US 3758791 A
A current switch circuit consisting of a couple of transistors, one transistor acting as a reference element and the other as an input element, a pair of series connections of a resistance element and a diode being connected between the respective collectors of the said transistors with the polarity of the diodes opposite to each other, so that the emitter current of the transistors are automatically regulated to maintain a predetermined value, whereby the DC levels of the output voltages of the current switch circuit are kept constant against temperature variation of the transistors.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
iJriited States Patent [191 Taniguchi et al.
[ CURRENT SWITCH CIRCUIT  inventors: Kenji Taniguchi; lchiro Imaizumi,
both of Kodaira, Japan  Assignee: Hitachi, Ltd., Tokyo, Japan 221 Filed: June 4,1970 211 App]. No.: 43,497
 Foreign Application Priority Data June 6, 1969 Japan 44/44009  US. Cl 307/2l5, 307/218, 307/297, 307/310  Int. Cl. 03k 19/30, 1-103k 19/34  Field of Search 307/202, 213, 214, 307/215, 218,237, 297, 310; 330/23, 30 D  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,259,761 7/1966 Narud et a1 307/297 X 3,518,986 7/1970 Woods et a1... 330/69 X 2,999,173 9/1961 Ruck 307/237 3,524,141 8/1970 Montgomery et a1. 330/22 3,437,840 4/1969 Murray et a1 307/291 X 1 Sept. 11, 1973 3,522,446 8/1970 Kodama 307/215 3,440,449 4/1969 Priel et al. 307/291 3,509,362 4/1970 Bartholomew 307/296 X 3,523,194 8/1970 Sheng 307/296 X 3,538,348 11/1970 Hillis et al. 307/291 X 3,590,274 Marley 307/310 X Primary ExaminerJohn W. Huckert Assistant Examiner-L. N. Anagnos Att0meyCraig, Antonelli and Hill  ABSTRACT A current switch circuit consisting of a couple of transistors, one transistor acting as a reference element and the other as an input element, a pair of series connections of a resistance element and a diode being connected between the respective collectors of the said transistors with the polarity of the diodes opposite to each other, so that the emitter current of the transistors 'are automatically regulated to maintain a predetermined value, whereby the DC levels of the output voltages of the current, switch circuit-are kept constant against temperature variation of the transistors.
11 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PATENTED 7 3.758.791
SHEET 2 BF 3' INVENTORS KENTl TANIGUCHI AND \CHIRO nwuzum BY c141 HnTonQlh, Steamer: mu
ATTORNEYS CURRENT SWITCH CIRCUIT BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION sistor of which an input signal to the circuit is impressed on the base, both transistors being connected with the emitters common.
A typical circuit including the current switch circuit as the basic component is a circuit known as a CML (current mode logic) which includes a plurality of input transistors, the respective emitters as well as collectors of the input transistors being mutually connected respectively, so that an OR output can be taken out from the collector of the reference transistor and a NOR output from the common collector lead of the input transistors.
The CML in which the transistors are operated in the respective non-saturation regions so as not to be affected by the stored charge, is an effective logic circuit compatible to the so-called CTL (complementary transistor logic) especially in the operation speed, In the practical use of a CML, a further stage of an emitter follower is connected to each output circuit of the reference and the input transistors soas to reduce the output impedance and to equalize the levels of the input and output signals. Conventional current switch circuits including the above-mentioned CML, however, have a common drawback that the DC voltage levels of the output signals changewith variation in the temperature at the junctions of the transistors because of the temperature dependence of the forward base-emitter voltage. For example, with a typical practical CML which is designed so as to have a logic swing voltage of approximately 0.8 V with the l level of the output signal set at -0.8 V or so, the 0 level at l.6 V or so and the reference level at l .2 V or so, the 1 level signal is subject to the variations with a temperature coefficient of about 1.3 to 2.0 mV/C, especially under the influence of transistors of the emitter followers. As for the 0 level signal, the temperature coefficient of the drift is found to be about 0.5 to 0.8 mV/C which is much lower than that for the 1 level signal. This is due to the fact that the 0 level signal is affected also by the temperature characteristics of the input transistors and reference transistors which more or less compensate for the influence of the drift of the emitter follower transistors.
