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Application Note 123
December 2009
Application and Optimization of a 2GHz Differential
Amplifier/ADC Driver
Cheng-Wei Pei and Adam Shou
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1 INTRODUCTION .......................................... 2
1.1 LTC6400 Features ............................................2
1.2 Internal Gain/Feedback Resistors ....................2
2 LOW DISTORTION....................................... 3
2.1 Actual Bandwidth vs Usable Bandwidth ...........3
2.2 Low-Frequency Distortion Performance .......... 4
2.3 Distortion Performance Guaranteed ................ 4
3 LOW NOISE .............................................. 5
3.1 Noise and NF vs Source Resistance.................6
3.2 Noise and Gain Circles ..................................... 7
3.3 Signal-to-Noise Ratio vs Bandwidth ................8
4 GAIN AND POWER OPTIONS .......................... 9
4.1 Gain, Phase and Group Delay ..........................9
4.2 Gain of 1 Configuration .................................. 10
5 INPUT CONSIDERATIONS ............................. 11
5.1 Input Impedance ............................................11
5.2 AC Coupling vs DC Coupling.......................... 12
5.3 Ground-Referenced Inputs ............................13
5.4 Impedance Matching ..................................... 14
5.5 Input Transformers ........................................15
5.6 Resistor Termination......................................16
6 DYNAMIC RANGE AND OUTPUT NETWORKS ...... 18
6.1 Resistive Loads .............................................18
6.2 VOCM Requirements .......................................18
6.3 Unfiltered and Filtered Outputs ...................... 19
6.4 Output Filters and ADC Driving Networks ...... 20
6.5 Output Recovery and Line Driving .................22
7 STABILITY ............................................... 22
7.1 Limitations of Stability Analysis ..................... 23
8 LAYOUT CONSIDERATIONS ........................... 24
8.1 Thermal Layout Considerations ..................... 25
8.2 Operating with a Negative Voltage Supply ..... 25
9 CONCLUSION ........................................... 26
10 APPENDIX A: TERMS AND DEFINITIONS .......... 26
10.1 Noise Figure (NF) ......................................... 26
10.2 3rd Order Intercept Point (IP3) ....................27
10.3 1dB Compression Point (P1dB) ................... 28
11 APPENDIX B: SAMPLE NOISE CALCULATIONS ... 28
11.1 Noise Analysis For Arbitrary Source
Resistance ............................................................ 28
11.2 DC987B Demo Board Noise Analysis ........... 29
11.3 SNR Calculation and Aliasing Example ........ 30
12 APPENDIX C: CALCULATION OF VOLTAGE AND
CURRENT NOISE CORRELATION ........................ 31
13 APPENDIX D: WORKS CITED........................ 32
L, LT, LTC, LTM, Linear Technology and the Linear logo are registered trademarks of Linear
Technology Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
an123f
AN123-1
Application Note 123
1 INTRODUCTION
Modern high speed analog-to-digital converters (ADC),
including those with pipeline or successive approximation
register (SAR) topologies, have fast switched-capacitor
sampling inputs. The highest performance parts maintain
low input noise and low signal distortion (high linearity)
while consuming less power with each new generation. At
the same time, they are sampling at ever increasing rates,
which enables wider signal bandwidths and relaxes the
requirements for analog antialias filtering. The switchedcapacitor inputs result in significant charge injection with
every switch movement, which requires a front end that
can absorb that charge and settle to the correct voltage
by the time the ADC input switches again, in nanoseconds
or less.
The task of the ADC driver amplifier is to meet all of these
requirements. A good driver must have the ability to output a signal of full-scale amplitude for the ADC with low
distortion and low noise to maintain the dynamic range
of the ADC. Also, the ADC driver (and any antialias filtering) must be able to withstand the ADC’s switch charge
injection and recover before the next switch movement to
minimize signal degradation. In the ADC driver, this implies
good transient response and wide bandwidth relative to
the ADC’s sampling frequency.
family is unconditionally stable with any input and output
termination, and in fact the output does not require any
impedance-matching components when driving an ADC.
The LTC6400 keeps the overall solution size small with its
3mm × 3mm QFN package that requires only a few external
power supply bypass capacitors for operation.
This Application Note discusses the features and boundaries of the LTC6400 family and how to achieve optimal
performance from the amplifiers in real applications.
1.2 Internal Gain/Feedback Resistors
The LTC6400 is manufactured with internal gain and
feedback resistors, for a complete differential amplifier
solution that is simple to use and less susceptible to
parasitic capacitances on the PCB layout than differential
amplifiers without internal resistors. This is because the
sensitive amplifier feedback loop nodes are contained
within the chip.
The benefit of internal resistors can be visualized in Figure 1-1 and Figure 1-2. The first shows a traditional high
speed differential amplifier IC, with parasitic inductance
and capacitance affecting the stability and frequency
Note 1. See Section 10.2 for a definition of “Equivalent Output IP3.”
CPAR1
1.1 LTC6400 Features
Linear Technology’s LTC®6400 family of ADC drivers
addresses all three issues with a low distortion and low
noise ADC driver with reasonable power dissipation. At
70MHz, which is a common IF frequency used in RF/IF
signal chains, the LTC6400 family boasts distortion as
low as –94dBc (equivalent output IP3 = 51dBm)1 and
input-referred noise density of 1.4nV/√Hz. This allows the
LTC6400 family to be used with high performance 14-bit
and 16-bit ADCs without compromising their performance.
The power draw of the LTC6400 family is as low as 120mW
on a single 3V supply.
The LTC6400 comes in two versions, one with the highest
performance (LTC6400) and another with half the power
draw (LTC6401). To facilitate ease of design and layout,
there are four fixed-gain options for each (8dB, 14dB,
20dB and 26dB) for a total of eight parts in the family. The
input impedances of the parts vary from 50Ω to 400Ω,
which is convenient for impedance matching. The LTC6400
R1
R2
+IN
LBOND1
CIN1
LBOND3
–OUT
CPAR3
CIN2
LBOND4
+OUT
CPAR4
LBOND2
CPAR2
R3
–IN
R4
AN123 F1-1
Figure 1-1. A Typical High Speed Differential Amplifier Circuit
with Parasitic Elements that Can Degrade Performance. The
Differential Amplifier IC is Shown in the Box. The Bond-Wire
Inductance of the Package and the Parasitic Capacitances, Both
Internal and External, Will Reduce the Phase Margin of the
Amplifier. Notice that the Output Load is in the Feedback Path
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AN123-2
Application Note 123
LBOND1
R2
CIN1
11
V–
12.5Ω LBOND3
CIN2
LBOND2
12
R1
12.5Ω LBOND4
ENABLE
10
9
V+
V–
BIAS CONTROL
CPAR3
13
+IN
RF
500Ω
RG
100Ω
ROUT
12.5Ω
CPAR4
R3
RFILT
50Ω
R4
14
IN+
+IN
Figure 1-2. A Differential Amplifier IC with Internal Resistors,
Such as the LTC6400. Note that the Bond-Wire Inductances
are Not Inside the Feedback Loop, and that the Output Load
is Isolated from the Feedback Loop Due to the Resistors and
Bond-Wire Inductance. The Input Capacitance of the Differential
Amplifier Can Still Affect the Performance, but it is Predictable
and Can be Compensated for in the IC Design
response of the amplifier. The second shows the same
parasitic elements in an LTC6400 style amplifier with
internal resistors. The parasitic elements are outside of
the critical feedback loop, and actually help to isolate the
output load from the amplifier.
15
16
CFILT
1.7pF
RFILT
50Ω
–IN
IN–
–IN
+OUTF
OUT–
AN123 F1-2
RG
100Ω
–OUTF
OUT+
RF
500Ω
ROUT
12.5Ω
2k
VOCM
2
–OUT
8
7
6
5
COMMON
MODE CONTROL
5.3pF
V+
1
+OUT
V+
3
V–
4
AN123 F2-1
Figure 2-1: Block Diagram of the LTC6400-14. The LTC6400
Delivers IF Amplifier Performance, but is Topologically Similar
to a Differential Op Amp in its use of Feedback
With the LTC6400’s internal components, the only required external components are bypass capacitors, which
should still be located as close to the amplifier’s package
as physically possible. For more information and recommendations on PCB layout, see the Layout section of this
Application Note.
provide almost 2GHz of bandwidth while maintaining
good stable performance in real-world layouts. In other
words, the user does not need to worry about low product
yields due to oscillating high frequency amplifiers. The
LTC6400 does still require attention to layout (see the
Layout section of this Application Note), but the most
difficult part is already done.
2 LOW DISTORTION
2.1 Actual Bandwidth vs Usable Bandwidth
The LTC6400 family is manufactured on a very high
frequency silicon germanium process, and crosses the
divide between traditional operational amplifiers (op
amps) and RF/IF amplifiers. The LTC6400 maintains very
low distortion and low noise with the capability of handling signals at high intermediate frequencies (IF). This
allows the LTC6400 to be used in demanding IF sampling
applications of radio receiver signal chains. However,
the LTC6400 is still topologically similar to traditional op
amps in the use of feedback to achieve its high gain and
DC performance.
The LTC6400 has a very wide bandwidth (approaching
2GHz), but the vast majority of applications will not require
frequencies beyond a few hundred Megahertz. The reason
lies in the topology. Unlike traditional “open-loop” RF/IF
amplifiers, where there is very little or no feedback used
in the amplifier circuit, the LTC6400 contains an internal
differential op amp with the gain set using a feedback
network. The internal amplifier’s open-loop gain is much
higher than the gain externally, and the amplifier is
compensated to push out the overall loop gain roll-off to
higher frequencies. The main reason that a “closed-loop”
op amp is able to achieve great distortion performance is
the combination of feedback and high loop gain, which is
able to reduce any distortion created within the amplifier.
Once the loop gain begins to roll off at higher frequencies,
the distortion performance begins to suffer.
The block diagram of the LTC6400-14 (14dB fixed gain),
shown in Figure 2-1, shows similarities to traditional
differential op amps. The main difference lies in the use
of internal resistors and other frequency compensation
components. By keeping the most sensitive nodes of
the amplifier inside the package, the LTC6400 is able to
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AN123-3
Application Note 123
In other applications, the high bandwidth of the LTC6400
can be a significant advantage. With a slew rate of up
to 6700V/μs3 and a 2V step 1% settling time as fast as
0.8ns, the LTC6400 can be used in high performance video
and charge-coupled device (CCD) applications with good
results. The wide bandwidth of the LTC6400 results in flat
gain to hundreds of Megahertz; Table 4-1 summarizes the
gain flatness specifications in the data sheets.
–40
THIRD ORDER IMD (dBc)
–50
–60
–70
–80
–90
RL = 375Ω
–100
NO RL
–110
–120
0.1
UNFILTERED NO RL
UNFILTERED 200Ω RL
FILTERED NO RL
–50
systems to provide gain with no measurable degradation
in the signal. The low 1/f noise “corner frequency” (on the
order of 12kHz) means that the low noise performance
of the LTC6400 is maintained well below 1MHz. Although
the LTC6400 has low distortion at 100MHz and above, it
also has phenomenal distortion performance at 20MHz
and below. Figure 2-3 shows measured distortion data
with input frequencies as low as 1MHz.
IMD (dBc)
Figure 2-2 shows the 3rd order intermodulation distortion (IMD) products from a 2-tone signal test of the
LTC6400-20.2 At low frequencies, the distortion products
approach –100dBc. However, the performance is still good
even up to 250MHz-300MHz, which makes the LTC6400
suitable for even mid-to-high IF systems. However, it is
important to note that the LTC6400 does not maintain
great distortion performance all the way up to its actual
–3dB bandwidth.
1
10
FREQUENCY (MHz)
100
AN123 F2-3
–60
Figure 2-3. LTC6401-14 Low Frequency Distortion. Results
Obtained from Lab Experiments Show that the Distortion of
the LTC6400 Family is Better than –100dBc at Frequencies
Below 40MHz, Making it an Excellent Choice for Lower
Frequency Applications
–70
–80
–90
–100
–110
DIFFERENTIAL INPUT
VOUT = 2VP-P COMPOSITE
0
50
100
150
200
FREQUENCY (MHz)
250
300
AN123 F2-2
Figure 2-2: LTC6400-20 2-Tone 3rd Order Intermodulation
Distortion. The Feedback Topology of the LTC6400 Means
that the Distortion Performance Falls with the Loop-Gain
Over Frequency
2.2 Low-Frequency Distortion Performance
A standout ability of the LTC6400 among high speed
amplifiers is that it can accept inputs down to DC. From
Figure 2-2, it can be inferred that the distortion performance
approaches or exceeds –100dBc at lower frequencies
(10MHz and below). This enables the LTC6400 to be used
in very high performance low frequency and baseband
2.3 Distortion Performance Guaranteed
One of the more unique features of the LTC6400 is the
guaranteed distortion specification on the data sheet.
Each unit is individually tested in production to meet
specifications for functionality, which typically includes
gain, offset, supply current, etc. The LTC6400 is unusual
among available amplifiers in that each unit is also tested
for distortion performance. The production test applies
a two-tone input signal and measures the 3rd order intermodulation distortion. Table 2-1 lists the guaranteed
distortion specification for each member of the family.
Note 2. For a general discussion on how to measure very low
intermodulation distortion products, see (Seremeta 2006).
Note 3. A slew rate of 6700V/μs results in a 2VP-P full power bandwidth of
1.066GHz
an123f
AN123-4
Application Note 123
Table 2-1. Typical and Guaranteed 2-Tone 3rd Order IMD
Specifications for the LTC6400 Family of Products. These
Specifications are Measured and Guaranteed at Room
Temperature
INPUT
FREQUENCIES
(MHz)
TYPICAL IMD
(dBc)
GUARANTEED IMD
(dBc)
–59
–53
–63
–57
LTC6400-20
–70
–64
LTC6400-26
–68
–62
–75
–67
–70
–61
LTC6401-20
–69
–61
LTC6401-26
–70
–62
PART NUMBER
LTC6400-8
LTC6400-14
LTC6401-8
LTC6401-14
280, 320
(IMD Measured
at 360MHz)
130, 150
(IMD Measured
at 170MHz)
Typically an amplifier’s DC specifications are measured,
and the AC performance (including distortion) is simply
assumed. However, this means that from part to part there
can be large variations in actual performance, which can
cause the need to design in large performance margins
or potentially sacrifice product yield. With a guaranteed
specification in the data sheet for distortion, a design can
proceed with more confidence knowing exactly what to
expect from the amplifier.
