[time-nuts] Distribution amplifier (again!) - now mostly ok but has gain peaking

Scott Stobbe scott.j.stobbe at gmail.com
Sat Jan 28 13:25:35 EST 2017


Nice project. The gain peaking is more than likely from your high speed
opamp. Parasitic capacitance on the inverting terminal from routing and the
input capacitance of the opamp itself, adds another pole to your opamps
loopgain, burning phase margin.

A small compensation cap across the top leg of your feedback divider, would
boost your phase margin.

Actually, Jim Williams has a monster app note, N47 dedicated to high speed
amplifiers :)
On Sat, Jan 28, 2017 at 7:10 AM Anders Wallin <anders.e.e.wallin at gmail.com>
wrote:

> Hi all,
> I've been tinkering with another distribution amplifier design and made
> some measurements earlier this week.
> The goal is roughly 1:8 fan-out, gain of 0 dB, for good quality (Cs, maser,
> OCXO) 5 or 10 MHz signals in the range of maybe +0 dBm to +15 dBm - in a 1U
> form-factor.
>
> Earlier I made an SMD version of the TADD-1 design [1] which showed about
> -156 dBc/Hz far-out phase-noise but was quite sensitive to external noise
> and required 12VDC power from a lead-acid battery as well as shielding in
> aluminium foil for a 'quiet' PN-spectrum.
> I then did some SPICE simulations [2] (never trust them without testing ;)
> which indicated ADA4899 would be a good op-amp. In practice the
> slew-rate/distortion was limiting and the AD4899 version didn't show better
> PN.
>
> This new version is inspired by looking inside a 6502[3] - and in the
> mean-time I also measured and Ettus Octoclock [4] - but its performance
> isn't so exciting..
>
> My current design is now here: https://goo.gl/photos/WB8fYd4jzba7nXH18
> So far my observations are:
> - phase noise around -162 dBc/Hz at 10 MHz
> - nice quiet PN-spectrum when unshielded and powered from lab-supplies
> - this probably means the supply-section with common-mode choke, BNX025
> filter and LT1963/LT3015 is working OK. I should probably build a
> 10Hz-100kHz LNA (e.g. [5]) to verify. I've used 2k at 100MHz ferrites a lot
> and an RC-filter on all supply pins - maybe overkill?
> - an undesired feature is gain-peaking which increases from output ch1 to
> ch8, shown here: https://goo.gl/photos/6QkoKakSPDdT7Acj7
> I tried to improve it a bit by adding a 100pF cap at the start of the long
> trace that feeds the output stages, but some gain-peaking still remains:
> https://goo.gl/photos/qrkLzZ21ptcHxFsw6
> - reverse isolation around 120 dB
> - channel-to-channel isolation around 80 dB
> - at 10MHz 1dB compression between +14 and +15 dBm
> - IP3 perhaps +27dBm to +30 dBm.
>
> Any ideas on how to deal with the long 'feeder-trace' that seems to be the
> cause of the gain-peaking?
> Anyway if not used at 100MHz perhaps my next version will have reduced BW
> where the feeder-trace is not an issue..
> Another issue is that the voltage regulators get quite hot when fed at
> +/-12V and producing +/-6V. They should probably be positioned as far away
> from the input/output amps and thermally disconnected if possible. I have a
> +/-12V AC/DC brick on order - but a DIY linear PSU producing e.g. +/-8VDC
> for the regulators might be better.
>
> The picture gallery also shows a pulse distribution amp for 1PPS. It has an
> LT1711 comparator feeding an 74AC14 buffer with length-matched traces to
> 74AC04's at the outputs. So far my length-matching didn't give zero
> output-skew between the outputs - I see around 150-200ps skew which I tried
> to tune a bit with wires and 0R resistors - without very much success.. any
> ideas for improving this - or just leave it at 200ps skew?
>
> cheers,
> Anders
>
> [1]
>
> http://www.anderswallin.net/2015/12/frequency-distribution-amplifier-first-tests/
> [2]
>
> http://www.anderswallin.net/2015/12/frequency-distribution-amplifier-v2-simulations/
> [3]
>
> http://www.anderswallin.net/2016/02/symmetricom-6502-distribution-amplifier/
> [4]
> http://www.anderswallin.net/2016/09/ettus-octoclock-distribution-amplifier/
> [5] http://cds.linear.com/docs/en/application-note/an83f.pdf
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