Anyway, such temperature dependence of the output levels results in a poor immunity of the signal against noise in the conventional CML. Especially, if the conventional CML is fabricated in an integrated circuit formation, such a circuit would sometimes fail to operate at the intended logic swing voltage, as the component circuit elements are not allowed sufficient heat dissipation. Further, the limit level of the input signal below which the logic circuit can operate in a nonsaturation state, also varies with the temperature coefficient of about i .5 to l .8 mV/C in a range of 0.4 to 0.8 V. Therefore, if the 1 level signal rises with a temperature rise, it is possible for the signal level to trespass on the saturation region, exceeding the abovementioned limit level. This necessitates a more limited tolerance of the temperature characteristics of the component circuit elements.
' SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The object of this invention is to provide a current switch circuit of which the DC levels of the output voltages are not affected by temperature variations of transistors.
In order to achieve the above object, the current switch circuit of this invention comprises a reference transistor and an input transistor with the respective emitters connected together, the common emitter lead being connected to an emitter source terminal through a means for regulating the emitter current, output signals being derived from the respective collectors of the said transistors through emitter follower circuits respectively, and further the said current switch circuit is provided with a pair of additional routes connecting both collectors, each consisting of a series connection of a diode and a resistance element, the conducting direction of said pair of routes being mutually opposite.
Other objects, features and merits of this invention will be clarified by the following description with reference to the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a circuit diagram of an embodiment of this invention.
FIG. 2 is a characteristic diagram of a transistor showing the relation between the temperature coeffi' cient of the base-emitter forward voltage and the emitter current.
FIG. 3 is a diagram showing manners of connection of semiconductor elements used in this invention.
FIGS. 40 and 4b are circuit diagrams of two other embodiments of this invention.
FIG. 5 is a complete circuit diagram of a logic circuit incorporating the circuit shown in FIG. 1
FIGS. 6 and 7 are circuit diagrams showing modifications of a portion of the circuit shown in FIG. 5.
FIG. 8 is a circuit diagram of an alternative setup of the circuit shown in FIG. 5
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to FIG. 1 which shows a current switch circuit of this invention applied to a CML, reference numeral 10 designates a reference transistor .to whose base terminal 11 is applied a reference voltage V and 20 an input transistor to whose base terminal 21 is applied an input voltage. It is assumed that the input transistor 20 represents a plurality of similar transistors connected in parallel to receive a corresponding number of input signals of the CML. The emitters l2 and 22 of the reference and input transistors 10 and 20 are connected together and led to the emitter source terminal 31 through an emitter current regulating means 30. The respective collectors 13 and 23 of the reference and input transistors 10 and 20 are connected to the collector source terminal 32 respectively through load resistors 14 and 24 whose resistance values are R and R respectively. Another transistor 15 constitutes an emitter follower with the base thereof connected with the collector 13 of the reference transistor 10. The
emitter of the transistor is the OR output terminal 16 of the CML. On the other hand, still another transistor 25 constitutes another emitter follower with the base thereof connected with the collector 23 of the input transistor 20. The emitter of the transistor 25 is the NOR output terminal 26 of the CML. Reference numerals l7 and 27 respectively designate load resistors connected between the emitter source terminal 31 and the emitters of the transistors 15 and 25. Further, a pair'of series connections respectively consisting of a resistance element 36 and a diode 33, and a resistance element 35 and a diode 34, are connected between the collector l3 and 23 of the transistors 10 and in a manners that the conducting direction of the series connections are opposite to each other. The temperature compensation for the output signal of the CML is acheved by providing these series connections, as will be described hereinafter.
