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Home > Other > Understanding IC 741 Op Amp: Characteristics, Pin Configuration, Circu

Understanding IC 741 Op Amp: Characteristics, Pin Configuration, Circuit, Working and Applications

Update Time: 2023-12-13 14:44:21


The operational amplifier serves as a fundamental building block for analog electronic circuits, performing various tasks related to analog signal processing. These ICs rely on external feedback to control their operations and find versatile applications in different electronic instruments. In this article, we'll explore a highly renowned component known as the IC 741 Op Amp. Our discussion will encompass fundamental aspects of Operational Amplifiers, the packaging and pinout of the IC 741 Op Amp, essential specifications and characteristics, a couple of well-known circuits utilizing the IC 741 (Inverting and Non-Inverting Amplifiers), and various common applications.

Overview of Operational Amplifiers

An operational amplifier, commonly known as an op-amp or op-amp, is an integrated circuit primarily designed for executing analog computations. It boasts a remarkably high voltage gain, typically around 105 (100dB).

While initially intended for mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, integration, and differentiation (hence the name Operational Amplifiers), it can also function as an amplifier and perform various tasks like filtering and comparison by employing external components like resistors and capacitors to establish the necessary feedback mechanism.

Op-Amp ICs have become indispensable components in nearly all analog circuitry. This article will delve into one of the most widely used Op-Amp ICs: IC 741 Op Amp.

IC 741.jpg

LM741 Op Amp

For further insights into Op-Amps, visit this page: Operational Amplifier Basics.

What is IC 741 Op Amp (Operational Amplifier)?

The IC 741 Op Amp is a monolithic integrated circuit with a general-purpose Operational Amplifier. Introduced by Fairchild Semiconductors in 1963, the "741" designation signifies the presence of 7 functional pins, with 4 pins designated for input and 1 for output.

Known for its capability to deliver high voltage gain and operate across a broad voltage range, the IC 741 Op Amp is well-suited for applications such as integrators, summing amplifiers, and general feedback circuits. It incorporates features like short circuit protection and internal frequency compensation circuits. The IC is available in various form factors:

  • 8-Pin DIP Package

  • TO5-8 Metal Can Package

  • 8-Pin SOIC


Please note that STMicroelectronics manufactures the first IC in the provided image with an 8-pin DIP Package, and the third IC in the 8-pin SOIC format is from Texas Instruments. Unfortunately, information regarding the second TO5-8 Metal Can Package IC's manufacturer is unavailable.


The IC 741 op-amp exhibits the following characteristics:

  • The input impedance of the IC 741 op-amp is greater than 100 kilo-ohms.

  • The output impedance of the 741 IC op-amp is less than 100 ohms.

  • The frequency range for the IC 741 op amp amplifier signals extends from 0Hz to 1MHz.

  • The offset current and offset voltage of the IC 741 op-amp are low.

  • The voltage gain of the IC 741 is approximately 200,000.


Here are the fundamental specifications of IC 741:

  • Power Supply: Requires a minimum voltage of 5V and can tolerate up to 18V

  • Input Impedance: Approximately 2 MΩ

  • Output Impedance: About 75 Ω

  • Voltage Gain: 200,000 for low frequencies (200 V/mV)

  • Maximum Output Current: 20 mA

  • Recommended Output Load: Greater than 2 KΩ

  • Input Offset: Ranges between 2 mV and 6 mV

  • Slew Rate: 0.5V/µS (It is the rate at which an Op-Amp can detect voltage changes)

The high input impedance and minimal output impedance make IC 741 nearly ideal as a voltage amplifier.

Below is a table providing an overview of common specifications for the IC 741 op-amp:

common specifications for the IC 741 op-amp.png

IC 741 Pinout

Below is the pin configuration of the IC 741 operational amplifier. The op-amp 741 pin diagram and the functionality of each pin are clearly explained in the following section.

Pin Configuration

The diagram features eight pins, with pins 2, 3, and 6 holding particular significance. Pins 2 and 3 denote the inverting and non-inverting terminals, respectively, while pin 6 signifies the output voltage. Pin 8 remains inactive within the circuit. The numerical designation "741" indicates the presence of seven active pins, with four pins (2, 3, 4, 7) capable of receiving input and one pin (6) serving as the output. The triangular configuration within the IC symbolizes its nature as an operational amplifier integrated circuit.

