Use A Signal Analyzer To Measure Power Supply, Regulator, and Reference Noise


Example: A single frequency is added to the power supply voltage. The resulting signal shows up in the oscillator phase noise.

Oscilloscopes often are used to measure power supply, linear regulator, and reference noise. Since an oscilloscope has a sensitivity in the range of 2 mV per division, a substantial voltage gain must be added to see the ripple and noise, which is often in microvolts. This gain is usually accomplished using a “low-noise” operational amplifier or several cascaded low-noise op amps. An active filter follows the op amps, providing high pass and low pass elements, to meet the desired measurement bandwidth with the entire circuit constructed in a Faraday shield. (A paint can serves this purpose.) Several IC manufacturers have application notes describing the measurement.

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