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I'm operating an ADC AD7768 with an opamp driver ADA4945-1. I measured the noise for three different cases:

  • Both differential inputs open/floating
  • Both differential inputs connected to AGND
  • Both differential inputs connected with 50 Ohm to AGND

Measurement results: enter image description here

The gain of the opamp driver is set to 1 and the opamp's white noise is below 2 nV/sqrt(Hz), according to the datasheet: enter image description here

Therefore, I assume that the measured noise floors in all three cases are dominated by the ADC, which leads me to my question:

How can it be that the measured noise is clearly dependent on the input circuitry of the opamp driver, even though the noise is dominated by the ADC?

How can it be explained that the low frequency noise increases when the inputs are not open?

Schematics: enter image description here enter image description here

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The AC-grounded (via 100n C40) VCM network that connects ADA4945's pin 9 and AD7768's pin 59 helps suppress a common mode noise of open-input configuration but cannot fight an R17+R18 thermal noise of input-grounded configuration. \$\endgroup\$
    – V.V.T
    Sep 25, 2022 at 5:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that for this opamp, 470 ohms is near the "sweet spot" where voltage noise and current noise are equally contributing. Both voltage noise and current noise have a 1/f upswing. \$\endgroup\$
    – glen_geek
    Sep 25, 2022 at 16:26

1 Answer 1

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With the inputs floating the gain is not unity. There is an infinite resistance between the \$470 \Omega\$ resistor and ground. The op-amp gain in the floating case is: $$\underset{R_{i}\rightarrow\infty}{\lim}\frac{R_{f}}{R_{i}}=0$$

The thermal noise for the input resistor increases as \$\sqrt{R_{i}}\$ while the gain decreases as \$\frac{1}{R_{i}}\$. , so the noise is reduced as shown in the first graph. The input referred noise produced by the op-amp is amplified by the non inverting gain of the op-amp which is unity for floating inputs.

For the second case, the \$470 \Omega\$ resistors are grounded, so the thermal noise of the \$470 \Omega\$ is amplified by unity.

The input referred noise of the op-amp is multiplied by the non-inverting gain of 2. The total noise is the quadrature sum of the two.

The third case is the same as the second with a resistance of \$50+470=520\Omega\$.

The low frequency noise is called \$\frac{1}{f}\$ noise or flicker noise. It is characteristic of operational amplifiers, not ADCs. I am surprised at the reduction when the circuit is open circuit. I expected a 6dB reduction based on op-amp noise being amplified by non-inverting gain. Perhaps someone else in the community has an explanation.

How can it be that the measured noise is clearly dependent on the input circuitry of the op-amp driver, even though the noise is dominated by the ADC?

The noise is based on the op-amp and its circuit not the ADC. Certainly the ADC and circuit layout contribute. The datasheet (Page 37) for the amplifier clearly outlines all the noise sources and the effect of the gain components on the noise. I suggest reading this carefully and completely. Some other articles are:

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