IC 741 Pin Configuration.png

IC 741 Pin Diagram


Pin Functions

Power Supply Pins: Pin 4 and 7

Pins 4 and 7 are the power conduits for negative and positive voltages in electronic functionality. These pins are crucial in delivering the necessary power for the IC's operational capabilities. The acceptable voltage span between these pins falls within the 5 to 18V range.

Output Pin: Pin 6

This pin serves as the recipient of the output emanating from the IC 741 op amp. The output voltage acquired at this specific pin hinges on the applied feedback methodology and the voltage level discerned at the input pins.

When the voltage at pin 6 registers as high, the output voltage mirrors the positive supply voltage. Conversely, when the voltage at pin 6 registers as low, it denotes that the output voltage aligns with the negative supply voltage.

Input Pins: Pin 2 and Pin 3

These pins serve as the designated input terminals within the operational amplifier circuit. Pin 2 assumes the role of the inverting input, while Pin 3 takes on the function of the non-inverting input. When the voltage at pin 2 significantly surpasses that at pin 3, indicating a higher inverting input voltage, the resultant output signal registers as low.

Conversely, when the voltage at pin 3 markedly exceeds that at pin 2, signifying a higher non-inverting input voltage, the output signal is correspondingly high.

Offset Null Pins: Pin 1 and Pin 5

As previously mentioned, this operational amplifier exhibits an elevated voltage gain. Consequently, slight fluctuations in voltages at both non-inverting and inverting inputs—resulting from anomalies in the construction process or other irregularities—can influence the output.

To address this, an offset voltage is introduced at both pin 1 and pin 5, typically achieved through a potentiometer.

Not Connected Pin: Pin 8

This pin serves the purpose of occupying the vacant slot in the IC 741 Op Amp. It remains unconnected to both internal and external circuits.

How does IC 741 Work?

A typical 741 operational amplifier comprises a circuit incorporating 20 transistors and 11 resistors seamlessly integrated into a monolithic chip. The diagram below elucidates the internal interconnections among these components.

Internal Schematic


Internal Schematic of IC 741 Op-Amp 

The inverting and non-inverting inputs are linked to two NPN transistors, Q1 and Q2, respectively, operating as NPN emitter followers. Their outputs feed into a pair of PNP transistors, Q3 and Q4, configured as common-base amplifiers. This setup isolates the inputs, preventing potential signal feedback.

Voltage fluctuations at the Op-Amp inputs can impact current flow within the internal circuit, potentially exceeding the active operation range of any transistor. To forestall this, two current mirrors are employed.

Transistor pairs Q8, Q9, Q12, and Q13 create the two current mirror circuits. Q8 and Q12 act as control transistors, setting the emitter-base voltage for the corresponding transistors in each pair. This voltage is precisely controlled down to fractions of millivolts, allowing only the necessary current to flow. The first current mirror (Q8 & Q9) is linked to the input circuit, while the second (Q12 & Q13) is connected to the output circuit.

A third current mirror, consisting of transistors Q10 and Q11, acts as a high-impedance link between the input circuit and the negative power supply. It provides a reference voltage without loading the input circuit, setting the slight base bias current needed by the PNP transistors in the input common-base amplifier circuit.

Transistor Q6, along with resistors 4.5 KΩ and 7.5 KΩ, forms a voltage level shifter circuit, lowering the voltage from the input amplifier circuit by 1V before transmitting it to the next stage. This mitigates signal distortions in the output amplifier stage.

Transistors Q15, Q19, and Q22 operate as a class A amplifier, while Q14, Q17, and Q20 constitute the output stage of the 741 Operational Amplifier.

To address irregularities in the input differential circuit, transistors Q5, Q6, and Q7 create a setup accommodating two inputs (Offset null(+) and Offset null(-)), balancing both the inverting and non-inverting inputs accordingly.

Gain vs. Frequency Characteristics

The operational amplifier IC 741 exhibits a non-constant gain that fluctuates in response to the frequency of the input signal. The graph below elucidates this relationship:


The gain remains relatively stable, hovering around 200,000 when the operational amplifier operates at frequencies below 10Hz. However, as the input signal frequency escalates, the gain diminishes and converges toward unity, particularly at frequencies around 100,000Hz.

