With the physics and operation of bipolar transistors described in Chapter 4, we now deal with amplifier circuits employing such devices. While the field of microelectronics involves much more than amplifiers, our study of cellphones and digital cameras in Chapter 1 indicates the extremely wide usage of amplification, motivating us to master the analysis and design of such building blocks. This chapter proceeds as follows.
Building the foundation for the remainder of this book, this chapter is quite long. Most of the concepts introduced here are invoked again in Chapter 7 (MOS amplifiers). The reader is therefore encouraged to take frequent breaks and absorb the material in small doses.
Recall from Chapter 4 that a voltage-controlled current source along with a load resistor can form an amplifier. In general, an amplifier produces an output (voltage or current) that is a magnified version of the input (voltage or current). Since most electronic circuits both sense and produce voltage quantities,1 our discussion primarily centers around “voltage amplifiers” and the concept of “voltage gain,” vout/vin.
What other aspects of an amplifier’s performance are important? Three parameters that readily come to mind are (1) power dissipation ...