# Chapter 4: Passive Analog Signal Processing

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1 hapter 4: Passive Analog Signal Processing In this chapter we introduce filters and signal transmission theory. Filters are essential components of most analog circuits and are used to remove unwanted signals (i.e. noise) from the actual signal. Transmission lines are essential for sending signals from one device to another, such as from a detector to a data acquisition module. I. Filters Filters are ubiquitous in analog electronic circuitry. In fact, if you see a capacitor or an inductor in a circuit there is a good chance it is part of a filter. Filters are frequently used to clean up (i.e. remove high frequency noise) power supplies and remove spurious frequencies from a signal (frequently 6 Hz, switching power supply noise in computers, display screen noise, ground loop noise, and Radio-Frequency (RF) pick-up). A. R Filters: R filters are by far the most common filters around. They are simple to make (i.e. just a resistor and a capacitor), reliable, and involve relatively simple design calculations. 1. The ow-pass R Filter The low-pass R filter, or integrator, is used to remove high frequencies from a signal. Applications include the removal of RF pick-up noise and reducing ripple voltages on power supplies. A generic R low pass filter circuit is shown in figure 4.1 on the right. We have already calculated its performance in the previous chapter using Fourier analysis and complex impedances. We recall the results (equation 28): sin( ) ( ωt+ φ π / 2) i V = V = V φ e (4.1) out V IN R V OUT Figure 4.1: the classic low-pass R filter circuit. Where sin( φ ) + ω 2 = 1 1 ( R) and V iωt in = Ve. From these quantities we can compute the gain and phase performance of the filter. The gain is defined as Gain = V out Vin and the phase as ϕ = φ π / 2 (this is just the part after the ω t in the exponent). The R filter is just a voltage divider with complex impedances, so we can calculate the gain easily:

2 V V out in 1 iω = R + 1 iω 1 = = 1+ iωr 1 1+ ( ωr) 2 = sin( φ) (4.2) The phase of the output voltage with respect to the input is easily computed and is given by tan ϕ = tan( φ π / 2) = cot( φ) = ωr (4.3) At ω = 1/ R, the output voltage drops to 1 / 2 of the input voltage, and consequently the power transmission drops to 5% or -3dB 1. At this frequency, the voltage across the resistor and the voltage across the capacitor are equal in amplitude, but ± π 2 out of phase with the drive voltage. The average value of V 2 across either the resistor or the capacitor is down by a factor of 2 from the drive voltage. onsequently, this frequency characterizes the R circuit completely and is called the 3dB frequency. We can rewrite the gain and phase equations in terms of the 3dB frequency: with 1 gain = (4.4), tan ϕ = f / f3db (4.5) 1+ ( f / f 3 = 1/ 2πR. f db 2 3 db ) The Bode plots (log-log or semi-log plots) for the gain and phase of the low pass filter are shown in figure 4.2, below. og(ω) og V out /V in Phase 1/R og(ω) -π/2 1/R Figure 4.2: Bode plots of the relative magnitude (left) and phase (right) of the output of an R low-pass filter. 1 A db or decibel is a notation for quantifying a ratio of two numbers. For power, a db is defined as db = 1log 1 (P/P ) From this definition we can see that a ratio of.5 is roughly -3. Hence -3db is the same as halving a signal. For voltage or current, a db is defined as db = 2log 1 (V/V ) So at -3dB, the voltage (or current) has dropped to 1/ 2 of its input value