3 LOW NOISE
The challenge of specifying the noise of the LTC6400 family stems from its dual role as a RF/IF signal chain gain
block and a traditional voltage-gain differential amplifier.
The data sheet specifications of voltage/current noise
density (nV/√Hz and pA/√Hz) and noise figure (NF) must
be correctly interpreted for the user’s application. To
make things more complicated, the LTC6400 is flexible
in source and load impedance, which means that all the
noise specifications can change depending on the circuit
used. This section expands on the specifications in the
data sheet and further explains how to correctly calculate
the noise of the LTC6400 family.
Amplifier noise is typically described by an input equivalent
noise voltage density, en, and noise current density, in.
Figure 3-1 illustrates the equivalent noise sources. The
voltage noise density can be measured by shorting the
RI1
RF1
RO1
12.5Ω
en
+–
en (FROM
DATA SHEET)
+
–
in
LTC6400
RI2
RF2
RO2
12.5Ω
AN123 F31
Figure 3-1. Equivalent Noise Sources of the LTC6400. en is the
Equivalent Input Voltage Noise Source, and in is the Equivalent
Differential Input Current Noise Source. In This Example,
the Resistors Would Not be Considered Noiseless for Noise
Calculation Purposes. The Extra Voltage Source External to
the LTC6400 is the en Value That is Listed in the Data Sheet,
Assuming RS = 0Ω
amplifier inputs, measuring the output voltage noise density, subtracting the effects of the resistors, and dividing by
the amplifier’s ‘noise gain’ for ZS = 0. Note that in the case
of a feedback amplifier, the noise gain may not equal the
input/output signal gain4. The current noise density can be
determined by connecting the amplifier inputs together with
a resistor or capacitor (ZS), measuring the output voltage
noise density, subtracting the noise contribution due to
en and ZS, and dividing by the noise gain. For simplicity,
the subtraction of the en and ZS effects is done in an RMS
fashion (square root of the difference of squares), with the
assumption that en and in are uncorrelated noise sources.
Through this procedure, input and output equivalent noise
are obtained as shown in Table 3-1.
Notice that the en values in Table 3-1 differ from those in
the LTC6400 data sheet. This is because the data sheet
specifies a voltage noise density referred to the resistor
inputs with the assumption that the source impedance is
zero. In other words, the output voltage noise density from
the data sheet is simply divided by the signal gain of the
amplifier. This approach makes part-to-part comparison
easier, but it does not lend itself well to general noise
calculations with differing source and load impedances,
etc. Establishing the noise sources in Figure 3-1 supplements the data sheet numbers and allows more general
noise calculations to be made.
Note 4. See (Rich 1988) and (Brisebois 2005) for more background on
amplifier noise analysis.
an123f
AN123-5
Application Note 123
LTC6400-8
LTC6400-14 LTC6400-20 LTC6400-26
en (nV/√Hz)
1.12
1.15
1.03
1.01
in (pA/√Hz)
4.00
4.02
2.34
2.57
en(OUT) (nV/√Hz)
(RS = 0, No RL)
9.4
12.7
22.7
28.2
For source impedance, ZS, the total output noise can be
estimated by power superposition of contributions from
resistive part of ZS, en and in. However, this result could be
misleading when ZS is considerably high and/or frequency
of interest is high.
There are some limitations to the data in Table 3-1 and its
usefulness. Most importantly, en and in will have significant
correlation, since they originate from the same physical
noise sources inside the circuit. The RMS subtraction used
here neglects this fact. The correlation of the voltage and
current noise sources will have an impact on the accuracy
of the calculations when RS > 100Ω and in contributes a
higher portion of the total noise at the output. This effect
is examined in more detail in Appendix C.
Another limitation is that the en and in values obtained
are only valid at 100MHz or below (down to the flicker
noise corner frequency, approximately 12kHz), which is
more than an order of magnitude lower than the –3dB
bandwidth of the LTC6400. In a typical feedback amplifier,
the output voltage noise density at higher frequencies
can deviate significantly from the low frequency values
(not considering 1/f noise). Figure 3-2 shows the output
noise voltage of the LTC6400 family, which increase as
the frequency approaches the –3dB bandwidth of the part.
This increase in noise density is caused by the reduction
in amplifier loop gain with frequency, which is affected by
the internal amplifier gain, the compensation network, and
the source and load impedances seen by the amplifier. At
frequencies above the –3dB bandwidth, the output voltage
noise density will fall with the gain of the amplifier.
3.1 Noise and NF vs Source Resistance
Figure 3-3 illustrates the measured total output noise voltage for various source resistors at 100MHz. Notice that the
LTC6400-8/LTC6400-14/LTC6400-26 output noise curves
converge as RS approaches 1k. This is because all three
AN123-6
RS = 0Ω
NO RL
30
25
en(OUT) (nV/√Hz)
PART NUMBER
35
20
15
10
LTC6400-8
LTC6400-14
LTC6400-20
LTC6400-26
5
0
10
1000
100
FREQUENCY (MHz)
AN123 F3.2
Figure 3-2. Total Output Noise Voltage Density vs Frequency.
The Output Noise is Measured with the Differential Inputs
Shorted Together and No Resistive Load on the Amplifiers.
The Noise Does Not Scale Linearly with the Gain Values
Because the Internal Resistor Values are not the Same.
30
NO RL
MEASURED AT 100MHz
25
en(OUT) (nV/√Hz)
Table 3-1: Equivalent Input and Output Noise at 100MHz Based
on the Internal Noise Sources in Figure 3-1. The First Two Rows,
en and in, are Calculated Input-Referred Voltage and Current
Noise Components of the Amplifier Alone, Excluding the Noise
of the Internal Resistors
LTC6400-8
LTC6400-14
LTC6400-20
LTC6400-26
20
15
10
5
0
200
600
400
RS (Ω)
800
1000
AN123 F3-3
Figure 3-3. Total Output Noise vs Source Resistance at 100MHz.
The Source Resistance is Installed Differentially Across the
Two Inputs, and the Output Voltage Noise Density is Measured
Without Any Load Resistance on the Amplifier. Note the Trend of
Decreasing Output Noise with Increasing Source Resistance
versions have 500Ω feedback resistors and very similar
internal amplifiers. On the other hand, the LTC6400-20
presents a much higher output noise as RS approaches 1k.
This is because the LTC6400-20 has a 1k feedback resistor,
which means the effective noise gain is larger than that of
the other parts. In addition, the larger feedback resistor
contributes more noise direct to the output.
When the output noise curves in Figure 3-3 are translated to
noise figure, producing Figure 3-4 (Equation 10-2), a slightly
different story emerges. The amplifiers with a lower total
output noise density (i.e., lower gains) do not necessarily
have a lower noise figure. This is because NF is a measure
of signal-to-noise ratio degradation, not absolute noise
an123f
Application Note 123
Another conclusion from Figure 3-6 is that low NF can be
achieved with a certain range of RS, but at the cost of overall
voltage gain. The addition of RS1 and RS2 in Figure 3-5
contributes to additional input resistance, which lowers
the gain. The conclusion is that it is not always desirable
to use a source termination that yields the absolute lowest
noise figure.
15
NO RL
MEASURED AT 100MHz
LTC6400-8
LTC6400-14
LTC6400-20
LTC6400-26
NF (dB)
10
5
0
200
0
400
600
RS (Ω)
800
1000
30
20
15
10
5
0
–5
0
RS1
RI1
RF1
RO1
12.5Ω
VS
+
–
LTC6400
RS2
RI2
RO2
12.5Ω
RF2
AN123 F3-5
Figure 3-5. Diagram Showing the Effect of Increased Source
Resistance on Overall Voltage Gain. The Source Resistance
Adds to the Input Resistance, Which Decreases the Gain of the
Amplifier
200
400
600
800
1000
RS (Ω)
AN123 F3-6
Figure 3-6. Voltage Gain vs Source Resistance for the LTC6400
Family. The Voltage Gain Defined Here is Calculated from the
Source Voltage, VS, in Figure 3-5 and Assumes No Resistive
Load at the Output of the Amplifier
3.2 Noise and Gain Circles
The curves in Figure 3-4 show the effect of varying a real
source resistance on noise and noise figure, but what happens if a complex source impedance is used? Noise circles
are related to the concept of “minimum noise figure,” where
there is a certain complex input impedance that will yield
the minimum noise figure for a given device at a given
frequency, temperature and bias. It is also possible to plot
circles of constant noise figure on the same Smith chart,
so that any complex source impedance on each circle will
yield the same NF. For a given source impedance ZS, the
noise factor of a 2-port system can be expressed relative
to the minimum noise factor (Fukui 1981):
AN123 F3-4
Figure 3-4. Noise Figure vs Source Resistance of the LTC6400.
For Each Member of the Family, There is a Range of Source
Resistances That Provide the Lowest Noise Figure Values
RS = 0Ω, NO RL
MEASURED AT 100MHz
LTC6400-8
LTC6400-14
LTC6400-20
LTC6400-26
25
VOLTAGE GAIN (dB)
(see Appendix A). Also, the noise figure curves shown in
Figure 3-4 are not monotonic as RS increases, but instead
have a local minimum. There are two effects that are contributing to this result. First, the output voltage noise density
of the amplifier levels off as RS increases, but the source
resistor noise continues to increase as RS does. Second,
Figure 3-5 and Figure 3-6 illustrate that the noise gain of
the amplifier also decreases as the RS value increases. So
there are two terms increasing the noise figure and one
term decreasing it, and the combination of these effects
causes the NF to have a local minimum.
F = FMIN +
GN
2
Z S – ZOPT
RS
(3-1)
where FMIN is minimum achievable noise factor, GN is the
device’s equivalent noise conductance, RS is the resistive
part of ZS, and ZOPT is the source impedance required
to achieve the minimum noise factor. Figure 3-7 shows
the noise circles for the LTC6400-8, and Table 3-2 lists
the noise parameters for the entire LTC6400 family. The
values indicate that inductive source impedances (with
positive reactance) yield the optimal NFs for the LTC6400
family. However, when applying noise matching, it is
important to remember that other performance factors
such as gain, bandwidth and impedance mismatch are
also affected by ZS.
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AN123-7
Application Note 123
Table 3-2. LTC6400 Complex Noise Parameters Measured at
100MHz. These Parameters are the Basis for the Noise Figure
Circles in Figure 3-7, and Allow the Precise Calculation of NF
with Any Complex Source Impedance
LTC6400-8
LTC6400-14
LTC6400-20
LTC6400-26
NFMIN (dB)
7.12
5.6
4.01
3.55
GN (mS)
1.13
2.45
2.86
7.23
ZOPT (Ω)
531 + j306
440 + j131
516 + j263
272 + j86
One of the other key factors affected by source impedance
is overall gain, and Figure 3-8 shows a set of gain circles
for the LTC6400-8 plotted on the Smith chart. Transducer
gain (GT) is simply the ratio between power delivered to
the load and power available from the source.
Figures 3-7 and 3-8 illustrate the trade-off between noise
figure and transducer gain. Looking at the two plots, the
minimum NF and maximum GT cannot be achieved simultaneously, since they are not located in the same spot on
the Smith chart. One common strategy is to connect the
two optimal points (ΓS,OPT and ΓS,GT(MAX)) with a straight
line and pick a source termination on that line, which
comes close to optimizing both NF and GT. However, in
many cases the absolute minimum NF or maximum GT is
not truly necessary. Looking at Figures 3-7 and 3-8, there
is a large area of the input reflection Smith chart that will
achieve within 1dB of both optimal points. There is even
a significant portion of the real axis available (including
400Ω), where reactive elements are not necessary, that
would provide good performance as well as a wideband
impedance match.
3.3 Signal-to-Noise Ratio vs Bandwidth
Amplifiers such as the LTC6400 family are typically specified
in noise voltage density, with units of nanovolts per root
Hertz. When used in practical applications, the question
often arises about how to interpret this noise metric to
figure out exactly how much performance can be achieved
in a system design. Depending on the system, there are
many ways to characterize the effect of noise on a signal,
but one of the most widely used is signal-to-noise ratio
(SNR). SNR is simply a ratio of the maximum possible
signal to the total amount of noise present, which determines the dynamic range of the system. The implication
is that a signal small enough to be “in the noise floor” is
not detectable, which is not always true, but SNR allows
different designs to be compared side by side.
The LTC6400 family consists of very broadband amplifiers, with –3dB bandwidths over 1GHz. Making the
assumption that all the noise is white noise, meaning
the noise power density is constant with frequency, the
total amount of integrated noise can be calculated by
.GT(MAX)
Figure 3-7. LTC6400-8 Noise Circles on the S11 Reflection Plane
at 100MHz
Figure 3-8. LTC6400-8 Gain Circles on the S11 Reflection Plane
at 100MHz with RL = 375Ω
an123f
AN123-8
Application Note 123
multiplying the noise voltage density by the square root
of the total bandwidth.
En,TOTAL = en (nV/√Hz) • √α • BW nVRMS
(3-2)
where α = Scale factor to include the noise outside the
BW, approximately 1.57 for a 1st order roll off and 1.11
for a 2nd order roll off.
Wide bandwidth amplifiers like the LTC6400 can have a
significant impact on SNR. With a –3dB bandwidth of 1GHz,
en is multiplied by 40,000 in Equation 3-2, so a 10nV/√Hz
amplifier output would contribute 400μVRMS of integrated
noise. If the maximum output signal is 2VP-P (0.71VRMS),
as is the case for a typical high speed ADC input, then the
maximum theoretical SNR is 1768, or 65dB. This is the
SNR of an ADC with 10.5 bits of resolution.
As shown in Table 3-1, the higher gain versions of the
LTC6400 have output noise voltage densities up to 28nV/
√Hz. Although the high gain implies that the input-referred
noise is very low, the output noise can be significant. The
trend in signal conditioning is toward lower supply voltages,
and so the maximum signal level (and thus the achievable
SNR) is shrinking. For this reason, when driving a 16-bit
(or even a 14-bit) ADC, it is almost always desirable to add
some filtering at the output of the LTC6400. The design
of this external filter depends on the desired input signal
bandwidth and the target SNR that is required.
