So, I'm curious if there is a way to make a single-supply transimpedance amplifier op-amp circuit that uses a single supply. One thing that is important to me here is that it does not use a dc offset. This is because, if I were to ever use the circuit, it would be amplifying a steady dc signal! Just to clarify, I have no specific purpose for this at the moment. But I have certainly had one in the past!
Electronic – Single-Supply Transimpedance amp
I've been trying to do a very low light level project myself the past 2 days with photodiodes and phototransistors. This is for people like myself and the original poster who are pushing light detection without a photomultiplier to the limit (below 0.1 mW/cm^2).
I looked at the first receiver module and its minimum irradiance detection was 0.2 mW/m^2 which is about 10,000 times more (less capable) than what discrete photodiodes and phototransistors can do (maybe they meant cm^2 instead of m^2?). Neither are good for really low light levels according to "Art of Electronics" (1 uA per uW of light page 996), totally not capable of getting near what the human eye can do due to leakage current and noise. He describes using photomultipliers which may be required if your light levels are too low. However, in shining light through my fingers in a well-lit room, I am able to see what my eye can't detect on an oscilliscope (with either PhotoDiode or PhotoTransistor).
Assuming his 1 uA per uW is correct, here is an example: a 5 mm photodiodes and phototransistors have an area of 20 micro m^2. So 1 uW/m^2 (1/1000th of noon sunlight) would generate 20 uA (according to Art of Electr) . [[ 1/1000th of noon sunlight is 1 W/m^2 which is about twice as strong as a 20W incadescent light at 1 meter (6W light output into 12 m^2 surface area of a surrounding sphere). ]]
However, my 880nm phototransistor datasheet indicates 600 uA at 1W/m^2 (0.1 mW/cm^2), wich is 30 times more. This assumes all the light is within the active range of the diode's junction.
Sharp has a much better application note, but it seems to be lacking in explaining which design is best for which situations. Figure 13 is most applicable to what original poster and I need, and figure 10B is very interesting but I don't know what they mean by "improves response". http://physlab.lums.edu.pk/images/1/10/Photodiode_circuit.pdf
When used with an op amp, a phototransistor may not capabale of getting as good of a gain as a photodiode for very low light levels because it to uses a "cheap" method of getting its initial gain (transistor instead of op amp). I suspect a photodiode with a JFET op amp (very low input current) would ultimately provide a higher gain with less noise. In any event, the photodiode or phototransistor with the largest optical receiving area might have the best ability to detect low light levels, but that might also increase noise and leakage by a proportional amount and they are usually the underlying problem. So there is a limit to this type of light detection and ideally efficient phototransistors and photodiodes may ultimately be equally good when used with an op amp, but theoretically I suspect photodiode is a little better. It will be the op amp design that matters and I think figure 13 with a JFET op amp and a well-chosen shunt capacitor across the feedback will be best for phototransistor.
For the dual supply op amp, you can use a "lowish" valued resistor pair (two 1k for 10V Vcc to get 5 mA bias) to split the voltage to create a false ground for the +Vin.
I found R=1M for the feedback resistor much better than R=4.7M. Forrest Mimms in his simple opto book used a 10 M with a parallel 0.002uF and a solar cell instead of a phototransistor or photodiode for "extrememly" low light levels" (maybe a solar cell would be better for your application) It seems all PN junctions seem to operate as a solar cell to some extent, as I've read of using clear-cased small signal diodes to detect light. I'm using a regular 830 nm LED as my "photodiode".
The lens angle of whichever 5mm optical diode you use makes a big difference. +/-10 degrees is roughly 4 times more sensitive than +/-20 degrees....if the light source is coming in from less than +/-10 degrees. If the light source is a big area that is +/-20 degrees in front, then it doesn't matter.
I tested the two circuits below. I could detect 0.3V, 5 ms pulses on the phototransistor's Vo which means 0.3 uA which means 0.05 uW/cm^2 if my reading of the datasheet is correct and if it remained linear (big ifs) all the way down to 0.3uA. Maybe it was 5 uW/cm^2. If 0.05 uW/cm^2 is correct, then the off-the-shelf 830 LED was reading down to 0.5 uW/cm^2. I was shining 10 mW 830 nm light through 1 cm of tissue (my finger). I know that if the light levels I was working with were red, it would have been barely visible. The link below shows using 500 M ohm feedback with a photodiode, indicating much lower light levels. Notice the orientation of their photodiode, which is the same as my LED (backwards from most internet links). I got better results this way.
