SBOS377L October 2006 – January 2020 OPA211
Design of low-noise operational amplifier circuits requires careful consideration of a variety of possible noise contributors: noise from the signal source, noise generated in the operational amplifier, and noise from the feedback network resistors. The total noise of the circuit is the root-sum-square combination of all noise components.
The resistive portion of the source impedance produces thermal noise proportional to the square root of the resistance. This function is plotted in Figure 45. The source impedance is usually fixed; consequently, select the operational amplifier and the feedback resistors to minimize the respective contributions to the total noise.
Figure 45 depicts total noise for varying source impedances with the operational amplifier in a unity-gain configuration (no feedback resistor network, and therefore no additional noise contributions). The operational amplifier itself contributes both a voltage noise component and a current noise component. The voltage noise is commonly modeled as a time-varying component of the offset voltage. The current noise is modeled as the time-varying component of the input bias current and reacts with the source resistance to create a voltage component of noise. Therefore, the lowest noise operational amplifier for a given application depends on the source impedance. For low source impedance, current noise is negligible and voltage noise generally dominates. For high source impedance, current noise may dominate.
Figure 42 shows both inverting and noninverting operational amplifier circuit configurations with gain. In circuit configurations with gain, the feedback network resistors also contribute noise. The current noise of the operational amplifier reacts with the feedback resistors to create additional noise components. The feedback resistor values can generally be chosen to make these noise sources negligible. The equations for total noise are shown for both configurations.