The circuit shown in FIG. 1 is operated, for example, with the collector source terminal 32 grounded, therefore the potential V at the collector source terminal 32 being zero Volt and the potential V at the emitter source terminal 3l-being negative. It is assumed in the following description that the input signal V, is at the 1 level and the input transistor 20 is conducting while the reference transistor 10 is in the shutoff state. For convenience of the explanation, it is further assumed that the emitter-grounded current amplification factor B and the base-emitter forward voltage drop V are identical for all of the above transistors, and that the forward voltage drop V of the diodes 33 and 34 are identical. Moreover, the base current of the transistors 15 and are neglected in the following explanation.
With the input signal V at the 1 level, the diode 33 is not conducting while the other diode 34 conducts, and an output signal V, of the 1 level appears at the output terminal 16-while an output signal V., of the 0 level appears at the output terminal 26. These output voltages V, and V can be expressed in the following formulas. 1
VI ow/ s RCP RCN) 0 on s) 51;
0 on/ s RCP on) I VD s cP)' a l B)/ ns/ Therefore, the conditions for eliminating the temperature dependence of the output voltage V, and V can be determined by regarding that the left side of each of the above equations'3 and 4 is zero. That is:
s/ ep D/ BE/ mma mm (WU/ 1 s Rep RCN/RCP BE/ gether the base and the collector of a transistor as shown in FIG. 3, as is often found in semiconductor integrated circuits, the value of dV /dT can be made equal to that of dV /dT. Therefore, assuming dV /dT dV /dT 2 (mV/C) 7) s RCP ow Similarly, from the above-mentioned assumption 7 and the equation 6,
C-- a la/d1 2 (am m Therefore, it will be seen that the required stabilizing conditions can be achieved by setting the temperature characteristics of the emitter current 1,; so that the condition of the above equation 9 is satisfied. Various methods for setting the emitter current in such a manner as mentioned above will be shown in the following description of the embodiments of this invention.
Meanwhile, in the conventional CML, the output signal levels V, and V would drift at different temperature coefficients. Therefore, the reference voltage source in the conventional CML should be so designed that the reference voltage V renders an intermediate temperature coefficient between those for the levels V, and V 1.1 mV/" C for example. According to the present invention, however, the reference voltage source should be designed so as to produce a constant voltage, as both output signals V, and V have zero temperature coefficient.
FIGS. 4a and 4b show further embodiments of this invention. In FIG. 4a are shown the diodes 33 and 34 connected in parallel in opposite directions, the parallel connection of these diodes being connected between the respective collectors of the transistors 10 and 20 through resistors 35 and 36. Further, in FIG. 4b, a resistor 37 is seen to be substituted for the two resistors 35 and 36 in FIG. 4a, the resistance value of the resistor 37 being equal to the sum of the resistance values R and R of the resistors 35 and 36. Other components shown in FIGS. 4a and 4b correspond to those indicated by similar reference numerals in FIG. 1. Also, the principle and operation of the temperature compensation with the circuits shown in FIGS. 4a and 4b are the same as those described above in connection with FIG. 1. Therefore, repeated explanation is omitted.
Referring to FIG. 5 which more tangibly shows a CML incorporating the circuit of this invention, elements or components corresponding to those shown in FIG. 1 are designated with similar reference numerals. The reference base voltage V of the reference transister 10 is supplied from a biasing circuit 40 indicated by a dot-and-dash line box in FIG. 5. This biasing circuit consists of a transistor 41, biasing resistance elements. 42, 43, 44 and 45, and an appropriate number of diodes 46 for temperature compensation, and is composed in a manner that the variation in the baseemitter voltage drop of the transistor 41 due to the change of the temperature is compensated by a voltage drop in the above diodes 46 to thereby make the temperature coefficient for the reference voltage V zero. Further, the emitter current regulating means 30 which is connected between the emitter source terminal and the common emitter lead of the reference and input transistors, consists of a transistor 50 and a resistance element 54 connected to the emitter 51 of this transistor for providing a feedback voltage. The base 53 of the transistor 50 is connected to the biasing circuit 40to be driven with a voltage divided by the resistors 44 and 45 in the biasing circuit 40. 1
Defining that R 'is the resistance value of the resistor 54, V, the potential of the base 53 of the transistor 50, and V the base-emitter forward voltage drop, and further, assuming that the current amplification factor B of the transistor 50 is sufiiciently high, the condition CML, that is, may be incorporated in a semiconductor integrated circuit. Or, it may be a separate unit from the main part of a CML. Further, various other circuit configurations are possible for the biasingcircuit 40 so as to be adapted for various emitter source voltages V reference voltages V and other requirements.