3 Past the -3 db point, the log-log slope for the gain is -2 db/decade or -6 db/octave. The low-pass R filter is also called an integrator because it integrates currents with 1 frequencies above f 3 db. In other words V out = I( t) dt (see chapter 3, equation 8) for currents with frequency components above f 3. db 2) The High-Pass R Filter The high-pass R filter, or differentiator, is used to remove low frequencies from a signal. Applications include the removal of D bias voltages and 6 Hz pick-up voltages. A generic R high-pass filter circuit is shown in figure 4.3 on the right. Mathematically, high-pass filter can be treated the same way a their low pass cousins: they are almost identical except that Vout measures the voltage drop across the resistor instead of the capacitor. Qualitatively, the capacitor blocks D and low frequency signals. If we treat the high-pass filter as a complex impedance voltage divider, then we obtain immediately V IN R V OUT Figure 4.3: the classic high-pass R filter circuit. V V out in = R iωr ωr = = R + 1 iω 1+ iωr 2 1+ ( ωr) = cos( φ) (4.6) tan ϕ = 1/ωR (4.7) We can rewrite these using only gain ( f / f ) f 3 db to produce more compact design equations: 3dB = (4.8), tan = f 2 3 db / f 1+ ( f / f3db ) ϕ (4.9) The Bode plots (log-log or semi-log plots) for the gain and phase of the high-pass filter are shown in figure 4.4, below. 3) R Filter Design When designing an R filter, you need to think about two things: 1. hoose an appropriate f 3 db. 2. Make sure the impedance is appropriate for your desired output load. Step 1 is straightforward and depends on the frequencies you want to pass and block. In Step 2 you pick R so as to satisfy the impedance requirements of your signal source and your signal destination. Typically, the signals we want to pass are around f 3 db, so the impedance of the capacitor and the impedance of the resistor will be about the same

4 -π/2 og V out /V in Phase 1/R og(ω) 1/R og(ω) Figure 4.4: Bode plots of the relative magnitude (left) and phase (right) of the output of an R high-pass filter. When filtering an input, choose the resistance to be about 1 times smaller than the input impedance of the next stage. This will prevent the next stage from loading the filter. You would also like to choose the resistance to be at least 1 times larger than the previous stage of your circuit s output impedance. hoose the capacitor for the appropriate f db 1 ( 2πR ) 3 =. If the signal you want to pass is low frequency, choose f 3dB 2 f Pass, and hence 1 ( 4πRf Pass ). If the signal you want to pass is high frequency, choose f f 2, and hence ( ) 1 πrf Pass. 3dB Pass 3) ombination Filters If you put several R filters in a row you can make a more sophisticated signal filter. For example, several similar low-pass filters placed on after the other will produce a steeper fall off of the gain. One can also use a low-pass followed by a high pass to produce a bandpass filter ( f 3 db, lowpass > f 3dB, highpass ). Design tip: When you are designing a bandpass filter, you should make sure that the resistor in the second stage is larger than the first stage by about a factor of 1. Otherwise, the second stage will load the first stage, and shift the effective f 3 db frequency of the first stage. 4) Applications Here are some specific applications of R filters:

5 Blocking apacitor This is a high pass filter that is used to eliminate D. Suppose that you want to measure small time-dependent signals that happen to float on a high voltage. If you use a blocking capacitor, then the high voltage D will not get through to your detection electronics, but the signal will get through. hoose f 3 db low to insure that your entire signal gets through. Ripple Eliminator This is a low pass filter used to build power supplies. Since most of our power is 6 Hz A, our D power supplies will convert A to D, but there will always be some residual 6 Hz ripple. A low pass filter with f 3 db set well below 6 Hz will work. You do not use a resistance in this case, but let the combination of the loading resistance R and the Thevenin resistance of the previous components serve as your R. This usually requires a large capacitor since R might be quite small when you use the power supply. If the capacitor is not big enough, then f 3 db will then shift to a higher frequency, and the 6 Hz ripple will reappear. hip Supply lean Up Frequently the voltage which you supply to a chip component, such as an op-amp (we will study these later in the semester), may be clean when it comes out of the power supply, but will pick up noise by the time it reaches the component. In this case a 1 1 nf capacitor placed at the supply leads of the component will remove the high frequency pick-up noise. Noise Eliminator Any signal line is susceptible to picking up high frequency transients; especially if there are motors or switching power supplies (or FM radio stations!) nearby. A noise eliminator is a low pass filter with a high value of f 3. db Integrator If you build an R filter, but set the value of f 3 db much higher than the highest frequency in your signal, the filter integrates your signal. From our earlier analysis, when << f, we can see that each (low) frequency voltage component will see a π 2 f 3dB same phase shift and its amplitude will be proportional to 1 f. This is exactly the prescription for integration. So, a high pass filter sends high frequencies out on the resistor, and the integral of very low frequencies on the capacitor

