**Pole splitting** is a phenomenon exploited in some forms of frequency compensation used in an electronic amplifier. When a capacitor is introduced between the input and output sides of the amplifier with the intention of moving the pole lowest in frequency (usually an input pole) to lower frequencies, pole splitting causes the pole next in frequency (usually an output pole) to move to a higher frequency. This pole movement increases the stability of the amplifier and improves its step response at the cost of decreased speed.^{[1]}^{[2]}^{[3]}^{[4]}

This example shows that introduction of the capacitor referred to as C_{C} in the amplifier of Figure 1 has two results: first it causes the lowest frequency pole of the amplifier to move still lower in frequency and second, it causes the higher pole to move higher in frequency.^{[5]} The amplifier of Figure 1 has a low frequency pole due to the added input resistance *R _{i}* and capacitance

The first objective, to show the lowest pole moves down in frequency, is established using the same approach as the Miller's theorem article. Following the procedure described in the article on Miller's theorem, the circuit of Figure 1 is transformed to that of Figure 2, which is electrically equivalent to Figure 1. Application of Kirchhoff's current law to the input side of Figure 2 determines the input voltage to the ideal op amp as a function of the applied signal voltage , namely,

which exhibits a roll-off with frequency beginning at *f _{1}* where

which introduces notation for the time constant of the lowest pole. This frequency is lower than the initial low frequency of the amplifier, which for *C _{C}* = 0 F is .

Turning to the second objective, showing the higher pole moves still higher in frequency, it is necessary to look at the output side of the circuit, which contributes a second factor to the overall gain, and additional frequency dependence. The voltage is determined by the gain of the ideal op amp inside the amplifier as

Using this relation and applying Kirchhoff's current law to the output side of the circuit determines the load voltage as a function of the voltage at the input to the ideal op amp as:

This expression is combined with the gain factor found earlier for the input side of the circuit to obtain the overall gain as

This gain formula appears to show a simple two-pole response with two time constants. (It also exhibits a zero in the numerator but, assuming the amplifier gain *A _{v}* is large, this zero is important only at frequencies too high to matter in this discussion, so the numerator can be approximated as unity.) However, although the amplifier does have a two-pole behavior, the two time-constants are more complicated than the above expression suggests because the Miller capacitance contains a buried frequency dependence that has no importance at low frequencies, but has considerable effect at high frequencies. That is, assuming the output

(For a positive Miller capacitance, *A _{v}* is negative.) Upon substitution of this result into the gain expression and collecting terms, the gain is rewritten as:

with *D _{ω}* given by a quadratic in ω, namely:

Every quadratic has two factors, and this expression looks simpler if it is rewritten as

where and are combinations of the capacitances and resistances in the formula for *D _{ω}*.

At low frequencies near the lowest pole of this amplifier, ordinarily the linear term in ω is more important than the quadratic term, so the low frequency behavior of *D _{ω}* is:

where now *C _{M}* is redefined using the Miller approximation as

which is simply the previous Miller capacitance evaluated at low frequencies. On this basis is determined, provided >> . Because *C _{M}* is large, the time constant is much larger than its original value of

At high frequencies the quadratic term becomes important. Assuming the above result for is valid, the second time constant, the position of the high frequency pole, is found from the quadratic term in *D _{ω}* as

Substituting in this expression the quadratic coefficient corresponding to the product along with the estimate for , an estimate for the position of the second pole is found:

and because *C _{M}* is large, it seems is reduced in size from its original value

In short, introduction of capacitor *C _{C}* moved the low pole lower and the high pole higher, so the term

What value is a good choice for *C _{C}*? For general purpose use, traditional design (often called

The way to position *f*_{2} to obtain the design is shown in Figure 3. At the lowest pole *f*_{1}, the Bode gain plot breaks slope to fall at 20 dB/decade. The aim is to maintain the 20 dB/decade slope all the way down to zero dB, and taking the ratio of the desired drop in gain (in dB) of 20 log_{10} *A _{v}* to the required change in frequency (on a log frequency scale

- Slope per decade of frequency

which is 20 dB/decade provided *f _{2} = A_{v} f_{1}* . If

Figure 3 shows that to obtain the correct gain dependence on frequency, the second pole is at least a factor *A _{v}* higher in frequency than the first pole. The gain is reduced a bit by the voltage dividers at the input and output of the amplifier, so with corrections to

Using the approximations for the time constants developed above,

or

which provides a quadratic equation to determine an appropriate value for *C _{C}*. Figure 4 shows an example using this equation. At low values of gain this example amplifier satisfies the pole-ratio condition without compensation (that is, in Figure 4 the compensation capacitor

To provide more safety margin for design uncertainties, often *A _{v}* is increased to two or three times

The above is a small-signal analysis. However, when large signals are used, the need to charge and discharge the compensation capacitor adversely affects the amplifier slew rate; in particular, the response to an input ramp signal is limited by the need to charge *C _{C}*.