   sentially R. This makes possible the design of individual
U a/stages without complications due to cascading and it
02 _ > / _also reduces the interaction of a stage on its neighbors
G~i 2 _ in the alignment process.
0
<~~~
~RI El DI
0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 2
M (STAGE GAIN IN DB)
Fig. 4Approximation error vs stage gain.
Rg
IEx Eyl
Sometimes the dynamic range of the output is of in  _i_ _
terest. Defining this as Yno/yn, +1, from (10),
Ey
,um=+ n(m1). (13)
BANDWIDTH E SRIR2/(R1+R2)Rg
For signals below Pn, the linlog amplifier is linear and = R2/REx
the frequency response can be described conventionally.
ea
For signals above P,n nonlinear distortion makes ordi Fig. 5Stage design using nonlinear feedback.
nary frequency response measurements invalid. The
highfrequency response above Pn could be measured For cascaded common emitter stages, there is an opti
using an incremental sinusoidal signal mounted on a mum value for Rg in the interstage location to maximize
variable amplitude pedestal many cycles in width. How the stage gainbandwidth product.2 The optimum Rg for
ever, if the stage gain is controlled by feedback, the the configuration of Fig. 5 is
stage bandwidth will usually increase when a stage RgJ= (1.22rb11W,Cc) 12 (15)
enters the.unity gain region. The cascade bandwidth for
an incremental signal is, therefore, least for signals be where rb' is the extrinsic base resistance, wa is the alpha
low P,,. The specification of bandwidth using a signal cutoff radian frequency, and C, is the collector capaci
below Pn is thus convenient and conservative. tance. For this value of Rg, the gainbandwidth product
If the input dynamic range is specified, the choice of is
the number of stages determines stage gain and approxi G= wa/1.22[1 + (rX,Caxl.22)112]2 (16)
mation error. It is well known that in amplifier design c (
there is an optimum numhber of stages for maximization Because of the effect onCn, a high collector voltage is
of bandwidth if overall gain is specified. This assumes desirable to maximize bandwidth. A low collector volt
stages of constant gainbandwidth product and it as age may be desirable in the input stages for best noise
sumes that the bandwidth of a cascade is inversely pro figure. However, the collector voltage must be chosenl to
portional to the square root of the number of stages permit the maximum voltage swing required in a given
which is an approximation for stages with minimal over stage. For the stage of order k, this is
shoot.1 The optimum number is 2 ln A, where A is the
Ek= Ea[k ± m/(m 1)]. (17)
1 G. E. Valley, Jr., et al., Tube Amplifiers," M.I.T. Rad.
Lab. Ser., McGrawHill Book Co., Inc., New York, N. Y., vol. 18,
"4Vacuum 2 G. Bruun, "Common &nitter transistor video amplifiers,"
PP. 7780; 1948. PROC. IRE, vol. 44, PP. 15611571; November, 1956.
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94 IRE TRANSACTIONS ON INSTRUMENTATION December
In a bipolar stage, the quiescent collector voltage must RECOVERY CHARACTERISTICS
be at least Ek. (Bipolar design is helpful for the mini While the use of ac coupling in highgain multistage
mization of recovery transients, as explained below) amplifiers eliminates the drift problem associated with
Having selected R, on bandwidth considerations, Ea direct coupling, it introduces the problem of recovery
should, therefore, be made as small as possible in order from transients.3 The coupling time constants may be
to minimize standby power consumption. made large compared to the pulse width in order to
TEMPERATURE COMPENSATION minimize pulse droop. This reduces the amplitude of the
multiple undershoots following the pulse but prolongs
The diode bias B1 (Fig. 5) determines Ba according their duration. Alternatively, all the time constants may
to the relationship. be made long while one is. made comparable to the pulse
Ea= E(m  1)/m, (18) width. This results in a large undershoot but fast re
covery towards the baseline and high attenuation of
but B3 is affected by the temperature coeficient of the subsequent overshoots.