6 Differentiator If you build an R filter with f 3 db lower than the lowest frequency in your signal, the filter differentiates your signal. From our earlier analysis, when >> f, each (high) f 3dB frequency voltage component will see a π 2 same phase shift and its amplitude will be proportional to f. This is exactly the prescription for differentiation. So, a low pass filter sends low frequencies out on the capacitor, and the derivative of high frequencies on the resistor. 5. High frequency performance of capacitors In principle, one could use an R (inductor-resistor) circuit instead of an R circuit to make low-pass and high-pass filters and obtain similar performance. However, in practice generally avoids inductors if possible. Inductors tend to be physically larger, more expensive, and deviate further from ideal performance than capacitors. While capacitors generally offer superior performance to inductors, they also show significant deviations from the ideal Z = 1/ iω impedance at high frequencies. apacitors will generally have a little bit of spurious resistance (i.e. like a resistor) and inductance (i.e. like an inductor) at high frequencies. In fact, circuit designers will often model a real capacitor with the following simple circuit, though more complex circuits are sometimes necessary: R Figure 4.5: A real capacitor can be modeled as an ideal capacitor in series with some small resistor and inductor. The resistance is due to the non-zero high frequency conductivity of the dielectric material separating the two conductor plates of the capacitor. The inductance is due to two effects: 1) the design of the capacitor, especially the leads, will contribute inductance., and 2) Maxwell s equations for electrodynamics require that a capacitor have an inductance at high frequencies 2. apacitor manufacturer will provide the specifications for the spurious resistance and inductance of their capacitors. The plot in figure 4.6, below, shows the frequency dependence of the impedance of a ornell Dubilier acrylic surface mount film capacitor. A common remedy for dealing with the inherent inductance of a capacitor at high frequencies is to place a small capacitor (1 1 pf) in parallel with the main capacitor in R filter. The high frequency performance of the small capacitor will generally much better than that of the main capacitor: the small will pick-up the high frequency signal when the main, larger capacitor begins to have a significant inductance. The gain fall-off 2 The Feynman ectures on Physics, Vol. 2, by R. P. Feynman, R. B. eighton, and M. Sands, p

7 of the R filter will no longer be -2 db/decade, but at least a low-pass filter will not start to behave like a high-pass filter (or vice-versa)! B. Filters Figure 4.6: Impedance of real capacitors versus frequency. Note that the capacitors behave like inductors above a few MHz [source: ornell Dubilier]. R filters are by far the simplest and the most common type of filter found in analog circuits, however they suffer from a relatively slow roll off of the gain: while the gain or attenuation slope can be made steeper than -2 db/decade, the transition region, or knee of the curve (the region where the gain changes from flat to a log-log slope), will always have the same shape and frequency width. filters are more complex but can be engineered to produce much sharper features and steeper fall-off regions. The standard design for filters is an ladder with an un-interrupted ground line, such as in the 5 th order filters shown in figure 4.7 and 4.8 below: R TH R OAD Figure 4.7: 5 th order low-pass filter R TH R OAD Figure 4.8: 5 th order high-pass filter

8 The algebra required for computing the gain and phase Bode plots for these filters is generally quite cumbersome, and a computer program (i.e. Maple or Excel) is generally useful for helping with the design. A number of web-applets can also be found on the internet for determining all the inductor and capacitor values that will produce the required filter performance. Example 1: 5 th order Butterworth low-pass filter with db =1 khz for 5 Ω input impedance and 5 Ω output impedance. The relative amplitude of the output is shown in figure 4.9, below. f 3 Figure 4.9: Bode plot of the gain of a 5 th order Butterworth low-pass filter. This Butterworth filter uses 1 = 5 =.6946 µf, 2 = 4 = µf, 3 = 4 µf, 1 = 4 = 5 mh, and 2 = 3 = mh. Butterworth filters have a very flat pass-band, and a reasonably regular phase change across the knee of the curve. Example 2: 5 th order hebyshev low-pass filter with db =1 khz for 5 Ω input impedance and 5 Ω output impedance. The relative amplitude of the output is shown in figure 4.1, below. f