⎛V
⎞
SNR TARGET = 20 • log ⎜ SIGNAL ⎟ dB
⎝ En,TOTAL ⎠
(3-3)
where VSIGNAL = maximum input signal in VRMS, which
can be up to 0.88V for a high performance 3V ADC
(2.5VP-P).
This SNR calculation ignores the contribution of noise
from the ADC. The SNR from the amplifier can be one
of the dominant factors in determining the effective ADC
resolution. Due to the LTC6400’s excellent distortion performance, it is often paired with high performance 14-bit
and 16-bit ADCs, and so the bandwidth should be limited
in order to achieve the best overall performance.
An important phenomenon that occurs in ADCs is aliasing, which effectively “folds” frequency bands on top of
each other, making them indistinguishable in the digital
domain. Aliasing does not change the SNR calculation
above, but it does affect the ability of any additional
digital filtering to improve the SNR. If all of the noise is
contained in one Nyquist bandwidth (the width of which
is fSAMPLE/2), then additional digital filtering can remove
noise around the desired signal. However, if many Nyquist
bandwidths of noise are aliased together with the desired
signal band, then the beneficial effect of digital filtering
would be diminished.
A sample calculation along with some further explanation of
the noise aliasing phenomenon appears in section 11.3.
4 GAIN AND POWER OPTIONS
For application flexibility, the LTC6400 and LTC6401 product
families come in four different gain versions: 8dB (2.5V/V),
14dB (5V/V), 20dB (10V/V) and 26dB (20V/V). The voltage
gain is specified in decibels to maintain consistency with
other RF/HF components in the signal chain. Figure 4-1
shows the block diagram of the LTC6400/LTC6400-1.
The gains specified are voltage gains from the input pins to
the output pins. Unlike some amplifiers that specify power
gain with a known load impedance value, the LTC6400
specifies a voltage gain that does not imply any specific
input or output termination.
In addition to the choice of voltage gain, the user also has
the choice between the LTC6400 and LTC6401 parts. This
choice is mainly a speed/power trade-off; the LTC6400 is
the fastest, lowest distortion amplifier and the LTC6401 is a
lower power version optimized for lower input frequencies.
The LTC6400 maintains good distortion performance out
to 300MHz, and the LTC6401 does so out to 140MHz.
4.1 Gain, Phase and Group Delay
Providing the gain and feedback resistors internally also
enables optimization in the compensation networks within
each amplifier in the product family. Therefore, each gain
variation of the LTC6400 has similar bandwidth (>1GHz)
and minimal peaking in the gain response. Although the
usable low distortion bandwidth of the products are much
lower in frequency than the –3dB bandwidths, in certain
situations gain flatness and phase linearity can be important. Figure 4-2 shows the gain of the LTC6400-20 to be flat
within 0.1dB out to approximately 300MHz, and the phase
to be linear out to beyond 1GHz. Table 4-1 summarizes the
bandwidths of each LTC6400 and LTC6401 version.
an123f
AN123-9
Application Note 123
12
11
V–
ENABLE
10
9
V+
V–
BIAS CONTROL
13
+IN
RG
ROUT
12.5Ω
RF
+OUT
RFILT
50Ω
14
15
16
IN+
+IN
CFILT
1.7pF
RFILT
50Ω
–IN
IN–
–IN
+OUTF
OUT–
RG
ROUT
12.5Ω
RF
2k
V+
VOCM
2
–OUT
8
RG
200Ω
100Ω
100Ω
25Ω
RF
500Ω
500Ω
1kΩ
500Ω
7
FAMILY
LTC6400
LTC6401
6
SUPPLY CURRENT
85mA TO 90mA AT 3V
45mA TO 50mA AT 3V
INPUT FREQUENCY
FOR LOW DISTORTION
DC – 300MHz
DC – 140MHz
5
COMMON
MODE CONTROL
5.3pF
1
–OUTF
OUT+
VOLTAGE GAIN
8dB
14dB
20dB
26dB
V+
V–
3
4
AN123 F4-1
Figure 4-1. LTC6400/LTC6401 Block Diagram and Product Information Tables for the Various Gain and Speed/Power Options Available
1.0
0
1.2
–100
0.9
–200
0.6
–300
0.3
0.8
PHASE (DEGREE)
0.4
0.2
0
–0.2
–0.4
–0.6
PHASE
GROUP DELAY
–0.8
–1.0
10
100
1000
FREQUENCY (MHz)
3000
–400
0
200
400
600
FREQUENCY (MHz)
GROUP DELAY (ns)
GAIN FLATNESS (dB)
0.6
0
1000
800
AN123 F4-2
Figure 4-2. Gain Flatness and Phase/Group Delay Plots of the LTC6400-20
4.2 Gain of 1 Configuration
In some situations, a simple buffer may be required to drive
an ADC with no gain or even attenuation. In this special
case, series resistors can be used in front of the LTC6400-8
or LTC6401-8 to lower the gain to 0dB (1V/V). Due to the
unconditional stability of the LTC6400, these resistors at
the input will not cause instability or oscillation.
Figure 4-3 demonstrates the configuration. When combined with the internal gain resistors of the LTC6400-8, the
amplifier becomes a unity-gain buffer with 1kΩ differential
input impedance.
Table 4-1: Typical Bandwidth and 0.1dB/0.5dB Gain Flatness
Frequencies for the LTC6400/LTC6401 Product Families
Product
–3dB Bandwidth 0.1dB Bandwidth 0.5dB Bandwidth
LTC6400-8
2.2GHz
200MHz
430MHz
LTC6400-14
2.37GHz
200MHz
377MHz
LTC6400-20
1.84GHz
300MHz
700MHz
LTC6400-26
1.9GHz
280MHz
530MHz
LTC6401-8
2.22GHz
220MHz
430MHz
LTC6401-14
1.95GHz
230MHz
470MHz
LTC6401-20
1.25GHz
130MHz
250MHz
LTC6401-26
1.6GHz
220MHz
500MHz
an123f
AN123-10
Application Note 123
When combining external series resistors to lower the
gain, there will be some temperature and initial accuracy
limitations due to the characteristics of the LTC6400 family’s
internal resistors. While the internal resistors (200Ω and
500Ω in Figure 4-3) are designed to match well over process
variations and temperature, their absolute values can vary
as much as ±15% (as guaranteed by the LTC6400-8 data
sheet). A ±15% variation in the internal resistors, when
combined with an ideal 301Ω resistor in our example,
will result in less than ±10% variation in the desired gain
of the amplifier over temperature and process variations.
This does not take into account temperature effects in the
external resistor, which should not be expected to track
with the internal resistors.
LTC6400-8
500Ω
200Ω
301Ω
12.5Ω
13 +IN
+OUT 8
50Ω
IN+
OUT–
IN–
OUT+
+OUTF 7
1.7pF
14 +IN
50Ω
15 –IN
200Ω
301Ω
500Ω
16 –IN
–OUTF 6
RI1
VIN
LTC6400-X
RI2
AN123 F5-1
Figure 5-1: LTC6400 with a Fully Differential Input
Figure 5-2 shows the LTC6400 with a single-ended input.
Assuming that the input signals are high enough in frequency that the DC blocking capacitors C1 and C2 look
effectively like short circuits (these are necessary because
of the input common mode voltage requirements of the
LTC6400), the assumption of no voltage at the INT+ and
INT– nodes is no longer valid. The differential voltage across
(INT+,INT–) will still be small, but there will be a common
mode voltage at the two nodes that is proportional to the
input voltage.
VINT+ ≈ VINT – ≈ VOUT+ •
AN123 F4-3
IIN =
RI2
R
RI2
= VIN • F 2 •
2RI2 RF 2 + RI2
RF 2 + RI2
RF 2
(5-1)
= VIN •
RF 2 + RI2
VIN – VINT + VIN RF 2 + 2RI2
=
•
RI1
RI1 2 (RF 2 + RI2 )
5 INPUT CONSIDERATIONS
The input impedance of a differential amplifier circuit depends on whether it is driven single-ended or differentially.
This is significant when performing an impedance match
to the amplifier for optimal power transfer or to maximize
the voltage signal at the input.
Figure 5-1 shows the LTC6400 with a differential input.
To calculate the input impedance, we need to calculate
the input current IIN flowing through the input voltage
source, VIN. With a fully-differential input and a high gain
amplifier, there is very little voltage developed across the
internal nodes (INT+,INT–). Therefore these nodes act as
a differential “virtual short”, in a similar fashion to the
inverting node of a traditional op amp. Thus, the input
impedance is simply the sum of RI1 and RI2.
RF2
INT –
–OUT 5
5.1 Input Impedance
RF1
+
IIN
12.5Ω
Figure 4-3. LTC6400-8 with Series Resistors to Lower the Gain to
1V/V (0dB)
INT+
Input Im pedance = VIN /IIN =
(5-2)
2RI1(RF 2 + RI2 )
RF 2 + 2RI2
(5-3)
As an example, with the LTC6400-20, which has 100Ω input
resistors and 1k feedback resistors, the single-ended input
impedance is 183Ω. This would be the input impedance
C1
IIN
RI1
INT+
RF1
+
RO1
12.5Ω
VIN
LTC6400-X
C2
RI2
RO2
12.5Ω
OUT–
OUT+
RF2
INT –
AN123 F5-2
Figure 5-2: LTC6400 with Single-Ended Input
an123f
AN123-11
Application Note 123
seen by VIN in the example. Note that in the case of a VIN
with non-zero source impedance, such as a 50Ω signal
source, it is beneficial to terminate the unused input with
the same effective impedance to maintain balance. This
will change the input impedance, and an updated formula
can be found in section 5.6.
5.2 AC Coupling vs DC Coupling
The LTC6400 is tolerant of AC coupling or DC coupling at
both the input and the output, but it does have a range of
inputs and output voltages that must be adhered to for
best performance. At the input, the common mode input
voltage range is defined in the data sheet to be approximately 1V to 1.6V (with V+ = 3V). The common mode input
voltage is defined as the average voltage of the two inputs,
and is separate from the difference voltage between the
inputs. Input voltages that are centered at ground or at
VCC must therefore be level-shifted before being applied
to the LTC6400. As a point of clarification, the common
mode input voltage refers to the voltage at input pins of
the IC (Pins 13 to 16), not the internal input pins of the
op amp which are not accessible. Table 5-1 shows the
differences between the data sheet common mode limits
and the resultant internal node voltages (see Figure 5-1)
that result. The data sheet limits are published with a
set VOCM of 1.25V, and assuming no additional source
resistance. Changing either would shift the DC voltage
at the internal nodes, which are the real determinant of
the input common mode limits. However, following the
common mode limits established in the data sheet only
ensure that the input stage operates in the linear region;
it does not imply the same performance will be achieved
across the entire voltage range. Section 6.2 addresses
the change in distortion for different common mode bias
voltages, both at the input and at the output.
The limits in Table 5-1 are based on saturation limits of
the input stage, and can be interpreted for the general
case of an arbitrary V+ and VOCM. Changing the V+ voltage
increases the input stage headroom, and changing VOCM
changes the bias at the internal nodes, so both will affect
the input common mode voltage limits. Referring to the
values in Tables 5-1 and 5-2, the input common mode
voltage limits can be calculated as:
VCM,IN(MIN) = β(VN + V– – αVOCM – δV+)
(5-4)
VCM,IN(MAX) = β(VP + (1 – δ)V+ – 3.0 – αVOCM) (5-5)
Table 5-1. Limits of Input Common Mode Voltage as Published in the Data Sheet, and the Translated Common Mode Voltage Limits at
the Amplifier’s Internal Nodes. Knowing the Amplifier’s Internal Node Voltages Allows a Design to Stay Within Data Sheet Limts Even
with Alternative Configurations. The Internal Node Voltages VN and VP Include the Effect of a Small Pull-Up Current in the Amplifier.
LTC6400-8
LTC6400-14
LTC6400-20
LTC6400-26
V– + 1.0
V– + 1.0
V– + 1.0
1.8
(V+ – 1.2V)
1.6
(V+ – 1.4V)
1.6
(V+ – 1.4V)
Specification from
Data Sheet
Input Common Mode Voltage Minimum (IVRMIN)
V– + 1.0
Input Common Mode Voltage Minimum (IVRMAX)
1.8
(V+ – 1.2V)
Internal Node Voltage
Limits (INT+, INT–)
Common Mode Voltage Minimum (VN)
1.24
1.14
1.05
1.02
Common Mode Voltage Maximum (VP)
1.76
1.78
1.59
1.59
LTC6401-8
LTC6401-14
LTC6401-20
LTC6401-26
Specification from
Data Sheet
Input Common Mode Voltage Minimum (IVRMIN)
V– + 1.0
V– + 1.0
V– + 1.0
V– + 1.0
Input Common Mode Voltage Minimum (IVRMAX)
1.6
(V+ – 1.4)
1.6
(V+ – 1.4)
1.6
(V+ – 1.4)
1.6
(V+ – 1.4)
Common Mode Voltage Minimum (VN)
1.16
1.09
1.05
1.03
Common Mode Voltage Maximum (VP)
1.57
1.58
1.59
1.59
Internal Node Voltage
Limits (INT+, INT–)
Table 5-2. Constants Used to Calculate Input Common Mode Voltage Limits, Based on the Information Provided in the Data Sheet.
Changing the Supply Voltage V+ and the VOCM Bias Voltage will Affect the Limits Published in the Data Sheet Electrical Tables. These
Constants Include the Effect of a Small Pull-Up Current at the Internal Nodes of the Amplifier.
LTC6400-8
LTC6400-14
LTC6400-20
LTC6400-26
LTC6401-8
LTC6401-14
LTC6401-20
LTC6401-26
Alpha (α)
0.261
0.158
0.090
0.047
0.273
0.162
0.090
0.047
Beta (β)
1.533
1.267
1.117
1.054
1.467
1.233
1.117
1.058
Delta (δ)
0.087
0.053
0.015
0.004
0.045
0.027
0.015
0.008
an123f
AN123-12
Application Note 123
When calculating the input minimum and maximum voltages with the provided equations, it is important to keep
the graphs in Figure 6-2 handy, as a cross-reference. The
distortion performance of the LTC6400 family is much less
sensitive to the input common mode voltage than the output
common mode voltage, but the distortion performance
will not be constant over the entire range.