Op-Amp Integrator and Differentiator

The following sections detail the experimental procedure for implementing integrator and differentiator circuits using the IC 741 op-amp theory.

To explore the operational amplifier's role as a differentiator and integrator, the following components are required: a breadboard, resistors with values of 10KΩ, 100KΩ, 1.5KΩ, and 150Ω, a regulated power supply (RPS), an IC 741 operational amplifier, connecting wires, capacitors with values of 0.01µF and 0.1µF, and an oscilloscope (CRO).


IC 741 Integrator

The integrator circuit utilizing the op-amp is depicted below. To establish the integrator circuit and observe the output, follow the steps outlined below:

  • Apply a symmetrical sine wave with a frequency of 1 kHz and an amplitude of 2V (peak-to-peak voltage) at the input section.

  • Connect the circuit's input and output sections to CRO channels 1 and 2 to observe the generated waveforms.

  • Plot the observed waveforms on a graph, aligning them with the corresponding values on the CRO.

  • Compare both practical and theoretical values. This configuration allows the IC 741 op-amp to function as an integrator circuit.

The differentiator circuit using the op-amp is presented below. To create a differentiator circuit and analyze the output, follow the steps outlined below:

741 IC Differentiator.png

IC 741 Differentiator

  • Apply a symmetrical triangular wave with a frequency of 1 kHz and an amplitude of 2V (peak-to-peak voltage) at the input section.

  • Connect the circuit's input and output sections to CRO channels 1 and 2 to observe the generated waveforms.

  • Plot the observed waveforms on a graph, aligning them with the corresponding values on the CRO.

  • Examine both practical and theoretical values. This configuration enables the IC 741 op-amp to serve as a differentiator circuit.

Integrator and Differentiator Output Waves.png

Integrator and Differentiator Output Waves

Open Loop Configuration of IC 741

The most straightforward approach to utilizing an operational amplifier is to employ it in an open-loop condition.

741 Op Amp Circuits

IC 741 Op Amp Circuit Diagram

The applications primarily encompass an adder, comparator, subtractor, voltage follower, integrator, and differentiator. The circuit diagram of the IC 741 operational amplifier is provided below. In the presented circuit, the IC 741 is employed as a comparator. Even in this comparator application, the IC effectively processes weak signals, facilitating their straightforward identification.

IC 741 Op-Amp Circuit Diagram.png

We will examine two distinct voltage amplifier circuits employing the IC 741.

Inverting Amplifier Circuit Using 741 Op Amp

In the inverting operational amplifier IC 741, Pin 2 is the input, while Pin 6 is the output. Input voltage is applied through Pin 2, and the output is extracted from Pin 6, resulting in reversed polarity. Specifically, when the input voltage is positive, the output becomes negative; conversely, when the input voltage is negative, the output becomes positive. This characteristic earns the amplifier its designation as an inverting amplifier.

The inverting operational amplifier's circuit diagram and input-output waveform are illustrated in the figure below.


The formula determines the gain of the inverting amplifier:

Gain (Av) = -(R2/R1) 

Here, the negative sign signifies the reversal of the output voltage polarity. By adjusting the values of R1 and R2, the desired level of amplification can be attained.

Non-Inverting Amplifier Circuit Using 741 Op Amp

In the non-inverting operational amplifier IC 741, Pin 3 is designated as the input, while Pin 6 is the output. Input voltage is applied through Pin 3, and the output is extracted from Pin 6, maintaining the same polarity as the input voltage. Specifically, when the input voltage is positive, the output is also positive, and correspondingly, when the input voltage is negative, the output assumes a negative value. This characteristic earns the amplifier the designation of a non-inverting amplifier.

The circuit diagram and input-output waveform for the non-inverting operational amplifier are depicted in the figure below.


The formula determines the gain of the non-inverting amplifier:

Gain (Av) = 1 + (R2/R1)

By adjusting the values of R1 and R2, the desired level of amplification can be achieved. When the feedback resistor R2 is set to zero, the gain equals one, and the operational amplifier functions as a voltage follower or unity gain buffer.

