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Define emitter follower configuration in bipolar transistors.

1 Answer

The emitter follower, also known as a common collector configuration, is one of the three basic configurations used in bipolar transistor circuits, along with common emitter and common base configurations. In an emitter follower circuit, the emitter terminal of the bipolar transistor is connected directly to the output, which makes it follow the voltage at the base terminal. The input is applied to the base terminal, and the output is taken from the emitter terminal.

Here's a brief explanation of the emitter follower configuration:

Transistor Setup: The emitter follower circuit uses an NPN or PNP bipolar transistor. Let's consider an NPN transistor for this explanation. The emitter is connected to the ground or a fixed voltage source, and the base terminal is the input terminal, while the emitter terminal serves as the output.

Operating Principle: When a voltage is applied at the base terminal, it controls the current flow between the collector and emitter. The key feature of the emitter follower is that the emitter voltage closely follows the base voltage minus a small voltage drop (about 0.6 to 0.7 volts for silicon transistors). This makes the output voltage nearly the same as the input voltage, but slightly lower due to the voltage drop across the base-emitter junction.

Voltage Gain: The emitter follower has a voltage gain slightly less than unity (less than 1). This means that the output voltage is slightly lower than the input voltage. The primary advantage of this configuration is its high input impedance and low output impedance, making it useful for impedance matching between different stages of a circuit.

Application: Emitter followers are commonly used as buffer stages in electronic circuits. They provide isolation between the input and output, and since the output voltage closely follows the input voltage, they can prevent loading effects on the previous stage. Emitter followers are also utilized in audio amplifiers and power amplifier driver stages.

The emitter follower configuration has the following key characteristics:

High input impedance
Low output impedance
Voltage gain slightly less than unity (less than 1)
In-phase input and output signals

Overall, the emitter follower is a useful circuit configuration when there is a need for voltage buffering and impedance matching without significant signal amplification.
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