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Concept: Flicker noise


Understanding amplifier phase noise is a critical issue in many fields of engineering and physics, such as oscillators, frequency synthesis, telecommunication, radar, and spectroscopy; in the emerging domain of microwave photonics; and in exotic fields, such as radio astronomy, particle accelerators, etc. Focusing on the two main types of base noise in amplifiers, white and flicker, the power spectral density of the random phase ��(t) is S��( f ) = b(0) + b(���1)/f. White phase noise results from adding white noise to the RF spectrum in the carrier region. For a given RF noise level, b(0) is proportional to the reciprocal of the carrier power P(0). By contrast, flicker results from a near-dc 1/f noise-present in all electronic devices-which modulates the carrier through some parametric effect in the semiconductor. Thus, b(-1) is a parameter of the amplifier, constant in a wide range of P(0). The consequences are the following: Connecting m equal amplifiers in parallel, b(-1) is 1/m times that of one device. Cascading m equal amplifiers, b(-1) is m times that of one amplifier. Recirculating the signal in an amplifier so that the gain increases by a power of m (a factor of m in decibels) as a result of positive feedback (regeneration), we find that b(���1) is m(2) times that of the amplifier alone. The feedforward amplifier exhibits extremely low b(-1) because the carrier is ideally nulled at the input of its internal error amplifier. Starting with an extensive review of the literature, this article introduces a system-oriented model which describes the phase flickering. Several amplifier architectures (cascaded, parallel, etc.) are analyzed systematically, deriving the phase noise from the general model. There follow numerous measurements of amplifiers using different technologies, including some old samples, and in a wide frequency range (HF to microwaves), which validate the theory. In turn, theory and results provide design guidelines and give suggestions for CAD and simulation. To conclude, this article is intended as a tutorial, a review, and a systematic treatise on the subject, supported by extensive experiments.

Concepts: Amplifier, Decibel, Spectrum, Gain, Colors of noise, Oscillators, Flicker noise, Noise


Objective: The preference for sooner smaller over larger later rewards is a prominent manifestation of impulsivity in ADHD. According to the State Regulation Deficit (SRD) model, this impulsive choice is the result of impaired regulation of arousal level and can be alleviated by adding environmental stimulation to increase levels of arousal. Method: To test this prediction, we studied the effects of adding background “pink noise” on impulsive choice using a classical and new adjusting choice delay task in a sample of 25 children with ADHD and 28 controls. Results: Children with ADHD made more impulsive choices than controls. Adding noise did not reduce impulsive choice in ADHD. Conclusion: The findings add to the existing evidence on impulsive choice in ADHD, but no evidence is found for the SRD model’s explanation of this behavioral style. Alternative explanations for impulsive choice in ADHD are discussed. (J. of Att. Dis. 2013; XX(X) 1-XX).

Concepts: Philosophy of life, Preference, Flicker noise, Choice, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder


Over the past decade, the richness of electronic properties of graphene has attracted enormous interest for electrically detecting chemical and biological species using this two-dimensional material. However, the creation of practical graphene electronic sensors greatly depends on our ability to understand and maintain a low level of electronic noise, the fundamental reason limiting the sensor resolution. Conventionally, to reach the largest sensing response, graphene transistors are operated at the point of maximum transconductance, where 1/f noise is found to be unfavorably high and poses a major limitation in any attempt to further improve the device sensitivity. We show that operating a graphene transistor in an ambipolar mode near its neutrality point can markedly reduce the 1/f noise in graphene. Remarkably, our data reveal that this reduction in the electronic noise is achieved with uncompromised sensing response of the graphene chips and thus significantly improving the signal-to-noise ratio-compared to that of a conventionally operated graphene transistor for conductance measurement. As a proof-of-concept demonstration of the usage of the aforementioned new sensing scheme to a broader range of biochemical sensing applications, we selected an HIV-related DNA hybridization as the test bed and achieved detections at picomolar concentrations.

Concepts: Biology, Flicker noise, Vacuum tube, Electronics, DNA, Transistor, Species, Noise


Semiconducting nanomaterials are being intensively studied as active elements in bioelectronic devices, with the aim of improving spatial resolution. Yet, the consequences of size-reduction on fundamental noise limits, or minimum resolvable signals, and their impact on device design considerations have not been defined. Here, we address these key issues by quantifying the size-dependent performance and limiting factors of graphene (Gra) transducers under physiological conditions. We show that suspended Gra devices represent the optimal configuration for cardiac extracellular electrophysiology in terms of both transducer sensitivity, systematically ~5x higher than substrate-supported devices, and forming tight bioelectronic interfaces. Significantly, noise measurements on free-standing Gra together with theoretical calculations yield a direct relationship between low-frequency 1/f noise and water dipole-induced disorders, which sets fundamental sensitivity limits for Gra devices in physiological media. As a consequence, a square-root-of-area scaling of Gra transducer sensitivity was experimentally revealed to provide a critical design rule for their implementation in bioelectronics.

Concepts: Transducers, Input device, Transducer, Device, Pink noise, Noise, Flicker noise, Microphone


We demonstrate the use of two dual-output Mach-Zehnder modulators (DO-MZMs) in a direct comparison between a femtosecond (fs) pulse train and a microwave signal. Through balanced detection, the amplitude-to-phase modulation (AM-PM) conversion effect is suppressed by more than 40 dB. A cross-spectrum technique enables us to achieve a high-sensitivity phase noise measurement (-186 dBc/Hz above 10-kHz offset), which corresponds to the thermal noise of a +9 dBm carrier. This method is applied to compare a 1-GHz fs monolithic laser to a 1-GHz microwave signal generated from photodetection of a free-running 500 MHz mode-locked laser. The measured phase noise is -160 dBc/Hz at 4-kHz, -167 dBc/Hz at 10-kHz, and -180 dBc/Hz at offset frequencies above 100-kHz. The measurement is limited by the free-running 500-MHz laser’s noise, the flicker noise of the modified uni-traveling carrier photodiode and the thermal noise floor, not by the method itself. This method also has the potential to achieve a similar noise floor even at higher carrier frequencies.

