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Drift, op-amp

Being semiconductor devices, op-amps are subject to slight changes in behavior with changes in operating temperature. Any changes in op-amp performance with temperature fall under the category of op-amp drift. Drift parameters can be specified for bias currents, offset voltage, and the like. Consult the manufacturer's data sheet for specifics on any particular op-amp.

To minimize op-amp drift, we can select an op-amp made to have minimum drift, and/or we can do our best to keep the operating temperature as stable as possible. The latter action may involve providing some form of temperature control for the inside of the equipment housing the op-amp(s). This is not as strange as it may first seem. Laboratory-standard precision voltage reference generators, for example, are sometimes known to employ "ovens" for keeping their sensitive components (such as zener diodes) at constant temperatures. If extremely high accuracy is desired over the usual factors of cost and flexibility, this may be an option worth looking at.

Review Op-amps, being semiconductor devices, are susceptible to variations in temperature. Any variations in amplifier performance resulting from changes in temperature is known as drift. Drift is best minimized with environmental temperature control.

Last Update: 2010-12-01