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I want to study the bandgap voltage reference and use it in somewhere. But first I would like to learn more about the basics of generating and using voltage references (mostly for operational amplifiers). What course of studies should I take?

I have worked on operational amplifiers, but I have usually used a ready-made reference from different lab devices. It is the first time I have encountered a situation where I want to add a voltage reference of my own. What kind of things should I study and what should be the approach to learn about this stuff?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ There isn't much detail you need to get into to design circuits with voltage references. Go read a few datasheets and the topic should be demystified enough. National, Linear, and others make some good voltage references. Read one datasheet from National and another from Linear, including the application suggestions, and you should be ready to design circuits with these parts. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 5, 2012 at 14:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ The problem is I don't want to use the voltage references, I want to learn about how to make them. The basics. How exactly one goes about regulating the voltage to a very strictly specified level. Things like that. If there is a app note on that, I would love to read. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rick_2047
    Feb 5, 2012 at 14:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why make your own? Unless you're designing an analog ASIC, it would be an academic exercise. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason S
    Feb 5, 2012 at 15:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I want to start working with some people. They design ASICs, they want someone who can take up the Voltage Ref part. I know I have the basics right, I just need to find the specific information. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rick_2047
    Feb 5, 2012 at 16:47

2 Answers 2

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Bob Widlar invented the first bandgap reference in 1971, and Bob Pease wrote a pretty thorough column summarizing how they work.

If you look up on google "bandgap references" or "bandgap references widlar" you'll get a ton of relevant links. Here are a few:

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I've had an entire course of analog electronics using the Gray Meyer book, that covers extensively the design of current and voltage sources.

There is a section dedicated to band-gap references, and it's quite clear in my opinion; you will find also a physical explanation, based on what is the band-gap voltage.

Moreover, it explains in detail (transistor-level) how UA741 and NE5463 OPAMP are made.

If you want to buy a book, it's a valid choice, although quite expensive. Unless you find it (cough! cough!) somewhere else...

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