diode or the residual coefficient remaining after imper If the saeshtac
If.t stagebystage unitygain feedback paths in a
fect compensation. Therefore, El may be error by linlog amplifier are provided for signals of one polarity
in
adA T, where ad is the residual temperature coefficient in only but are omitted for signals of the opposite polarity
volts/C and AT is the temperature change. The cor the amplifier will have full gain (mn) for undershoots.
responding error in Ea is adA T(m  1) /m volts. The effect These will, therefore, produce unnecessarily large arti
on the breakpoints can be calculated from (9) and (10). facts in the output and may drive some stages into
From (22), the slope of the breakpoint line on semi saturation or cutoff. Bipolar design provides the linlog
logarithmic coordinates is Ea/log m. Provided m is in characteristic for signals of either polarity and thus
dependently stabilized, the per cent change in slope is handles the undershoots in a controlled manner. For
therefore the same as the per cent change in Ea which is example, in a bipolar linlog amplifier, if the input time
e = lOOadAT(m  1)/mEa. (19) constant is made very short compared to the other time
constants in the cascade in order to speed recovery, the
Thus, given a permissible e, the minimum Ba can be decay of an undershoot towards the baseline will ap
calculated. proximate a linear ramp, the result of logarithmation of
Another factor to be considered in choosingba is that the exponential decay. It should be noted that, while the
the feedback diode current excursion should be sufficient position of the short time constant does not matter in a
to provide the diode impedance change necessary to cascade of linear stages this is not true for the linlog
attain the dual gain characteristic without too gradual amplifier because of nonlinearity.
a transition. It is desirable to have the diode impedance
change over a wide range and to have the impedance
limits set by resistors in series and parallel with the
diode. This design procedure separates the stage gain A linlog amplifier with an 80db dynamic range has
from dependence on the diode temperatureimpedance been designed using transistor circuitry. For X =80 db,
relationship. It also makes feasible provision for align about 16 stages are optimum for maximization of band
ment of the overall amplitude characteristic by stage width. However, for n= 7, about 83 per cent of the band
bystage adjustment of Ea. width for 16 stages is obtained and this is done with an
This requirement determines a minimum value for Ea approximation error less than 1 per cent of the input
which can be derived from the diode equation dynamic range in db. Seven transistor operational am
plifiers in common emitter configuration are used in
I = Io(exp qV/ckT  1). (20) cascade. Rg was chosen for maximization of bandwidth
In the region where Io is not a significant component of and inductive compensation was used in the mgain
the diode current, the minimum change in voltage re feedback path of each stage to provide an additional
quired to change the diode incremental resistance by the bandwidth improvement. Bipolar design is used in
factor mp is order to control the recovery characteristics. All cou
pling time constants are of the same order of magnitude
\V = (ckT/q) ln rnp (21) and provide a smallsignal lowfrequency response
where ckT/q is a constant usually between 26 and 52 my which is down 3 db at 100 cps. The smallsignal high
for germanium or silicon diodes. A ratio of at least rn is frequency response is down 3 db at 2.5 mc.
required to produce the required change in stage gain. For X =80 db and n =7, the stage gain is 10 db, or
The factor p determines the sharpnless of the gain rn= 3.16. For the final stage (k =7), from (17), the col
transition. For example, for m=3.16, p=2O and ckT/qr lector voltage swing is B7=8.46 Ba. For B7=1 volt,
= 26 my, then Av V= 110 my which can be taken as the
minimumn allowable value for Ba in this case. 3Valley, Op. cii., pp. 114142.
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1959 Solms: Logarithmic Amplifier Design 95
E, = 118.2 mv. This value of Ea is obtained by use of for positive inputs is very similar. The responses for
forward bias on the 1N252 silicon diodes used in the 1000Asec and 1,usec pulses vs amplitude are shown in
feedback path. The forward bias of about 0.33 volt is Fig. 7. The multiple baseline crossings during recovery
provided by DR435 germanium diodes which are always from a 1000Asec pulse are very prominent since they
in the conducting state and which also provide tempera appear on a logarithmic scale. The slow return to the
ture compensation for the feedback diodes. The forward baseline following the 1,usec pulse, commencing about
bias on the silicon diodes is not sufficient to produce ap 35 db down for zero db input level, could be caused by a
preciable conduction, and the feedback path is still com rather small deviation in the amplifier frequency re
parable to a reversebiased ideal diode. The lOOK sponse characteristic. Such a deviation would ordinarily
potentiometers provide a positive or negative correction be negligible in a linear amplifier and serves to illustrate
for the bias in each stage for each polarity and allow for the fact that such effects become very noticeable on the
alignment of the amplifier to conform to the desired logarithmic scale.