You seemed to have actually found a reasonable circuit on the internet. I heard there was out there somewhere.
The equations you cite are overly strict. Instead of just telling you the values, it's better to explain what each part does.
R1 and R2 are a voltage divider to make 1/2 the supply voltage. This will be the DC bias the opamp will operate at. C2 low pass filters the output of that voltage divider. This is to squash glitches, power supply ripple, and other noise on the 5 V supply so they don't end up in your signal. R3 is needed only because C2 is there. If R3 weren't there, C2 would squash your input signal too, not just the noise on the power supply. Ultimately, the right end of R3 is intended to deliver a clean 1/2 supply signal with high impedance. The high impedance is so that it doesn't interfere with your desired signal coming thru C1.
C1 is a DC blocking cap. It decouples the DC level at IN from the DC level the opamp is biased at.
R4 and R5 form a voltage divider from the output back to the negative input. This is the negative feedback path, and the overall circuit gain is the inverse of the voltage divider gain. You want a gain of 10, so the R4-R5 divider should have a gain of 1/10. C3 blocks DC so that the divider only works on your AC signal, not the DC bias point. The divider will pass all DC, so the DC gain from the + input of the opamp to its output will be 1.
C4 is another DC blocking cap, this time decoupling the opamp DC bias level from the output. With the two DC blocking caps (C1, C4), the overall amplifier works on AC and whatever DC biases may be at IN and OUT are irrelevant (within the voltage rating of C1 and C4).
Now for some values. The MCP6022 is a CMOS input opamp, so it has very high input impedance. Even a MΩ is small compared to its input impedance. The other thing to consider is the range of frequencies you want this amplifier to work over. You said the signal is audio, so we'll assume anything below 20 Hz or above 20 kHz is signal you don't care about. In fact, it's a good idea to squash unwanted frequencies.
R1 and R2 only need to be equal to make 1/2 the supply voltage. You mention no special requirement, like battery operation where minimizing current is of high importance. Given that, I'd make R1 and R2 10 kΩ each, although there is large leeway here. If this were battery operated, I'd probably make them 100 kΩ each and not feel bad about it. With R1 and R2 10 kΩ, the output impedance of the divider is 5 kΩ. You don't really want any relevant signal on the output of that divider, so let's start by seeing what capacitance is needed to filter down to 20 Hz. 1.6 µF. The common value of 2 µF would be fine. Higher works too, except that if you go too high, the startup time becomes significant on a human scale. For example, 10 µF would work to filter noise nicely. It has a 500 ms time constant with the 5 kΩ impedance, so would take a few seconds to stabilize after being turned on.
R3 should be larger than the output of R1-R2, which is 5 kΩ. I'd pick a few 100 kΩ at least. The input impedance of the opamp is high, so lets use 1 MΩ.
C1 with R3 form a high pass filter that needs to pass at least 20 Hz. The impedance seen looking into the right end of R3 is a bit over 1 MΩ. 20 Hz with 1 MΩ requires 8 nF, so 10 nF it is. This is a place you don't want to use a ceramic cap, so lower values are quite useful. A mylar cap, for example, would be good here and 10 nF is within the available range.
Again, the overall impedance of the R4-R5 divider doesn't matter much, so lets arbitrarily set R4 to 100 kΩ and work out the other values from there. R5 must be R4/9 for a overall amplifier gain of 10, so 11 kΩ works out. C3 and R5 form a filter that has to roll off at 20 Hz or below. C3 must be 720 nF or more, so 1 µF.
Note one issue with this topology. Frequency-wise, C3 is acting with R5, but the DC level that C3 will eventually stabilize at is filtered by R4+R5 and C3. That is a filter at 1.4 Hz, which means this circuit will take a few seconds to stabilize after power is applied.
C4 forms a high pass filter with whatever impedance will be connected to OUT. Since you may not know, you want to make it reasonably large. Let's pick 10 µF since that's readily available. That rolls off at 20 Hz with 8 kΩ. This amp will therefore function as specified as long as OUT is not loaded with less than 8 kΩ.
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If the input current signal (this feeds the inverting input) is always negative i.e. current flows away from inverting input, then the op-amp's output will always be positive with respect to the inverting input and this means a true ground referenced TIA. This sort of configuration sounds a trifle limiting but if the input is a photodiode then it works perfectly well provided: -
For #2 a rail-to-rail op-amp is a must but even these can be helped with a small negative supply (circa -100 mV) just to make the output linear down to true 0V/ground.