If the inputs are AC-coupled with series capacitors, the
inputs of the LTC6400 will self-bias to approximately the
same voltage as VOCM,5 and there is no need to apply an
external bias voltage to the part. It is only when DC coupling
the input that the design needs to address the biasing
of the inputs. For more information about performance
optimization and the input common mode voltage, see
section 6.2.
When changing the input and output common mode voltages, it is important to be aware of changing input bias
currents. Referring to the block diagram in Figure 2-1, DC
bias currents will flow from the outputs back to the inputs
through the gain and feedback resistors. The source must
be able to source or sink this additional current, which
can exceed a milliamp, when setting the DC bias of the
LTC6400’s input.
The outputs of the LTC6400 will automatically bias to the
voltage at the VOCM pin due to an internal common mode
loop. This simplifies the task of mating the LTC6400 to
Linear Technology’s high performance 14-bit and 16-bit
ADCs, because the common mode voltage requirements of
the ADCs are typically very stringent, and the common mode
rejection of the ADC inputs is often not very good.
75Ω resistors to the supply. This circuit takes advantage
of the source’s 50Ω termination to create a voltage divider
and effectively level shift the input to within the optimal
range for the LTC6400. The 75Ω resistors also act as
impedance match resistors, transforming the singleended input impedance of the LTC6400 to a value close
to 50Ω.6 Therefore, the extra pull-up resistors do not
attenuate the input signal any more than necessary. Due
to the LTC6400-26’s lower intrinsic input impedance, the
pull-up resistors should be changed to 100Ω, which will
yield an input impedance of 42Ω.
Another method for level shifting employs two LTC6400’s
in series: one to level shift the signal, and another to add
gain. Figure 5-4 shows an LTC6400-8 with 1.1k series
input resistors to level shift and attenuate the signal. The
internal DC bias level is within the LTC6400’s range. At
the output, an LTC6400-20 amplifies the signal for the
ADC. The 200Ω input impedance is not a heavy load for
the LTC6400-8. The total gain from the two amplifiers
together is 10.7dB.
Note 5: In reality, the input common mode voltage is increased slightly by
internal pull-up resistors to match the optimal values of input and output
bias.
Note 6: The input impedance will be 61Ω with the LTC6400-8, 53Ω with
the LTC6400-14 and 55Ω with the LTC6400-20. The impedance can be
lowered by lowering the 75Ω resistor values at the expense of power
dissipation.
3V TO 3.3V
V+
75Ω
RS
50Ω
5.3 Ground-Referenced Inputs
A common case of the DC-coupled application includes
having a single-ended ground-referenced input for the
ADC driver, where the DC voltage level of the input is at
0V. The LTC6400 has an input common mode range that
does not include ground, so level-shifting of some sort is
necessary to bring the voltages within the limits shown in
Table 5-1 and Table 5-2.
If the input source is 50Ω terminated, one possible solution is shown in Figure 5-3. The inputs are pulled up with
+
–
RF
75Ω
RO1
12.5Ω
RI
VS
RI
51.1Ω
LTC6400
RO2
12.5Ω
VOCM
1.5V
RF
AN123 F5-3
Figure 5-3. Using Pull-Up Resistors at the Input to Level-Shift
a Ground-Referenced Signal and Provide Input Impedance
Matching at the Same Time. The Unused Input is Similarly
Terminated. The Drawback with this Approach is that a DC Bias
Current Will Flow Through the Pull-Up Resistors, Dissipating
Extra Power and Requiring the Input Source to Sink the Current
an123f
AN123-13
Application Note 123
R1
1100Ω
0V
+
RI1
200Ω
RT
50Ω
VIN
1.08V
RF1
500Ω
RO1
12.5Ω
VOCM
1.5V
LTC6400-8
R2
1100Ω
RI2
200Ω
RF2
500Ω
RF
1000Ω
RI
100Ω
LTC6400-20
RI
100Ω
RO2
12.5Ω
RF
1000Ω
AN123 F5-4
Figure 5-4. Use Two LTC6400 Amplifiers to Level Shift and Amplify an Input Signal. The LTC6400-8 has Series Input Resistors to
Attenuate and Level Shift the Input, and the LTC6400-20 Adds Additional Gain at the Output. The Total Gain of this Circuit is 10.7dB,
Including the Attenuation from the LTC6400-8 Input Resistors and the Effect of the 12.5Ω Output Resistors
5.4 Impedance Matching
Impedance matching is the art of achieving maximum
power transfer from a source to a load. Achieving a good
impedance match is beneficial for many reasons: maximum
signal reception, no reflections to cause signal distortion,
and good predictable behavior from the system. In this
section, the LTC6400 family’s input and output characteristics are discussed to provide the information necessary
for impedance matching. A primer on impedance matching
is outside of the scope of this note, but there are myriad
texts and resources available that discuss it at length.7
The LTC6400 family provides differential input impedances
ranging from 50Ω to 400Ω, and a differential output
+
–
LTC6400-8
LTC6400-14
LTC6400-20
SAW
25Ω FILTER
L/2
25Ω
L/2
+OUT
+IN
C
–IN
–OUT
impedance of 25Ω. In applications where impedance
matching is desired, such as when receiving or driving
a SAW filter, a simple series L and shunt C network will
often suffice. Figure 5-5 presents an example circuit to
interface to a SAW filter. At operating frequencies below
100MHz, the LTC6400’s input and output impedances are
almost purely resistive. At frequencies above that, the
reactance must be taken into account. Table 5-3 lists the
relevant parameters for impedance matching, assuming
the circuits in Figure 5-5 and Figure 5-6. To calculate the
C and L values, divide the ωC and ωL values by ω (or
2πf), where ω is the frequency in radians/sec and f is
the frequency in Hertz. Figure 5-7 shows the impedance
match on the Smith chart.
Table 5-3: Matching Circuit Parameters for the Circuits in
Figure 5-5 and Figure 5-6. To Obtain the Capacitor and Inductor
Values from this Table, Which are the Frequency-Independent
ωC/ωL Values, Simply Divide the Number by ω (or 2πf). Since
the Series Inductors are Differential, Each Inductor Will be
Half of the Resultant Value. The LTC6400-26 Does Not Require
Matching Elements, as its Input Impedance is 50Ω
INPUT
AN123 F5-5
Figure 5-5. Example of Series-Shunt Input Impedance Matching
to a SAW Filter. The LTC6400-26 has an Input Impedance of 50Ω,
and Typically does not Require any External Elements for a 50Ω
Impedance Match. Using an LC Network Provides an Impedance
Match at a specific Frequency; for a Wideband Impedance Match,
other Methods Such as Transformers and Resistors are Necessary
+IN
+OUT
LTC6400
–IN
L/2
–OUT
SAW
FILTER
L/2
C
50Ω
AN123 F5-5
Figure 5-6. Example of Series-Shunt Output Impedance Matching
to a SAW Filter. All Members of the LTC6400 Family have a 25Ω
Resistive Output Impedance at Lower Frequencies
OUTPUT
LTC6400-8
LTC6400-14/20
LTC6400 (all)
Unfiltered Output
ωC
0.00661
0.00866
0.02
ωL
132
86.6
25
Figure 5-8 and Figure 5-9, which show the input and output
reflection coefficients from 10MHz to 1GHz, can provide
the right impedance matching circuit to obtain a better
impedance match at high frequencies. Note that the input
impedance (of the LTC6400-8/LTC6400-14/LTC6400-20)
becomes capacitive and the output impedance becomes
inductive as the frequency increases above 100MHz.
Note 7: For impedance matching and general RF design, see (Bowick 1982).
an123f
AN123-14
Application Note 123
LTC6400-14
LTC6400-8
LTC6400-20
INPUT
INPUT
LTC6400
UNFILTERED
OUTPUT
Figure 5-7. Differential Input and Output Impedance Matching
to 50Ω. In Most Matches, a Series Inductor/Shunt Capacitor
Network will Yield a Satisfactory Impedance Match.
Figure 5-9. Output Reflection Coefficients (S22) of the
LTC6400 Family from 10MHz to 1GHz. Below 100MHz or so,
the Impedances are Almost Purely Resistive. Above that, the
Reactances Must be Considered for Impedance Matching
5.5 Input Transformers
The LTC6400 works well with a variety of RF transformers
at the input. Transformers are commonly used on LTC6400
demo boards as baluns and impedance-match elements
for ease of evaluation. Figure 5-10 shows the schematic
of the DC987B standard demo board of the LTC6400. At
the input, a 4:1 wideband transmission-line transformer
(TCM4-19+) is used for two purposes: to match a 50Ω
signal source to the 200Ω input impedance of the IC,
and also to convert the single-ended input signal into a
differential signal for evaluation. The performance of the
LTC6400 as a single-ended-to-differential converter is very
good, but for even better performance it should be used
with differential inputs.
Figure 5-8. Input Reflection Coefficients (S11) of the LTC6400
Family from 10MHz to 1GHz. Below 100MHz or so, the
Impedances are Almost Purely Resistive. Above that, the
Reactances Must be Considered for Impedance Matching
At the output, another TCM4-19 transformer is used for
converting the differential output to a single-ended output
and impedance matching a 50Ω load (such as a network
or spectrum analyzer). The load will see a 50Ω source
impedance, and the amplifier sees a benign 400Ω load
impedance. The LTC6400 is designed to drive higher impedance loads, and will not exhibit the same low distortion
performance when driving heavy loads (e.g., 50Ω).
an123f
AN123-15
Application Note 123
VCC
DIS
JP1
R2
(1)
R6
0Ω
J1
+IN
5
J2
–IN
0dB
EN
C2
0.1μF
•
T1
(2)
•1
R4
(2)
4
3
2
14
R24
SL1 (2)
(1)
15
16
R1
0Ω
VCC
EN
10
9
VCCB VEEB
+OUT
+INB
+INA
+OUTF
–INB
–OUTF
–INA
–OUT
8 R10 86.6Ω
7
R8 (1)
6
R7 (1)
R14
(1)
R12
0Ω
C4
0.1μF
T2
3 TCM 4-19
C3 SL2 (2)
0.1μF
5 R9 86.6Ω
1
2
3
C9
1000pF
C10
0.1μF
4
2
1
•
•
J4
+OUT
4
5
C22
0.1μF
R11
(1)
R13
0Ω
J5
SL3 (2)
–OUT
VCC
C12
1000pF
C13
0.1μF
R19
1.5k
TP5
VOCM
R20
1k
R17
0Ω
J6
TEST
IN
C14
4.7μF
TP3
GND
5
C23
0.1μF
T3
TCM 4-19
1:4 1
•
4
R25
0Ω
VCC
2.85V TO 3.5V
VEEC
11
VCCC VOCM VCCA VEEA
VCC
TP2
VCC
C18
0.1μF
C17
1000pF
12
13
C1
0.1μF
R3
(2)
R16
0Ω
1
C21
0.1μF
2
R5
(1)
VCC
3
•
2
C19
0.1μF
3
C24
0.1μF
C7
0.1μF
R21
(1)
C5
0.1μF
R22
(1)
C6
0.1μF
T4
TCM 4-19
1:4
3
C20
0.1μF
2
1
•
•
R18
0Ω
4
J7
TEST
OUT
5
R26
0Ω
C15
1μF
AN123 F5-10
(2) VERSION
-A
-B
-C
-D
-E
-F
-G
-H
IC
LTC6400CUD-8
LTC6400CUD-14
LTC6400CUD-20
LTC6400CUD-26
LTC6401CUD-8
LTC6401CUD-14
LTC6401CUD-20
LTC6401CUD-26
R3
200Ω
OPEN
OPEN
OPEN
200Ω
OPEN
OPEN
OPEN
R4
T1
200Ω
MINI-CIRCUITS TCM4-19 (1:4)
OPEN
MINI-CIRCUITS TCM4-19 (1:4)
OPEN
MINI-CIRCUITS TCM4-19 (1:4)
OPEN MA-COM MABA-007159-000000 (1:1)
200Ω
MINI-CIRCUITS TCM4-19 (1:4)
OPEN
MINI-CIRCUITS TCM4-19 (1:4)
OPEN
MINI-CIRCUITS TCM4-19 (1:4)
OPEN MA-COM MABA-007159-000000 (1:1)
SL1
6dB
6dB
6dB
0dB
6dB
6dB
6dB
0dB
SL2
8dB
14dB
20dB
20dB
8dB
14dB
20dB
20dB
SL3
2dB
8dB
14dB
14dB
2dB
8dB
14dB
14dB
NOTE: UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED
(1) DO NOT STUFF
SL = SIGNAL LEVEL (RELATIVE TO 0dB INPUT)
Figure 5-10. DC987B Demo Board Schematic. The Layout is Discussed in Section 8
For ADC-driving applications, the LTC6400’s differential
output will connect to the ADC input either directly or
through a discrete filter, but typically will not require an
output transformer. At the input of the LTC6400, it will still
be desirable in many applications to use input transformers
for impedance conversion and single-ended-to-differential
conversion. In the case of the LTC6400-8, LTC6400-14
or LTC6400-20, the amplifiers have 200Ω or 400Ω input
impedances. If the signal source has a 50Ω characteristic
impedance, then the use of a 4:1 or 8:1 transformer for
impedance matching has an important benefit. The transformers will provide some “free” voltage gain compared
to other methods of impedance matching, such as a shunt
resistor. Since a 4:1 impedance-ratio transformer has a
2:1 voltage gain, the input voltage of the LTC6400 is twice
as large. This gain comes without any significant noise or
power penalty, and in fact, the gain can actually improve
the effective noise figure of the LTC6400 (as compared to
using a shunt resistor for impedance matching). Although
the LTC6400’s voltage noise density does not change, the
extra gain means that the input-referred voltage noise is
reduced by the extra gain factor.
