Noise figure (NF) and noise factor (F) are measures of degradation of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), caused by components in a signal chain. It is a number by which the performance of an amplifier or a radio receiver can be specified, with lower values indicating better performance.
The noise factor is defined as the ratio of the output noise power of a device to the portion thereof attributable to thermal noise in the input termination at standard noise temperature T0 (usually 290 K). The noise factor is thus the ratio of actual output noise to that which would remain if the device itself did not introduce noise, or the ratio of input SNR to output SNR.
The noise figure is simply the noise factor expressed in decibels (dB).
The noise figure is the difference in decibels (dB) between the noise output of the actual receiver to the noise output of an “ideal” receiver with the same overall gain and bandwidth when the receivers are connected to matched sources at the standard noise temperature T0 (usually 290 K). The noise power from a simple load is equal to kTB, where k is Boltzmann's constant, T is the absolute temperature of the load (for example a resistor), and B is the measurement bandwidth.
This makes the noise figure a useful figure of merit for terrestrial systems, where the antenna effective temperature is usually near the standard 290 K. In this case, one receiver with a noise figure, say 2 dB better than another, will have an output signal to noise ratio that is about 2 dB better than the other. However, in the case of satellite communications systems, where the receiver antenna is pointed out into cold space, the antenna effective temperature is often colder than 290 K. In these cases a 2 dB improvement in receiver noise figure will result in more than a 2 dB improvement in the output signal to noise ratio. For this reason, the related figure of effective noise temperature is therefore often used instead of the noise figure for characterizing satellite-communication receivers and low-noise amplifiers.
In heterodyne systems, output noise power includes spurious contributions from image-frequency transformation, but the portion attributable to thermal noise in the input termination at standard noise temperature includes only that which appears in the output via the principal frequency transformation of the system and excludes that which appears via the image frequency transformation.
The noise factorF of a system is defined as
where SNRi and SNRo are the input and output signal-to-noise ratios respectively. The SNR quantities are power ratios. The noise figure NF is defined as the noise factor in dB:
where SNRi, dB and SNRo, dB are in decibels (dB). These formulae are only valid when the input termination is at standard noise temperature T0 = 290 K, although in practice small differences in temperature do not significantly affect the values.
The noise factor of a device is related to its noise temperature Te:
Attenuators have a noise factor F equal to their attenuation ratio L when their physical temperature equals T0. More generally, for an attenuator at a physical temperature T, the noise temperature is Te = (L− 1)T, giving a noise factor
If several devices are cascaded, the total noise factor can be found with Friis' formula:
where Fn is the noise factor for the n-th device, and Gn is the power gain (linear, not in dB) of the n-th device. The first amplifier in a chain usually has the most significant effect on the total noise figure because the noise figures of the following stages are reduced by stage gains. Consequently, the first amplifier usually has a low noise figure, and the noise figure requirements of subsequent stages is usually more relaxed.
The noise factor may be expressed as a function of the additional output referred noise power and the power gain of an amplifier.
From the definition of noise factor
and assuming a system which has a noisy single stage amplifier. The signal to noise ratio of this amplifier would include its own output referred noise , the amplified signal and the amplified input noise ,
Substituting the output SNR to the noise factor definition,
In electronics, noise temperature is one way of expressing the level of available noise power introduced by a component or source. The power spectral density of the noise is expressed in terms of the temperature that would produce that level of Johnson–Nyquist noise, thus:
Signal-to-noise ratio is a measure used in science and engineering that compares the level of a desired signal to the level of background noise. SNR is defined as the ratio of signal power to the noise power, often expressed in decibels. A ratio higher than 1:1 indicates more signal than noise.
Signal-to-noise and distortion ratio (SINAD) is a measure of the quality of a signal from a communications device, often defined as
In telecommunications, a third-order intercept point (IP3 or TOI) is a specific figure of merit associated with the more general third-order intermodulation distortion (IMD3), which is a measure for weakly nonlinear systems and devices, for example receivers, linear amplifiers and mixers. It is based on the idea that the device nonlinearity can be modeled using a low-order polynomial, derived by means of Taylor series expansion. The third-order intercept point relates nonlinear products caused by the third-order nonlinear term to the linearly amplified signal, in contrast to the second-order intercept point that uses second-order terms.
The total harmonic distortion is a measurement of the harmonic distortion present in a signal and is defined as the ratio of the sum of the powers of all harmonic components to the power of the fundamental frequency. Distortion factor, a closely related term, is sometimes used as a synonym.
In electronics, gain is a measure of the ability of a two-port circuit to increase the power or amplitude of a signal from the input to the output port by adding energy converted from some power supply to the signal. It is usually defined as the mean ratio of the signal amplitude or power at the output port to the amplitude or power at the input port. It is often expressed using the logarithmic decibel (dB) units. A gain greater than one, that is amplification, is the defining property of an active component or circuit, while a passive circuit will have a gain of less than one.
