Semiconductor Equipment

New Hi-Z buffer amplifier achieves ASIC-level performance

16 February 2022

A new high-input-impedance (Hi-Z) buffer amplifier with what Texas Instruments (TI) said is the industry’s widest bandwidth is designed to simplify front-end designs and eliminate the need for custom application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), potentially saving months of design time for test and measurement engineers.

The BUF802 supports frequency bandwidths as high as 3 GHz, enabling high signal throughput and minimal input settling time. Designers can leverage its capabilities to measure high-frequency signals more accurately in oscilloscopes, active probes, high-frequency data acquisition systems and other test and measurement applications.

The BUF802 offers low-noise, high-impedance buffering for data acquisition system front ends. Source: Texas InstrumentsThe BUF802 offers low-noise, high-impedance buffering for data acquisition system front ends. Source: Texas InstrumentsPreviously, this level of bandwidth capacity was only possible with ASICs, the integration of which can add to system design time, complexity and cost. Alternatives to ASIC-based design implementations required dozens of discrete components such as field-effect transistors (FETs), protection diodes and transistors. These, too, add to bill-of-materials (BOM) cost and system complexity — and are unable to deliver the same bandwidth as ASICs, thus limiting the signal throughput of data acquisition applications.

The BUF802, by contrast, supports faster time-to-market, in addition to a wide dynamic range at what TI says is a fraction of the cost. Its single-chip alternative to ASICs or FET-input amplifier-based implementations integrates the features of discrete components while also providing 10 times wider bandwidth than FET-input amplifiers, matching the performance of custom ASICs.

TI adds that the BUF802 is the industry’s first buffer to enable quiescent current adjustment for a range of bandwidth and signal swing requirements — from 100 MHz to 3 GHz at 1 V peak to peak (VPP), and as high as 2 GHz at 2 VPP. This wide adjustment range for bandwidth and signal swing supports front-end design scalability across multiple data acquisition applications, easing system cost and redesign.

The device can be used as a standalone buffer, where it can help achieve high input impedance and high slew rates in applications that can tolerate 100 mV offsets, or where the signal chain is AC-coupled. The BUF802 can also be used in a composite loop with a precision amplifier to achieve high DC precision and 3GHz bandwidth in applications requiring 1 μV/° C maximum offset drift.

A low-cost evaluation model is also available.

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