5.6 Resistor Termination
RF transformers are excellent in many impedance-matching situations, and they make convenient baluns for using the LTC6400 differentially. However, their frequency
response lower limit is largely determined by the size
of the transformer, and there is no hope of achieving
consistent frequency response all the way down to DC.
Resistors used for impedance matching do not have this
limitation. Resistors can yield a much more broadband
an123f
AN123-16
Application Note 123
impedance match than even the best RF transformers,
and the frequency response of resistors extends down to
DC. There is a penalty to pay in noise figure as compared
to the transformer method, but using resistors also saves
significant cost over transformers. Resistors can also be
used to impedance match a single-ended input.
The circuit shown in Figure 5-11 uses a resistor to terminate
a differential 50Ω input source. Since the system is fully
differential, the input impedance of the amplifier by itself
is calculated by adding the two input resistances together
(in this case 400Ω). The shunt input resistor matches
this impedance to 50Ω, from DC to high frequency. Note
that the 400Ω low frequency input impedance is only
true as long as the amplifier maintains its internal “virtual
ground” node, and as the amplifier’s loop gain decreases
with frequency, the input impedance will also change. The
LTC6400 data sheet contains graphs of input impedance
versus frequency.
The two downsides of using a resistor for termination are
power/signal attenuation and the resultant increase in noise
figure (i.e., degradation in noise performance). For the same
input power level, a 50Ω input impedance will result in
less voltage swing than a 400Ω input impedance, thereby
introducing an effective voltage attenuation. By using a
transformer, the impedances are matched losslessly, and
no attenuation occurs. Since the input noise power density
of the LTC6400 remains the same and the input signal is
smaller, the noise figure increases proportionally.
Figure 5-12 shows resistor termination used with a singleended input source. Notice the extra resistor RT2, which
balances the source impedances seen by the two inputs.
Balancing the input impedances is desirable because the
distortion performance of the LTC6400 can be affected by
imbalance in the source impedances. Also, the inequality
of the feedback factors will also cause a portion of the
LTC6400’s common mode noise to become differential
RI1
200Ω
SOURCE
+
RS1
25Ω
VIN
RT
57.6Ω
RS2
25Ω
LTC6400-8
RI2
200Ω
R T1RS
R T1 + R S
RF2
500Ω
AN123 F5-11
Figure 5-11. Resistor Termination with a Differential Input
Source. A Single Shunt Resistor Transforms the 400Ω Input
Impedance into a 50Ω Input Impedance. The Benefit of Resistor
Termination is Wideband Performance, from DC to the Maximum
Bandwidth of the Amplifier. The Drawback is Power Attenuation
and the Resultant Increase in Noise Figure
SOURCE
RS
50Ω
+
VIN
C1
RI1
200Ω
RF1
500Ω
RT1
59.0Ω
LTC6400-8
C2
RI2
200Ω
RT2
27.4Ω
RF2
500Ω
AN123 F5-12
Figure 5-12. Single-Ended Input with Resistor Impedance Match
and Balanced Input Impedances
mode noise. The best practice is to always balance the
source impedances when working with single-ended
inputs.
The addition of RT1 and RT2 creates additional terms that
are not covered in Equation 5-3. The value of RT2 is simply
the parallel impedance value of RT1 together with RS (the
source impedance). The new values of termination resistors can be calculated as shown:
RSRF + 2RSRI + RS2RF 2 + 4RF2RI2 + 8RFRI3 + 4RI4
1
R T1 = R S •
2
RI2 + RF RI – RS2
RT2 =
RF1
500Ω
(5-6)
(5-7)
an123f
AN123-17
Application Note 123
Table 5-4. Termination and Balancing Resistors Used to Match
the LTC6400 Family to a 50Ω Single-Ended Input Source. The
Resistance Values are Rounded to the Nearest 1% Standard
Value
TERMINATION RESISTOR
(RT1)
BALANCING RESISTOR
(RT2)
LTC640x-8
59.0Ω
27.4Ω
LTC640x-14
68.1Ω
28.7Ω
LTC640x-20
66.5Ω
28.7Ω
LTC640x-26
150Ω
37.4Ω
(
(
)
2RF R T2 + RF + RI
2
2RI + 2RI RF + R T2 + RF R T2
)
DIFFERENTIAL INPUT
VOUT = 2VP-P
–50
–60
–70
–80
HD2 NO RL
HD2 200Ω RL
HD3 NO RL
HD3 200Ω RL
–90
–100
0
50
100
150
200
FREQUENCY (MHz)
250
300
AN123 F6-1
Figure 6-1. Harmonic Distortion Performance Versus Frequency
of the LTC6400-20 with Two Different Resistive Loads. Loads of
200Ω or Greater are Recommended for Optimal Performance
The extra source impedance added by RS and RT1/RT2
changes the feedback factor of the differential amplifier,
and therefore alters the gain. The overall voltage gain from
the ungrounded side of RT1 to the differential output can
be calculated as follows:
Gain =
–40
HARMONIC DISTORTION (dBc)
In Equations 5-6 and 5-7, RI and RF are the values of the
internal gain and feedback resistors, 200Ω and 500Ω
respectively in Figure 5-12. Table 5-4 lists the values for
RT1 and RT2 that apply in the case of a single-ended 50Ω
input source (RS = 50Ω), calculated using Equation 5-6
and Equation 5-7.
(5-8)
6 DYNAMIC RANGE AND OUTPUT NETWORKS
The LTC6400 family is fundamentally a very high speed
version of the traditional feedback differential amplifier.
Therefore, the distortion performance can change dramatically with the choice of output load. The LTC6400 was
optimized to drive a high impedance ADC load such as
the switched-capacitor inputs of Linear Technology’s high
performance pipelined ADC families. It was not designed to
directly drive a 50Ω load, a characteristic that distinguishes
the LTC6400 from other high frequency amplifiers.
6.1 Resistive Loads
Figure 6-1 shows the distortion versus frequency of the
LTC6400-20 with two resistive loads: open (no load) and
200Ω. The distortion with a 200Ω load is measurably
higher (worse) than with no resistive load, although the
performance is still reasonable. However, it is not recommended to use a 50Ω or 100Ω load with the LTC6400,
because the distortion performance would be significantly
degraded. Note that the HD2 changes very little with RL
changes; this is because the symmetry of the differential
outputs tends to cancel even-order harmonics.
Another important consideration is the output current of
the LTC6400. Resistive loads from the outputs directly to
ground or to the V+ supply would cause the LTC6400 outputs
to sink or source DC bias currents, which is unnecessary
for operation and may impair performance.
6.2 VOCM Requirements
The LTC6400 is designed for direct DC-coupled driving of
Linear Technology’s high speed ADCs. The existing families of 3V and 3.3V ADCs have an optimal input common
mode DC bias of 1.25V to 1.5V. Therefore, the LTC6400
is optimized for this range of VOCM voltages. Figure 6-2
shows the distortion performance while varying VOCM.
If an ADC requires a common mode bias outside of the
optimal range for the LTC6400, the output of the LTC6400
can be AC-coupled with capacitors. The downside of this
approach is the limited low frequency response.
The distortion performance of the LTC6400 family, like
most amplifiers, is dependent on the input and output
common mode voltage bias. Figure 6-2 shows the 2-tone
3rd order intermodulation distortion (IMD3) of the LTC6400
at 100MHz (with 1MHz tone spacing). The graphs demonstrate that there is an optimal range for both input and
output common mode bias that provides the best overall
distortion performance, and that the distortion performance
is more dependent on the output common mode voltage
(VOCM) than on the input common mode voltage (VICM).
an123f
AN123-18
Application Note 123
–80
–80
LTC6400-8
–85
IMD3 (dBc)
–85
IMD3 (dBc)
LTC6400-14
–90
–90
–95
–95
–100
–100
1
1.1
1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7
COMMON MODE VOLTAGE (V)
1
1.8
1.1
1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7
COMMON MODE VOLTAGE (V)
(6-2b)
(6-2a)
–80
–80
LTC6400-20
LTC6400-26
–85
IMD3 (dBc)
–85
IMD3 (dBc)
1.8
–90
–90
–95
–95
–100
–100
1
1.1
1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7
COMMON MODE VOLTAGE (V)
1.8
(6-2c)
1
1.1
1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7
COMMON MODE VOLTAGE (V)
(6-2d)
1.8
AN123 F6-2
Figure 6-2. 2-Tone 3rd Order Intermodulation Distortion (IMD3) of the LTC6400 Family Versus Input and Output Common Mode
Bias Voltages at 100MHz. Conditions: Differential Input, No RLOAD, VOUT = 2VP-P Composite. The Solid Line Shows IMD3 Versus
VICM with VOCM = 1.25V. The Dashed Line Shows IMD3 Versus VOCM with an AC-Coupled (Self-Biased) Input. The Distortion
Performance Exhibits More Dependence on VOCM than on VICM
6.3 Unfiltered and Filtered Outputs
The LTC6400 family includes two sets of parallel outputs
for added flexibility in applications. The outputs are not
independently buffered, and should not be considered as
multiple outputs. In order to help ensure unconditional
stability, the LTC6400’s unfiltered (normal) outputs include
12.5Ω series resistors on the chip. These resistors must
be accounted for in the calculation of voltage drop when
driving a resistive load and when designing an antialias
filter at the LTC6400 output. Additionally, there is approximately 1nH in bond-wire inductance leading from
the series resistors to the package pin, which should not
have a significant impact on LTC6400 circuits, but may
be important for high order LC filter design.
The filtered outputs of the LTC6400 are designed to potentially save some space in the design of antialias filters.
While the unfiltered outputs have 12.5Ω series resistors, the filtered outputs have 50Ω series resistors and
2.7pF of shunt capacitance (including package parasitic
capacitance) to form a lowpass filter at the output of the
LTC6400. This structure can be used as is or as part of
an external antialias filter. By itself, the filter would limit
the effective noise bandwidth to under 500MHz. This will
prevent the LTC6400’s full 1.8GHz noise bandwidth from
aliasing and reducing the SNR of the system. When using high performance 14-bit or 16-bit ADCs, it may be
necessary to limit the noise bandwidth further to prevent
degradation of the ADC’s SNR performance.
an123f
AN123-19
Application Note 123
6.4 Output Filters and ADC Driving Networks
It is often desirable to design an output filter for the
LTC6400, for antialias or selectivity purposes (or both).
Lowpass and bandpass filters are both practical, and the
desired bandwidth will usually be determined by the input
signal and/or the Nyquist bandwidth of the ADC (half the
sample rate). Since the LTC6400 is unconditionally stable
with any output load, it is possible to design both RC and
LC circuits for this purpose.
Driving a high speed 14-bit or 16-bit ADC that samples at
100 Megasamples per second (and above) is a challenging
task. As discussed in section 3.3, the wide bandwidth of
the LTC6400-20 means that the noise of the LTC6400-20
can dominate that of a low noise 14-bit or 16-bit ADC.
This implies that the configuration shown in Figure 6-3,
while highlighting the ease of use of the LTC6400-20, is
not sufficient in SNR-critical applications. In order to take
advantage of both the low distortion and the low noise of
the 16-bit ADC, the noise bandwidth must be limited by
a lowpass or bandpass filter.
An ideal drive network for driving a high performance, fast
sampling ADC would have low noise, low distortion and
low output impedance over frequency. This would allow
the network to absorb the charge injection from the ADC’s
sampling switches and settle in time for the next sample.
The frequency content of the charge injection extends out
to beyond a GHz, due to the speed with which the sampling
switches transition.
The LTC6400 by itself does have low output impedance and
the ability to settle relatively quickly after a charge injection
event. However, at sampling speeds well above 100Msps,
the reduced time for settling may result in incomplete
settling from charge injection impulses, which may lead
to in increased distortion and noise sampled by the ADC.
Fortunately, drive networks can be designed that help to
absorb the charge and reduce the impact on the LTC6400.
The most basic circuits to do this would be a 1-pole RC
lowpass filter or a 2-pole RLC bandpass filter.
The lowpass filter shown in Figure 6-4 is the basic
configuration. RO1 and RO2 represent the frequency
dependent output impedance of the LTC6400. R3 and R4
help to absorb the sampling glitches from the ADC input,
and are usually sized from 5Ω to 15Ω. The ADC charge
injection is typically a common mode event, so C2 and C3
are the dominant charge “reservoirs” that help to absorb
the sampling glitches, much like bypass capacitors on a
power supply. C1 is a purely differential capacitor, and
does not have much effect on the common mode charge
injection.
LTC6400
RO1
R1
RO2
R2
C3
C1
R3
R4
ADC
C2
AN123 F6-4
Figure 6-4. Simple RC Lowpass Filter ADC Drive Network
3.3V
1.25V
0.1μF
0.1μF
1000pF
V+
0.1μF
INPUT
VOCM
10Ω
+IN
66.5Ω
0.1μF
29Ω
+OUT
+OUTF
LTC6400-20
–OUTF
–OUT
–IN
–
V
ENABLE
20dB GAIN
AIN+
VCM
VDD
LTC2208
AIN–
10Ω
AN123 F6-3
LTC2208 130Msps
16-Bit ADC
Figure 6-3: Example of Direct ADC Connection from the LTC6400-20 Data Sheet. This Figure Shows the Flexibility and Simplicity
Possible in Interfacing the LTC6400 with a High Speed ADC, but Does Not Address the Issue of SNR and Band Limiting the Amplifier’s
Output. In Most Applications Where SNR is Critical, the Bandwidth of the LTC6400-20 Output Should be Limited by a Lowpass or
Bandpass Filter
an123f
AN123-20
Application Note 123
A simple bandpass filter is shown in Figure 6-5 with the
addition of L1. Many of the same considerations apply as
for the RC lowpass network. The bandwidth of the bandpass
filter is determined by the ratio of the inductance to the
total parallel capacitance (C1-C3), as well as the values
of R1 and R2. Increasing R1/R2 will make the bandwidth
narrower and increase the insertion loss of the filter, so a
smaller R1/R2 is desirable, as low as 0Ω. The only time
when R1 and R2 may be desired is for improved distortion performance for input signal frequencies close to
the passband edges of the filter. The impedance of an LC
bandpass filter is at its maximum at the center frequency,
but drops quickly in the transition to the stopband. If the
bandwidth of the input signal extends out to the edges of
the passband, the LTC6400 may be driving a low effective impedance, and the intermodulation distortion may
be unacceptably high. In this case, it would be better to
increase the bandwidth of the filter (by changing the L/C
ratio) and also increase the values of R1/R2. This trades
off some insertion loss in the filter for more consistent
distortion performance across the passband.
