# Physics 623 Transistor Characteristics and Single Transistor Amplifier Sept. 13, 2006

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2 V cc = +15 V V out V in Figure 1: Basic Single Transistor Amplifier biasing for the common emitter amplifier configuration. This circuit is reasonably stable against variations in transistor properties (for β = h fe ranging from 14 to 40, the Q point stays within 20% of V CE 6.5 V ). 3. Before you connect your circuit, predict what the DC operating point (Q point) will be. This may be done in the following way: (a) Construct the Thevenin equivalent circuit for the base bias circuit. (b) The base-emitter voltage drop for a forward-biased Si transistor is 0.6 V. Therefore V E = V B 0.6 V. (c) The emitter current I E, will be I E = V E R E from Ohm s law. The base current I B = I E β. You could load your Thevenin equivalent of the base bias circuit with the current I B, calculate a new V B and solve these equations simultaneously to get the exact operating point, but this is seldom necessary. If the bias network design is good (meaning not too sensitive to β, a single iteration will yield a very accurate approximation to the operating point. (d) Using Ohm s law, calculate I E, and, thus I C, since they are about the same. (e) From the equation for the collector-emitter circuit: V CC = I C R C + V CE + I E R E calculate V CE. You have now determined the DC operating point (the Q point). The equation for the load line can be written (assuming I C = I E ), I C = (V CC V CE ) (R E + R C ) 2

3 rout vin rin Av vin vout Figure 2: Thevenin Equivalent Circuit for an Amplifier. Collector i b Base r b r tr Emitter Figure 3: Tranresistance Model Equivalent Circuit. 4. Draw the load line on your characteristic curves and mark your calculated Q point. 5. Next connect the circuit as shown schematically in Fig. 1. Be sure to check the transistor pin-out diagram at the end of the transistor data sheet. (Transistors are normally drawn as if you were looking at the transistor leads from the lead side while integrated circuits are normally drawn as if you were looking at the pins from above the circuit board, ie from the side away from the IC pins.) Measure V CE,V E,V B, and V BE and compare with your calculated values. (They should agree within 10%). 6. AC properties. Three important parameters, defined by the coupled Thevenin equivalent circuits of the amplifier input and output shown in Fig. 2, determine the AC behavior of the amplifier. They are: (a) The input impedance (r i ), (b) The output impedance (r o ), and (c) The voltage gain (A v = v o /v i ). Before actually measuring these quantities, it is instructive to estimate them. Use the transresistance model, in which the transistor is replaced by an equivalent circuit containing a current generator i c = βi b in series with the base emitter resistor r tr (called 3

4 the transresistance). The equivalent circuit is shown in Fig. 3. By differentiating the basic diode equation (for a p-n junction) we find that the dynamic base emitter resistance or transresistance is inversely proportional to the current I E. Thus, the transresistance is: r tr = V I = ohm/a I E. ( ) ohm/a r tr = + 2 ohm I C where we have assumed I C I E and the 2 ohm is a rough average value for the ohmic resistance of the internal connection to the emitter junction. Note that an AC signal introduced on the base lead can pass to AC ground through three paths: R 1, R 2, and through the transistor. So, r i (common emitter input impedance) is calculated as: r i = R 1 R 2 (r b = β(r tr + R E )) (with meaning in parallel so you add reciprocals to get the reciprocal of the combination). The common emitter AC voltage gain is then: A v = v o i c R C = v i i c (r tr + R E ) = R C (r tr + R E ). In this approximation. the output impedance r o = R C. 7. (a) Now introduce a AC signal (a sine wave from the waveform generator) of frequency f = 5 KHz into the base through a coupling capacitor C c 1.0 µf and measure r i, A v and r o. To measure r i, introduce a series resistor (R 3 ), and calculate r i using the voltage divider equations. (b) Vary the magnitude of the input signal and note any distortion in the output signal which results. Interpret the distortion using the output characteristics and the load line. (c) Measure the frequency response (or band width) of your amplifier (A v (ω)) and try to identify the lower corner frequency in terms of the component values. 8. Emitter Resistor Bypass... Current and Voltage Drive. To have a true common emitter configuration for an amplifier, the emitter resistor R E, is bypassed by a large capacitor ( 1 to 2 µf). The result is that the emitter is at AC ground, while at the same time preserving DC stability. In the previous measurements when R E was not bypassed, much of the input signal was fed back onto the emitter, greatly reducing v be, from its value when the emitter is at AC ground. This situation is an example of degenerative (or negative) feedback and has several results. One desirable effect is to 4

5 enable the amplifier to linearly amplify for a larger range of input signals. Another is that the gain of the amplifier is determined mainly by the choice of circuit parameters R C and R E and not by variations in transistors. The price we pay for these advantages is a reduction in gain. 9. (a) Connect a 1 to 2 µf capacitor across R E and remeasure r i, r o and A v. Again use the transresistance model to estimate the voltage gain and compare to your measurements. Note: To avoid saturationg the transistor, the input signal must be reduced in magnitude by a factor 20 50, which can be accomplished using the attenuator provided. (b) Verify the reduction and connection at the input to the amplifier using the scope. Note the increased gain (and also the smaller bandwidth compared to the circuit incorporating feedback. The distortion is due to the fact that i C depends exponentially on v BE. (c) To produce a current signal for the input, introduce a 50k resistor in series with the function generator output to produce a high impedance (current) source. (d) Note that now v o is undistorted while v be is considerably distorted. Try to interpret this effect in your notebook. 5

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