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Three is a crowd for instrumentation amplifiers

Posted: 17 Jul 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:instrumentation amplifiers? differential voltage? current-feedback architecture?

Instrumentation amplifiers amplify small differential voltages in the presence of large common-mode voltages, while offering high input impedance. This characteristic has made them attractive to a variety of applications, such as strain gauge bridge interfaces for pressure and temperature sensing, thermocouple temperature sensing, and a variety of low side and high-side current-sensing applications.

Three-op-amp instrumentation amplifiers have long been the industry standard for precision applications that require high gains and/or high CMRR. However, these amplifiers have serious limitations when operating from the single-supply voltage rails required in many modern applications. This article explains the limitations of the conventional three-op-amp architecture for instrumentation amplifiers, and introduces Maxim's patented indirect current-feedback architecture that offers specific advantages for single-supply operation of instrumentation amplifiers. Detailed analysis is supported by laboratory waveforms.

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