10 II. Transmission ines Signals are sent from one device to another, or from one part of a circuit to another with transmission lines. The quality of your transmission determines the quality of your signal, whether you are connecting one device to another or a resistor to a capacitor. adder Model of a Transmission ine A transmission line consists of two parallel conductors separated by a fixed distance d, which gives rise to an effective capacitance per unit length. The conductors will also produce a magnetic field, which is gives the transmission line an effective inductance per unit length. We can model the transmission line as a repeated network of series inductors and parallel capacitors, or ladder, as depicted in the figure below. a c b d If the ladder is infinite and has an impedance Z, then if we add an extra ladder rung, the total impedance should not change, and we obtain the following relation Z ( iω + Z )(1/ iω) = ( + Z ) // Z = (4.11) ( iω + Z ) + (1/ iω) From this relation we can extract an expression for Z, and we obtain Z 2 2 iω ω = + (4.12) 2 4 If we consider that and are the inductance and capacitance, respectively, of a short section l of transmission line, then as we take the limit l, we have and, but / constant. In this limit the equation for Z becomes Z = (4.13) where and are the inductance and capacitance, respectively, of the transmission line, and Z is called the characteristic impedance of the transmission line. It may seem surprising that a network of inductors and capacitors can have a real impedance, and consequently consume power. The explanation for this apparent paradox is that since the network is infinite, power is flowing from one ladder rung to the next ad infinitum, so that power is constantly moving down the transmission line, though it is - 4 -

11 not dissipated in either the inductors or capacitors. Of course, the power is consumed at the end of the transmission line when we attach a load resistor. The ladder model is a high frequency model of transmission line and does not include the wire resistance which can contribute to signal attenuation. Transmission ine Impedance Matching A transmission line with a characteristic impedance of Z should be terminated with a load impedance of Z if the transmission line is longer than 1/1 of the wavelength of the signal (recall wavelength = c / f, where c is the speed of light in the transmission line and f is the signal frequency). If the transmission line is not properly terminated, then the signal will be partially reflected back towards the source upon arrival at the load. There are three main types of transmission lines: wires, twisted pairs, and coaxial cables. In this section we go over their performance characteristics. 1. Wires Plain wires are the simplest and the cheapest transmission lines available: they include the wires you use to connect components on your breadboard and electrical grid power lines. If the wires are kept parallel, then the transmission line will provide some protection to external fields and noise at low frequencies. While wire transmission lines are simple, they should be avoided whenever possible since they are susceptible to interference and high frequency pick-up. At high frequencies a wire transmission line actually becomes an antenna (for both transmission and reception). 2. Twisted Pairs A twisted pair of wires provides good protection from outside fields and noise and can transmit relatively high frequency signals without difficulty. The electro-magnetic field of a signal kept close to the wire pair. A twisted pair can transmit analog signals at up to 25 khz (sometimes even 1 MHz) and digital signals up to 1 MHz. Twisted pairs are quite common and are used in many computer communications cable, such as RJ45 Ethernet cables which has a characteristic impedance of Z = 1 Ω. Twisted pair transmission lines are easy to make: just take two wires of equal length and twist them together! 3. oaxial ables oaxial cable is the best form of transmission line, short of a waveguide. In the limit of perfect conductors, signals on coaxial cables are impervious to external fields and do not radiate either. oaxial cables can be used for frequencies up to 1 GHz. At high frequencies, a significant fraction of the transmitted energy/power is in the electric and magnetic fields that carry the signal though the cable, instead of in the potential energy of the current carrying electrons. The speed of light in a coaxial cable is usually 6-7% of

12 the speed of light in vacuum. The characteristic impedance of most coaxial cables used in industry and labs is Z = 5 Ω -- coaxial cable for cable TV is an exception, it has a characteristic impedance of 75 Ω. Design Exercises: Design Exercise 4-1: Design a high-pass R filter that can filter out 6 Hz and 12 Hz but yet still pass signals above 1 khz. This filter should work with a load of at least 1 kω. You can assume that your signal source has a 5 Ω impedance or lower. Plot the amplitude transfer function of this filter in db, mark the 3dB point. Design Exercise 4-2: Design a band-pass filter which will only pass frequencies near 1 khz and filter frequencies below 1kHz and above 1kHz. This filter should work with a load of at least 1 kω. You can do this by combining 2 different R filters (one high pass and one low pass). You can assume that your signal source has a 5 Ω impedance or lower. Plot the amplitude transfer function of this filter in db, mark the 3dB points

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