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Ways to optimise the performance of a difference amplifier

Posted: 20 Jul 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:difference amplifier  optimise amplifier  discrete amplifier performance 

There are times when a small signal needs to be measured in the presence of a large common-mode signal. Traditional instrumentation amplifiers (in amps) that have two op amp or three op amp internal configurations are commonly used in these applications. Although in-amps have good common-mode rejection ratios (CMRR), price and sometimes specifications prevent their usage in these applications. In amps may not have the right bandwidth, DC accuracy or power consumption requirements that the user requires. Therefore, in these situations, users build their own difference amplifiers by using a single amplifier and external resistors as an alternative to instrumentation amplifiers. Unless a set of tightly matched resistors is used, CMRR of these circuits are very low. This application note presents several ways to build and optimise the performance of a discrete difference amplifier. It also recommends amplifiers that make the overall solution cost/performance competitive with monolithic instrument amplifiers.

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