Everything you always wanted to know about op amps

Hard core analog design may seem like a black art to many EEs. And no wonder: Formal course work turns out to be inadequate; hard fought experience is everything. The learning never stops - a little here and a little there until theory gels into practice.

Bruce Trump has been learning all his life at two bastions of analog design - first Burr Brown and then Texas Instruments. The company recently put together a compendium of his blog posts on op amp design that is destined to be an invaluable resource for any EE who wishes to plumb the mysteries of analog.

The op amp, arguably the quintessential analog component, is ubiquitous because it's a versatile building block. But versatility inevitably spawns complexity. Understanding the issues, interpreting the specifications and making wise tradeoffs pay off.

Bruce's blog posts explore a multitude of op amp design issues: Power supply and output voltage ranges, offset voltages, input bias currents, stability and oscillation, dynamic behavior, noise, etc.

Like all analog greats, Bruce's favorite activity was dealing with customer application issues. 'I particularly enjoyed developing customer seminars and datasheets. It was a challenge to clearly explain the inner workings and applications of precision analog components,' he said.

Remember this (with apologies to Einstein): Stand on the shoulders of a giant to look farther.