Power-Efficient Settling Time Reduction Techniques for a Folded-Cascode Amplifier in 1.8 V, 0.18 um CMOS
Abstract: Testability is crucial in today’s complex industrial system on chips (SoCs), where sensitive on-chip analog voltages need to be measured. In such cases, an operational amplifier (opamp) is required to sufficiently buffer the signals before they can drive the chip pad and probe parasitics. A single-stage opamp offers an attractive choice since it is power efficient and eliminates the need for frequency compensation. However, it has to satisfy demanding specifications on its stability, input common mode range, output swing, settling time, closed-loop gain and offset voltage. In this work, the settling time performance of a conventional folded-cascode (FC) opamp is substantially improved. Settling time of an opamp consists of two major components, namely the slewing period and the linear settling period. In order to reduce the settling time significantly without incurring excessive area and power penalty, a prudent circuit implementation that minimizes both these constituents is essential. In this work, three different slew rate enhancement (SRE) circuits have been evaluated through extensive simulations. The SRE candidate providing robust slew rate improvement was combined with a current recycling folded cascode structure, resulting in lower slewing and linear settling time periods. Exhaustive simulations on a FC cascode amplifier with complementary inputs illustrate the effectiveness of these techniques in settling time reduction over all envisaged operating conditions.
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