Concepts: Frequency, Carrier wave, Infrared, Microwave, Phase noise, Flicker noise, Modulation, Noise


Advances in the magnetic sensing technology have been driven by the increasing demand for the capability of measuring ultrasensitive magnetic fields. Among other emerging applications, the detection of magnetic fields in the picotesla range is crucial for biomedical applications. In this work Picosense reports a millimeter-scale, low-power hybrid magnetoresistive-piezoelectric magnetometer with subnanotesla sensitivity at low frequency. Through an innovative noise-cancelation mechanism, the 1/f noise in the MR sensors is surpassed by the mechanical modulation of the external magnetic fields in the high frequency regime. A modulation efficiency of 13% was obtained enabling a final device’s sensitivity of ~950 pT/Hz1/2at 1 Hz. This hybrid device proved to be capable of measuring biomagnetic signals generated in the heart in an unshielded environment. This result paves the way for the development of a portable, contactless, low-cost and low-power magnetocardiography device.

Concepts: Sensor, Pink noise, Flicker noise, White noise, Noise, Magnetic field


This paper presents a temporal noise analysis of charge-domain sampling readout circuits for Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors. In order to address the trade-off between the low input-referred noise and high dynamic range, a Gm-cell-based pixel together with a charge-domain correlated-double sampling (CDS) technique has been proposed to provide a way to efficiently embed a tunable conversion gain along the read-out path. Such readout topology, however, operates in a non-stationery large-signal behavior, and the statistical properties of its temporal noise are a function of time. Conventional noise analysis methods for CMOS image sensors are based on steady-state signal models, and therefore cannot be readily applied for Gm-cell-based pixels. In this paper, we develop analysis models for both thermal noise and flicker noise in Gm-cell-based pixels by employing the time-domain linear analysis approach and the non-stationary noise analysis theory, which help to quantitatively evaluate the temporal noise characteristic of Gm-cell-based pixels. Both models were numerically computed in MATLAB using design parameters of a prototype chip, and compared with both simulation and experimental results. The good agreement between the theoretical and measurement results verifies the effectiveness of the proposed noise analysis models.

Concepts: Photography, Digital electronics, Flicker noise, Noise, Scientific method, Signal processing, CMOS, Image sensor


Break-junction measurements are typically aimed at characterizing electronic properties of single molecules bound between two metal electrodes. Although these measurements have provided structure-function relationships for such devices, there is little work that studies the impact of molecule-molecule interactions on junction characteristics. Here, we use a scanning tunneling microscope based break-junction technique to study pi-stacked dimer junctions formed with two amine-terminated conjugated molecules. We show that the conductance, force and flicker noise of such dimers differ dramatically when compared with the corresponding monomer junctions and discuss the implications of these results on intra- and inter-molecular charge transport.

Concepts: Molecule, Electric charge, Flicker noise, Microscopy, Monomer, Atom, Dimer, Electron


Layered rhenium disulfide (ReS2) field effect transistors (FETs), with thickness ranging from few to dozens of layers, are demonstrated on 20 nm-thick HfO2/Si substrates. A small threshold voltage of -0.25 V, high on/off current ratio of up to ~107, small subthreshold swing of 116 mV/dec, and electron carrier mobility of 6.02 cm2/V·s are obtained for the two-layer ReS2 FETs. Low frequency noise characteristics in ReS2 FETs are analyzed for the first time and it is found that the carrier number fluctuation mechanism well describes the flicker (1/f) noise of ReS2 FETs with different thicknesses. pH sensing using two-layer ReS2 FET with HfO2 as sensing oxide is then demonstrated with a voltage sensitivity of 54.8 mV/pH and a current sensitivity of 126. The noise characteristics of the ReS2 FET based pH sensors are also examined and a corresponding detection limit of 0.0132 pH is obtained. Our studies suggest the high potential of ReS2 for future low-power nanoelectronics and biosensor applications.

Concepts: MOSFET, CMOS, Flicker noise, DNA field-effect transistor, Noise, Bipolar junction transistor, Transistor, Field-effect transistor


With the extensive applications of biomagnetic signals derived from active biological tissue in both clinical diagnoses and human-computer-interaction, there is an increasing need for approachable weak biomagnetic sensing technology. The inherent merits of giant magnetoresistance (GMR) and its high integration with multiple technologies makes it possible to detect weak biomagnetic signals with micron-sized, non-cooled and low-cost sensors, considering that the magnetic field intensity attenuates rapidly with distance. This paper focuses on the state-of-art in integrated GMR technology for approachable biomagnetic sensing from the perspective of discipline fusion between them. The progress in integrated GMR to overcome the challenges in weak biomagnetic signal detection towards high resolution portable applications is addressed. The various strategies for 1/f noise reduction and sensitivity enhancement in integrated GMR technology for sub-pT biomagnetic signal recording are discussed. In this paper, we review the developments of integrated GMR technology for in vivo/vitro biomagnetic source imaging and demonstrate how integrated GMR can be utilized for biomagnetic field detection. Since the field sensitivity of integrated GMR technology is being pushed to fT/Hz0.5 with the focused efforts, it is believed that the potential of integrated GMR technology will make it preferred choice in weak biomagnetic signal detection in the future.

Concepts: Electric field, Flicker noise, Noise, Colossal magnetoresistance, Spintronics, Magnetoresistance, Giant magnetoresistance, Magnetic field