FIG. 6 shows one example of such other configurations of the biasing circuit 40. As is seen in the Figure, a resistance element 47 is connected across one (46a) of the plurality of temperature compensating diodes'46 in order to facilitate accurate matching of the temperaturecoeffrcients of the reference voltage V,,,, and the driving voltage V FIG. 7 is another example of the biasing circuit 40. In this example, it will be noted that the driving voltage V, for the transistor 50 is not kept constant, as a diode 48 is inserted between the reference voltage terminal 11 for the reference transistor 10 and the driving voltage terminal 53 for the transistor 50. Thus, the circuit is designed so that the reference voltage V is immune to temperature variation, while the driving voltage V,i ncreases with the temperature risebecause of the for producing an emitter current I, which will satisfy the condition of the afore-mentioned equation 9 can be determined as follows. V Y
Firstly, as is seen from FIG. 5, I, (V, V VEE/REE) x a where, a (BIB 1) As the biasing circuit is designed so as to have no temperature dependence as mentioned previously, the voltage -V, does not change with variations of temperature. Therefore, substituting the above formula 1 into the left side of the equation 9,
Therefore, R /R 2/0: 2 2 (12) This is the condition for setting the value of the emitter current I, at the desired level. Thus, in the circuit shown in FIG. 5, the condition of the equation 9 is satisfled by setting the resistance of the element 54 ataptemperature dependence of the forward voltage drop V of the diode 48. As is clear from FIG. 7,
VJ ss 0 z an as- RCN/REE z 1 Thus, even when the driving voltage V, is variable against temperature, the temperature dependence of the output signallevel can be eliminated by setting the resistance value of the emitter resistor 54 to be nearly equal to the resistance value of the load resistor 24.
"FIG. 8 shows another example of the CML in which the circuit of this-invention is incorporated. In this circuit, the base-emitter voltage of the transistor 50 which regulates the emitter currents of the reference and input transistors 10 and 20, is set by a diode 55 .connected between the base 53 and the emitter 51 of the transistor 50, and the base 53 is also connected to the reference voltage terminal 11 through a resistance element 44. Assuming that the circuit is constructed in the form of a semiconductor integrated circuit and that the ratio of the area of the emitter junction in the transistor 50 to that of the junction in the diode 55 is 'y, the emitter current I, is about 7 times as large as the current flowing through the diode 55. The greater part of the current I which flows through the resistance element 44 (whose resistance value is assumed to be R flows through the diode 55. Therefore, assuming that the forward voltage drop in the diode 55 is V,,, the emitter current I; of the transistor 50 is determined by the following formula.
- 14) The value of V is nearly equal to the base-emitter voltage drop V of the transistor. Substituting the formula 14 into the left side of the previously shown equation 9 (note that a is nearly equal to I),
The above relation is the condition for setting the emitter current 1,, in this circuit.
It will be clear from the above description that in the current switch circuit of this invention, the DC voltage levels of the output signals can be stabilized against temperature variations by setting the emitter currents of the reference and input transistors at a proper amount.
Though, in this specification the manner of setting the emitter current of the current switch circuit has been described under the assumption expressed by the previously shown equation 7, it will be clear that the principle of this invention can be put into practice regardless of the above assumption. Further, it will be understood that the emitter current regulating means used in the circuit of this invention is not limited to such types as shown in the above embodiments, and that other types of circuits which can render the emitter current to have an appropriate temperature characteristics can also be used as the regulating means.
