Burst Noise

- the basics of burst noise or "popcorn noise" experienced in RF and electronic circuits.

Electrical Noise Includes

Burst noise is not as widely known as other forms of noise in electronic and RF circuits.

Burst noise consists of sudden step like transitions between two or more levels.

This form of noise may not affect some circuits much, but others it can provide some particular problems and issues.

Burst noise basics

Burst noise, or as it is sometimes called, Popcorn noise, or random telegraph signal, RTS, consists of sudden step-like transitions between two or more levels.

The burst noise steps may be as high as several hundred microvolts, at random and unpredictable times.

Each shift in offset voltage or current can last for several milliseconds, and the intervals between pulses tend to be in the low audio range - typically less than about 100 Hz.

Burst noise, or popcorn noise was an issue when the first operational amplifiers were introduced. It made a noise like cooking popcorn if sent to a loudspeaker - hence the name.

The most common cause for this noise in ICs is believed to be the random trapping and release of charge carriers at thin film interfaces. Also defect sites in bulk semiconductor crystal can give rise to burst noise. In some cases the effect can have a greater effect than others. It is particularly severe when it affects an MOS gate or in a bipolar base region. In these cases the output effect can be significant.

These defects can be caused by manufacturing process issues: e.g. heavy ion implantation, or unintentional side-effects such as surface contamination. As the effect is a result of a manufacturing issue, offending ICs can be detected and removed during manufacture.

By Ian Poole

Share this page

Want more like this? Register for our newsletter

Clarifying Machine Vision with High Quality Sensors Mark Patrick | Mouser Electronics
Clarifying Machine Vision with High Quality Sensors
Automated imaging technology is everywhere we look. As cameras and their processing units get ever smaller, they are moving into ever more industries - from speed cameras and factory production lines to diagnostic medicine. For many of these applications, image quality is critical - but what does image quality really mean? Different applications will require quite distinct performance characteristics. Understanding camera specifications, differences between CCD and CMOS sensors, and features such as real-time processing or near-infrared (NIR) can help guide the camera selection process to produce better imaging results.

Radio-Electronics.com is operated and owned by Adrio Communications Ltd and edited by Ian Poole. All information is © Adrio Communications Ltd and may not be copied except for individual personal use. This includes copying material in whatever form into website pages. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on Radio-Electronics.com, no liability is accepted for any consequences of using it. This site uses cookies. By using this site, these terms including the use of cookies are accepted. More explanation can be found in our Privacy Policy