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Noise Figure Measurement - A Practical Approach
2. Types of Noise sources:
There are several types of noise sources in electrical circuits. However, we discuss only threee important noise sources here.
1. Thermal or Johnson Noise
2. Shot Noise
3. 1/f Noise (Also called Flicker or Pink noise)
1. Thermal Noise: This is the noise generated by thermal agitation of electrons in a conductor.
The noise power, P, in watts, is given by P = kT D f,
Where, k is Boltzmann's constant in joules per Kelvin,
T is the conductor temperature in Kelvin, and
D f is the bandwidth in hertz.
Note that thermal noise power, per hertz, is equal throughout the frequency spectrum, depends only on k and T. The Thermal noise is also called Johnsonís noise.
2. Shot Noise: Shot noise normally occurs when there is a potential barrier (voltage differential). PN junction diode is an example that has potential barrier. When the electrons and holes cross the barrier, shot noise is produced. For example, a diode, a transistor, and vacuum tube will all produce Shot noise. On the other hand, a resistor normally does not produce Shot noise since there is no potential barrier built within a resistor. Current flowing through a resistor will not exhibit any fluctuations. However, current flowing through a diode produces small fluctuations. This is due to electrons (in turn, the charge) arriving in quanta, one electron at a time. The current flow is not continuous, but limited by the quantum of the electron charges.
When a mean current I flows, Shot noise leads to current fluctuations given by
I2(f) = 2eI0A2/Hz
Where, e (1.6 x 10-19 coulombs). is the electronic charge.
Shot noise is proportional to the current passing through the devise.
3. 1/f (one-over-f) Noise: 1/f noise is found in many natural phenomena such as nuclear radiation, electron flow through a conductor, or even in the environment. In electrical engineering, it is called also Flicker noise.
1/f noise is refers to a time series with random fluctuations. The power spectra S(f) as a function of the frequency f is given by
S(f) = 1/f b
Where, b is very close to 1.
However, note that this formula may not be applicable under all circumstances.
Flicker noise is more prominent in FETs, and bulky resistors.
d. White Noise: White noise is the noise that has constant magnitude of power over frequency. Examples of White noise are Thermal noise, and Shot noise.
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