1. A current switch circuit comprising;
at least one input transistor to whose base an input signal is applied;
a reference transistor to whose base a reference voltage is applied and whose emitter is connected with the emitter of said input transistor;
load resistors connected respectively with the collectors of said input and reference transistors;
emitter followers connected respectively with the collectors of said input and reference transistors;
two diode circuits connected in parallel between the collectors of said input and reference transistors, each of said diode circuits comprising a diode and a resistor connected in series with said diode for controlling current flowing through said diode, and wherein said diodes-disposed in said two diode circuits are oriented in mutually opposite directions with respect to each other; i
emitter current regulating means connected in common with the emittersof said input and reference transistors for regulating the emitter current flowing through the commonly connected emitters, so that said emitter current has a certain temperature coefficient; and
a power supply source having a first power terminal connected with said load resistors respectively and a second power terminal connected with said emitter current regulating means for providing a power potential between said first and second power terminals,
whereby the DC. voltage levels of the output signals derived out from said emitter followers changeable due to temperature change are stabilized.
2. A current switch circuit as defined in claim 1, wherein said diodes in said diode circuits respectively provide a forward voltage drop whose temperature coefficient is substantially the same as that of the baseemitter forward voltage drop in said input and the reference transistors, and said resistors in said diode circuits respectively have the same resistance as that of said load resistors.
3. A current switch circuit as defined in claim 2, which further comprises a temperature-compensated biasing circuit which produces a reference voltage having a substantially zero temperature coefficient coupled to the base of said reference transistor.
4. A current switch circuit as defined in claim 1, wherein said emitter current regulating means comprises a first transistor whose collector is connected in common with the emitters of said input and reference transistors and to whose base a regulation voltage is applied, and means for connecting the emitter of said first transistor with said second power terminal.
'5. A current switch. circuit as defined in claim 4, which further comprises a temperature-compensated biasing circuit including: I
a second transistor having its emitter-collector circuit coupled between said first power supply terminal and the base of said reference transistor;
a first biasing resistor coupled between the base of said second transistor and said first power supply terminal;
at least one diode and a second biasing resistor con- I nected in series between said second power supply terminal and the base of said second transistor; and
a voltage dividing circuit which comprisesfirst and second impedance means connected in series between the emitter of said second transistor and the second power supply terminal, the common connection of said first and second impedance means being connected with the base of said first transistor.
6. A current switch circuit as defined in claim 5, wherein said first and second impedance means are composed of third and fourth biasing-resistors respectively, and said means for connecting the'emitter of said first transistor with said second power supply terminal is composed of a feedback resistor whose resistance value is equal to one-half of that of said load resistors.
7. A .current switch circuit as defined in claim 5, wherein said first impedance means is composed of a diode, said second impedance element is composed of a biasing resistor, and said means for connecting the emitter of said first transistor with said second power supply terminal is composed of .a feedback resistor whose resistance value is equal to that of said load resistors.
8. A current switch circuit as defined in claim 5, wherein said first and second impedance means are composed of a biasing resistor and a diode respectively, and said means for connecting the emitter of said first transistor with said first power supply terminal is composed of a conductor for directly connecting therebetween, the resistance value R,, of said first impedance means being so selected as to satisfy the equation 1% R R /y, wherein R is the resistance value of said load resistors and y is the ratio of the area of the emitter junction in the first transistor to that of the junction in said diode which comprises said second impedance means.
9. A current switch comprising:
at least one input transistor having an emitter, a base and a collector;
means for connecting a biasing power supply across the collector and emitter of said input transistor;
first and second output circuits, each of which is connected to receive a signal from the collector of said at least one input transistor and to provide output signals therefrom, the output of one of said output circuits being at a first level while the output of the other of said output circuits is at a level, different from said first output level; and
means, coupled between said pair of output circuits for maintaining the two different output levels from each of said first and second output circuits substantially constant over a prescribed temperature range, including a pair of pn junction-resistor cir-.
cuits, each of which comprises a pn junction and a resistor connected in series, said pn junctionresistor circuits being connected in parallel, and wherein the pn junctions are oppositely poled with respect to each other within said parallelconnected circuits.
10. A current-switch according to claim 9, further inence transistor and a power supply terminal.
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