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Instrumentation Amplifiers


Environmental control is critical to a variety of industrial, commercial, and residential applications. Temperature, humidity, pressure, and other conditions are monitored and controlled using a variety of sensing instruments. Depending on the application, instrumentation sensitivity varies. Residential HVAC systems, for example, require moderately accurate temperature control, whereas process equipment for injection molded plastics require more precise temperature and humidity control to ensure optimal product quality. 

For particularly sensitive applications, instrumentation amplifiers are used to reduce electronic noise and amplify desired readings to ensure the utmost accuracy. Instrumentation amplifiers work by strengthening the output signal from sensor transducers. Since transducer signals tend to be low-level, amplification is necessary, and instrumentation amplifiers provide low-level amplification with high impedance to provide amplified signals where you need them. 

What are Instrumentation Amplifiers?

An instrumentation amplifier is a differential amplifier that uses input resistors instead of input impedance matching to eliminate noise. With an instrumentation amplifier, users can ensure precise amplification of low-level signals with significant noise reduction, for exceptional accuracy ideal for use in sensitive measuring and testing applications. Instrumentation amplifiers provide energy-efficient low-level amplification for applications that require precise closed-loop gain and low noise. 

instrumentation amplifier

Characteristics of Instrumentation Amplifiers

Instrumentation amplifiers eliminate noise and interference while enhancing low-level signals. To provide optimal signal output, instrumentation amplifiers typically include the following features: 

  • High CCMR. Instrumentation amplifiers filter out the common mode signals from transducers, transmitting and amplifying only the differential input. The CCMR of an instrumentation amplifier must therefore be very high. 
  • High Slew Rates. To ensure maximum output of the desired frequency with minimum distortion, instrumentation amplifiers must have an extremely high slew rate. 
  • Low Output Impedance. To prevent sensor overload, instrumentation amplifiers must have very low or no output impedance. 
  • High Input Impedance. Instrumentation amplifiers must have a high input impedance to prevent input overload. 
  • High Gain Values. Gain adjustment for instrumentation amplifiers must be extremely accurate, with controlled gain variation within the desired range. The gain must be stable, accurate, and very high to amplify the low-level sensor signals with precision.

Instrumentation Amplifier Applications

The extreme precision and noise reduction of instrumentation amplifiers make them the perfect option for a wide range of sensitive applications. Some industries and applications that benefit from instrumentation amplifiers include: 

  • Industrial Automation. Industrial applications require exceptional environmental control in process operations to ensure product quality, efficient equipment operation, and worker safety. Instrumentation amplifiers are used in automated industrial systems to transmit current flow that conveys measurements from temperature, pressure, humidity, and other sensors to monitoring and control systems. 
  • Biomedical. Biomedical instrumentation is used in almost every form of electronic equipment in hospitals, healthcare facilities, and medical laboratories. From ECGs and EEGs to blood pressure sensors and ultrasound transducers, instrumentation amplifiers are used to amplify critical sensor current with precision. 
  • Measurement. Instrumentation amplifiers are particularly useful for precision sensors such as thermistors, thermocouples, and photodiodes. The noise reduction and clean output signal are ideal for low input applications where extra noise can cause extremely erratic and inaccurate readings. 

Instrumentation Amplifiers from Ectron

At Ectron, we are committed to producing durable and reliable metrology instrumentation for our customers in every industry. With decades of experience, we are proud to be at the forefront of Industrial IoT and automation product development. We specialize in the design and manufacture of quality instrumentation, thermocouple simulator-calibrators, embedded computers, engine and machine controllers, and a variety of metrology instrumentation and accessories. It is our goal to ensure that our clients obtain the most accurate data possible, even in the most extreme conditions. 

To learn more about our instrumentation amplifiers and other cutting-edge instrumentation solutions, contact us today.

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