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A Very Low Offset Preamplifier for Voltage Measurements in the \mu\hbox {V} Range

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3 Author(s)
Rosario Merlino ; Dipt. di Fis. della Materia e Ing. Elettron., Univ. di Messina, Messina, Italy ; Graziella Scandurra ; Carmine Ciofi

A new topology for the implementation of a very low offset voltage preamplifier is presented. The new topology employs a time-varying resistance as a probe for detecting the sign and magnitude of the equivalent input offset of an operational amplifier in a series-shunt feedback configuration and allows for continuously correcting the offset voltage by means of a proper control feedback. The most remarkable feature of the approach we propose is the fact that the offset correction can continuously be performed with the signal voltage source connected to the circuit, as its presence and magnitude do not affect the offset detection circuit. At the same time, the offset cancellation circuit has minimum effect on the output voltage of the preamplifier in the bandwidth of the signal. An actual low-offset preamplifier based on the new approach we propose has been built and tested. While employing a metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) input operational amplifier with a typical input offset of 100 μV (600-μV maximum), a voltage preamplifier with a gain of 201 and an equivalent input offset voltage below 100 nV is consistently obtained, which is independent, by design, of the temperature. While characterized by these excellent performances, the system employs quite standard low-cost components and does not require any calibration procedure.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement  (Volume:59 ,  Issue: 1 )