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An ultra low distortion oscillator with THD below -140 dB

Vojtch Jansek, Abstract: ADC circuits that resolve signal into 2 or !ore "its need a low#noise signal source $or !easuring %ara!eters such as har!onic distortion or e$$ective nu!"er o$ "its. A notch $ilter re!oves the $unda!ental $re&uenc' $ro! the oscillators signal $or testing har!onic distortion. A low-distortion oscillator is necessary for testing todays ADCs (analog-to-digital converters) that have resolution higher than 20 bits. Low-distortion a !lifiers with "#D (total-har onic distortion) of -$20 d% or less also need such an oscillator for testing. Co ercially available distortion eters offer any easure ent functions& but even the best have a "#D easure ent li it so ewhere around '$$( d% ()ef $). *everal low-distortion oscillator designs have been !ublished& but they have also have "#D of '$20 d% or slightly better ()efs. 2& +& ,). At -anasCard& weve develo!ed an oscillator with "#D below '$,0 d% that we use for in-house testing.

.ig. $ /ltra low distortion oscillator "he oscillator in Figure 1 uses an inverted 0ien-bridge to!ology with a !litude stabili1ation through an L2D-driven Cd* (cad iu -sulfide) !hotocell isolator. 3C$ and 3C2 are low noise& high linearity L42,56$0 audio a !lifiers fro "e7as 3nstru ents& 8ey co !onents of the oscillator. "hese a !lifiers have nonlinearity below 0.$ !! in inverting ode ()ef. (). 3C$ acts as an inverter

with gain '$. 3C2& in con9unction with )$& )2& )+& ),& C$& C2& and C+& for s a band-!ass filter that sets the oscillators resonant fre:uency to 2 8#1. "he design uses a 0ien bridge with values )& C& );2& and 2C because it the oscillator needs an inverting gain of '$. <ou can use a si !ler configuration with e:ual values for ) and C& ()ef. ,) but it re:uires an inverter with a gain of '2 and you ust ta8e the out!ut fro the inverting a !lifier stage. "he resulting noise is significantly higher because of the higher overall gain and the circuit isnt bandwidth li iting. =oise is also an i !ortant !ara eter for ADC testing. "hus& we used *>3C2 si ulation on the oscillators noise !erfor ance. Figure 2 shows that the circuits voltage noise-s!ectral density is highest at the resonant fre:uency and then falls at higher fre:uencies because of band-!ass filtering. "otal noise in the 20 #1-+0 8#1 band is $.6?@. "hat gives a theoretical *=) (signal-to-noise ratio) of $2A d% for out!ut level $0 @>>& or +.( @)4*. "he L4,56$0 has voltage-noise density of 2.( n@;s:rt#1. )esistors and in!ut noise currents of the a !lifiers also add to the overall noise. 3f the lowest !ossible noise is i !ortant& you can use lower resistor values& but thats at the e7!ense of higher !ower consu !tion and increased distortion. "he L4,56$0 distortion !erfor ance is s!ecified with ini u load resistance of A00 B.

.ig. 2. =oise si ulation .or a !litude stabili1ation& the oscillators ACC (auto atic gain control) circuit consists of a fullwave rectifier with high in!ut i !edance (3C+A& 3C+%)& integrator 3C,& and o!tocou!ler D$. "he voltage across the o!tocou!lers !hoto-resistor is only $E @ as set by the $E-B !arallel resistor )$E. "hat voltage 8ee!s the voltage across D$ to a negligible level. 4ultiturn tri !otenio eter )2$ sets the ACCs wor8ing !oint to roughly $0 A through D$Fs L2D (( @ at ">$). "urn )2$ slowly until the ACC loc8s& loo!s ti e constant is several seconds. "he setting is :uite sensitive because of the ACC loo!s narrow range. After setting the !ro!er o!erating !oint with )2$& set the out!ut a !litude with ultiturn tri !otentio eter )6 in range of ( @!! to$0 @!!. )ight selection of !assive co !onents in signal chain is another i !ortant re:uire ent for ini u distortion. )esistors are !referably 0.$G& $( !! ;H through-hole ty!es& ca!acitors are !referably !olystyrene foil ty!es& second best choice are =>D (=egative >ositive Iero) with their s aller si1e and lower te !erature coefficients& but slightly higher distortion ()ef. A).

Performance verification 0e 8now of no co ercially available e:ui! ent with enough resolution to directly easure distortion of the ADC circuit. .ortunately& you can use a si !le two-stage a!!roach. .irst& attenuate the funda ental fre:uency as uch as !ossibleJ at least E0 d%. A low-distortion notch filter lets you easure residual distortion uch ore si !ly than a s!ectru analy1er. Figure 3 shows a tunable notch filter with an a !lifier. "he notch filter is a !assive twin-" circuit& which re9ects the oscillators funda ental fre:uency& but it also attenuates the second and third har onics by about 5 d% and ( d%& res!ectively.

