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LSK489 App Note


For circuits designed to work with high impedance sources, ranging from electrometers to microphone preamplifiers, the use of a low-noise, high-impedance device between the input and the op amp is needed in order to optimize performance. At first glance, one of Linear Systems’ most popular parts, the LSK389 ultra-low-noise dual JFET would appear to be a good choice for such an application. The part’s high input impedance (1 TΩ) and low noise (1 nV/√Hz at 1kHz and 2mA drain current) enables power transfer while adding almost no noise to the signal. But further examination of the LSK389’s specification shows an input capacitance of over 20pF. This will cause intermodulation distortion as the circuit’s input signal increases in frequency if the source impedance is high. This is because the JFET junction capacitances are nonlinear. This will be especially the case where common source amplifier arrangements allow the Miller effect to multiply the effective value of the gate-drain capacitance. Further, the LSK389’s input impedance will fall to a lower value as the frequency increases relative to a part with lower input capacitance. A better design choice is Linear Systems’ new offering, the LSK489. Though the LSK489 has slightly higher noise (1.5 nV/√Hz vs. 1.0 nV/√Hz) its much lower input capacitance of only 4pF means that it will maintain its high input impedance as the frequency of the input signal rises. More importantly, using the lower-capacitance LSK489 will create a circuit that is much less susceptible to intermodulation distortion than one using the LSK389. The LSK489’s lower gate-to-drain capacitance enables more effective, elegant audio circuit designs. The relatively high capacitance of the LSK389 often requires designers to use a cascode circuit to provide the ability to handle higher bandwidths without intermodulation distortion. The cascode does this by eliminating the Miller effect that can multiply the effective gate-drain capacitance and its associated nonlinear effects. However, the cascode adds complexity and noise contributed by the cascode transistors.

The LSK489 is an N-channel dual low-noise, low-capacitance, tightly matched monolithic field effect transistor. 

It features: 

  • • 3ms transconductance at 2mA drain current 

  • • 1000 GΩ input impedance 

  • • 60V breakdown voltage 

  • • gate-drain capacitance of only 1.5pF 

  • • 4pF input capacitance 

  • • 1.5 nV/√Hz noise at 1kHz 

  • • best low-noise/low-capacitance combination in the industry 

  • • lowest input capacitance per unit gate length in the industry 

  • • lowest noise for a given gate length in the industry 

  • • tight Vgs matching at operating bias

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