Just some basic understandings on analog filters which is inspired by ‘The Guru’ in our company. To clarify my thoughts, I will write in the format of Q&A. There are four questions to answer:
- What do we dream for a low-pass (LP) filter?
- Why complex poles are required?
- How to generate complex poles without inductor?
- Any real-life example?
Q1) What do we dream for a low-pass (LP) filter?
An ideal one, which has a brick-wall response. We only receive what we intend to receive, pure and loss-free. But, in reality…
Q2) Why complex poles are required?
Complex poles help to lift up the magnitude around the cut-off frequency by contributing larger pole quality factor (Q).
If we only have real poles, though higher-order gives better roll-off, the loss of magnitude around cut-off frequency becomes bigger.
Now we move to a system which has complex poles. Taking the 5th-order Butterworth filter as an example, which has a real pole and two pairs of complex poles, the complex poles with a Q of 1.618 help to compensate the loss of magnitude around cut-off frequency. It tries to approximate the brick-wall response.
Q3) How to generate complex poles without inductor?
The answer is Feedback! R and C only generate real poles. When feedback is applied around a system containing real roots, the closed-loop transfer function may contain complex roots.
Let’s think of this example: an amplifier with two poles. Its transfer function can be written as:
The poles are generated by Rs and Cs in the amplifier and they are real. Now assume a negative feedback of beta is placed around the amplifier. The closed-loop transfer function becomes:
We can then calculate the two poles of the closed-loop transfer function:
By increasing , complex poles can be achieved!
Q4) Any real-life example?
Of course. Fig.4 shows the Two-Thomas biquad. Without the feedback resistor R2, the open-loop transfer function has two real poles: one pole generated by R3 and C1 and the other pole at origin. With a feedback resistor applied, the two poles will move towards each other, arrive at the same position, and then leave the real axis, becoming complex poles.