Current-output-matched discrete circuit elements

Making discrete circuit elements act like integrated circuits


Integrated circuits are so common that we now simply refer to them as ICs or chips. Despite their function, integrated circuit elements by definition have a common substrate and therefore their current outputs match. But electronic circuit designers would like the flexibility of using discrete circuits to impart various functionality. The adding of such discrete circuits creates current mismatches. Current output from one discrete element may differ from another and even the current output from two elements with the same part number can have differing beta values (common emitter current gain). Variable output means that the correct information is not relayed between elements, causing data corruption.

Army researchers have addressed the above by adding determination and compensation components alongside passive and active elements in order to match the current output of these discrete circuits. Two resistors make up the determination component. The Army innovation obtains voltage measurements from the paired circuit elements and calculates a current via Ohm’s law. A difference calculation is performed and communicated to a compensation resistor to implement a change in current output.

The system can be configured to determine if the voltage difference is due to element mismatch – an undesired difference – or to an external voltage, which might be a desired difference.

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