The relationship of the RLC passband frequencies to the
sample rate of the ADC is also important. If the ADC’s
sampling frequency or its harmonic multiples are within
RO1
R1
RO2
R2
C3
L1
LTC6400
R3
C1
An important design consideration is that feedback amplifiers such as op amps typically exhibit poor stability with
large capacitive loads, and the LTC6400 is no exception.
The phase shift and low impedance presented by a capacitive load, though partially isolated from the main feedback
loop,8 will result in greater gain peaking above 1GHz.
Although the LTC6400 is designed to be unconditionally
stable, the penalty for a capacitive load will show up as
inferior distortion performance. When designing higher
order LC filters as antialias filters after the LTC6400, they
should ideally be designed to have a series inductor in the
first section, or if a shunt capacitive section must be first,
the capacitor should have as small of a value as possible.
Figure 6-6 shows the difference in distortion performance
when a differential capacitive load is presented to the
LTC6400-20, and also the mitigating effect of some small
series resistors prior to the load.
Note 8: See section 1.2 for further explanation of the LTC6400’s internal
feedback loop.
–50
2VPP COMPOSITE OUTPUT
–55
NO SERIES R
(INTERNAL R ONLY)
–60
–65
10Ω SERIES R
–70
–75
0
8
4
12
DIFFERENTIAL CLOAD (pF)
16
AN123 F6-6
ADC
R4
C2
the passband of the RLC filter, the network will not attenuate the charge injection of the sampling inputs effectively.
If the network resonates at the sampling charge injection
frequencies, it will not settle completely between samples
at higher sample rates.
3RD ORDER INTERMODULATION DISTORTION (dBc)
The size of R1 and R2 is not largely constrained, except
for in the case of lower frequency cutoff filters. If the total
resistance seen by the ADC is too high, the linearity of the
ADC will typically suffer. This characteristic is different
with different ADC families, and is difficult to generalize.
At the other extreme, if the resistance R1 and R2 are too
small then C1-C3 may be large, and the amplifier loses
loop gain when presented with too large of a capacitive
load. Overall an R1/R2 value between 10Ω and 100Ω will
usually be a good starting point for the filter design.
AN123 F6-5
Figure 6-5. Simple RLC Bandpass Filter ADC Drive Network
Figure 6-6. 3rd Order 2-Tone Intermodulation Distortion
at 240MHz (1MHz Tone Separation) with a Differential
Capacitive Load at the Unfiltered Outputs. The Degradation in
Performance is Mitigated by an Additional Series Resistor at
Each Output Prior to the Load
an123f
AN123-21
Application Note 123
6.5 Output Recovery and Line Driving
Many feedback amplifiers have difficulty recovering from
large input and/or output excursions, which limit their
use in high crest factor systems where the output may
occasionally be driven to saturation or clipping. In digital
drivers and receivers, the output will almost always be at
one or the other extreme, which makes the recovery time
even more crucial. The LTC6400 family exhibits rapid recovery from an input or output overdrive condition, which
enables it to be used in unconventional ways. Figure 6-7
shows a measurement of the LTC6400’s propagation
delay when used as a digital driver with the inputs and
outputs overdriven. The LTC6400 is driving a total 200Ω
load, which simulates a terminated 100Ω differential
transmission line. The graph demonstrates that even with
the inputs overdriven by 1V and the outputs fully clipped,
PROPAGATION DELAY (ns)
3.0
2.5
the propagation delay remains less than 3ns. Figure 6-8
is a schematic of the circuit used to measure the data in
Figure 6-7.
7 STABILITY
Stability poses a significant challenge in applications where
wideband amplifiers operate at multi-GHz frequencies.
Rigorous layout rules, specific feedback components
and carefully chosen source/load terminations are often
required to guarantee circuit stability. The LTC6400 achieves
extraordinary robustness by optimizing the internal compensation networks and isolating sensitive nodes from
external parasitic elements. It dramatically reduces the
restrictions on user system design and board layout.
If we treat the LTC6400 as a 2-port network, Rollett’s
stability factor (K factor) can be used as a measurement
of overall stability. A circuit is unconditionally stable if
both the K-factor is greater than 1 and |Δ| < 1, where (for
a 2-port system):
PROP DELAY RISE
2
2
1– S11 – S22 + Δ
K=
2 S12 S21
2.0
2
(7-1)
1.5
Δ = S11 • S22 – S12 • S21
PROP DELAY FALL
1.0
Figure 7-1 shows a measurement of the K factor over frequency for LTC6400 (all four gain options), which is based
on measured 4-port S parameters. Note that the LTC6400
includes two feedback loops: one for normal differential
signals and one to stabilize the common mode bias and
reject common mode input signals. Both the differential
mode and common mode loops need to be stable to avoid
oscillations, and therefore both are presented in Figure 7-1
and Figure 7-2. The requirements of K > 1 and |Δ| < 1 are
both met by each member of the LTC6400 family.
0
1.5
1.0
0.5
2.0
NORMALIZED INPUT AMPLITUDE (P-P VOLTAGE)
AN123 F6-7
Figure 6-7. Propagation Delay for the LTC6400-20 with Varying
Amounts of Input Overdrive. The X-Axis is the Input Pulse
Amplitude (Peak-to-Peak), Normalized to the Pulse Amplitude
that Causes Output Clipping. The Y-Axis is Propagation Delay in
Nanoseconds, Measured from the 50% Transition of the Input to
the 50% Transition of the Outputs
C3
0.1μF
HP 8133A
PULSE
GENERATOR
R5
200Ω
C4
0.1μF
LTC6400-20
(7-2)
C1
R1 0.1μF
37.4Ω
2˝ SMA CABLE
R2
37.4Ω
2˝ SMA CABLE
C2
0.1μF
AGILENT 86100C
OSCILLOSCOPE
R4
50Ω
R3
50Ω
AN123 F6-8
Figure 6-8. Circuit Used to Measure the Propagation Delay of the LTC6400-20. The Amplifier Receives a Differential Input from
the HP 8133A Pulse Generator, and its Output is Measured by an Agilent 86100C Sampling Oscilloscope. The Inputs and Outputs
are Impedance Matched with Series or Shunt Resistors for Minimum Line Reflections. The Circuit was Built on the LTC6400-20
Demo Board, DC987B-C.
an123f
AN123-22
Application Note 123
7.1 Limitations of Stability Analysis
The measurements for Figure 7-1 and Figure 7-2 were
made at room temperature on a calibrated network analyzer
using a PCB with good high frequency layout. As Equations 7-1 and 7-2 show, the stability factors K and Δ are
calculated from the 2-port S-parameters of the LTC6400,
which can be affected by various factors like temperature,
bias, and layout. Similar experiments have shown that
the LTC6400 family remains stable over temperature and
bias conditions, but care must still be taken in layout to
ensure good performance. The sensitivity of LTC6400
stability to various layout issues is difficult to quantify,
but various best practices have been identified through
experience. See the Layout section for more information
and recommendations.
Another limitation of this stability calculation method is
that the S-parameters are made with symmetrical inputs
and outputs. Due to the fact that the LTC6400 is a fully differential amplifier, there are actually four ports to analyze;
for the sake of our analysis, we simplify the model down
to two independent 2-port networks. In extreme cases of
input and output asymmetry, for example, due to layout
and/or differences in termination, the differential mode and
common mode loops of the amplifier will interact, creating
a “mixed mode” situation. If a situation arises where the
LTC6400 will be used in this manner, this stability analysis
may not apply. In order to ensure unconditional stability in
this new mode, the K and Δ analysis should be repeated
under the new conditions.
1
100
K
DELTA
10
0.1
1
0.1
500
DELTA OF LTC6400-8
DELTA OF LTC6400-14
DELTA OF LTC6400-20
DELTA OF LTC6400-26
LTC6400-8
LTC6400-14
LTC6400-20
LTC6400-26
1500
2500
3500
4500
FREQUENCY (MHz)
0.01
500
5500
1500
1
DELTA OF LTC6400-8
DELTA OF LTC6400-14
DELTA OF LTC6400-20
DELTA OF LTC6400-26
DELTA
100
K
5500
(7-2a)
(7-1a)
1000
10
1
0.1
500
2500
3500
4500
FREQUENCY (MHz)
LTC6400-8
LTC6400-14
LTC6400-20
LTC6400-26
1500
2500
3500
4500
FREQUENCY (MHz)
(7-1b)
5500
AN123 F7-1
Figure 7-1. Rollett’s Stability Factor (K factor) for the LTC6400
Family of Amplifiers. The K Factor is a Measure of Overall
Stability of an Amplifier. (7-1a) is the Differential K factor, and
(7-1b) is the K Factor for the Amplifier’s Common Mode Loop.
A K Factor Value of Greater than 1 at All Relevant Frequencies
Implies that the Amplifier is Unconditionally Stable with Any
Input or Output Termination
0.1
500
1500
2500
3500
4500
FREQUENCY (MHz)
(7-2b)
5500
AN123 F7-2
Figure 7-2. Delta Calculation for the LTC6400 Family’s (7-2a)
Differential Mode Loop and (7-2b) Common Mode Loop. Delta
is a Part of the Rollett’s Stability Factor Calculation. A Delta
of Less than 1 (Absolute Value) is Part of the Requirement for
an Unconditionally Stable System
an123f
AN123-23
Application Note 123
8 LAYOUT CONSIDERATIONS
The LTC6400 is a high speed fully differential amplifier with
almost 2GHz of small-signal bandwidth. This means that
as far as the printed circuit board (PCB) is concerned, the
LTC6400 family requires the same care in layout design
as do sensitive radio frequency (RF) circuits. Poor layout
can and will lead to increased distortion, gain and noise
peaking, unpredictable signal integrity issues, and in the
extreme case, oscillation. Fortunately, the LTC6400 has
some features that help to simplify the design of the PCB
layout.
First, the resistors for setting the voltage gain are inside
the IC, which makes the LTC6400 a “fixed gain” amplifier.
Looking at the block diagram, reproduced in Figure 8-1, the
critical feedback loop of the amplifier is contained within
the chip and is not made available to the user. Traditionally,
this is one of the areas where the layout is most critical,
and mistakes are most common. Even a very small amount
of capacitance at the feedback nodes would significantly
affect the frequency response and stability of the amplifier.
By keeping the resistors internal, bond-wire inductance
and parasitic reactance on the board will not impair the
frequency response of the IC as much as it would if the
resistors were external.
Second, the LTC6400 has a “flow-through” pinout that is
designed for ease of layout. The inputs and outputs are
12
11
V–
ENABLE
10
9
V+
V–
BIAS CONTROL
13
+IN
RF
100Ω
RG
100Ω
ROUT
12.5Ω
+OUT
RFILT
50Ω
14
15
16
IN+
+IN
CFILT
1.7pF
RFILT
50Ω
–IN
IN–
–IN
+OUTF
OUT–
RG
100Ω
ROUT
12.5Ω
RF
100Ω
2k
V+
VOCM
2
–OUT
7
6
5
COMMON
MODE CONTROL
5.3pF
1
–OUTF
OUT+
8
V+
V–
3
4
AN123 F8-1
Figure 8-1: Block Diagram of the LTC6400-20
located on opposite sides of the chip, and the power and
control pins are located on the remaining two sides. This
makes the inputs and outputs easy to route on the board,
without the need to route anything around the chip or on
internal layers.
One critical aspect of every high speed amplifier layout
is the location of the bypass capacitors. The current path
from the amplifier’s supply pins through the capacitors
to the board return and back to the amplifier is critical,
because excess inductance or resistance in this path will
cause voltage bounce. On the LTC6400, the V+ and V– pins
are strategically located to allow the customer to place the
bypass capacitance in close proximity to the chip, because
these components will not hinder the layout of the signal
path. Additionally, the LTC6400 family includes approximately 150pF of bypass capacitance on-chip, which makes
the layout of the bypass capacitance slightly easier. The
external bypass capacitors simply act as a charge reservoir
for the on-chip bypass capacitance. Bypass capacitors of
0.1μF are the recommended value to do the job, and are
currently available in the 0402 size or smaller.
Note the RC lowpass filter at the input of the VOCM pin,
Pin 2 in Figure 8-1. This internal filter makes the layout of
the recommended VOCM bypass capacitor less critical. The
internal common mode control loop has a bandwidth of
over 300MHz, but the VOCM pin itself is much less sensitive
to high frequency interference due to this 15MHz lowpass
filter. The VOCM bypass capacitor can be located further
away from the chip to make room for the more critical V+
bypass capacitors.
Figure 8-2 shows the layout of the LTC6400 demo board,
DC987B. The differential inputs are on the left, and the
differential outputs on the right. Users can select either
the filtered or unfiltered outputs by changing the resistors
on the board. Notice the bypass capacitor groups on the
top and bottom sides of the LTC6400—they are located
as close as possible with ground vias near the capacitors
so that the overall current loop through the capacitors
is minimized. Also, the Exposed Pad of the LTC6400 is
connected directly to a solid ground with four ground
vias, which provides a good thermal and electrical path
to board ground.
There are three V+ (positive voltage supply) pins on the
LTC6400, and each of them has its own set of bypass
an123f
AN123-24
Application Note 123
8.2 Operating with a Negative Voltage Supply
In certain situations, it may be desirable to operate the
LTC6400 with a V– supply that is not the board ground. For
example, if operating the LTC6400 with dual ±1.5V supplies,
the inputs and outputs can operate at board ground without
AC coupling. As long as the V– pins and Exposed Pad are
tied together to the same potential and the absolute voltage
from V+ to V– does not exceed the data sheet maximum,
there is no fundamental problem with this configuration.
From a layout point of view, however, it presents a greater
challenge to achieve optimal performance.
Figure 8-2. DC987B Demo Board Layout, Layer 1.
The Schematic is Shown in Figure 5-10
capacitors, as recommended in the product data sheet.