A Negative-feedback amplifier is an electronic amplifier that subtracts a fraction of its output from its input, so that negative feedback opposes the original signal. The applied negative feedback can improve its performance and reduces sensitivity to parameter variations due to manufacturing or environment. Because of these advantages, many amplifiers and control systems use negative feedback.
The sensitivity of an electronic device, such as a communications system receiver, or detection device, such as a PIN diode, is the minimum magnitude of input signal required to produce a specified output signal having a specified signal-to-noise ratio, or other specified criteria.
In electronics, a common collector amplifier is one of three basic single-stage bipolar junction transistor (BJT) amplifier topologies, typically used as a voltage buffer.
The asymptotic gain model is a representation of the gain of negative feedback amplifiers given by the asymptotic gain relation:
In signal processing, a matched filter is obtained by correlating a known delayed signal, or template, with an unknown signal to detect the presence of the template in the unknown signal. This is equivalent to convolving the unknown signal with a conjugated time-reversed version of the template. The matched filter is the optimal linear filter for maximizing the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in the presence of additive stochastic noise.
In electronics, a common-source amplifier is one of three basic single-stage field-effect transistor (FET) amplifier topologies, typically used as a voltage or transconductance amplifier. The easiest way to tell if a FET is common source, common drain, or common gate is to examine where the signal enters and leaves. The remaining terminal is what is known as "common". In this example, the signal enters the gate, and exits the drain. The only terminal remaining is the source. This is a common-source FET circuit. The analogous bipolar junction transistor circuit may be viewed as a transconductance amplifier or as a voltage amplifier.. As a transconductance amplifier, the input voltage is seen as modulating the current going to the load. As a voltage amplifier, input voltage modulates the current flowing through the FET, changing the voltage across the output resistance according to Ohm's law. However, the FET device's output resistance typically is not high enough for a reasonable transconductance amplifier, nor low enough for a decent voltage amplifier. Another major drawback is the amplifier's limited high-frequency response. Therefore, in practice the output often is routed through either a voltage follower, or a current follower, to obtain more favorable output and frequency characteristics. The CS–CG combination is called a cascode amplifier.
Delta-sigma modulation is a method for encoding analog signals into digital signals as found in an analog-to-digital converter (ADC). It is also used to convert high bit-count, low-frequency digital signals into lower bit-count, higher-frequency digital signals as part of the process to convert digital signals into analog as part of a digital-to-analog converter (DAC).
In electronics, the common mode rejection ratio (CMRR) of a differential amplifier is a metric used to quantify the ability of the device to reject common-mode signals, i.e. those that appear simultaneously and in-phase on both inputs. An ideal differential amplifier would have infinite CMRR, however this is not achievable in practice. A high CMRR is required when a differential signal must be amplified in the presence of a possibly large common-mode input, such as strong electromagnetic interference (EMI). An example is audio transmission over balanced line in sound reinforcement or recording.
Friis formula or Friis's formula, named after Danish-American electrical engineer Harald T. Friis, is either of two formulas used in telecommunications engineering to calculate the signal-to-noise ratio of a multistage amplifier. One relates to noise factor while the other relates to noise temperature.
This article illustrates some typical operational amplifier applications. A non-ideal operational amplifier's equivalent circuit has a finite input impedance, a non-zero output impedance, and a finite gain. A real op-amp has a number of non-ideal features as shown in the diagram, but here a simplified schematic notation is used, many details such as device selection and power supply connections are not shown. Operational amplifiers are optimised for use with negative feedback, and this article discusses only negative-feedback applications. When positive feedback is required, a comparator is usually more appropriate. See Comparator applications for further information.
In telecommunications, the carrier-to-noise ratio, often written CNR or C/N, is the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of a modulated signal. The term is used to distinguish the CNR of the radio frequency passband signal from the SNR of an analog base band message signal after demodulation, for example an audio frequency analog message signal. If this distinction is not necessary, the term SNR is often used instead of CNR, with the same definition.
A minimum detectable signal is a signal at the input of a system whose power allows it to be detected over the background electronic noise of the detector system. It can alternately be defined as a signal that produces a signal-to-noise ratio of a given value m at the output. In practice, m is usually chosen to be greater than unity. In some literature, the name sensitivity is used for this concept.
In electronics, excess noise ratio is a characteristic of a noise generator such as a "noise diode", that is used to measure the noise performance of amplifiers. The Y-factor method is a common measurement technique for this purpose.
An RF chain is a cascade of electronic components and sub-units which may include amplifiers, filters, mixers, attenuators and detectors. It can take many forms, for example, as a wide-band receiver-detector for electronic warfare (EW) applications, as a tunable narrow-band receiver for communications purposes, as a repeater in signal distribution systems, or as an amplifier and up-converters for a transmitter-driver. In this article, the term RF covers the frequency range "Medium Frequencies" up to "Microwave Frequencies", i.e. from 100 kHz to 20 GHz.
This article incorporates public domain material from the General Services Administration document: "Federal Standard 1037C".(in support of MIL-STD-188)