Low-Cutoff Frequency Reduction in Neural Amplifiers: Analysis and Implementation in CMOS 65 nm.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Front Neurosci, Volume 15, p.667846 (2021)


<p>Scaling down technology demotes the parameters of AC-coupled neural amplifiers, such as increasing the low-cutoff frequency due to the short-channel effects. To improve the low-cutoff frequency, one solution is to increase the feedback capacitors' value. This solution is not desirable, as the input capacitors have to be increased to maintain the same gain, which increases the area and decreases the input impedance of the neural amplifier. We analytically analyze the small-signal behavior of the neural amplifier and prove that the main reason for the increase of the low-cutoff frequency in advanced CMOS technologies is the reduction of the input resistance of the operational transconductance amplifier (OTA). We also show that the reduction of the input resistance of the OTA is due to the increase in the gate oxide leakage in the input transistors. In this paper, we explore this fact and propose two solutions to reduce the low-cutoff frequency without increasing the value of the feedback capacitor. The first solution is performed by only simulation and is called cross-coupled positive feedback that uses pseudoresistors to provide a negative resistance to increase the input resistance of the OTA. As an advantage, only standard CMOS transistors are used in this method. Simulation results show that a low-cutoff frequency of 1.5 Hz is achieved while the midband gain is 30.4 dB at 1 V. In addition, the power consumption is 0.6 μW. In the second method, we utilize thick-oxide MOS transistors in the input differential pair of the OTA. We designed and fabricated the second method in the 65 nm TSMC CMOS process. Measured results are obtained by recordings on slices of mouse brainstem. The measurement results show that the bandwidth is between 2 Hz and 5.6 kHz. The neural amplifier has 34.3 dB voltage gain in midband and consumes 3.63 μ at 1 V power supply. The measurement results show an input-referred noise of 6.1 μ and occupy 0.04 silicon area.</p>

Funding / Support / Partners

logo FRQ-S logo ctrn logo fci logo cihr irsc logo nserc logo MESISentinelle nord