Today, digital circuit cores provide the main circuit implementation approach for integrated circuit (IC) functions in very-large-scale integration (VLSI) circuits and systems. Typical functions include sensor signal input, data storage, digital signal processing (DSP) operations, system control and communications. Despite the fact that a large portion of the circuitry may be developed and implemented using digital logic techniques, there is still a need for high performance analogue circuits such as amplifiers and filters that provide signal conditioning functionality prior to sampling into the digital domain using an analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) for analogue sensor signals. The demands on the design require a multitude of requirements to be taken into account. In this chapter, the design of the operational amplifier (op-amp) is discussed as an important circuit within the front-end circuitry of a mixed-signal IC. The discussion will focus on the design of the op-amp using different compensation schemes incorporating negative Miller compensation and designed to operate at lower power supply voltage levels. A design case study is included which utilises the g m /I D ratio design approach to determine the transistor sizes. The simulation approach is focussed on the open-loop frequency response performance of the op-amp.
Part of the book: Very-Large-Scale Integration