There is a small capacitor, typically around 1000pF, located
close to the part. Located further away is a larger (0.1μF to
1.0μF) bypass capacitor. There are also three V– (negative
power supply) pins, which are normally connected to board
ground and to the Exposed Pad. It’s important that the V+
pins all be connected to the exact same supply, and that
the V– pins and Exposed Pad are all connected together
and tied to board ground.
8.1 Thermal Layout Considerations
The LTC6400 dissipates 250mW and the LTC6401 dissipates 130mW, so thermal issues are not as prevalent as
with higher power devices; however, if the part is being
operated in a high temperature environment, good thermal
layout can protect the silicon from overheating. Good
thermal layout consists of providing a square of copper
on the board to mount the Exposed Pad, and using four
vias underneath the Exposed Pad to help conduct heat to
the PCB. The inner ground layers of the LTC6400 (layer 2
should be ground, for best high frequency performance)
should have as much unbroken ground plane as possible
in the vicinity of the IC, because ground plane copper
conducts heat much more efficiently than standard PCB
dielectric materials.
Besides bypassing the V+ pins to board ground, it is also
necessary to bypass the V– pins to board ground (or bypass
V+ to V–). The first step is to squeeze bypass capacitors
for V– onto the top layer in Figure 8-2. There isn’t a lot of
room for additional capacitors on the topside; however,
the close proximity of the V+ and V– pins allows for the
placement of bypass capacitors directly from V+ to V–.
This makes for the shortest possible current path, and the
use of small-valued 0201 or 0402-sized capacitors (on the
order of 1000pF) can serve this function effectively in the
layout. In fact, some of the V+/GND bypass capacitors can
be changed to V+/V– bypass capacitors without sacrificing
performance. Larger-valued bypass capacitors for V– can
be located on the back side of the PCB. Since the LTC6400
layout does not normally require many components on the
back of the PCB, there may be ample space to place four
or more bypass capacitors around the perimeter of the
LTC6400’s Exposed Pad area. Figure 8-3 shows a sample
top and bottom layout with dual voltage supplies.
Also of concern is thermal layout when the exposed pad
is not tied to ground. Ideally, there would be significant
V– copper on one of the internal layers to help spread
the heat generated by the part. With the V– disconnected
from board ground, the thermal resistance presented by
the PCB will likely be much larger, and even the 250mW
dissipated by the LTC6400 may start to present thermal
issues at high temperature operation.
an123f
AN123-25
Application Note 123
CBYP
CBYP
CBYP
CBYP
CBYP
INPUTS
OUTPUTS
CBYP
CBYP
PIN 1
CBYP
CBYP
CBYP
(8-3a)
(8-3b)
Figure 8-3. Sample Top Layer (8-3a) and Bottom Layer (8-3b) Layout with Dual Voltage Supplies.
All Power Supply Bypass Capacitors are Labeled as CBYP
9 CONCLUSION
The LTC6400 takes advantage of a very high speed
semiconductor manufacturing process to achieve all of
the characteristics necessary for high speed ADC driving, including low distortion, low noise and several gain
options up to 26dB. In addition, the LTC6400 includes
various ease-of-use features designed to assist in layout
and manufacturing: unconditional stability with any input
and output terminations, a flow-through layout, and internal resistors to reduce the sensitivity of the layout to
parasitic elements.
10 APPENDIX A: TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
This section details some of the more commonly used
(and/or misunderstood) terms in the specification and
application of the LTC6400 family.
10.1 Noise Figure (NF)
Noise figure (NF) and noise factor (F) are ratiometric
calculations that are useful in RF system design. The
fundamental idea is that in an electronic system at a
given temperature, there is a certain amount of noise
due to random thermal motion. This noise is constant
for a given system impedance and comes out to –174
dBm/Hz at room temperature. Whenever an amplifier or
any other active element is placed into a system, there is
an additional noise power added above and beyond the
thermal noise floor. Noise factor is defined as the ratio
between the input signal noise ratio (SNR) and output
signal noise ratio,10 or in other words the SNR with the
additional amplifier and the SNR without it. Noise figure
is simply noise factor in decibels:
NF = 10 log
SNRIN
= 10 log F
SNROUT
(10-1)
The concept behind NF is to quantify the amount of additive noise introduced when adding a device to the system.
Note that the input SNR only counts the noise contribution
Note 10: A discussion of noise figure analysis can be found in (Gilmore
and Besser 2003).
an123f
AN123-26
Application Note 123
NF = 10 log
en(OUT)2
en(ZS)2 • G2
(10-2)
where en(ZS) is the thermal noise of source resistance and
G is the voltage gain of the amplifier for given ZS.
en(ZS)2 = 4kTRS
(10-3)
where k is the Boltzmann constant (1.3806503 • 10–23
J/K)
For a fixed-impedance system, such as RF systems that
operate in 50Ω, using NF is a simple way to compare the
noise performance of devices and calculate how the noise
of a new device will affect the system-level noise performance. For voltage measurement systems like an ADC,
NF is not always as convenient because the denominator
of the ratio changes with impedance. This means that the
relatively constant voltage noise density of the ADC will
result in a different NF for different source impedances. The
amplifier inputs of the LTC6400, as another example, have
varying impedances from 50Ω to 400Ω, and the outputs
may be driving the ADC’s high impedance input. So to
make system-level noise calculations may require some
conversion of noise terms, from the voltage noise density
(V/√Hz) specified in the data sheets to an ‘equivalent’ noise
figure that is consistent throughout the system.12 When
comparing two similar ADC drivers, it is often easier to
compare them in their “native” noise specification, which
is voltage noise density.
10.2 3rd Order Intercept Point (IP3)
Signal distortion is present in all amplifiers to some extent,
and in many amplifier data sheets it will be specified as a
harmonic distortion. If a single sine wave tone is generated at the amplifier’s output, there will also be a certain
amount of unwanted distortion at all multiples of the sine
wave frequency. The dominant tones will be the second
and 3rd order harmonics. There is also another method of
characterizing the 3rd order distortion, which is more useful
for narrow-band systems: if two sine waves are generated
at the output, spaced closely together in frequency, there
will be additional spurious tones generated at the same
spacing distance on either side of the two tones. The two
closest tones are the 3rd order intermodulation distortion
(IMD), and they are due to the mixing that occurs from
the amplifier’s nonlinearity.
The 3rd order intercept point (IP3) is a useful metric for
measuring IMD performance in an amplifier. At a given
frequency, set of bias conditions and temperature, the IP3
approximately defines the distortion performance at any
power level where the amplifier’s output is not saturated
(Sayre 2001). IP3 can be referred either to the output (OIP3)
or the input (IIP3, output IP3 minus the conversion gain).
If you plot the output power versus the input power of an
amplifier and overlay the 3rd order intermodulation distortion (IMD) curve versus input power on the same graph,
as in Figure 10-1, the extrapolated curves would meet at
the IP3 point. IP3 is typically specified in dBm, which is a
logarithmic decibel unit referred to 1mW of power.
In order to apply the output IP3 metric to a voltage feedback
amplifier like the LTC6400, it is necessary to define some
specialized terminology. Because the LTC6400 is not designed to drive a resistive load of 50Ω, it is not appropriate
to define input and output power in the standard way. The
LTC6400 amplifies voltage, not power; the current gain
through the device is typically very small. When driving
a high speed ADC, the LTC6400 may not have a resistive
Note 11: An example of calculating of noise figure for amplifiers can be
found in Section 11 or (National Semiconductor 1974).
Note 12: See (Pei 2008) for an example calculation of equivalent NF.
70
EQUIVALENT OUTPUT POWER (dBm)
from the resistive part of the source impedance ZS, as ideal
capacitors and inductors are noiseless. So substituting RS
for the more general ZS, we define noise figure as:11
POWER OUT
(THEORETICAL)
50
30
IOP3 = 50dBm
IIP3 = 30dBm
POWER OUT
10
IMD
(THEORETICAL)
–10
–30
–50
–70
IMD (dBm)
–90
–110
–130
40
10
0
–30 –20 –10
20
30
EQUIVALENT INPUT POWER PER TONE (dBm)
AN123 F10-1
Figure 10-1: Graphically Showing the Equivalent 3rd Order
Intercept Point (IP3) for a 20dB Gain Amplifier. The Plotted
Curves of Output Power (dBm) and 3rd Order Intermodulation
Distortion Power (dBm) Theoretically Meet at a Certain
Output Power Which is Termed the IP3. This Power Level is
Unattainable in Practice Because the Output of the Amplifier
Saturates at Lower Power Levels
an123f
AN123-27
Application Note 123
load at all. This leads us to define an equivalent output
power level, which uses the voltage-swing equivalence
into a non-existent 50Ω load. For example, a 1VP-P voltage swing into 50Ω would equal 4dBm of RMS output
power,13 so we define 1VP-P as 4dBm for the purposes of
calculating the OIP3. This allows the LTC6400 to be used
in the same signal-chain calculations as other devices,
since OIP3 (like NF) can be used for cascaded systemlevel distortion analysis.
until the amplifier’s output is actually saturated. So the
signal out versus signal in of the LTC6400 exhibits much
higher linearity until the output is up against the limit, at
which point the distortion increases dramatically. Knowing
the P1dB point of the LTC6400 does not give any inferred
knowledge of the distortion performance or IP3.
11 APPENDIX B: SAMPLE NOISE CALCULATIONS
Using this equivalent power terminology, refer back to
Figure 10-1 which shows the theoretical IMD and output
power levels for a 20dB amplifier with a 50dBm OIP3 point,
matching the typical specification of the LTC6400-20 at
100MHz. Extrapolating the IMD curve back to a 4dBm
equivalent power level, which is defined as 1VP-P (2VP-P
with both tones together), that the IMD level is shown to
be –88dBm, or –92dBc.14
Calculating noise and noise figure for the LTC6400 family
is challenging, and there is no one data sheet specification
that can completely characterize the noise performance of
this family. Due to the gain and feedback resistors being
included inside the package, the noise of the amplifier in
one configuration (e.g., with the inputs shorted together)
will yield different results than with the inputs terminated
resistively. This section walks through a few noise calculations in a further attempt to shed light on this topic.
10.3 1dB Compression Point (P1dB)
11.1 Noise Analysis For Arbitrary Source Resistance
Strictly speaking, the “1dB compression point” of an
amplifier is the input power level that causes the gain to
deviate by 1dB from the ideal linear gain (Sayre 2001).
This textbook definition does not include any restrictions
on what type of amplifier or the root cause of the gain
non-ideality. For an RF gain block, mixer or other “typical
RF device” with a 50Ω impedance, the dominant source of
this gain compression at high output power levels is the
saturation of the output transistor. This “soft saturation”
characteristic causes the gain to roll off as the signal swing
of the output limits its ability to produce an ever-increasing
output power. Consequently, the distortion of the output
signal is also increasing in a predictable way as the input
power increases. So in some cases, the P1dB of an RF
device has a direct relationship with the 3rd order intercept
(IP3) of that device, in which case the P1dB can be used
to compare one device with another.
This situation does not apply to the LTC6400 family of
amplifiers. Due to the large amount of feedback employed
in the amplifier topology, the linearity of the LTC6400
(i.e., the amount of distortion) does not follow exactly the
same trend as for an RF device. The feedback and loop gain
of the LTC6400 circuit linearizes the amplifier’s output, and
the gain does not significantly deviate from the ideal value
RI1
RF1
RO1
12.5Ω
en
+–
RS
in
LTC6400
RI2
RF2
RO2
12.5Ω
AN123 F11-1
Figure 11-1: Schematic Drawing for Noise Analysis with
an Arbitrary Source Resistance RS. This Analysis Ignores
the Noise of the Output 12.5Ω Resistors
Using the noise parameters found in Table 3-1, the differential output noise of the LTC6400 can be calculated
for the most generic case, when the gain option and the
source resistance are unknown. It is assumed that the
source impedance is purely resistive for this exercise.
Note 13: In 2-tone tests, if each tone has 1VP-P amplitude, then the
combination of the two will produce a 2VP-P composite amplitude, which
is the standard amplitude for evaluating the LTC6400.
Note 14: dBc means “decibels referred to the carrier,” and uses the
carrier’s power level as the 0dB reference. In this case, the distortion levels
are measured relative to the power level of a single tone in the 2-tone test:
–92dBc = –88dBm – 4dBm
an123f
AN123-28
Application Note 123
2
2
⎡
⎛ 1+ 2RF ⎞ ⎤
⎛ 2RF ⎞
2
VN(OUT) = ⎢en • ⎜
+ β • 2RF nV/ Hz
⎥ + ( 2RF • in ) + β • ( 2RI + RS ) • ⎜
⎟
⎝ 2RI + RS ⎠ ⎥⎦
⎝ 2RI + RS ⎟⎠
⎢⎣
where:
)
(11-1)
11.2 DC987B Demo Board Noise Analysis
β = 4kT = 1.6008 • 10–20 (J), RF = RF1 = RF2 (Ω),
RI = RI1 = RI2 (Ω)
The first term in the equation multiplies the input-referred
voltage noise density of the LTC6400’s internal amplifier
with the noise gain. The second term is the noise gain
of the input-referred current noise, which is equal to the
feedback resistance. The third term deals with the noise of
the input and source resistance, which is multiplied by the
signal gain of the amplifier. The fourth term is the feedback
resistance noise, which has a unity-gain factor.
To use a numeric example, examine the configuration
of Figure 4-3, which shows the LTC6400-8 with extra
source resistance to lower the effective voltage gain. The
terms in the noise equation are: RF = 500Ω, RI = 280Ω,
RS = 602Ω. Equation 11-1 and the values in Table 3-1 are
used to calculate the estimated output noise at 100MHz
(Equation 11-2).
The result in Equation 11-2 matches well with the curve
in Figure 3-3. To convert this result to an equivalent noise
figure, we refer back to Equation 10-2, with the assumption
that the 602Ω resistors are the source resistance, with a
voltage noise of √XN • 602 nV/√Hz:
(7.3 • 10 )
NF = 10 log
–9
2
(β • 602) • 12
= 7.4dB
(11-3)
The resultant NF matches well with the curve in Figure 3-4.