overall amplitude characteristic. This characteristic The dependence of the amplitude characteristic on
is shown for negative input polarity at three values of duty factor is shown in Fig. 8. This effect is due to in
the ambient temperature in Fig. 6. The characteristic sufficient time for recovery before the arrival of a suc
0.  _ _.
06
>00
4
022
080 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
INPUT DB BELOW 0.173 V
Fig. 6Amplitude characteristic of linlog amplifier at different tem
peratures. Pulse width 3 Asec, repetition rate 100 pps. Battery
also at specified temperature.

_ 
W
_ s
rn ___
SWEEP

~
,IJS/DIV.
_
SWEEP O,cOOOp5/DIV.
I
Fig. 7ulsersponseof linog ampifier.Fig. 8Effect of duty factor on amplitude response.
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96 IRE TRANSACTIONS ON INSTRUMENTATION December
e * e * * e e e e e e * * e
_LDOKu0~IOODK IO
IOKMOK dOOK0/OOK KHIODK IOOK i4100Kl
IN252
.'4K
. .7K ¢4.7
INDICAT
K 3.9K
IN252 477
R 82.7KK
AND IN52 47K
K
IN252 4.7
4.7K 4.7K
IN252 IN252 IN252
12uh _ Fg i tastor,1bp h up 1 12uh clh
12
t 1< 4620 N252 IN252 N25 t DbOsvN252 N5 l l N5
ceeding pulse and, because of it, the Fig. 9 design is Substituting (25) in (24), the maximum deviation in the
eqaIonouseful
primarily th in
lgrthmic cuv
appications psIn
where through
the duty factorthis ymen in th seioaIthi
direction th input plt andthiiscalen
is obtainled.Thi line,
Fig. labele
3.
Pk pons Fro
small, where
or (9
the an
duty (10)
factor tis
is is
constant, or where the "tngn
i lie
i in Fig
4 t s 3, is paale
g to th
b log breakpoint m)
variation with duty factor does not matter. This e[ect
would not be present in a direct coupled design.
(m log e logn 12
(27
1)og
APPENDIX Notice that p drops out and that the error is, there
he aproimaion
To ealute rro, frst indthefore, the same for each segment. A single straight line
equation of the logarithmic curve passing through the ment in the
g oivenbythe diFf ance (22) aThisis lb
Dtangent lTne" Sn
semelogarEthmRc
F og.
thEs
plot, and line, labeled
3, ESparallel to the breakpoint
a line.T
yn = ~ log xi + ~log (MJM
. (22) From (22), it is seen that the slope of the breakpoint 
log m m I log m
line in the semilogarlthmo cI plot S a/log m. Then
Let the endpoints of a straight line segment of the over (y[Rlog m)/2aA is the peak deviation to either side of the
all amplitude characteristic be called P[ and P 4+]. "median line" of Fig. 3 referred to the log xi axis. Sub
Setting kp and k=p+l (9)in and (10), the coordi stituting from a5d (26) multiplying by 20, the error in
Ye pintFi.
nates 3.oendpoinlts of this segment are obtained. Jnd
of the db C.0 Broekert
[1] referred "Sm,oaihi
to the input is obtained.
ie This is called a and
ApiirAayin
These coordinates determine the equation of the seg is plotted in Fig. 4 vs the stage gain in db. (M = 20 log m)
ment joininglogm Ye= P,,+,:
Pp and m1og[2]5. . Vn Vori,"irwv 0r (m 1) log eeevr, log m .. Ra. Lab
Yn mpx1 + a( p).
=  (23) e log m m1] (27) =1Lo .
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