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Low Noise Amplifier

A low-noise amplifier (LNA) is an electronic amplifier that amplifies a very low-power signal without significantly degrading its signal-to-noise ratio. A typical amplifier increases the power of both the signal and the noise present at its input, whereas LNAs are designed to amplify a signal while minimizing additional noise. Designers can minimize additional noise by using low-noise components, operating points, and circuit topologies. Minimizing additional noise must balance with other goals such as power gain and impedance matching. 

LNAs are found in radio communications systems, medical instruments and electronic test equipment. A typical LNA may supply a power gain of 100 (20 decibels (dB)) while decreasing the signal-to-noise ratio by less than a factor of two (a 3 dB noise figure (NF)). Although LNAs are primarily concerned with weak signals that are just above the noise floor, they must also consider the presence of larger signals that cause intermodulation distortion.


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