IC 741 Op Amp Applications

Various electronic circuits utilize the IC 741 operational amplifier, including applications such as voltage followers, analog-to-digital converters, sample and hold circuits, voltage-to-current and current-to-voltage converters, and summing amplifiers. Here are diverse applications of the IC 741 Op Amp across different use cases:


The 741 IC is commonly employed to amplify signals across a wide frequency range, from DC to higher radio frequencies.

It finds use in frequency-selective amplifiers, particularly in tone control systems within stereo and Hi-Fi setups.


Electronic circuits performing mathematical operations, such as integration, differentiation, and summing, frequently incorporate the 741 Op-Amp.


In precision signal rectifiers, where the voltage drop across ordinary diodes is a limitation, the 741 IC can function as an ideal diode with no voltage drop.


The Op-Amp IC 741 oscillates in function generators, generating diverse output waveforms such as sinusoidal, square, and triangular.

It is also utilized in Pulse Width Modulators (PWM generators).


The 741 IC is employed as a voltage signal comparator, determining if signals are approximately at the same voltage level. This is useful in voltage regulators and signal comparators.


The 741 Op-Amp is applied in creating Digital-to-Analogue Converters (DACs) that convert digital binary input into corresponding analog signals.

It is also utilized in Analogue-to-Digital circuits.

Various Applications:

  • Variable audio frequency oscillator

  • Adjustable Ripple Regulated Power Supply (RPS)

  • Four-channel audio mixer

  • Light-operated switch using an LDR and IC 741 Op Amp

  • DC volt polarity meter

  • Room thermometer

  • Bug listener

  • Microphone amplifier

  • Op-Amp tester

  • Short circuit protection for RPS

  • Thermal touch switch

  • Voltage-to-frequency conversion

  • Wind sound generation using IC 741 Op Amp


The IC 741 op-amp is a versatile and extensively employed electronic component proficient in executing diverse mathematical operations on analog signals. It boasts numerous features contributing to its suitability for a broad spectrum of applications, including high input impedance, low output impedance, short-circuit protection, internal frequency compensation, and low offset voltage.

Within this discourse, we have delved into an exhaustive exploration of the IC 741 op amp, encompassing its pin diagram, circuit diagram, operational principles, characteristics, specifications, and applications. Additionally, we've acquired insights into employing the IC 741 op amp in common circuits and troubleshooting prevalent issues.

Upon concluding this narrative, you should possess a comprehensive comprehension of the IC 741 op amp and adeptness in its effective utilization in your projects. Furthermore, you should be proficient in discerning the advantages and limitations of the IC 741 op-amp and equipped to compare with other op-amp variants. If you have any inquiries concerning this concept or seek guidance on 741 op-amp projects, kindly share your feedback by commenting in the section below.

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  • What is the function of IC 741 op-amp?
  • The primary function of the IC 741 is to perform mathematical operations within various circuits.

  • What is a general purpose op-amp 741?
  • The µA741 component is a versatile operational amplifier capable of offset-voltage nullification.

  • How do I know if my IC 741 is working?
  • Confirm whether the voltages V1 and V2 are precisely identical. Utilize a multi-meter for this verification. If they align perfectly, your operational amplifier (op-amp) functions flawlessly and is prepared for subsequent experiments.

  • What is the gain of IC 741?
  • The 741 operational amplifier (op-amp) typically exhibits an open-loop gain of 200,000 V/V.

  • Why does IC 741 have 8 pins?
  • Individual operational amplifiers (op-amps) are frequently housed in 8-pin Dual In-Line Package (DIP) configurations featuring 5 standardized pins, as illustrated in the examples below. Vintage op-amps like the LM741 (depicted in the initial image) exhibit a significant uncertainty regarding the definition of 0 volts, necessitating offset null pins for manual calibration.

  • What's the major drawback of IC 741?
  • The major drawback of capacitors integrated into ICs is their considerable physical size. Despite having a nominal value of 25pF, the capacitor within the 741 occupies a substantial portion of the chip's overall area.

  • What is the difference between IC 555 and IC 741?
  • The IC 555 timer is an astable multivibrator, generating a square wave input signal. Simultaneously, the OP-AMP IC-741 is a comparator, comparing the input square wave with a reference voltage.

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