.ig. +. "win " notch and a !lifier Distortion !erfor ance of the notch filter is i !ortant& so use the sa e high :uality !assive co !onents as in the oscillator. .eed the notch-filters out!ut into low-noise a !lifier 3C$ with a gain of $00. 4onitor the out!ut of this a !lifier with any co on s!ectru analy1er or with a >C sound card and fre:uency-analysis software. .or :uic8 self-testing of distortion and gain accuracy of the whole easure ent chain& the circuit has a 9u !er-selectable resistive divider ()5& )$0) with 60 d% attenuation. Figure 4 shows the noise and distortion !erfor ance of the a !lifier and analy1er together when the attenuator is connected to the out!ut of the oscillator. 0e used our DAK odule AD$,2"# www.9anascard.c1 as a s!ectru analy1er. "he DAK odule has a $,-bit ADC with ,00 8sa !les;s sa !le rate. "he odule averages E sa !les to reduce sa !ling s!eed to (0 8*;s and ta8es $2E 8sa !les to !erfor .." analysis. "he high nu ber of sa !les is necessary for highest !ossible dyna ic range& second har onic is as low as '$(0 d%@ so fre:uency resolution bellow $ #1 is necessary. .ig. , shows that noise floor of the a !lifier is '$(( d%@. "he third har onic is '$,$ d%@& so the a !lifiers "#D together with that of DAK odule is less than E0 d%. After verifying that ->(& ->A are o!en and ->, and ->6 are closed& connect an AC volt eter or oscillosco!e to the out!ut and tune >$ and >2 for a7i u attenuation of the oscillators funda ental fre:uency. =ow the filter is ready to easure the oscillators "#D. Figure 5 shows distortion of the oscillator with =>D ca!acitors& the second har onic is '$,6 d%@& the third har onic is '$,+ d%@& oscillator out!ut level is L$0 d%@. "hus& the second har onic is $0 d%L$,6

d% '5 d% M $,E d% below the funda ental. "he third har onic is $0 d% L$,+ d% '( d% M $,E d% below the funda ental. "#D is '$,( d%. Figure 6 shows distortion with C+ re!laced with a !olystyrene foil ca!acitor. Distortion is several d% lower. "he second har onic is '$($ d%& which is nearly invisible in the noise. "he third har onic is also '$($ d% below the funda ental. "#D is ' $,E d%.

.ig. ,. =oise and distortion of the a !lifier

.ig. (. Distortion with =>D ca!acitors

.ig. A. Distortion with !olystyrene foil ca!acitor

0hen lower !erfor ance is acce!table& significantly si !lified version of oscillator can be used. "he oscillator in Figure 7 is a standard noniverting 0ien bridge with gain L2 around 3C$ and integrator 3C2& active rectifier is re!laced by dual diode D(& second half act as a te !erature co !ensation. "his si !lified version has "#D -$20 d% and higher noise than the first circuit due higher noise gain of the circuit and no band!ass filtering but it still out!erfor s any at least $007 ore e7!ensive e:ui! ents.

.ig. 6. A si !le 0ien oscillator

References: $. Audio >recision analy1er series 2600& htt!N;;a!.co ;!roducts;2600 2. * ith& -eff& ODscillator 8ee!s "#D below $ !! &P (D) Design 3deas& =ove ber $0& $55,. htt!N;; ;article;,56$5+-2D=Q$$Q$0Q5,QDscillatorQ8ee!sQ"#DQbelowQ$Q!! .!h! +. 2agar Dale& O/sing *u!er D! A !s to >ush "echnological .rontiersN an /ltra->ure DscillatorP htt!N;; ;docs;A!!licationG20=ote;anA6f.!df ,. 0illia s& -i and Cuy #oover& O"est $E-bit ADCs with an ultra!ure sine-wave oscillator&P (D)& August $$& 20$$. htt!N;; ;docs;Article;ub QednQ20$$0E$$G20$E%itG20ADCs G20AdG20.ree.!df (. >ease& )obert A.&PCain and Linearity "esting for >recision D!erational A !lifiers&P =ational *e iconductor A!!lication note $A6$& 4ay 2$& 200E. htt!N;; ;lit;an;snaa0,6;snaa0,6.!df A. %ate an& C.&PCa!acitor *ounds $ - Low Distortion (sub $>>4 ) $ 8#1 "est DscillatorP htt!N;; ;3 ages;!df;CyrilQ%ate an;%ate anQ=otesQCa!Q*oundQ$.!df