Asee peer logo

Measurement of Op-Amp Parameters Using Vector Signal Analyzers in Undergraduate Linear Circuits Laboratory

Download Paper |


2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Laboratory Development in ECE II

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.919.1 - 25.919.13



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Tooran Emami Ph. D. U.S. Coast Guard Academy

visit author page

Tooran Emami received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Wichita State University (WSU) in 2006 and 2009, respectively. She is an Assistant Professor in Department of Engineering at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Her research interests are in Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) controllers, robust control, time delay, and compensator design for continuous-time, and discrete-time systems.

visit author page


Richard J. Hartnett U.S. Coast Guard Academy

visit author page

Richard J. Hartnett is a professor of electrical engineering at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. He received his B.S.E.E. degree from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the M.S.E.E. degree from Purdue University, and his Ph.D. in E.E. from the University of Rhode Island. His research interests include efficient digital filtering methods, improved receiver signal processing techniques for electronic navigation systems, and autonomous vehicle design.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Measurement of Op-Amp Parameters Using Vector Signal Analyzers in Undergraduate Linear Circuits LaboratoryAbstractMeasurements of op-amp circuit parameters such as frequency response (bothopen-loop and closed loop) or output impedance (as a function of frequency, overa reasonably broad range of frequencies) can be tedious and very challenging forundergraduate students to accomplish using signal generators and oscilloscopes.In fact, measurements of total harmonic distortion (measure of op-amp linearity),with and without resistive load, are almost impossible to make in the time domainwith conventional oscilloscopes. Of greater concern, however, is that time-domain methods for measuring frequency domain characteristics of an op-amp donot present a “real-time” visualization for students, and can even mask importantoperational limitations (such as op-amp slew-rate nonlinearities for higherfrequency sinusoidal inputs).Here we present some of the successful measurement methodologies our facultyand students have used at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in a junior-level LinearCircuits laboratory. As part of this lab, students use the Agilent 35670 DynamicSignal Analyzer (DSA) to measure the open-loop and closed-loop frequencyresponses, and output resistance, of an inverting amplifier op-amp (µA741)circuit. They also compare the Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) at the outputand inverting input, for unloaded and resistive load conditions. Frequencyresponse measurements are compared with theoretical expectations (fromMatlabTM) and with MultiSimTM AC analysis simulations, thereby solidifying thefrequency domain presentation of real-world op-amp characteristics.Finally, we present typical measurement results, along with informal studentfeedback that suggests to us that the “real-time” nature of a DSA frequencydomain presentation (that looks almost exactly like MatlabTM and MultiSimTMpredictions) really does reinforce student learning.

Emami, T., & Hartnett, R. J. (2012, June), Measurement of Op-Amp Parameters Using Vector Signal Analyzers in Undergraduate Linear Circuits Laboratory Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21676

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2012 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015