The gain used in the above equation is the signal gain of
the LTC6400-8 circuit, which was reduced to 1V/V by the
series resistors.
VN(OUT) =
(
(1.12 • 2)2 + ⎡⎣⎢1000 • ( 4.00 • 10 –3 )⎤⎦⎥
2
This section extends the noise calculations to the LTC6400
demo board, DC987B. A good example is the LTC6400-20,
which has 200Ω differential input impedance and 1k feedback resistors. Figure 11-2 contains a noise representation
of the board. The transmission line transformers (used
mainly for impedance matching) are modeled here as
ideal 1:4 impedance transformers together with a –1dB
block. This allows the separation of the insertion loss of
the transformer from its ideal behavior.
To calculate the noise figure of this system, calculate
the noise in the chain for two situations: a noiseless
LTC6400-20, which simply amounts to a noiseless gain
block, and the real LTC6400-20. That way, the signal gain
throughout the chain remains the same, and the difference
in the noise will reveal the ratio of the signal-to-noise ratios
in these two situations, which is by definition the noise
figure. Table 11-1 shows the step-by-step noise calculations
that match the locations shown in Figure 11-2.
Use Equation 10-2 to calculate the overall NF from these
two cases:
⎛ 3.612 ⎞
NF = 10 log ⎜
= 6.14dB
2⎟
⎝ 1.78 ⎠
(11-4)
This is the overall noise figure for the demo board
DC987B.15 However, there is still the –1dB loss from the
transformer at the input of the LTC6400. For this, use the
Friis formula (Friis 1944):
FTOT = F1+
F2 – 1
G1
+ β • 1000 • 12 + β • 1000 = 7.3nV/ Hz
(11-5)
(11-2)
an123f
AN123-29
Application Note 123
To apply the formula, translate the decibel NFs back to
the linear noise factor (F). In our case, 6.14dB becomes
4.113, –1dB loss becomes 0.7943, and 1dB noise figure
becomes 1.259 (the NF of an attenuator is just the inverse
of the attenuation).
FAMP – 1
GLOSS
(11-6)
FAMP – 1
0.7943
(11-7)
FTOTAL = FLOSS +
4.113 = 1.259 +
FAMP = 3.267
(11-8)
NFAMP = 10log (FAMP) = 5.14dB
(11-9)
This new calculation subtracts out the effect of the attenuation from the input of the LTC6400, which will give
us the true amplifier noise figure. Note that this result is
consistent with the data in Figure 3-4.
4
1
RS
50Ω
+
–
VS
2
IDEAL
1:4
3
1dB
LOSS
5
12.5Ω
12.5Ω
6
88.6Ω
88.6Ω
1dB
LOSS
7
IDEAL
4:1
RL
50Ω
LTC6400-20
AN123 F11-2
Figure 11-2. Equivalent Demo Board Schematic for Noise
Analysis. This View Ignores the DC-Blocking Capacitors and
Bypass Capacitors of the LTC6400, Which are Inconsequential
to the Noise Analysis. The 88.6Ω Resistor at the LTC6400
Output Creates an Approximate 100Ω Source Resistance (or
a Differential 200Ω), Which is an Impedance Match for the
Reflected RL
11.3 SNR Calculation and Aliasing Example
This example attempts to shed light on the tradeoffs between amplifier bandwidth and SNR, including the effects of
ADC aliasing. Table 11-2 lists the important specifications
for this example, for both the amplifier and the ADC.
Table 11-2. Specifications for SNR Calculation Example
Amplifier
Specifications
Output Noise Density
8nV/√Hz
Effective Noise BW
100MHz
ADC
Specifications
Signal-to-Noise Ratio
80dB
Effective Resolution
(80dB – 1.76)/6.02 = 13 bits
Sample Rate
100Msps
Input Span Voltage
2VP-P (0.707VRMS Sine Wave)
The first step is to calculate the noise floor of the ADC.
Since the ADC samples at 100Msps, its noise can be
represented as a constant noise floor extending from
DC-50MHz, which is the Nyquist bandwidth. The industry
standard for ADC specification is to list SNR with a fullscale sine wave tone. Using the maximum input sine wave
amplitude of 0.707VRMS, and the 80dB SNR, calculate the
ADC’s intrinsic noise floor:
Note 15: This value approximates the value of NF published in the
LTC6400-20 data sheet. To avoid confusion, the measured demo board NF
values were used instead of the true amplifier NF value, as calculated in
Equation 11-9.
Table 11-1. Noise Calculations for the DC987B Demo Board, According to Figure 11-2. The First Column Corresponds to the
Numbered Locations in the Figure. The Second Column Assumes a Noiseless LTC6400-20, and the Third Column Includes the Noise of
the LTC6400-20. The End Values of the Two Columns are Compared to Calculate the Noise Figure of the LTC6400-20
LOCATION
(Fig 11-2)
1
2
NOISE WITH NOISELESS
LTC6400-20 (nV/√Hz)
0.894
0.894
NOISE WITH ACTUAL
LTC6400-20 (nV/√Hz)
N/A
N/A
3
4
0.80
8.0
N/A
16.2
5
4.0
8.1
6
7
3.57
1.78
7.22
3.61
COMMENT/DESCRIPTION
Noise of Source Resistance at 290K (17°C)
The 1:4 Transformer Results in a Voltage Doubling, but the Resistive Divider
Formed by 200Ω Input Impedance Results in the Voltage Being Halved Again
After Subtracting the 1dB Loss
After Gain of 20dB, or 10V/V. For the Noisy Case, Look to Figure 3-3 for the
Total Output Noise of the LTC6400-20 with a 200Ω Source Resistance, Which
Matches the Situation in Figure 11-2. The Noise Output in the Figure Includes
the Source Resistance Noise, Which is Reduced by the 1dB Loss in the
Transformer
Reflected RL Across Transformer is 200Ω, Which Creates a 1:1 Voltage
Divider with the Resistors at the LTC6400 Output. For the Sake of
Calculations, Treat This Resistance as 200Ω Instead of 101.1Ω
Subtracting Another 1dB Loss
Total Noise at Load (Ignoring RL Noise). Transformer Reflects Voltage as 2:1,
so the Voltage is Halved
an123f
AN123-30
Application Note 123
SNRLIN = 10
80
0.707 V
NOISE ADC =
= 70.7μVRMS
10, 000
en( ADC) =
the same as the ADC’s SNR, the amplifier needs to have
lower output noise density and/or lower bandwidth.
(11-10)
20 = 10, 000
The preceding analysis and Figure 11-3 assume the alias
bands are the same width as the Nyquist bandwidth. If this
is not the case, then the resulting noise floor will have a
multi-tiered shape, with a rise in the noise floor where the
extra aliased noise occurs in frequency. This would also
be the case if the amplifier’s bandwidth or the anti-alias
filter bandwidth was less than one Nyquist band, where
the wideband noise rolls off before the Nyquist frequency
of the ADC. However, an anti-alias filter would not affect
the above calculations, except to change the amplifier’s
effective noise.
(11-11)
70.7μV
= 10nV/ Hz
50MHz
(11-12)
The next step is to look at the amplifier’s contribution to the
overall noise. Since the amplifier’s total noise bandwidth is
wider than the Nyquist bandwidth of the ADC, then aliasing will occur. See Figure 11-3 for a visualization of what
happens when the ADC samples the amplifier’s noise. The
ADC has its own noise floor (flat from DC-Nyquist), and
the amplifier has flat wideband noise from DC-fSAMPLE,
which is two full Nyquist bandwidths. Since the amplifier
noise is uncorrelated with the ADC noise, both bands of
amplifier noise can be added in an RMS fashion to the
ADC’s noise floor.
The visual analysis above indicates that once noise is
“aliased” into the original Nyquist bandwidth, it is indistinguishable from lower-frequency noise. The two solutions
presented so far focus on reducing the noise presented
to the ADC input. If digital filtering is possible, there is
a third solution, which would be to increase the ADC’s
sample rate. If the sample rate is increased so that the
Nyquist bandwidth exceeds the input bandwidth, there
is extra bandwidth that can be removed through digital
filtering. Also, for a given analog bandwidth, there would
be fewer bands of noise that are aliased, so the resulting
noise floor would be lower as well.
Adding the ADC’s 10nV/√Hz to the amplifier’s 8nV/√Hz
(twice due to the aliasing), we arrive at the final noise
floor of the combined circuit:
en(TOTAL) = 102 + 82 + 82 = 15.1nV/ Hz
(11-13)
Working backward through the previous equations, we
arrive back at the new SNR for the system:
SNRNEW = 20 log
0.707
15.1• 10 –9 • 50MHz
12 APPENDIX C: OPTIMIZING NOISE PERFORMANCE
BY CALCULATION OF VOLTAGE AND CURRENT NOISE
CORRELATION
= 76.4dB (11-14)
In order to understand the true interaction between current noise and voltage noise at the input of the LTC6400,
it is necessary to consider the correlation between the
two types of noise. Since the current and voltage noise
source elements in the LTC6400 are largely the same, there
Adding an amplifier with less noise than the ADC but more
bandwidth resulted in an overall SNR 3.6dB less than
the capability of the ADC. In order for the amplifier to be
“transparent,” meaning the system SNR is approximately
ADC NOISE
ADC NOISE
FREQUENCY
fNYQUIST
fSAMPLE
FREQUENCY
fNYQUIST
fSAMPLE
AN123 F11-3
Figure 11-3. Representative ADC and Amplifier Noise Floors. Any Amplifier Noise that Exceeds the ADC’s Nyquist Bandwidth Will be
Aliased Back into the Nyquist Band and Combined with That Noise. In This Example, There are Two Full Nyquist Bands of Amplifier
Noise That Will be Summed with the ADC’s Noise. Since the Noise is Uncorrelated, the RMS Method (Square Root of Sum of Squares)
Can Be Used to Add Them Together
an123f
AN123-31
Application Note 123
should be some level of correlation between the two. If
there is significant correlation, then it should be possible
to find source impedances that would cause the current
noise to partially cancel out the voltage noise (or add to
it). The current noise source of the LTC6400 can be split
into two separate noise sources: inu for the uncorrelated
current noise, and inc for the correlated current noise.
The uncorrelated current noise can be defined by an
equivalent noise conductance, and is independent of the
voltage noise. The correlated current noise has a complex
(vector) relationship with the voltage noise.
(12-1)
inu = √4kTGU
(12-2)
inc = YC • en
cancelling the voltage noise (depending on the phase of
inc • ZS), so the total noise varies with source impedance.
This happens even if ZS has no reactive component. The
source impedance for optimal noise figure is ΓS,OPT in
Figure 3-7, where the imaginary part of inc is cancelled to
create a noise minimum.
GU is a conductance that converts voltage to current, k
is the Boltzmann constant, YC is the complex admittance
defined as YC = GC + jBC, and en is the total input voltage
noise density from the data sheet. The complex admittance
(Y) is the inverse of the complex impedance Z = R + jX.
From the Smith Chart and the values in Table 3-2, there
is a relationship between the optimal noise factor and the
desired values:16
FMIN = 1 + 2RN (GOPT + GC)
(12-3)
(12-4)
BC = –BOPT
2
2
(12-5)
GU = RN • GOPT – RN • GC
Friis, H.T. “Noise Figures in Radio Receivers.” Proc. of
IRE, July 1944.
Since FMIN is the linear form of NFMIN and RN is the inverse
of GN, GC can be found with the values in Table 3-2. As an
example, the LTC6400-8 values will be used to solve for
the current noise components.
(12-6)
YOPT = 1/ZOPT = 0.001414 – j0.0008147
FMIN = 5.152 = 1 + 2 • 885 • (0.001414 + GC) (12-7)
(12-8)
GC = 0.0009318
(12-9)
YC = GC + BC = 0.0009318 + j0.0008147
(12-10)
GU = 885 • 0.0014142 – 885 •
0.00093182 = 0.001
(12-11)
inc = YC • en = YC • 3.7nV/√Hz
= 3.45 + j3.01 pA/√Hz
(12-12)
inu = √(4 • k • 290 • 0.001) = 4.00 pA/√Hz
Ludwig, Reinhold, Pavel Bretchko, and Gene Bogdanov.
RF Circuit Design: Theory and Applications. Pearson
Prentice Hall, 2008.
Equation 12-11 shows that the correlated current noise
has a significant reactive component. If voltage noise were
ignored, the total current noise is simply the RMS sum
of inu and the magnitude of inc (they are not correlated
to each other). However, a complex source impedance
ZS could result in the current noise adding to or partially
Seremeta, Dorin. Accurate Measurement of LT5514 Third
Order Intermodulation Products. Application Note 97,
Milpitas, CA: Linear Technology, 2006.
AN123-32
Linear Technology Corporation
13 APPENDIX D: WORKS CITED
Bowick, Chris. RF Circuit Design. Burlington, MA: Elsevier,
1982.
Brisebois, Glen. Op Amp Selection Guide for Optimum
Noise Performance. Design Note 355, Milpitas, CA: Linear
Technology, 2005.
Fukui, H. Low-Noise Microwave Transistors and Amplifiers.
New York: IEEE Press, 1981.
Gilmore, Rowan, and Les Besser. Practical RF Circuit Design
for Modern Wireless Systems Volume II: Active Circuits
and Systems. Boston, MA: Artech House, 2003.
Linear Technology. LTC6400-20: 1.8GHz Low Noise, Low
Distortion Differential ADC Driver for 300MHz IF. Datasheet,
Milpitas, CA: Linear Technology, 2007.
National Semiconductor. Noise Specs Confusing? Application Note 104, Santa Clara, CA: National Semiconductor,
1974.
Pei, Cheng-Wei. Signal Chain Noise Analysis for RF-toDigital Receivers. Design Note 439, Milpitas, CA: Linear
Technology, 2008.
Rich, Alan. Noise Calculations in Op Amp Circuits. Design
Note 15, Milpitas, CA: Linear Technology, 1988.
Sayre, Cotter W. Complete Wireless Design. New York:
McGraw-Hill, 2001.
Note 16: The mathematical derivation for FMIN can be found in (Ludwig,
Bretchko and Bogdanov 2008). BC is also derived from the same formulas,
based on a minimization of the noise factor equation.
an123f
LT 1209 • PRINTED IN USA
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