**Analog Design**

**Kevin Aylward
B.Sc.**

**Oscillator Loop
Gain**

__Overview__

A single transistor oscillator may be configured as a common emitter, common collector or common emitter topology. These topologies are all identical in the sense that identical circuits, with only the ground connection moved, have exactly the same loop gain and identical currents in all device terminals, with only the voltages with respect to ground being different. However, a cursory analysis of the configurations shows a somewhat paradoxical situation where it initially might appear as if the loop gains for the topologies are different. This paper illustrates the issues involved and provides a correct analysis of the loop gain.

__Analysis__

A general transistor oscillator block diagram is shown in Fig. 1:

__Fig. 1 ____ General Single Transistor Feedback Oscillator
Topology__

In Fig. 1 the X represents a break in
the feedback loop from where to calculate the Return Ratio (RR) or Loop Gain.
VP/VQ represents this RR. The following forms an analysis of the loop:

To simplify the expressions, the load across the voltage controlled current source, GM, is first defined as ZL.

Next, the potential divider action of Z1 and Z2 to obtain VP is expressed as:

With the voltage across Z1 given by the ratio (1-α)

The voltage across ZL is given by the negative of the total current from the GM source into ZL, that is:

Hence VP is expressed as:

Whence the RR is given by:

Consider the common emitter topology:

__Fig. 2 Common Emitter Topology__

From inspection, it is seen that general oscillator topology immediately applies to this common emitter oscillator such that equation 1.5 represents the correct return ratio for this topology.

Now consider the emitter follower/common collector topology:

__Fig. 3 Emitter Follower Topology__

Note that ZB (Z2) is the impedance *across*
the gate/source for *both* topologies.

To analyse the emitter follower topology, an initial approach might be to consider the following model:

__Fig. 4 Emitter Follower Model A__

This would be a typical approach to analysing most non feedback topologies. The emitter follower being simple replaced as a unity gain buffer with an output resistance equal to 1/GM. However, from inspection, this would result in a return ratio given by:

Whence it is seen that 1.6 is not the same as 1.5. Indeed, a “by inspection approach” might conclude that as re is usually low, ZC might have a very small effect on the return ratio. This is not correct. Something has went wrong in the analysis, as it is certainly known from simulations, that common emitter and emitter follower oscillators, when appropriately configured, are identical. For example:

__Fig. 5 ____ Common Emitter and Emitter Follower Oscillator
Topologies__

Fig. 5 is a schematic illustrating both common collector and emitter follower oscillators with identical operating conditions. The current sources are transient single pulse start up sources.

__Fig. 6 Base Voltage Waveforms__

It is noted that the voltage waveforms of the two topologies at the base with respect to ground are different.

__Fig. 7 Collector Current Waveforms__

Fig. 7 plots two current waveforms from the common emitter and emitter follower topologies at once from SuperSpice simulations, however, the waves overlay perfectly, such that only one waveform is actually visible. This shows that the two topologies are identical with regard to fundamental operation.

__Correct Analysis of the Emitter Follower
Loop Gain__

The root of the problem for the emitter
follower model A, is that the model fails to account for the internal feedback
of the emitter follower. It is a known property of stability analysis that a
correct return ratio may only be calculated if *all* feed back loops are
broken at once. To rectify this, the following model B may be constructed that
breaks the implied internal connections at the emitter. The model achieves this
by constructing an input emitter and an output emitter, and calculates the
Return Ratio via currents rather than by voltages.

__Fig. 8 Emitter Follower Model B__

The voltage at node IQ, fed by the current IQ may be expressed as:

The voltage across the input of the GM
source, V_{be}, is the negative voltage across ZB, and may be expressed
as:

Hence:

So, the return ratio is given by:

This is the same expression as for the
common emitter topology.** **

__Summary__

It has been shown that a cursory analysis of the loop gain/return ratio of the emitter follower oscillator may result in an incorrect determination of its RR. It has been shown that correct application of feedback stability theory resolves this initial paradox.

© Kevin Aylward 2013

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last modified 21^{st} September 2013