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Hybrid Wide Range Detector Amplifier

Sandia National Laboratories

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PDF Document PublicationMarket Sheet (827 KB)

Technology Marketing SummaryMany applications require detection of both very small and very large signals. High gain detector amplifiers provide low noise but are easily swamped by large signals. Logarithmic amplifiers provide a wide range but contributing to distortion. Auto-ranging circuits lose data when switching between low and high gain. Detecting over a wide range is especially challenging for modern low supply voltage ICs (integrated circuits).DescriptionTo solve this problem Sandia engineers developed a hybrid detector amplifier that combines a high gain and logarithmic amplifier in one. The hybrid amplifier compensates distortion inside the circuit, so the outputs are suitable for further amplification or datalogging. With two outputs to choose from, a computer, oscilloscope, or datalogger may record signals from the low noise output as signal rises. Then it can instantly switch to recording the wide range output, if necessary. This extends the recording device’s useful resolution and range, while preserving signal fidelity.Benefits
  • Log amplifier-like range with linear outputs
  • No data dropouts for auto-ranging
  • Simultaneous low noise and wide-range outputs
  • High reliability for unknown signal strength
  • Greater survivability with single front-end amplifier
Applications and Industries
  • Photodetectors
  • X-ray/Gamma radiation detection
  • Optical power meters
  • Fiber alignment
  • Characterizing laser dynamics (threshold, pre/post pulse)
  • High dynamic range, high-speed current sensing
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 7,825,735
Dual-range linearized transimpedance amplifier system
A transimpedance amplifier system is disclosed which simultaneously generates a low-gain output signal and a high-gain output signal from an input current signal using a single transimpedance amplifier having two different feedback loops with different amplification factors to generate two different output voltage signals. One of the feedback loops includes a resistor, and the other feedback loop includes another resistor in series with one or more diodes. The transimpedance amplifier system includes a signal linearizer to linearize one or both of the low- and high-gain output signals by scaling and adding the two output voltage signals from the transimpedance amplifier. The signal linearizer can be formed either as an analog device using one or two summing amplifiers, or alternately can be formed as a digital device using two analog-to-digital converters and a digital signal processor (e.g. a microprocessor or a computer).
Sandia National Laboratories 11/02/2010
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
SD 11248Prototype - Sandia estimates this technology at a TRL 6: the representative laboratory prototype had been demonstrated in application-relevant environments. Available - Various license and partnering options are available. Please contact the Intellectual Property department to discuss. 12/13/201003/12/2013

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