Operational Amplifiers

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In electronics, an operational amplifier, or op-amp, is a DC-coupled high-gain electronic voltage amplifier with differential inputs and, usually, a single output. Typically the output of the op-amp is controlled either by negative feedback, which largely determines the magnitude of its output voltage gain, or by positive feedback, which facilitates regenerative gain and oscillation. High input impedance at the input terminals and low output impedance are typical characteristics.
Op-amps are among the most widely used electronic devices, used in a vast array of consumer, industrial, and scientific devices. Many standard IC op-amps cost only a few cents in moderate production volume; however some integrated or hybrid operational amplifiers with special performance specifications may cost over $100 US in small quantities.
Modern designs are electronically more rugged than earlier implementations and some can sustain direct short-circuits on their outputs without damage.

Circuit Notation  :

The circuit symbol for an op-amp is shown in Figure 1
  • V+: non-inverting input
  • V: inverting input
  • Vout: output
  • VS+: positive power supply
  • VS−: negative power supply
The power supply pins (VS+ and VS−) can be labeled in different ways (See IC power supply pins). Despite different labeling, the function remains the same. Often these pins are left out of the diagram for clarity, and the power configuration is described or assumed from the circuit. The positions of the inverting and non-inverting inputs may be reversed in diagrams where appropriate; the power supply pins are not commonly reversed. For Example IC741 is an operational amplifier. It is used for doing arithmetic operations on analog computers, instrumentation and other control systems. Operational amplifier is in the class of linear IC's. Linear have a peculiarity that they can take continuous voltage signals like their analog counterparts.These are highly used today because of their high reliability and low cost. They are mainly used as voltage amplifiers. The basic operational amplifier works similar to the following sequence.
input stage--->intermediate stage--->level shifter--->output stage.
Input stage consists of high input impedance it amplifies the difference between the given input signals. The intermediate stage consists of cascaded amplifiers to amplify the signals from the input. Due to high amplification the DC level of the signals goes up. So in order to bring them down to the rated value,level shifter or level translator is used. The output stage consists of class AB/ class B power amplifier in order to amplify the power of the output signal.

Operation of ideal op-amps

The amplifier's differential inputs consist of an inverting input and a non-inverting input, and ideally the op-amp amplifies only the difference in voltage between the two. This is called the "differential input voltage". In its most common use, the op-amp's output voltage is controlled by feeding a fraction of the output signal back to the inverting input. This is known as negative feedback. If that fraction is zero, i.e., there is no negative feedback, the amplifier is said to be running "open loop" and its output is the differential input voltage multiplied by the total gain of the amplifier, as shown by the following equation:
V_\mathrm{out} = (V_+ - V_-) \cdot G_\mathrm{openloop}
where V+ is the voltage at the non-inverting terminal, V is the voltage at the inverting terminal and G is the total open-loop gain of the amplifier.
Because the magnitude of the open-loop gain is typically very large and not well controlled by the manufacturing process, op-amps are not usually used without negative feedback. Unless the differential input voltage is extremely small, open-loop operation results in op-amp saturation (see below in Nonlinear imperfections). An example of how the output voltage is calculated when negative feedback exists is shown below in Basic non-inverting amplifier circuit.
Another typical configuration of op-amps is the positive feedback, which takes a fraction of the output signal back to the non-inverting input. An important application of it is the comparator with hysteresis (see Schmitt trigger).
For any input voltages the ideal op-amp has
  • infinite open-loop gain,
  • infinite bandwidth,
  • infinite input impedances (resulting in zero input currents),
  • zero offset voltage,
  • infinite slew rate,
  • zero output impedance, and
  • zero noise.
The inputs of an ideal op-amp under negative feedback can be modeled using a nullator, the output with a norator and the combination (complete ideal op-amp) by a nullor.